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How to Add CAPTCHAs to Android Apps

If you are developing an Android application that needs to interact with your back-end server, it is important that you take steps to defend it against bots—automated scripts that try to pass for human. Otherwise, your server stands a very real chance of being overrun by them.

CAPTCHAs, short for Completely Automated Public Turing tests for telling Computers and Humans Apart, are currently the most effective defense against bots. As you might already know, they are usually image, voice, or common sense-based tests that are easy for humans, but extremely hard for computers.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the newly released SafetyNet reCAPTCHA API to add CAPTCHAs to your Android apps.

Prerequisites

To be able to follow this tutorial, you’ll need the following:

1. Project Setup

Launch Android Studio and create a new project with an empty activity. In the Configure your new project form, make sure you type in a meaningful package name—you’ll be using it while registering your app with the reCAPTCHA service.

Additionally, check the Include Kotlin Support field. Because Kotlin is now an official Android language, we’ll be using it instead of Java in this tutorial.

SafetyNet APIs are a part of Google Play services. To be able to use them in your project, add the following implementation dependency to the build.gradle file of the app module:

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implementation ‘com.google.android.gms:play-services-safetynet:11.0.2’

Additionally, to perform network-related operations, we’ll be using the Fuel library, which has a very concise Kotlin-based API. Therefore, add it as another implementation dependency.

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implementation ‘com.github.kittinunf.fuel:fuel-android:1.8.0’

You can’t perform network-related operations without the INTERNET permission, so add the following line to your project’s manifest file:

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<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.INTERNET”/>

Finally, press the Sync Now button to complete the project configuration.

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The WebRecital is a dedicated User Interface/User Experience professionals who come together to provide design and research workshops, portfolio reviews, and educational outreach to the greater Seattle area.
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