a little madness

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free -Nikos Kazantzakis


Android: Attaching Sources to Libraries in Eclipse

Since ADT r17, Android projects in Eclipse have had a nice property: all jars in your libs directory have been automatically picked up by Eclipse projects under a magic “Android Dependencies” entry in the build path. Ant builds use the same conventions, so adding a library is as simple as dropping it into the right directory. Unfortunately, though, this magic came with a major limitation: there was no way to attach sources to these libraries (see issue 27940). This led me to duplicate build path entries manually just to get source attachments.

Good news: in the just-released r20 version of ADT, Google have provided a solution to this problem. It’s not well advertised, but if you check out comment 21 on the aforementioned issue, you see that by creating a properties file for each library, you can tell ADT where to find the sources. So, for example, if you have a jar named:


you can create a properties file alongside it named:


Within the properties file you can add a src property set to the relative (or absolute, but that’s version-control-unfriendly) path of the source jar, zip or directory. Say, like me, you put it in the libs/src subdirectory, your properties file might look like:


Once you’ve added the properties file, refresh the project in Eclipse and voilĂ : the sources will be attached! A similar property named doc is supported for javadoc attachments.

Although this new feature is very welcome, I feel like it could use a bit more fine tuning. The main issue is the need to create a separate properties file for each jar. I keep my source jars in predictable locations, with conventional names, so I should be able to configure the convention once and have everything Just Work from then on. Heck, I’m not sure why there isn’t a default convention, which I could just follow with no further configuration!

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3 Responses to “Android: Attaching Sources to Libraries in Eclipse”

  1. January 31st, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Attaching source code to Android libraries. | Stephen Asherson says:

    [...] Attaching Source to Libraries in Eclipse [...]

  2. February 12th, 2013 at 12:49 am

    | Attaching Source Code to Android Libraries says:

    [...] Attaching Source to Libraries in Eclipse [...]

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