# Surviving Android Process Death With SavedStateFlow

I was perusing Reddit the other day when someone asked how they could use SavedStateHandle with a StateFlow similar to the SavedStateHandle.getLiveData() version. The most upvoted comment originally was saying that this functionality is not officially supported, but one could convert the LiveData to a Flow using the LiveData.asFlow() extension function. That seemed pretty simple for anyone to do, however testing that would then require using LiveData in your tests which might be annoying if you were using StateFlow to manage state. So after looking over the API, it seemed pretty simple to write a wrapper that could expose this functionality directly as a StateFlow and that is how the SavedStateFlow library was made!

## SavedStateFlow API

At its core, the API for SavedStateFlow is very simple as it’s supposed to be similar to a MutableStateFlow. There is a value property that can be mutated and a method that can expose it as a StateFlow.

interface SavedStateFlow<T> {

var value: T

fun asStateFlow(): StateFlow<T>

}


The implementation detail of this interface will simply delegate value changes to the SavedStateHandle and will observe any value changes from the SavedStateHandle.getLiveData() function. Then the initial value for the SavedStateFlow will first be retrieved by the SavedStateHandle and if one does not exist then it will default to the one provided by yourself.

## How to create a SavedStateFlow?

SavedStateFlow is just an interface, so how does one create an instance of one? Well since SavedStateHandle can’t create this, there is a new wrapper called SavedStateFlowHandle. The library includes an extension function on SavedStateHandle to create a reference to a SavedStateFlowHandle.

val savedStateHandle: SavedStateHandle = TODO()

val savedStateFlowHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle =
savedStateHandle.toSavedStateFlowHandle()


Now this new SavedStateFlowHandle provides two new functions on top of the original SavedStateHandle API.

interface SavedStateFlowHandle {

fun <T> getSavedStateFlow(
viewModelScope: CoroutineScope,
key: String,
defaultValue: T
): SavedStateFlow<T>

fun <T> getFlow(key: String): Flow<T>

}


The getFlow() function is pretty self explanatory and exposes the SavedStateHandle.getLiveData() as a Flow directly, which could help for unit testing avoiding the need to mess around with LiveData directly.

The getSavedStateFlow() is the real meat and potatoes of this library as that is how to create an instance of a SavedStateFlow. Notice the first parameter to this function is viewModelScope, that is because the SavedStateFlow will use that CoroutineScope to collect new values from the SavedStateHandle whenever the value changes and will also stop collecting the values when the ViewModel itself is cleared. So putting everything together, one simple usage of SavedStateFlow might look like the following:

class MainViewModel(
savedStateFlowHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle,
private val newsDataSource: NewsDataSource
) : ViewModel() {

private val query: SavedStateFlow<String> =
savedStateFlowHandle.getSavedStateFlow(
viewModelScope = viewModelScope,
key = "main-viewmodel-query-key",
defaultValue = ""
)

init {
observeQuery()
}

fun updateQuery(query: String) {
this.query.value = query
}

private fun observeQuery() {
viewModelScope.launch {
query.asStateFlow()
.flatMapLatest { query ->
// fetch the results for the latest query
newsDataSource.fetchQuery(query)
}
.collect { results ->
// Update with the latest results
}
}
}
}


Since SavedStateFlow is a wrapper around SavedStateHandle, the following note from the documentation should be observed. “State must be simple and lightweight. For complex or large data, you should use local persistence.”

## How to inject SavedStateFlowHandle?

In the sample above, there was an extension function on SavedStateHandle to get an instance of a SavedStateFlowHandle. Some of you might be wondering how one actually injects that into a ViewModel. Well if you’re doing manual injection, this is pretty simple using the AbstractSavedStateViewModelFactory and there is a sample of this in the documentation.

However, where this library really shines in the developer experience is when you are using Hilt because there is a separate artifact which can automatically scope a SavedStateFlowHandle to any @HiltViewModel.

@HiltViewModel
class MainViewModel @Inject constructor(
savedStateFlowHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle
) : ViewModel()


However, not every ViewModel can be annotated with @HiltViewModel when values passed through the constructor are determined at runtime which is when assisted injection can be used. In this scenario, there are a few extension methods provided which can provide a SavedStateFlowHandle when using assisted injection.

class MyAssistedViewModel @AssistedInject constructor(
@Assisted savedStateFlowHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle,
@Assisted id: String
) : ViewModel() {

@AssistedFactory
interface Factory {
fun create(savedStateFlowHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle, id: String): MyAssistedViewModel
}
}

@AndroidEntryPoint
class AssistedFragment : Fragment() {
@Inject
lateinit var factory: MyAssistedViewModel.Factory

private val viewModel: MyAssistedViewModel by assistedViewModel { savedStateFlowHandle ->
factory.create(savedStateFlowHandle, arguments?.getString("some-argument-key")!!)
}
}


For more information on the SavedStateFlow Hilt integration, please check out the documentation.

## Testing

The main motivation for writing this library was for testing and to avoid messing around with LiveData, so there is a test artifact that can be used for unit tests called TestSavedStateFlow. The addition to this class allows you to provide a default value or a cached value which is null by default for different testing scenarios. One basic usage of this artifact with Mockk is as shown below:

class SomeTest {
@Test
fun some test() = runBlocking {
val savedStateHandle: SavedStateFlowHandle = mockk()
val savedStateFlow = TestSavedStateFlow<String>(
defaultValue = "",
cachedValue = "some cached value"
)
every { savedStateHandle.getSavedStateFlow(any(), "some-key", "") } returns savedStateFlow

val viewModel = MyViewModel(savedStateHandle)
// omitted test code
}
}


For more information on testing and how this could be used with Turbine, please check out the documentation.

## Conclusion

In this article we went over how to create/use a SavedStateFlow, inject a SavedStateFlowHandle into a ViewModel and how to test with TestSavedStateFlow. I highly encourage you to check out the documentation which has more detailed samples and the GitHub repository if you want to take a look at the source code or even make a contribution if you see ways it could be improved.

Hope someone else finds this library useful until Google decides to support this functionality officially sometime in the future. Enjoy!