Adding a library/JAR to an Eclipse Android project


This is a two-part question about adding a third-party library (JAR) to an Android project in Eclipse.

The first part of the question is, when I try to add a third-party JAR (library) to my Android project I first get the problem of

Error parsing XML: unbound prefix

because I'm trying to use a class from that JAR (and need the prefix somehow defined). What's going on?

Second, (after fixing that--the answer is given below), my application doesn't work on Android and I discover via the debugger (LogCat) that the class I'm attempting to consume doesn't exist.

Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: com.github.droidfu.widgets.WebImageView...

Why, when I get no compilation or linker error in Eclipse, does it have this problem on the emulator?

These two questions are rhetorical for I'm going to answer them myself below. Other posts in this forum creep up to the problem and elsewhere there is discussion, but I feel that I can be more explicitly helpful for the next guy to come along.

10/14/2018 8:36:13 PM

Accepted Answer

Now for the missing class problem.

I'm an Eclipse Java EE developer and have been in the habit for many years of adding third-party libraries via the "User Library" mechanism in Build Path. Of course, there are at least 3 ways to add a third-party library, the one I use is the most elegant, in my humble opinion.

This will not work, however, for Android, whose Dalvik "JVM" cannot handle an ordinary Java-compiled class, but must have it converted to a special format. This does not happen when you add a library in the way I'm wont to do it.

Instead, follow the (widely available) instructions for importing the third-party library, then adding it using Build Path (which makes it known to Eclipse for compilation purposes). Here is the step-by-step:

  1. Download the library to your host development system.
  2. Create a new folder, libs, in your Eclipse/Android project.
  3. Right-click libs and choose Import -> General -> File System, then Next, Browse in the filesystem to find the library's parent directory (i.e.: where you downloaded it to).
  4. Click OK, then click the directory name (not the checkbox) in the left pane, then check the relevant JAR in the right pane. This puts the library into your project (physically).
  5. Right-click on your project, choose Build Path -> Configure Build Path, then click the Libraries tab, then Add JARs..., navigate to your new JAR in the libs directory and add it. (This, incidentally, is the moment at which your new JAR is converted for use on Android.)


Step 5 may not be needed, if the lib is already included in your build path. Just ensure that its existence first before adding it.

What you've done here accomplishes two things:

  1. Includes a Dalvik-converted JAR in your Android project.
  2. Makes Java definitions available to Eclipse in order to find the third-party classes when developing (that is, compiling) your project's source code.
4/15/2014 5:03:54 AM

Ensure that your 3rd party jars are in your projects "libs" folder and they will be put in the .apk when you package your application. You may see runtime errors on the device if something in the jar is not supported, but other than that I have had great success with this.

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