Developers Club geek daily blog

The digest of interesting materials for the mobile #131 developer (on November 23-29)

2 years, 6 months ago
In the new digest we discuss a bad code, history of creation AndroCAD, new almost revolutionary Android Studio version, trends of mobile advertizing and even new Raspberry Pi for 5 dollars.

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Development of fast mobile applications on Android. Part second

2 years, 7 months ago
In Edison we often face optimization of mobile applications and we want to share material which we consider extremely useful if you solve one of two tasks: a) you want that the application braked less; b) you want to make the beautiful, soft and smooth interface for the mass user.

We bring to your attention the first part of transfer of the article Udi Cohen which we used as a benefit for training of young colleagues of optimization under Android.

(To read the first part)

General councils for work with memory

There are several simple recommendations which I use when writing a code.

  • Transfers are already a subject of hot discussions about performance. There is video in which the extent of memory which is spent by transfers, and discussion of this video and some information which is potentially misleading is discussed. Whether more memory, than normal constants use transfers? Definitely. Whether it is bad? It is not obligatory. If you write library and need a strong tipobezopasnost, it could justify their use in comparison with other solutions, such as @IntDef. If you just have a heap of constants which can be grouped together, use of transfers will be not really wise solution. As usual, there is a compromise which needs to be considered at decision-making.

  • The wrapper is an automatic converting of primitive types to their object representation (for example, int-> Integer). Each primitive type "is wrapped" in object representation, the new object is created (shocks, I know). If we have many such objects, the challenge of a garbage collector will be executed more often. It is easy not to notice quantity of a reversing because it becomes automatically for us at assignment to a primitive object type. As a solution, try to use the corresponding types. If you use primitive types in the application, try to avoid their wrapper without need, real on that. You can use instruments of profiling of memory to find the objects representing primitive types. You can also use Traceview and look for Integer.valueOf (), Long.valueOf () and so forth.

  • HashMap vs ArrayMap/Sparse*Array — also, as well as in a case with wrappers, use of HashMap demands use of objects as keys. If we use the primitive int type in the application, he automatically turns around in Integer at interaction with HashMap, in this case we could use SparseIntArray. In a case when we still use objects as keys, we can use ArrayMap. Both options demand the smaller memory size, than HashMap, but they work in a different way that does them by more effective in consumption of memory at the price of reduction of speed. Both alternatives have a smaller print of memory, than HashMap, but time demanded for extraction of an element or memory allocation is a little higher, than at HashMap. If you have no more than 1000 elements, distinctions in runtime are not essential that does viable by these two option.

  • Understanding of a context — as you saw earlier, it is rather easy to create memory leaks. You, perhaps, will not be surprised, having learned that aktivit are the most frequent reason of memory leaks in Android (!). Their leaks cost also very much as they contain all representations of hierarchy of their UI which in itself can take a lot of place. Be convinced that you understand what occurs in aktivit. If object reference and this object lives in a cache longer, than yours aktivit, without cleaning of this link you receive memory leak.

  • Avoid use of nonstatic internal classes. During creation of a nonstatic internal class and its copy you create the implicit reference to your external class. If the copy of an internal class is necessary for longer time frame, than an external class, the external class will continue to be in memory even if it is not necessary any more. For example, it is created nonstatic a class which inherits AsyncTask in the class Activity, then there is a transition to a new asynchronous task and while it lasts, completion of work of an aktivita. While this asynchronous task lasts, it will save aktivit live. A solution simple — do not do it, declare an internal static class if it is necessary.

Profiling of GPU

New adding in Android Studio 1.4 is profiling of GPU of rendering.
Under the Android window go to the GPU tab, and you will see the diagram showing time which was required to make each photo on the screen:


Each panel on the diagram represents one drawn frame, and color represents different process steps.

  • Draw (blue) — represents the View#onDraw method (). This part builds/updates objects of DisplayList which then will be converted into the command OpenGL clear for GPU. High rates can be because of the difficult used representations demanding more than time for creation of their list of display, or many representations became invalid in a short period.

  • Prepare (violet) — was added to Lollipop one more flow to help to draw UI quicker. It is called RenderThread. He is responsible for conversion of lists of display to OpenGL of command and sending to their graphic processor. As soon as it occurs, the flow of UI can pass to processing of the following frame. Time spent by UI flow to transfer all necessary RenderThread resources, is reflected in this stage. If we have long/heavy lists of display, this step can take more time.

  • Process (red) — execution of lists of display for creation of OpenGL of commands. This step can take more time if lists long or difficult because it is necessary to redraw a set of elements. Representation can be redrawn as became invalid or was open after movement of the representation hiding it.

