ELI5: Fresco – Picture Administration Library for Android

In this post, we explain Fresco, a powerful system for displaying images in Android applications, in a way that is very easy to understand (or as it is commonly known online, ELI5). If you want to learn by watching or listening, check out a video about this open source project on our Facebook Open Source Youtube channel.

Why fresco?

Many of us are used to surfing the Internet with reliable in-home WiFi or a high-speed LTE connection on our mobile device. However, many users around the world do not have access to reliable internet access or the latest phone. With these limitations, users cannot effectively use photos, gifs, and other media. These non-text communication devices help people appear more authentic and without them, people’s conversations remain more formal and often lack a real personality.

Fortunately, we can help these people with projects like Fresco. This resource management library ensures that images, animations, and other visual elements can be used on a wide variety of devices even with an unreliable internet connection. Fresco makes this possible by keeping the memory requirements of the resources as low as possible. This feature allows users to use graphics while adjusting the image quality to suit the needs of the device and network.

Here’s how it works. Fresco introduces progressive image loading, which involves first displaying a low-resolution scan of the image and then gradually improving the quality as more images are downloaded. This functionality is particularly useful for devices based on slow networks.

One use case to consider is using Fresco on Facebook. As a company, we want to make online communication more personal. To this end, the Facebook app has animated stickers and gifs that people can use to express themselves authentically. However, from a technical point of view, these animated stickers and gifs are difficult to endorse as they need to be decoded, saved and displayed. But with Fresco, these challenges are taken care of for you, so animation becomes what it should be – have fun!

Where is it used?

Fresco was first offered as an open source solution in early 2015. In addition to Facebook, companies like Wikipedia, Twitter and Redfin use this library for their Android apps.

Where can i learn more?

To learn more about Fresco, visit their website. It provides excellent documentation for those just starting out or looking to use advanced features. In case you want to see Fresco in action, there are several sample apps on the project website for you to try. If you have any questions, you can check out Fresco’s or StackOverflow’s GitHub page.

If you have any further questions about Fresco, please let us know on our Youtube channel or by tweeting. We always want to hear from you, and we hope you find this open source project and the new ELI5 series useful.

About the ELI5 series

In a series of short videos (around 1 minute long), one of our developer attorneys on the Facebook Open Source team explains a Facebook Open Source project in a way that is easy to understand and use.

For each of these videos we are writing an accompanying blog post (like the one you are reading now), which you can find on our Youtube channel.

To find out more about Facebook Open Source, visit our Open Source website, subscribe to our Youtube channel or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Would you like to work with open source on Facebook? Check out our open source related job postings on our careers page by taking this quick survey.

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