7 libraries that should be used in every Android app

Today I want to talk about something development related again. About libraries for Android apps.

Libraries are a bunch of code that simplifies developing of certain features. 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, easy-to-use, and customizable dialogs API, enabling you to use Material designed dialogs down to API 8.

Material Dialogs is one of the most popular libraries for Android apps. It's developed by one of the most famous guys from the Android Dev scene, 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.

GitHub repository

2. BottomBar

A custom view component that mimics the new Material Design Bottom Navigation pattern.

This library is there to help you creating a bottom navigation for your Android app. It's very easy to integrate and it let's you customize almost every little aspect of the so called “Bottom Bar”.

Please remind, that this library is still in beta stadium, so it might be possible that there are big changes with every new release.

GitHub repository

3. Glide

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

Glide is the ultimate image loader library. 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.

GitHub repository

4. 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 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. It's really helpful. The library is developed by Mike Penz, another famous Android developer.

GitHub repository

5. Bridge

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.

GitHub repository

6. 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. They PNGs needs to be provided in different sizes and also needs to be updated often, when Google decides to update there 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 more easy to update. The library also includes some extensions with different icon sources.

GitHub repository

7. 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 tablet 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 BottomBar library described above.

GitHub repository

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

Jan-Lk Else

I'm the guy behind this cool blog about Android ;-)

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