  • Execute (yellow) — sending the OpenGL commands for GPU. This stage can last long as CPU sends the buffer with commands for GPU, expecting to receive back pure buffer for the following frame. The number of buffers is limited and if GPU is too occupied, the processor will wait until the first is released. Therefore if we see high values on this step, it can mean that GPU was occupied with drawing of our interface which can be too difficult to be drawn for shorter time.

More flowers for display of bigger quantity of steps, such as Measure/Layout, Input Handing and others were added to Marshmallow:

EDIT 09/29/2015: John Reck, a framework the engineer from Google, added the following information about some of these flowers:
"Exact determination of the word "animation" — all this that is registered with Choreographer as CALLBACK_ANIMATION. It includes Choreographer#postFrameCallback and View#postOnAnimation which are used by view.animate (), ObjectAnimator, Transitions and others … And yes, it the same, as is marked out by a tag "animation" in systrace.

"Misc" is a delay between a time mark of vsync and the current time mark when it was received. If you already saw a log from Choreographer "Missed vsync by blabla ms skipping blabla frames", now it will be provided as "misc". There is a distinction between INTENDED_VSYNC and VSYNC in framestats dump ("

But before beginning to use this opportunity, we need to include the rendering GPU mode in the menu of the developer:

This will allow the tool to use ADB commands to get all the information it needs, and so are we (!), using:

 adb shell dumpsys gfxinfo <PACKAGE_NAME>

we can obtain information and construct the diagram independently. The command will output useful information, such as a number of elements in hierarchies, the size of all lists of display and other. In Marshmallow we will obtain more information.


If we have an automated testing of UI of our application, we can make the assembly starting this command after certain actions (scrolling of the list, heavy animation, etc.) and to see whether there are changes in values, such as "Janky Frames", eventually. It can help to define decline of performance after several changes in a code, allowing us to fix a problem until the application entered the market. We can obtain even more exact information when we use a key word of "framestats" as it is shown here.

But it is not the only way to see such diagram!

Apparently in the menu of the Profile GPU Rendering developer, there is also an On screen as bars option. Its choice will show the diagram for each window on your screen together with the green line indicating a threshold of 16 ms.


On an example on the right we can see that some frames cross the green line that means that they demand more than 16 ms for drawing. As blue color, apparently, dominates, we understand that there were many representations for drawing, or they were difficult. In this case, I scroll a tape which supports different types of representation. Some elements become invalid, and some — more difficult in comparison with others. Perhaps, the reason for which some frames crossed this line, that the element, difficult for display, got.

Hierarchy Viewer

I adore this tool, and it is a pity to me that many do not use it!
Using Hierarchy Viewer, we can receive performance statistics, see complete hierarchy of representation on the screen and have access to all member properties. You can also make a dump of all data of a subject, see all parameters used for each attribute of style, but it is possible only if Hierarchy Viewer is started by standalone, not from Android Monitor. I use this tool when I create models of the application and I want to optimize them.


On the center we can see the tree reflecting hierarchy of representation. The hierarchy of representation can be wide, but if it too deep (~ 10 levels), it can cost much to us. Every time when there are measurements of representation in View#onMeasure () or when his descendants in View#onLayout accommodate (), these commands extend to descendants of these representations, doing the same. Some models will take each step twice, for example, RelativeLayout and some LinearLayout of a configuration and if they are enclosed — number of passes increases in geometrical progression.

In the lower right corner we can see "plan" of our model, noting where each representation is located. We can select representation here, or on a tree and see at the left all properties. At design of the model I sometimes am not sure why the certain notion comes to an end where it comes to an end. Using this tool, I can trace on a tree, select it and see where it is in a window of print preview. I can make interesting animations, looking at final measurements of representations on the screen and to use this information precisely to place elements around. I can find the lost representations which were blocked by other representations inadvertently.


For each representation we have time which was required for measurement/creation of its model/drawing and all his descendants. Colors reflect as these representations are executed in comparison with other representations in a tree, it is excellent method to find a weak link. As we also see a representation preview, we can pass on a tree and follow the instructions creating them, finding excess steps which we could delete. One of such things which influences performance is called Overdraw.


Apparently in the section of profiling of GPU — the phase Execute provided in the yellow color on the diagram can take more time to come to the end if GPU has to draw many elements, increasing time demanded for drawing of each frame. Overdraw occurs when we draw something over something another, for example the yellow button on a red background. GPU is required to draw, first, a red background and then the yellow button over it that does to inevitable overdraw. If we have too many layers of overdraw, it can become the reason for which GPU works more intensively and is not in time in 16 ms.


