Open Source Your Android Code — The Complete Guide

ADA | Adam Deconstructs Android

Adam Hurwitz


9/17/17 Update: appears to be a fast and easy alternative to open source Android code vs. the method below by integrating directly with GitHub. I have not tested JitPack so please share your feedback in the comments if you’ve implemented it.

You’ve spent hours building cool shit. What’s the next step? By open sourcing your work you’ll (hopefully) provide valuable code to the Android community, receive constructive feedback, and collaborate on building something better than what you originally had.

The current state of open sourcing for Android is unintuitive, involving integrating multiple services, waiting for manual approvals, and before this post, spending hours Googling obscure steps. That’s why I created a beginning-to-end guide to expedite the process.

The more open sourced code, the better.


I will walk through each step of how I open sourced a CustomRippleView library for Android.

Place code inside an Android Archive Library (AAR) — Step 1 of 6

Besides open sourcing, AARs are useful when building multiple apps or versions with the same components.


  • Structurally the same as an Android app module
  • Includes source code, resource files, manifest (unlike JAR)
  • Compiles into Android Archive (AAR) rather than into APK
  • Post to some maven repository where devs can pull it as a dependency through Gradle (can also convert an app to a module)
  • Code Overlap — The app module will take precedence over a library if a resource ID is defined in both, library defined first will take precedence between libraries.


If you’re creating a standalone library outside an existing app you’ll want to both create a new project to host the library module as well as test the library module in an existing app.

1. Build the open sourced library module in an existing project so that you can test the code as you go.

a) Create library module

Click the plus or File > New > Module > Android Library > provide unique Library Module Name (customrippleview)

b) Ensure local library module shows in project and compile local library in the app module.


include ':app', ':customrippleview'

build.gradle (app module)

compile project(":customrippleview")

Add tools:replace=”android:name” to the app module’s Manifest file.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest ...>
... <application


2. Create a new Android project to host the open source code by itself so that it can be uploaded to bintray

Create the default app module with app following the name (customrippleviewapp) to differentiate the app module name from the open source library module we’ll create in the next step.

  • Application name: CustomRippleViewApp
  • Company domain: com.ebay.customrippleviewapp (needs to be a domain you own in order to get approved for open sourcing)
  • Package name: com.ebay.customrippleviewapp

3. Add your library module (refer to step 1A above)

4. Place the open source code inside new library module created

5. Remove original app module

Right-click on app module > Open Module Settings > remove original app module.

6. Choose resources to make public (Optional)

All resources default to public: By declaring at least one resource public it makes the rest private

res > values > public.xml

<resources><public name="mylib_app_name" type="string"/><public name="mylib_public_string" type="string"/></resources>

Publish library publicly on GitHub with licensing and Docs — Step 2 of 6

Apache License 2.0 is one of the most popular, similar to the MIT License, but provides grant of patent rights from contributors to users. Apache 2.0 is commonly found in Android, Apache, and Swift.

In terminal

git init

Make sure library module (customrippleview/) and build.gradle are not in the ignore list list and edit .gitignore to only contain library module files added.

git add .git commit -m "Custom Ripple View"git remote add origin push -u origin master

Bintray and Sonatype Setup — Step 3 of 6

You only need to go through this painful steps once to setup your bintray account. Praise the lord! As this isn’t difficult, but the most annoying step.

Bintray Implementation

1. Create bintray account

2. Create new repository

a) Add New Repository → Type: MavenDefault Licenses: Apache 2.0

b) Use lowercase naming convention: customrippleview

3. Enable auto signing

Enter Repository → Edit → General Settings → select GPG sign uploaded files automatically

a) Generate keys (Only done once for bintray account)

In terminal for project:

gpg --gen-key

Fill in Real name, Email address, and passphrase. If command does not work, run following command to install gpg and retry the command above.

brew install gnupg gnupg2

View keys created

gpg --list-keys

Expected Output:

pub   rsa2048 2017-05-21 [SC] [expires: 2019-05-21]
uid [ultimate] Adam Hurwitz <>
sub rsa2048 2017-05-21 [E] [expires: 2019-05-21]

b) Upload keys

Upload the public key to keyservers. Call the following command and replace PUBLIC_KEY_ID with value after 2048 in the pub line.

gpg --keyserver hkp:// --send-keys public_key_goes_here

Export both public and private key.

gpg -a --export > public_key_sender.ascgpg -a --export-secret-key > private_key_sender.asc

Enter your passphrase when prompted for private key.

View keys

less public_key_sender.ascless private_key_sender.asc

Copy and paste public and private keys into bintray: Under profile Edit > GPG Signing. Make sure to copy and paste from beginning and end tags or else bintray will not accept the keys.

key code is here

Sonatype Implementation

This step requires filling a Jira ticket. If you thought you could escape Jira in your free coding time, you’re mistaken. It’s not too bad, as both times I’ve submitted a ticket they’ve approved it within the same day.


1. Create Sonatype account

2. Create an a New Project request

3. Provide bintray your Sonatype OSS username

In your bintray profile Edit > Accounts > Sonatype OSS User: _____________

Prepare Project for Upload — Step 4 of 6

Prepare Library Module With Bintray

1. Add Jcenter and Maven dependency

Add to project’s build.gradle (not app or library build.gradle)


2. Define your bintray username, api key, and GPG Passphrase.

This info should be secure, which is why we’re adding it to which should not be tracked in GitHub as it is commonly ignored at the start of an Android project in the .gitignore file.


3. Add repository information and build scripts

Update library’s build.gradle with repository information and add scripts for building library files and uploading the built files to bintray.


4. If using Kotlin in your code, disable Javadocs in library’s build.gradle

tasks.withType(Javadoc).all {
enabled = false

Upload to jcenter— Step 5 of 6

Why is jcenter better than maven central?

  • Delivers library through CDN → faster loading
  • Largest Java Repository on earth
  • “Friendly” UI (perhaps in comparison)


1. Upload to bintray/jcenter (Once Sonatype Open Source Project Repository Hosting request is approved)

./gradlew install


./gradlew bintrayUpload



I kept getting the BUILD FAILED response when attempting to upload. After many hours cursing at my terminal I realized even with this message, the package was being uploaded, so check the bintray package UI.

2. Sync to Jcenter for easy one line implementation in Android

Approval took ~3 hrs — How is this not automated too?!


a) Under the uploaded package settings select Add to JCenter

b) Select Host my snapshot…, fill in group id for package, and Select Send

Once approved, you’ll receive an email.

In the meantime you can check by searching on bintray which will also show when your package is hosted.

Type ‘ a browser and the package path after the ‘/’.

ie: ‘com/ebay/customrippleview/customrippleview/1.0/

3. Maintaining library

Linking to jcenter only needs to be done once. Moving forward, any package changes (updates, deletes), will be reflected in jcenter 2–3 min later.

  • Updates: Change the libraryVersion in library module and re-upload using Step 5, part 1.
  • Deleting: Remove each version from bintray before removing the entire package.

Use In Project — Step 6 of 6

Declare the library in gradle and call the desired files.

build.gradle (app module)

  • Group_Id —com.ebay.customrippleview (package name followed by group name)
  • Artifact_Id: customrippleview
  • Version: 1.0
compile 'com.ebay.customrippleview:customrippleview:1.0'



I’m Adam Hurwitz — hit the clapping hands icon and check out the rest of my writing if you enjoyed the above | Thanks!



Adam Hurwitz

An account about nothing | Researcher and product consultant