Utilizing Model Catalog on Android tasks | by Igor Escodro | Aug, 2022

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As tasks begin to change into extra complicated and modularized, holding all dependencies in sync and updating them turns into an arduous and annoying job. To resolve this we’ve some alternate options and Gradle lately launched a brand new one to make our life simpler.

Gradle launched in model 7.0 a brand new characteristic referred to as Launch Catalog. Represents an inventory of type-safe dependencies for use in tasks. It is also very versatile and takes benefit of what Gradle at the moment has to supply. On this article, we’ll take a look at why to make use of it, easy methods to apply it in an Android undertaking, and some factors to know earlier than diving in.

The discharge catalog is a really versatile resolution that takes benefit of current Gradle options and permits us to do much more than the alternate options. One instance is the flexibility to create bundles that let you add a single implementation() line with a set of libraries in our Gradle File.

Launch catalog recordsdata may be shared, making it even simpler to have a regular configuration not solely inside it however throughout a number of tasks. The pliability additionally helps third-party plugins to robotically replace variations to the newest ones, if we want.

Additionally, along with compound builds, it performs higher in comparison with the buildSrc resolution. for instance with buildSrc, after we increment a model quantity, the construct is cleaned and should be rebuilt. This isn’t the case with the discharge catalog. For extra particulars on efficiency, take a look at this glorious article by Josef Raska. For extra data, this is a great twitter thread proceed.

To arrange the Launch Catalog in our undertaking, a set of straightforward steps are required.

1. Create libs.variations.toml file

the libs.variations.toml file is the file that accommodates all of the dependency definitions, corresponding to variations, libraries, bundles Y plugins definitions

It is value mentioning that Gradle normalizes all dependency aliases. It signifies that each alias you’ve got -, _ both. will replace to make use of .as a substitute. For instance, the alias compose_ui, compose-ui both compose.ui can be normalized as compose.ui.

Observe that it is usually potential to outline Launch Catalogs within the settings.gradle(.kts), nonetheless, for readability, we solely present with the TOML file. For extra data on this and different methods to outline your dependencies, see the official docs.

2. Create a devoted module for plugins

Since we’re utilizing composite builds with Model Catalog, we’d like a devoted module. The module would not want a particular identify, simply be certain that it would not battle with current ones in your undertaking. In our instance, let’s name it plugins.

This module should include at the very least two recordsdata: a construct.gradle(.kts) Y settings.gradle(.kts). The primary one is used for normal Gradle configuration and the opposite one is used to hyperlink our libs.variations.toml file with the Model Catalog operate.

3. Configure Composite Construct

Now that we’ve our launch catalog arrange, we have to configure the composite construct to hyperlink this configuration to our undertaking. To realize that, we have to open our undertaking settings.gradle file and embody some traces:

The above code configures plugin administration to not solely search for dependencies within the distant repositories, but additionally to search for them in our plugins module.

In case your undertaking is utilizing a model of Gradle under 7.2you will want so as to add a brand new allow preview operate within the settings.gradle proceedings.

4. Use the model catalog

Lastly, after this configuration, we are able to use the dependencies in our Gradle recordsdata.

Along with the factors already talked about in regards to the model catalog, there are a few issues which might be good to know.

Replace variations robotically

One of many advantages of the Launch Catalog is the flexibility to make use of instruments to robotically replace releases. For tasks on GitHub, RenovateBot is a good software to combine into your pipeline. This bot reads your libs.variations.toml and robotically creates pull requests to replace your dependencies.

My pipeline has a collection of instrumented and unit exams, so I am positive the brand new model is supported and simply click on the merge button. If the exams fail, I simply replace the PR with the API adjustments and that is it.

Pull request to replace Coroutines model

Nonetheless, in case your undertaking doesn’t assist that plugin, a superb different is to make use of the Replace Model Catalog plugin to use it on to the undertaking’s Gradle file. Each plugins are extensively configurable and assist us preserve undertaking dependencies updated.

No assist for precompiled script plugins

One of many noteworthy factors in regards to the launch catalog is that dependencies and releases aren’t seen in precompiled script plugins. In different phrases, the dependencies declared in libs.variations.toml can be seen in construct.gradle of all of your modules, however not for the customized/precompiled ones.

As an instance we’ve tens of library modules in our undertaking and we would like all of them to have the identical fundamental dependencies. we might create a library_dependencies.gradle that accommodates all of them and easily apply it to the suitable modules.

Sadly, this new Gradle file will be unable to search out the correct dependency as a consequence of some limitations. One method to work round this drawback is to create an extension operate to manually expose the dependency.

Now, as a substitute of making an attempt to entry the discharge catalog instantly, we manually entry the libs reference and the implementation will entry our extension operate and it’ll work correctly.

One of many drawbacks of this resolution is that it’s sort insecure since we’re utilizing Strings to search out the dependencies as a substitute of the generated code. For extra data on this conduct, I like to recommend this GitHub challenge with an in depth dialogue on this subject.

The discharge catalog is a good new method to deal with dependency administration in our tasks. It makes it simple to keep up libraries and variations and likewise permits all the pliability that Gradle has to supply. Some Android tasks have already began migrating and we are going to begin to see increasingly more code, examples and enhancements to this wonderful characteristic.

As regular, I might like to share some extra complicated code that can assist you in your research. The primary Pull Request is about my private undertaking, Alkaa, which migrates from buildSrc to the model catalog. It additionally provides some JVM conventions plugins to assist keep away from duplication, however that is a subject for the subsequent article. 🙂

Additionally, there are two superior undertaking PRs that I used rather a lot as examples after I was doing the migration. The primary is ShoppingApp by Sam Edwards and Voice by Paul Woitaschek. Thanks each a lot to your wonderful contributions! ❤️

The code used on this article is accessible on GitHub, the place you may see every a part of the method step-by-step:

The official Gradle documentation additionally has nice examples and data on easy methods to enhance dependency administration in our tasks. For extra in-depth and casual content material, this text by Cédric Champeau is great. And final however not least, Google’s official Now In Android additionally makes use of the model catalog.

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