Android Supported Library Differences And Features Guide



The Android Support Library provides backward-compatible versions of Android framework APIs like App components, UI widgets, media components. It provides features and widgets that are only available through the library APIs. 

In general there are two types of support libraries. One which provides framework functionality for older API releases the other which provides new functionality for all devices. This functionality is either not yet part of the platform or will never be part of the platform, so that Google can continue to improve it faster than Android platform API.

Including the Support Libraries in your Android project is considered a best practice for application developers, depending on the range of platform versions your app is targeting and the APIs that it uses. Using the features the libraries provide can help you improve the look of your application, increase performance and broaden the reach of your application to more users.

Each support library is backward-compatible to a specific Android API level.

Different support libraries-

v4 Support Library
It includes lots of things including support for Fragments and the Loader framework. It includes the largest set of APIs compared to the other libraries, including support for application components, user interface features, accessibility, data handling, network connectivity, and programming utilities.
Designed for Android 1.6 (API level 4) or higher.

v7 Support Library
v7 support library added ActionBar to allow implementation of the action bar user interface design. This is set of libraries which require Android 2.1 (API level 7) and higher and also the v4 Support library.  

v7 AppCompat Library
This library also  support for the Action Bar. It also includes support for material design user interface.  This library adds support for the Toolbar interface design pattern (including support for AppCompatActionBar design pattern). This library includes support for material design user interface implementations.

v7 CardView Support Library
The v7 library adds support for the CardView widget. The CardView UI component shows information inside cards and it is a new component that does not upgrade an existing component. 

v7 RecyclerView Support Library
The v7 RecyclerView Support Library adds the RecyclerView class. This class provides support for the RecyclerView widget, a view for efficiently displaying large data sets by providing a limited window of data items. The RecyclerView is a more advanced and more flexible version of the ListView.

v13 Support Library 
This library is designed to be used for Android 3.2 (API level 13) and higher. It adds support for the Fragment user interface pattern with the (FragmentCompat) class and additional fragment support classes

Design support Library
This library adds support for material design components including navigation drawer view, floating labels, floating action buttons, snack bars, and a new framework to tie motion and scroll events. The library is supported for Android version 2.3 and higher.


Android Support Library Resources


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