In the ever-evolving landscape of Android development, maintaining code quality and adhering to best practices is paramount. Android Lint, a powerful static analysis tool, plays a crucial role in identifying potential bugs, optimizations, and improvements in your project’s source files. This blog delves into the intricacies of Android Lint, guiding you on how to leverage it for checking Java, Kotlin, and XML files, and even extending its capabilities through custom lint rules.

Understanding Android Lint

Android Lint is more than just a tool for spotting those pesky yellow and red warnings in Android Studio. It’s a comprehensive static code analysis tool that scrutinizes your project’s source files for potential issues. Whether it’s an outdated library, too many parameters in a function, or a runtime bug waiting to happen, Android Lint alerts you to what needs your attention.

What Lint Offers

Out of the box, Android Studio comes equipped with over 400 built-in checks performed by Lint, covering a wide array of potential issues from performance to correctness. However, one of Lint’s most powerful features is its extensibility; you can write custom lint rules tailored to your project’s specific needs.

Writing Custom Lint Rules

Custom lint rules can be a game-changer, especially when enforcing project-specific conventions or preventing common errors. For instance, you might want to ensure that all your activities are annotated with @AndroidEntryPoint when using Dagger for dependency injection. Failing to annotate an activity can lead to runtime crashes, something easily avoidable with a custom lint rule.

The Basics of Creating Custom Lint Rules

To start crafting your custom lint rules, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Lint Module: Begin by setting up a Java or Kotlin library module in your project, typically named something like lint-checks.
  2. Add Dependencies: Incorporate the necessary Lint API dependencies into your module. A general rule of thumb is to use your Android Gradle plugin version and add 23.0.3 to determine the Lint version to use.
  3. Enable Lint Checks: If you’re working in a multi-module project, you’ll want to enable your custom lint checks selectively. This can be done by adding a specific line in the build.gradle file of the modules where you wish the checks to be applied.

Crafting an Issue Registry

An Issue Registry class is where you’ll list all the custom lint checks you intend to run. It acts as a central repository for your custom rules.

Understanding the Components

  • Visitor Pattern: This design pattern helps navigate and analyze the source code. It allows you to perform specific checks on different parts of your code.
  • Issues: Define the rules for your lint checks, including ID, priority, severity, and a detailed explanation of the issue.
  • Detector: The mechanism that actually identifies the issues in your code. It reports problems based on the rules defined in your Issues.

Example: Ensuring Activities are Annotated

Suppose you want to create a lint rule that checks if activities are properly annotated with @AndroidEntryPoint. Here’s a simplified overview of how you might approach this:

  1. Define the Issue: Specify the ID, description, priority, and severity of the issue.
  2. Implement the Detector: Create a detector class that extends Detector and implements the SourceCodeScanner interface. This class will contain the logic to check if an activity class is missing the @AndroidEntryPoint annotation.

     val ISSUE: Issue = Issue.create(
         id = "AndroidEntryPointMissing",
         briefDescription = "The @AndroidEntryPoint annotation is missing.",
         explanation = """
             For Dagger to properly inject dependencies into Android components, 
             they must be annotated with @AndroidEntryPoint.
         category = Category.CORRECTNESS,
         priority = 6,
         severity = Severity.ERROR,
         implementation = Implementation(
             EnumSet.of(Scope.JAVA_FILE, Scope.TEST_SOURCES)
  3. Register the Issue: Add your issue to an issue registry so it’s included in the lint checks run by Android Studio.

Running and Applying Custom Lint Rules

With your custom lint rules defined, you can run them directly in Android Studio or via Gradle commands. Android Studio allows you to inspect your code on the fly, highlighting issues as you type. For a more comprehensive analysis, you can generate HTML or XML reports via Gradle commands, offering an in-depth look at all identified issues across your project.


Android Lint is a potent tool in the Android developer’s arsenal, crucial for maintaining high code quality and adherence to best practices. By understanding how to create and apply custom lint rules, you can tailor the static analysis process to meet the unique needs of your project, ensuring your codebase remains clean, efficient