Using the Debug GPU Overdraw setup in the menu of the developer, all overdraw will be tinted to show overdraw degree in the field. If overdraw has degree 1x/2x, it is normal, even small red areas it is quite good too, but if we have too many red elements on the screen, it is probable we have a problem. Let's look at several examples:


At an example there is a list colored by green at the left, it is normal normally, but there is overdraw above which does the screen red, and it already becomes a problem. On an example on the right all list light-red. In both examples there is an opaque list with 2x/3x overdraw degree. These can happen if there is a background color on all screen in a window which blocks yours aktivit or a fragment, and also on submission of the list and representation of each its element.

Notice: the subject by default sets background color for all your window. If you have aktivit with the opaque model which blocks all screen, you can clean a background for this window to clean one layer of overdraw. It can be made in a subject or in a code by getWindow challenge () by .setBackgroundDrawable (null) in onCreate ().

Using Hierarchy Viewer, you can export all your layers of hierarchy to the PSD file to open it in Photoshop. As a result of research of different layers overdraw in the model will be opened all. Use this information to clean excess overdraws, and do not agree to green, aim at blue!


Use of transparency can influence performance and to understand — why, let's look what occurs at installation of parameter an alpha in representation. Let's consider the following structure:


We see the model which contains 3 ImageView which block each other. In direct implementation, setting to an alpha by means of setAlpha (), the command will be called to extend to all representations of descendants, ImageView in this case. Then these ImageView will be drawn with the alpha parameter in the frame buffer. Result:


It not that we want to see.

As each ImageView was drawn with value an alpha, all blocked images will merge. Fortunately, OS have a solution of such problem. The model will be copied in separate off-screen the buffer, the alpha will be applied in this buffer in general and the result will be copied in the frame buffer. Result:


But … we will pay for it the price.

Additional drawing of representation in off-screen the buffer before it is made in the frame buffer, adds one more imperceptible overdraw a layer. OS does not know when to use this or direct approach earlier so by default always uses one complex. But there are still methods allowing to set an alpha and to avoid difficulties with adding of off-screen of the buffer:
  • TextViews — use setTextColor () instead of setAlpha (). The alpha for the text will bring use of the channel to that, the text will be redrawn.
  • ImageView — use setImageAlpha () instead of setAlpha (). The same reasons, as for TextView.
  • The user representations — if our user representation does not support overlapping, this end-to-end solution does not matter for us. There is no method by which our representations descendants will be connected together as it is shown on an example above. Having redefined the hasOverlappingRendering method () so that it returned false, we OS signals to take directly a way to our representation. Also there is an option manually to process what occurs at installation an alpha by redefinition of the onSetAlpha method () so that it returned true.

Hardware acceleration

When hardware acceleration was included in Honeycomb, we received new model of drawing for display of our application on the screen. It includes structure of DisplayList which writes commands of drawing of representation for faster receipt of the image. But there is still other interesting feature about which developers usually forget — the presentation layers.

Using them, we can draw representation in off-screen the buffer (as we saw earlier when we used the alpha channel) and to manipulate with it as we will wish. It perfectly is suitable for animation as we can animate difficult representations quicker. Without levels animation of representations would become unavailable after change of properties of animation (such as the X-coordinate, scale, alpha value, etc.) . For difficult representations this inability extends to representations of descendants, and they will redraw in turn themselves that is expensive operation. Using the presentation layers, relying on hardware, the texture for our representation is created in the graphic processor. There are several operations which we can apply to texture, without the need for its replacement, such as change of provision on axes x/y, rotation, an alpha and others. All this means that we can animate difficult representations on our screen without their replacement in the course of animation! It does animation by more smooth. There is a code sample showing as it can be made:

// Using the Object animator
view.setLayerType(View.LAYER_TYPE_HARDWARE, null);
ObjectAnimator objectAnimator = ObjectAnimator.ofFloat(view, View.TRANSLATION_X, 20f);
objectAnimator.addListener(new AnimatorListenerAdapter() {
    public void onAnimationEnd(Animator animation) {
        view.setLayerType(View.LAYER_TYPE_NONE, null);

// Using the Property animator

Simply, truly?

Yes, but there are several moments which it is necessary to remember when using hardware level.

