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How do I connect to JSON APIs in an Android project?

In this article, mobile expert Matthew David walks developers through some of the most effective ways to connect to JSON APIs in an Android-based project.

The standard package communication format is JSON packets sent through RESTful services. There are other ways to...

send data such as SOAP, OData and XML, but JSON is the default standard. A JSON API can be easily consumed by Web, iOS, Windows and Android projects.

In this article, you will learn how to connect to JSON APIs in an Android project, which frameworks to use and how to connect to specific API frameworks Google has developed to make it easier to be an Android developer.

Connecting to JSON APIs

The good news is that Google has implemented JSON support directly into Android. This is accomplished with the android.util.JsonReader Object. Google provides a complete example of how the framework works.

The goal is to load a JSON packet, examine the contents of the object and then do something with the data.

The bottom line is that JSON applies to the following two methods:

  • Array handling methods: beginArray(), endArray(), hasNext()
  • Object handling methods: beginObject(), endObject(), hasNext()

The goal is to load a JSON packet, examine the contents of the object and then do something with the data.

JSON frameworks to use with Android projects

There are a large number of frameworks that make it easier work with JSON APIs. Here are some good examples:

  • RestLet: build, test and run APIs for projects.
  • Spring for Android: quickly add APIs built with Spring framework.
  • Volley Framework: an easy to implement framework for JSON.
  • GSon: make it easy to add rich JSON functionality.
  • Jackson: another lightweight, fast JSON framework.

Experiment with these frameworks to see which works best for you and your team.

Additional frameworks Google supplies for Android

Google wants to make it easier to create solutions for developers. To do this, they have developed a series of APIs that support this goal. These APIs fall into three categories: develop, engage and earn. Here are specific APIs that teams should use:

  • Analytics: track everything about how users interact with an app.
  • Maps: arguably the most successful API of all time gives developers the opportunity to add Google Maps to any Android project.
  • Google Cloud Message: send push notifications to any Android device.
  • AdMob: monetize any Android app.

You can find more information about these APIs on the Google Developers site

Next Steps

Now learn how to integrate JSON with iOS

Discover some REST alternatives for real-time applications

How Microsoft plans to win over Android developers

This was last published in May 2016

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Do you have any tips and tricks for better Android development or integration?
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This is great information for an android developer.  Elsewhere, I have found that RUby, with its ease at including hash's into programs provides anothe way to quickly use JSON payloads.
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Json is quite better in terms of flexibility, compactness and is more easy in many cases, specially while using Javascript. This indeed adds value to Mobile App developers, however there are de-merits of JSON as well.

JSON does not support Schema which is important for sending and receiving the data over a set format through Mobile apps. Another drawback lies in NameSpace that is its ability to mix data intended to be read by multiple sources in the same document.
Apart from these I feel JSON will do a fair deal in speeding up the Mobile (Custom) App development process.
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