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<Learn Java for Android Development: Reflection Basics ⁄ >




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Reflection gives developers the flexibility to inspect and determine API characteristics at runtime, instead of compile time. Within the security constraints imposed by Java (e.g. use of public, protected, private), you can then construct objects, access fields, and invoke methods dynamically. The Java Reflection APIs are available as part of the java.lang.reflect package, which is included within the Android SDK for developers to use.

So what does this have to do with Android development? Well, with each new version of the Android SDK, classes, interfaces, methods, etc. are added, updated, and (less frequently) removed. However, Android developers often want to target devices running different versions of Android with a simple application package. To do this, Android developers may use reflection techniques to determine, at runtime, if a specific class or method is available before trying to use it. This allows the developer to leverage new APIs where available while still supporting the older devices-all in the same application.



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