  • Do cleaning after work of your representation — hardware level uses the place on limited memory space on your GPU. Try to use it only in cases when it are necessary, for example, in animation, and do cleaning later. In an example above with ObjectAnimator I used the withLayers method () which automatically creates a layer at the beginning and deletes it when animation comes to an end.
  • If you change your representation after use of hardware level, it will result in its unfitness and it is necessary to reproduce representation on off-screen the buffer again. It will occur when the property which is not optimized for hardware level changes (are at the moment optimized: turn, scaling, movements on axes x/y, an alpha). For example, if you animate representation, using hardware level, and move representation on the screen while background color is updated, it will lead to permanent updates at the hardware level. It demands additional expenses which can make its use unjustified.

For the second case there is a method to visualize this updating. Using settings of the developer, we can activate "Show hardware layers updates".


After that representation will be is highlighted in the green color when updating at the hardware level. I used it some time ago when I had ViewPager which did not glance over the page with that smoothing which I expected. After I included this option, I returned back and thumbed through ViewPager, and here that I saw:


Both pages were green throughout all scrolling!

It means that for optimization of pages hardware level was used, and pages became useless when we glanced over ViewPager. I refreshed pages and thumbed through them, using parallax effect at a background and gradually recovered elements on the page. What I did not make, so it was not created by a hardware layer for the ViewPager pages. After studying of the ViewPager code I found out that when the user begins scrolling, at the hardware level both pages are created and are removed after scrolling comes to an end.

While it makes sense to use hardware levels for scrolling of pages, in my case it did not approach. Usually pages do not change when we glance over ViewPager and as they can be rather difficult, hardware level help to do drawing much quicker. In the application on which I worked it was not so, and I cleaned this hardware layer, using small Haque who I wrote.

Hardware layer — not a silver bullet. It is important to understand how it works and to use properly, otherwise you can face a big problem.


By preparation for all these examples shown here I wrote a set of a code for simulation of these situations. You can find them on Github repository, and also on Google Play. I separated scenarios for different aktivit, and tried to document them as far as possible to help to understand from what sort problems you can face, using aktivit. Read documentation on aktivit, open tools and play with the application.

It is more than information

In process of development of Android OS also methods by means of which you can optimize your applications develop. New tools are entered into Android SDK, also new functions are added to OS (for example, hardware levels). It is very important to master new and to study compromises before deciding to change something.

There is a remarkable playlist on YouTube which is called Android Performance Patterns, with a set of short videos from Google, explaining the different things connected with performance. You can find comparisons between different data structures (HashMap vs ArrayMap), optimization of Bitmap and even about optimization of network requests. I very much recommend to look at all of them.

Enter Android Performance Patterns Google + community and discuss performance with other participants, including the staff of Google to share ideas, articles and questions.

Other interesting links

  • Study how Graphics Architecture in Android works. There is everything that you should know about drawing of your UI in Android, different system components, such as SurfaceFlinger and as all of them with each other interact speak.

  • Talk from Google IO 2012 shows as the model of drawing and as/why we receive garbage when our UI is drawn works.

  • Android Performance Workshop talk from Devoxx 2013 shows some to optimization which were made in Android 4.4 in drawing model, and represents different tools for optimization of performance (Systrace, Overdraw, etc.).

  • Remarkable post about Preventive optimization and what it differ from Premature optimization in. Many developers do not optimize the code because they think that this change is insignificant. One thought which you have to remember is that all this in the sum becomes a big problem. If you have an opportunity to optimize only small part of a code, it can seem insignificant, I do not exclude.

  • Memory management in Android — old video with Google IO 2011 which is still actual. It shows as Android manages memory of our applications and how to use tools, such as Eclipse MAT to reveal problems.

  • The case study made by the engineer of Google Romain Guy for optimization of popular twitter client. In this research Romain shows how it found performance concerns in the application and that it recommends to make to correct them. There is a following post showing other problems after it was processed.

I hope, you have enough information, and more confidence now to begin optimization of applications already today!

Begin trace, or include some other available options of the developer, and just begin with them. I suggest to share your thoughts in comments.

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Development of fast mobile applications on Android. Part one

2 years, 7 months ago
In Edison we often face optimization of mobile applications and we want to share material which we consider extremely useful if you solve one of two tasks: a) you want that the application braked less; b) you want to make the beautiful, soft and smooth interface for the mass user.
We bring to your attention the first part of transfer of the article Udi Cohen which we used as a benefit for training of young colleagues of optimization under Android.

A few weeks ago I made on Droidcon in New York the report on optimization of performance of Android.

I spent a lot of time for the presentation as wanted to show real examples of performance concerns and as they can be revealed by means of the available tools. I had to clean a half of slides because I lacked time to show all. In this article I collected all I spoke about, and also examples which I did not manage to show.

