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LiveData in Android Architecture Components
  • Last Updated : 23 Mar, 2021

LiveData is one of the android architecture components. LiveData is an observable data holder class. What is the meaning of observable here the observable means live data can be observed by other components like activity and fragments (Ui Controller). The most important thing about LiveData is it has the knowledge about the Life cycle of its observers like activity or fragment. That means Live data only updates the app components like Activity or Fragments which are in active life cycle state. LiveData notifies the observer(Activity or Fragment) which are in Started or Resumed life cycle state. Inactive observers registered to watch LiveData objects aren’t notified about changes. Here inactive observers mean which are not in the state of Started or Resumed. One can register an observer paired with an object that implements the LifecycleOwner interface which we will see in our example. This relationship allows the observer to be removed when the state of the corresponding Lifecycle object changes to DESTROYED.

This component is an observable data holder class i.e, the contained value can be observed. LiveData is a lifecycle-aware component and thus it performs its functions according to the lifecycle state of other application components. Further, if the observer’s lifecycle state is active i.e., either STARTED or RESUMED, only then LiveData updates the app component. LiveData always checks the observer’s state before making any update to ensure that the observer must be active to receive it. If the observer’s lifecycle state is destroyed, LiveData is capable to remove it, and thus it avoids memory leaks. It makes the task of data synchronization easier.

LiveData

It is necessary to implement onActive and onInactive methods by LiveData:

class LocationLiveData(context: Context)

   : LiveData<Location>(), AnkoLogger, LocationListener {

   private val locationManager: LocationManager =

           context.getSystemService(Context.LOCATION_SERVICE) as LocationManager

   override fun onActive() {

       info(“onActive”)

       locationManager.requestLocationUpdates(LocationManager.GPS_PROVIDER, 0, 0f, this)

   }

   override fun onInactive() {

       info(“onInactive”)

       locationManager.removeUpdates(this)

   }

   // ….

}

In order to observe a LiveData Component observer(LifecycleOwner, Observer<T>) method is called:



fun observeLocation() {

       val location = LocationLiveData(this)

       location.observe(this,

               Observer { location ->

                   info(“location: $location”)

               })

   }

}

Implementation in Android App

In this example we will just create a simple counter app, that just counts 5 seconds, you can do anything using LiveData but for now let’s build this small app. 

Step 1: Add these dependencies in your build.gradle file

def lifecycle_version = “2.3.0”

// ViewModel

implementation “androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-viewmodel-ktx:$lifecycle_version”

// LiveData

implementation “androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-livedata-ktx:$lifecycle_version”

implementation “androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-runtime-ktx:$lifecycle_version”



implementation “androidx.core:core-ktx:1.3.2”

Step 2: Working with the activity_main.xml file

Navigate to the app > res > layout > activity_main.xml and add the below code to that file. Below is the code for the activity_main.xml file.

XML




<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout 
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
  
    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/textView"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="0"
        android:textSize="25sp"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />
  
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 3: Create a Kotlin class file MainActivityViewModel.kt. Our MainActivity class file extends the ViewModel class.

Refer to this article: How to Create Classes in Android Studio?

Kotlin




import androidx.lifecycle.ViewModel
  
class MainActivityViewModel:ViewModel() {
  
    private val _seconds = MutableLiveData<Int>()
    private val _finished = MutableLiveData<Boolean>()
  
    // getter method for seconds var
    fun seconds():LiveData<Int>{
        return _seconds
    }
      
    // getter method for finished var
    fun finished():LiveData<Boolean>{
        return _finished
    }
  
  
    // Counter method that uses CountDownTimer()
    fun startCounter(){
      
        // you can change the millisInFuture value 
        object : CountDownTimer(5000, 100) {
            override fun onTick(millisUntilFinished: Long) {
                val time = millisUntilFinished / 1000
                  
                // setting the count value
                _seconds.value = time.toInt()
            }
  
            override fun onFinish() {
                 // if millisInFuture completed
                 // it set the value true
                _finished.value = true
            }
        }.start()
    }
}

Note: Here we are using MutableLiveData right. but the question is why? because there is already LiveData is available, MutableLiveData extends LiveData class and two functions setValue() and postValue() are publicly available for use.

Step 4: Working with the MainActivity.kt file

Go to the MainActivity.kt file and refer to the following code. Below is the code for the MainActivity.kt file. 

Kotlin




class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main)
          
        // creating instance of our ViewModel class
        val viewModel = ViewModelProvider(this).get(MainActivityViewModel::class.java)
  
        // calling start counter methos which is in our viewmodel class
        viewModel.startCounter()
  
          
        // observing the second value of our view model class
        viewModel.seconds().observe(this, Observer {
             
            // setting textview value
            textView.text = it.toString()
        })
  
        viewModel.finished().observe(this, Observer {
            if(it){
                // if count time finished it set the value
                textView.text = "Finished"
            }
        })
    }
}

Note: Here inside Observe() “this” is the Life cycle owner as we discussed above to observe the value, we should pass the Lifecycle Owner. Here this means MainActivity which is the observer here.

Output:

Advantages of Using LiveData

  • No need to update UI every time: LiveData follows the observer pattern. LiveData notifies Observer objects when there is any change occurs.
  • No memory leaks: Observers are bound to Lifecycle objects and clean up after themselves when their associated lifecycle is destroyed.
  • No more manual lifecycle handling: UI components just observe relevant data and don’t stop or resume observation. LiveData automatically manages all of this since it’s aware of the relevant lifecycle status changes while observing.
  • Proper configuration changes: If an activity or fragment is recreated due to a configuration change, like device rotation, it immediately receives the latest available data.
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