Fancy Background

A brief introduction to FancyBackground - a library animating resource drawables while subsampling and efficiently loading bitmaps.

Posted on February 23, 2015

FancyBackground is a tiny Android library designed to animate images on a View instance.

Before After
plain fancybg

Android runs on a variety of devices, with different screen sizes and densities. Providing alternative resources is a standard practice. Let’s assume that in our case, the design team only gave us resources of xxhdpi size. To make matters worse, an OutOfMemoryError is thrown when we try to load any image into memory on our S3 mini.

Given that you are working with limited memory, ideally you only want to load a lower resolution version in memory. The lower resolution version should match the size of the UI component that displays it. An image with a higher resolution does not provide any visible benefit, but still takes up precious memory and incurs additional performance overhead due to additional on the fly scaling.

is what the docs say about efficient bitmap loading. Therefore, in order to load the background images into memory successfully, we have to subsample and, most likely, scale them.

This real-world scenario is the motivation behind FancyBackground. FancyBackground animates through a set of resource Drawables. It ensures they are subsampled and cached, if need be, with all the heavy lifting done in the background. The usage is simple. To animate between R.drawable.fst, R.drawable.snd and R.drawable.trd, showing each for 2.5 seconds, simply do:

               .set(R.drawable.fst, R.drawable.snd, R.drawable.trd)

The code above gives us subsampling, caching and automatic transitions for free.

There are other options available, so let’s do a quick abstract:

Method name Description
set sets the Drawable resources we wish to show/animate
inAnimation specifies the animation used to animate a View entering the screen.
outAnimation specifies the animation used to animate a View exiting the screen.
loop continuously loop through the Drawables or stop after the first cycle is complete.
interval the millisecond interval a Drawable instance will be displayed for.
scale determines how the Drawables should be resized or moved to match the size of the view we’re animating on.
listener receives the FancyBackground events (described below)
cache caches loaded bitmaps so we don’t have to do it again

FancyListener can receive four events:

  • onStarted when the FancyBackground is started
  • onNew when a new image is set
  • onLoopDone if looping is set to false and the first cycle is complete
  • onStopped when the FancyBackground stops.

FancyCache enables you to create your own bitmap cache. FancyLruCache is the default, targeting ~25% of the available heap and evicting the least recently used bitmap if over capacity. Use null to avoid caching.

To try it out, make sure to add the following to your dependency list:

compile 'com.github.tslamic.fancybackground:library:1.0'

For an example, visit my Github profile.

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