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Useful Android Libraries

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Useful Android Libraries

The nature of Android as Open Source project makes it easy for others to create useful libraries. This article lists popular Open Source libraries and useful example projects which makes it easier to create powerful Android projects.

Here is some useful libraries -:

·         Otto – Event Bus for Android

·         Animation framework for Android versions as of 1.6

·         Page View indicator from Jake Wharton

·         AChartEngine – Charting Engine

·         ActionBarSherlock - ActionBar for pre Honeycomb Android versions

·         Pull to refresh library

·         ormLight ORM mapper

·         GreeDAO from Markus Junginger, ORM Mapper

·         Android Annotation framework

·         Dagger - dependency injection framework for Java and Android

·         RoboGuice is a dependency injection framework for Android

·         Roboletric for testing on the JVM

·         Android Scripting - Allows to run scripting languages on Android

      Here I am explaining some important libraries -:

1.      ActionBar Sherlock-:

       This one deserves to be at the top of the list. Actionbar was introduced in API-11 of the Android SDK and the support library by Google does not provide a proper backport. This library by Jake Watson is now a part of almost every new Android application developed, and is undoubtedly on the top of my list. It works seamlessly with newer views such as NavigationDrawer, SlidingPaneLayout, Fragments, etc.


2.      ActiveAndroid-:

      This is a simple ORM solution for your applications. It is as easy as creating objects and saving them to the SQLite database. The setup of classes makes use of Java annotations. This saves a whole lot of time on configurations, and gives the developer more time to spend on the login than on the syntaxes. Once used, you will find it hard to live without it.


3.      Robotium-:

      This is an automation testing framework for Android. Developers and testers can generate test cases and ensure that minor changes do not introduce new bugs. It might seem to be an overhead in the early stages of development but helps keep maintenance work easy.


4.      GSON-:

      This is a powerful and lightweight JSON parser, specifically for Android. If you have a Web-service returning JSON, use jsonschema2pojo.org (or some other similar tool) to generate the POJOs, and with a single line of code, you can parse the JSON using this library. Use GSON along with ActiveAndroid and you can reduce the development time considerably.


5.      Crouton-:

       This is a neat replacement for toasts. It is nicely implemented and highly customisable. It gives your application a notification system which is cleaner and more aesthetic than native toasts, and is rightly named croutons.


6.      AChartEngine-:

       This plots neat and elegant graphs in various styles. The Javadoc’s might not be great, and it might not be all that easy to develop with only a few resources available and a large number of classes, but the output is definitely worth the effort.


7.      ZXing-:

      This quickly adds support for scanning bar codes in an Android application. Easy to configure and use. It has a high scanning efficiency.


8.      Universal Image Loader-: 

       Handling large bitmaps has given nightmares to many Android developers. This lightweight library saves you the effort of handling bitmaps and provides great support for caching images. One can easily figure out how to decode the bitmaps in the app. Definitely a lifesaver of a library.

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