To speed up our development of the version 2 of the Phimpme Android app, we decided to use some existing Open Source libraries and projects such as Open Camera app for Camera features and Leafpic for the photo gallery.
Integrating several big projects into one is a crucial step, and it is not difficult. Here are some points to ponder.
- Clone project separately. Build project and note down the features which you want to integrate. Explore the manifest file to know the Launcher, services and other permission app is taking.
I explore the Leafpic app manifest file. Found out its Launcher class, and changed it with the our code. Looked at the permissions app required such as Camera, access fine location, write external storage.
- Follow Bottom Up approach while integrating. It makes life easier. By the bottom up approach I mean create a new branch and then start deleting the code which is not required. Always work in branch so that no code lost or messed up.
Not everything is required at the moment. So I first integrate the whole leafpic app and then remove the splash screen. Also noted down the features needs to remove such as drawer, search bar etc.
- Remove and Commit, In a big project things are interlinked so removing one feature, actually made you remove most of the code. So my strategy is to focus on one feature and when it removed commit the code. This will help you in a reset hard your code anytime.
Like a lot of times I use reset –hard in my code, because it messed up.
- Licensing: One thing which is most important in using open source code is their License. Always follow what is written in their License. This is the way we can give credit to their hard work. There are various types of licenses, three famous are Apache, MIT and GNU General Public License. All have their pros and cons.
Apart of License there are some other condition as well. Like in leafpic which we are using in Phimpme has a condition to inform developers about the project in which we are using leafpic.
- Aware of File Duplication, sometimes many files have same name which results into file duplication. So refactor them already in the code.
I refactor the MainActivity in leafpic to LFMainActivity to not to clash with the existing. Resolve package name. This is also one of the tedious task. Android Studio already do a lot of refactoring but some part left.
- Make sure your manifest file contains correct name.
- The best way to refactor your package name in xml file is to ctrl+Shift+f in Ubuntu or Edit → Find → Find in path in Android Studio. Then search old package name and replace it with new. You can use alt+ j for multi cursor as well.
- Clean and rebuild project.
Run app at each step so that you can catch the error at a point. Also use debugger for debugging.