Android Custom Permissions

Google encourages developers to define custom permissions to protect our publicly available activities and custom data providers.  The first step is to define such permissions in your manifest so that your app as well as all other apps can display pretty text for the permissions.  Apps that merely use your custom permissions will display the text you defined in your app for each permission. One issue I discovered is that you should never define the permission group as an empty string (android:permissionGroup=””) or else the permission definition becomes invalid and no other app will be able to use it.

Custom permissions should also define a custom Permission Group if they are not part of one of the Android built-in groups, otherwise they will be displayed as part of a permission called “Default” and all your custom permissions will be shown as a comma separated list underneath it. For example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android=""
    android:versionName="1.0" >

    <permission-group android:name="com.mydomain.provider.permissions" 
        android:label="@string/perm_text_group_mydomain_provider" />

    <permission android:name="com.mydomain.provider.permission.ACCESS_DATA"
        android:label="@string/perm_text_access_mydomain_provider" />

    <permission android:name="com.mydomain.provider.permission.WRITE_DATA"
        android:label="@string/perm_text_modify_mydomain_provider" />

    <uses-permission android:name="com.mydomain.provider.permission.ACCESS_DATA" />
    <uses-permission android:name="com.mydomain.provider.permission.WRITE_DATA" />

      android:icon="@drawable/app_icon" >

        <provider android:name="com.mydomain.MyProvider" 
            android:exported="true" >



Once you have defined all your permissions, other apps can simply use them with <uses-permission> and their apps will use your string definitions when displaying them in Settings as part of managing the device’s apps.

Android app shortcuts and class names

I recently learned the hard way that refactoring your old code to be more consistent with how you write code now as opposed to how you wrote it a year ago can be dangerous. Things like class names may seem like a completely internal mechanism and is in most cases, but the rule for that changes the moment you place one into the AndroidManifest.xml. Continue reading

Android Market does not allow use of Android icons

If you tried to publish your app to the Android Market and received an error similar to the following one, you may be running up against a block put in place by Google:

The file is invalid: W/ResourceType(15353): No known package when getting value for resource number 0x01080049 ERROR getting ‘android:icon’ attribute: attribute is not a string value

I recently ran into this error trying to publish one of my apps because the icon I chose for my app’s Preferences screen activity was a built in android resource “@android:drawable/ic_menu_preferences”. Continue reading