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What is the Android Application Architecture?
in General Information

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An application architecture is a consistent plan that needs to be made before the development process starts. This plan provides a map of how the different application components should be organized and tied together. It presents guidelines that should be followed during the development process and forces some sacrifices that in the end will help you to construct a well-written application that’s more testable, expandable, and maintainable.

Good architecture takes many factors into consideration, especially the system characteristics and limits. There are many different architectural solutions out there, all of them with pros and cons. However, some key concepts are common between all visions.

Until the last Google I/O, the Android system didn’t recommend any specific Architecture for application development. That means that you were completely free to adopt any model out there: MVP, MVC, MVPP, or even no pattern at all. On top of that, the Android framework didn’t even provide native solutions for problems created by the system itself, specifically the component’s lifecycle.

So, if we wanted to adopt a Model View Presenter pattern on your application, we needed to come up with your own solution from scratch, writing a lot of boilerplate code, or adopt a library without official support. And that absence of standards created a lot of poorly written applications, with codebases that were hard to maintain and test.

After 12 long years, the Android team finally decided to listen to our complaints and to help us with this problem.

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Android Architecture

The new Android Architechture Guide defines some key principles that a good Android application should conform to and also proposes a secure path for the developer to create a good app.According to the guide, a good Android application should provide a solid separation of concerns and drive the UI from a model. Any code that does not handle a UI or operating system interaction should not be in an Activity or Fragment, because keeping them as clean as possible will allow you to avoid many lifecycle-related problems. After all, the system can destroy Activities or Fragments at any time. Also, the data should be handled by models that are isolated from the UI, and consequently from lifecycle issues.

The New Recommended Architecture

The architecture that Android is recommending cannot be easily labeled among the standard patterns that we know. It looks like a Model View Controller pattern, but it is so closely tied to the system’s architecture that it’s hard to label each element using the known conventions. This isn’t relevant, though, as the important thing is that it relies on the new Architecture Components to create a separation of concerns, with excellent testability and maintainability. And better yet, it is easy to implement.

To understand what the Android team is proposing, we have to know all the elements of the Architecture Components, since they are the ones that will do the heavy lifting for us. There are four components, each with a specific role: RoomViewModelLiveData, and Lifecycle. All of those parts have their own responsibilities, and they work together to create a solid architecture. Let's take a look at a simplified diagram of the proposed architecture to understand it better.