Meet Androscope

Do you sometimes feel the need to dive deep into your Android device and look around in your own application’s data? In that case, meet Androscope, a debugging tool which recently has been open sourced by us and which allows you to see all these interesting bits and pieces. 

When developing a desktop or a server-side application you have access to all of its data. You can see data that your code or external libraries store. It is convenient for Debugging and helps you to understand how the application works under the hood.

For mobile developers, applications they develop are a kind of a black box. Only its code can access private application data, but developers themselves cannot do that using standard development tools. 

On Android we still (at the time of writing this article) have some kind of common public storage that you can see in Android Studio in Device Explorer. And a lot of apps continue to use it actively, in many cases. However, Google just introduced scoped storage. Private app data will not be accessible to other apps, even those that will be registered as external storage managers. Great change for regular users. But what about developers? One solution can be to use rooted devices, which might not always be desirable.

We at NGTI have created the solution for this problem, Androscope. Even before introduction of scoped storage we, at NGTI, felt a need to be able to look at application internals. That is why we developed Androscope. It is a debugging web server that can run inside any Android application. It is available as a library on Maven Central and can be attached to any flavor or build type of your Android app.

Androscope allows you to;

  • Browse shared device file system (or at least a part of it that will be available to your application as a part of scoped storage, which is also an interesting insight)
  • view the content of application and system content providers (given that your app has required permissions)
  • download and upload databases. So you can, for example, inspect or modify database in your favorite tool on your development computer and upload it back
  • execute custom SQL queries for your databases, including the ones that will modify its structure. Even without reinstalling the app!

And more, all from your favorite web browser. 

To find out more about what Androscope can do and to try it yourself, visit our blog post by our colleague Mike