Loading Images Over HTTP on a Separate Thread on Android

My previous post about making a list view with lazy-loaded images on Android just had the code pertaining to the list view. As requested, I’m also adding the class that loads the images.

This class includes a queue so that only a single image is loaded at a time. I chose this because in building a list view with images it’s more important to start loading some images than to wait for all images to get loaded. Other implementations of this kind of thing launch a separate thread per image which means that the network connection would be clogged with all the image loads.

You’ll notice the use of SoftReference here, which I gleaned from Tom van Zummeren’s tutorial. While this appears to work well, I haven’t done any significant load or performance testing, so it may not be necessary.

There are some notable problems here in the design, so please adapt this to your need. Beyond the potential race condition noted below, there’s a basic problem in that the thread completes once the queue is done. So if the images happened to load faster than you add them to the queue you could end up with a queue that was emptied, the thread died and future items were never loaded. I’ve tried to work around this by capturing the TERMINATED state of the thread and relaunching it, but have not, as far as I know, tested this in production. And I’ve built no automated tests to test that case yet.

Continue reading “Loading Images Over HTTP on a Separate Thread on Android”