The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.


While you are writing some code for an app, the vast majority of the code that is the app comes from other developers. Some might be teammates on your development team, but far more comes from outsiders: Google and other Android developers.

Some of this you have seen already. You did not write Activity, TextView, and similar classes. Instead, they came from the Android SDK, written (primarily) by Google.

Beyond the Android SDK, though, there are thousands of libraries that developers have access to, including many from Google itself. We add these as dependencies in our projects, to use their code alongside ours.

What’s a Dependency?

Roughly speaking, the code and assets that make up an app come from three sources.

The source that you tend to focus on personally is the code that you and people that you know are writing for this app.

There is the source that comes from your compileSdkVersion, representing the Android SDK that you are linking to.

Everything else, generally speaking, is a dependency.

From a pure technical standpoint, dependencies are listed in build.gradle files in dependencies closures.

Dependency Scopes

One dependencies closure appears in the project-level build.gradle file, inside of a buildscript closure:

// Top-level build file where you can add configuration options common to all sub-projects/modules.

buildscript {
    repositories {
    dependencies {
        classpath ''

        // NOTE: Do not place your application dependencies here; they belong
        // in the individual module build.gradle files

allprojects {
    repositories {

task clean(type: Delete) {
    delete rootProject.buildDir

Those list places where Gradle plugins come from. You are always depending upon the Android Gradle Plugin, and some other developers publish Gradle plugins that you may elect to use in the future.

However, the dependencies closure that we tend to think about the most is the one in our module’s build.gradle file, such as app/build.gradle, such as this closure:

dependencies {
    implementation fileTree(dir: 'libs', include: ['*.jar'])
    implementation ''
    testImplementation 'junit:junit:4.12'
    androidTestImplementation ''
    androidTestImplementation ''

Here, there are three types of statements:

There are other possibilities, and we will be exploring those and the testing-related statements later in this book. For now, we will focus on implementation statements.

Depending on a Local JAR

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What’s an Artifact?

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Artifacts and Repositories

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Major Library Families from Google

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Requesting Dependencies

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The Android Support Library

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