Ryan Harter

Freelance Android Developer

Should This Be a Library?

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I come from the consulting world, where it’s common to try to make everything a library. This makes perfect sense, boost profit margins by writing something once and selling it to everyone.

But often times this doesn’t work out as expected for several reasons, the first of which is failing to ask the question “Should this be a library?”

Here are a few tips to help you decide if you should makes something a library or not.

Wrapping Existing Libraries With RxJava

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RxJava is all the rage in the Android world lately, and with good reason. While Functional Reactive Programming has a bit of a steep learning curve, the benefits are enormous.

One issue I’ve run accross is the fact that I need to use libraries that don’t support RxJava, but use the Listener pattern instead, and therefore miss out on many of the composability benefits of Rx.

I ran into this exact issue while integrating OpenIAB into the latest release of Fragment. To make matters more difficult, OpenIAB uses startActivityForResult to actually launch a new Activity and return a result. That made me wonder, how can I use OpenIAB with RxJava?

Using All the App Stores

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Shortly after our initial release of the Pack Store in Fragment earlier this year, other companies started contacting us wanting Fragment on their App stores, as well. With the addition of the Pack Store, and in app purchases, this made things challenging.

When I first implemented the Pack Store, I used Sergey Solovyev’s excellent Android Checkout library to implement the In App Billing support. This is a great library that eased a lot of the pain of the IAB implementation, but tightly coupled Fragment with the Google Play Store.

In order to release with more stores and partners, I needed a more open solution. As the developer of Fragment, and the person that has to manage builds and releases, I wanted to avoid having multiple build flavors to cover all the stores, since that would quickly get unweildy. My search for a more open IAB solution led me to OpenIAB.

Hosting a Private Maven Repo on Amazon S3

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Remember the olden days of Android development? There were times when including a library in a project meant relative links to source, or using Maven. Fortunately for us, those days are long gone now with the introduction of Gradle.

Gradle has made developing and consuming libraries for Android amazingly simple, and has spurred a new boom in library development for Android. We’ve always had a large, open, inclusive community to boast of, but over the past year or two it has only gotten better as the community has matured.

Custom Drawables

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We’ve all seen posts about why you should use custom views when applicable and how it can help you properly encapsulate your application code. What we don’t see quite as much is how this type of thinking can be translated to other, non-View related, portions of our apps.

In my app, Fragment, there are a few places where I make use of custom Drawables to encapsulate my logic just like you would for a custom View.