Thursday, February 9, 2023

Adding YouTube Functionality to Android Apps

YouTube isn’t the kind of website that needs many features. If you have adequate control over basics like playback, resolution, speed, subtitles, and playlists, you’re pretty much good to go. But YouTube is so much better once you discover some of its hidden tricks and features.

A few years ago, the Google Play Store listed a bunch of apps – uListen and SuperTube to name a few – that would let you use YouTube as a background music player but they’ve all been removed now.

The YouTube Player API for Android provides a ready to use a fragment and an embedded view to play YouTube videos. The API provides methods to customize and control the video playback. You can play, pause, or seek video to specific play time. The API also provides the helper functions to support orientation changes as well as transitions to full-screen playback.

YouTube is making a major change to its app, which is likely to prove unpopular with the majority of users.

It has added autoplay videos to home page, which start playing even if you don’t want them to.

The video right at the top of your home screen will play as soon as you open the app and, as you scroll down, it will stop and the one displayed below it will start.

Integrating YouTube Player API in your Android application involves three key steps:

  1. Download and Configure YouTube Android Player API in Android Studio
  2. Register your Application in Google Developer Console and obtain Android API key
  3. Integrating YouTube Android Player API in your Android Application

This library has been developed out of necessity. The official library provided by Google for the integration of YouTube videos into Android apps is the YouTube Android Player API. Its many bugs and the total lack of support from Google made it impossible to use in production. I’ve tried to use it but my app was crashing because of internal bugs in Google’s player, ( soon bugs have 3+ years old bug reports) and, at the moment, no update has been released for almost a year. This library provides a stable and open source alternative to the official YouTube Player.

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