Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

Great Open Source Android Libraries

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Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/5d
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Libraries are a bunch of code that simplifies developing of certain features and prevent you from reinventing the wheel. Because most Android libraries are open source it’s also possible to fork and modify them. But you should take care about the specific licenses.

I’ll present you some more popular, but also some not so popular libraries. But all of them are usable for many different purposes.

1. Material Dialogs

A beautiful, fluid, and customizable dialogs API.

Material Dialogs is one of the most popular libraries for Android apps. It’s by Aidan Follestad.

Material Dialogs is some kind of wrapper for dialogs, which enables you the most easiest way to show users popups. There’s also an extension library, that for example helps to create file chooser dialogs. The library provides the same user experience on all Android versions, so you don’t have to build different dialog styles for different platforms.

2. Glide

An image loading and caching library for Android focused on smooth scrolling

Glide is the ultimate image loader library next to Picasso or Fresco. With Glide it’s very simple to download and show images and even GIFs. It’s also possible to use it with different transformation implementations, so that you can customize the look of the images.

3. FastAdapter

The bullet proof, fast and easy to use adapter library, which minimizes developing time to a fraction…

RecyclerViews are a pretty good way to show lists of entries, but it’s also a little bit difficult to implement the adapters for them. FastAdapter is there to help you with that. It simplifies the implementation of adapter classes for these RecyclerViews and also adds some more options like expanding items or swipe-to-delete functionality. It’s really helpful. The library is developed by Mike Penz.

4. Bridge (doesn’t exist anymore)

A simple but powerful HTTP networking library for Android. It features a Fluent chainable API, powered by Java/Android’s URLConnection classes for maximum compatibility and speed.

Nowadays apps often need to access some internet resources or APIs. But implementing methods to enable the network transfers are often quite hard. Bridge, another library by Aidan Follestad, helps you with that and makes using networks connections very easy. It also brings build-in JSON conversion, so that you don’t need to handle all that JSON objects yourself.

5. Android Iconics

Use any icon font, or vector (.svg) as drawable in your application.

Using PNG images for icons on Buttons etc. isn’t a good idea anymore. You have to add the PNGs in different sizes and you also need to update them often, when Google decides to update their Material Design guidelines including the icons. Android Iconics offers a very easy way to use SVG vector graphics instead. The icons are saved inside of font files and are very easy to update. The library also includes some extensions with different icon sources.

6. FragNav

An Android library for managing multiple stacks of fragments

Using Fragments for different views is better than using single activities for every different view. Fragments are more easily to switch and with the use of Fragments it’s also more easy to make an app big-screen compatible. FragNav helps you managing multiple stacks of Fragments and switching and navigating between them. It’s also pretty cool to use it in combination with the BottomNavigationView from the support library.

Do you use any of this libraries in your app projects? What experiences do you have with them?

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Jan-Lukas Else
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