Android is going from strength to strength, not just as a framework, but also as a platform for the developers. The launch of Android Studio helped the developers accelerate the pace of development, and launch the app faster.
Recently, to aid the development and the methods adopted by the developer, Google released the Android Jetpack. The idea behind releasing the Jetpack is to boost app development without compromising on the quality.
So, what is Android jetpack? It is basically a set of software components that help in developing Android app solutions. It is an excellent collection of all the tools, libraries and guide that you require to follow through app development with ease. The jetpack also includes the best practices to follow, which help you ace the app development.
Apart from being a series of tools that help app development, it also lays the foundation for the infrastructure code, which can be used by the developers to devise ultimate solutions.
Before we understand Android Jetpack in detail, let us try and understand how it can aid in Android app development.
- As the Jetpack is coded using Kotlin, you get the advantage of Kotlin language in your app development. As a result, you can update your app’s features in an adaptable fashion with better cohesiveness. This helps you be more productive with the overall development, and gets you to launch your app faster.
- Focus is important if you want to develop a quality application for your business. With the Jetpack, you can easily focus on the particular app requirements, thus allowing you to enable new features that are exclusive to your mobile app
- The jetpack comes with best practice guide, which allows you to include only those aspects that can help you make a quality solution for your business needs. The idea behind employing the jetpack is to reduce the memory usage and avoid crashes as much as possible
- Background tasks, navigation as well as lifecycle management are some of the activities that can hinder you app’s quality and also obstruct the usage. With Jetpack you can minimize these activities, and improve the overall app quality.
Now that you are aware of how Android Jetpack improves app development, let’s go into detail with this tool that helps increase the value of your app.
The components of the Android Jetpack are bundled into four categories: UI, Architecture, Behavior and Foundation. Using these components you can ensure proper quality of all four categories.
Here, we will discuss some of the key components of Android Jetpack that you cannot ignore.
One of the basic things about developing an Android app is getting the user interface right. You need to make sure that the usability of the app is not compromised, and for that you need to work on the navigation aspect. If the user wants to move from one page to another in your app, it should be easy and flexible.
Getting this right was becoming increasingly difficult for the Android app developers owing to the different devices and different ways in which the users tend to interact with the app. The in-app navigation has received a boost owing to the latest feature update in the Android Jetpack, which allows developers to prioritize this feature.
Data, though it is very useful, can annoy users if used in excess. That’s precisely why you need to work on the amount of data available on a particular page. For this purpose, the paging component has been introduced in Android Jetpack. It not only reduces the amount of data available on a particular page, but also ensures quick loading of a particular page. The already loaded page will load faster as a result of the REcycleView component available with the Jetpack. In case of never ending scrolling pages, you should ideally use this component, and reduce the load time as a result, you will not lose out on important users, and engage them for a long while.
Background tasks can be overwhelming and can add to the load of the app. In the past, several in-built systems have been introduced which help in handling the background tasks. However, they differ in the versions, and you need to write a lot of code to manage these tasks. The coding also differs as per the OS version.
That’s why Google introduced the Workmanager. With this, you have a single library that you can use to run the asynchronous tasks, and define when each task will run and when they will stop. You can even code the repetition of the jobs within the Workmanager, thus reducing the amount of time you will take to code and develop the particular task into your application.
With the Workmanager, you can ensure that the work is completed even if your device or app has been restarted.
Kotlin is a rich coding language that makes programming easier for you. With Android KTX, you can easily sweep in the use of Kotlin language for your Android apps. Migrating your Android KTX project to Android Studio is also easy, as a result developing your apps and introducing auto mode for the different functions is easier as compared to earlier times.
Apart from these four main components, there are several other components that make your life as a developer easy.
Let’s get into the benefits of using Android Jetpack when developing capable mobile app solutions.
- As discussed earlier, developing an app with perfect navigation has always been difficult in the past. The Android jetpack means to ease this with complete perfection. The navigation aspect has been taken care of by the component library within the Jetpack which features the right tools and guide to design navigation for your mobile app. You can choose from the button navigation to simple click-based navigation with this Jetpack. There are app bars and navigation drawers as part of this library. The principles of navigation have been standardized, which aims to give out an excellent user experience to the mobile app users. The idea is to deliver consistency.
- The second benefit of working with Android Jetpack is the CameraX. The reason for this feature is to enable easier ways to integrate camera functionality to your apps or to develop camera-based apps for your idea. The camera apps will function irrespective of the device and its behaviour and will drive in excellent experiences for the users. You can easily integrate the API with devices running on Android 5.0 and higher. You can even access the functionality that the native camera app uses on certain devices. You can even enable the features such as Portrait, Night, HDR and Beauty for your app solutions. Basically, you don’t need to use the boilerplate code to integrate the functionality.
- When developing an Android app, it is extremely important, you cater to the security requirements. That’s why the Android Jetpack is extremely important to a developer. The new Jetpack security library caters to the security needs by introducing the best practices for standardized development. When it comes to security, the main issue seems to be the balance between encryption and performance, which has been taken care of by the Jetpack. The developer can easily induce features such as key generation and validation with the Jetpack.
- Another benefit associated with Jetpack is the way in which it helps increase the productivity of the app development, and the entire app structure. You can easily introduce multiple features to the app as well as add functionality with ease. In fact, the app testing has also been made easier for the app developers, and the whole experience has been enhanced as a result.
- The final benefit of using Jetpack is the ease of app development using third party libraries. Support Library was introduced to provide backward compatibility and jetpack has a similar purpose but it takes the existing libraries and wraps them in new components. Android Jetpack is not replacing Support Library but could be used side by side to making app development easy. Now, the developers do not need to always modify third party libraries or write the entire code on their own. Both these platforms help in suing libraries.
Google is putting in all the efforts to remove all the issues from Android app development, and to make it smooth and easy for the developer. With the Jetpack, Google aims to streamline the process and introduce better coding methods as well. The community backed Android combined with the specifications and standardizations introduced by Jetpack will help boost productivity and enhance the overall experience of Android apps. Share with us your feedback on how Android Jetpack’s beta features have helped you with mobile app development.
Varsha Solanki is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Space-O Technologies, a Software development company. She has 3 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. She spends her time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest technologies.