My basic rules to which I conform during the work with optimization.

My rules

Every time when I face performance concerns or I look for a solution of these problems, I conform to the following rules.

Always measure — optimization approximately is always bad idea. After you look at identical animations several times, will begin to seem to you that they go quicker. Numbers do not lie. Use tools to which we will pass soon, and measure several times as your application before changes works.

Use slow devices — if you really want to find all weak places, slow devices will help you with it more. With newer and powerful devices it is possible to worry not so because of performance questions, but not all users use the latest and best models.

Compromises — optimization of performance is constructed on compromises. You optimize one, but at the price of something another. In many cases your time spent on searches and corrections, either quality of your bitmap images, or data volume which you have to store in certain structures can be this other thing. Be ready to such victims.

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Floating toolbar for text selection in Android Marshmallow: analysis of an innovation

2 years, 7 months ago
In Android Marshmallow (SDK 23) there was an opportunity to expand the menu which appears at the choice of the text. It gives the chance to use ready and usual to the user the mechanism for execution of actions over the selected text to implement own activities, for example, "to Translate", "Comment", "Quote".

In process to preparation for performance at the GDG conference in Nizhny Novgorod I found out that this new opportunity is extremely badly documented, the only available article not in everything is true, and in a network there are ischezayushche few examples of use of this opportunity. It was necessary to understand most. Also I want to share results of the conducted research. It can save to you a lot of time.

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As sometimes the bad code and an anti-pattern solve

2 years, 7 months ago
Hi % %username!

Today I would like to tell about how I was helped with the project by a bad code :)

To whom it is interesting, under kat

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Tracking of notifications on Android 4.0-4.2

2 years, 7 months ago
Starting with version 4.3 in Android OS the feature to trace all notifications in system was added using NotificationListenerService. Unfortunately, backward compatibility with the previous OS versions is absent. What to do if the similar functionality is necessary on devices with older version of an operating system?

It is possible to find a set of crutches and hak for tracking of notifications on version 4.0-4.2 Android OS in article. Not on all devices the result of 100% is efficient therefore it is necessary to use additional crutches to assume removal of notifications in certain cases.

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Release of Android Studio 2.0: two uber-features

2 years, 7 months ago
I welcome. This morning the expected release of Android Studio of version 2.0 in which google presented us two abrupt features at once took place. First, it is the new android emulator. Which, according to google, "works at good iron quicker than the physical device". Secondly, it is the new function "instant run" which allows to update almost instantly the mobile application started under debugging at change of the source code. It is practically "hot reload" from a development web. Under a cat — also a number of less noticeable improvements are slightly more detailed.

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The digest of interesting materials for the mobile #130 developer (on November 16-22)

2 years, 7 months ago
We complete week the traditional overview of the best materials from the world of mobile development — we consider evolution of malicious software for Android, experiments with icons and the websites where they can be found free of charge, testing of Winium for Windows Phone, work with Ionic, a striming of applications directly in search of Google, 3D Touch and its effect.

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The malicious software for Android becomes more and more sophisticated

2 years, 7 months ago

As the Android mobile operating system is one of the most widespread, malefactors constantly develop all new and new malwares for this OS. In principle, software such appears every day, and the majority of programs of a specific mention does not deserve. But there is also adware, the principle of implementation and which works it is very interesting (and to the novice user — and is very dangerous).

adware about which there is a speech by the method which is quite tested among malefactors extends: normal applications from Twitter, by Facebook or even Okta (service of two-factor authentication) are repacked. These applications with a trojan are loaded not in the directory of Google Play, and on third-party resources / directories, many of which are also very popular. From the point of view of the user who tries to download some of troyanizirovanny applications everything is good, at the same time in many cases the program after installation works as it is necessary. But during installation on phone of the victim also the powerful application trojan which the rue uses exploits for obtaining is established. The exploits found in three families of such applications (Shedun, Shuanet, and ShiftyBug) allow to be established to a malware as the system application with the corresponding status which only system processes have.

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Gradle: 5 poleznost for the developer

2 years, 7 months ago
Hi, Habr! Time when it is possible to tell that "new build system" Gradle is the standard of the industry Android-development came. The tool is made so simply and conveniently that most of developers will not experience difficulties, even without knowing as it is arranged and what additional opportunities in it are — the arising problems easily are solved with the help of 5 minutes on StackOverflow, by copying of "a magic code" in configuration files. Perhaps, including because of it not all developers study Gradle in detail and do not know about its many useful opportunities which significantly facilitate life.

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