AsyncTask is an abstract Android class created to simplify the communication between background activities and the app’s UI. In simple words, it helps Android apps to control the main UI thread in an efficacious way. It is due to functionalities such as these that made it popular among developers.
It worked well for many years since its launch but gradually stopped performing like it used to.
One of the most crucial and necessary functions applications need to perform is to fetch information from a remote server. These requests sometimes take a lot of time so it is always preferred to do it asynchronously to prevent the application from freezing.
When this process is complete, the UI of the app can be updated. But sometimes an instance may occur that by the time this process is completed, the relevant part of the UI does not exist, which can potentially cause bugs, crashes, and other issues.
All this was prevented by using AsyncTask. However, developers have started to bat a sour eye towards it simply because it sometimes does not respect the application lifecycle. Meaning, there is no built-in security that may safeguard the app from AsyncTask finishing when the UI has changed.
Though it is possible to add external protection elements manually, these additions mean adding many repeat codes or boilerplate. It is due to issues and complications like these that Google in the recent AOSP Commit, deprecated AsyncTask.
This action might not affect the end-users in any way, but it is surely a bummer for developers who maintain an older codebase or have just begun with asynchronous tasks in the Android app development. For they will require changing a bunch of code.
Nevertheless, Google has been thoughtful of all the limitations of AsyncTask and also of the repercussions for developers if it was to be discontinued. This is why Google has sprung out alternatives such as Kotlin’s Coroutines library, RxJava, and more. These are much more proficient and possess flexibility with amazing features.
In fact, in the notice for AsyncTask deprecation, Google itself recommended developers to use Coroutines or the Concurrency framework of Java. Many app development companies advocate that these are more efficient in AsyncTask and have not looked back to it since they tried out its alternatives.
We are hoping to see this change in the Android 11 next year, if not in other Android maintenance to be released this year.
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