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«2 Copyright © 2014 by Syncfusion Inc. 2501 Aerial Center Parkway Suite 200 Morrisville, NC 27560 USA All rights reserved. I mportant licensing ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --



Ryan Hodson

Foreword by Daniel Jebaraj


Copyright © 2014 by Syncfusion Inc.

2501 Aerial Center Parkway

Suite 200

Morrisville, NC 27560


All rights reserved.

I mportant licensing information. Please read.

This book is available for free download from www.syncfusion.com on completion of a registration form.

If you obtained this book from any other source, please register and download a free copy from


This book is licensed for reading only if obtained from www.syncfusion.com.

This book is licensed strictly for personal or educational use.

Redistribution in any form is prohibited.

The authors and copyright holders provide absolutely no warranty for any information provided.

The authors and copyright holders shall not be liable for any claim, damages, or any other liability arising from, out of, or in connection with the information in this book.

Please do not use this book if the listed terms are unacceptable.

Use shall constitute acceptance of the terms listed.


Technical Reviewer: Rui Machado Copy Editor: Courtney Wright Acquisitions Coordinator: Hillary Bowling, marketing coordinator, Syncfusion, Inc.

Proofreader: Morgan Cartier Weston, content producer, Syncfusion, Inc.

3 Table of Contents Contents The Story behind the Succinctly Series of Books

About the Author


Chapter 1 Setting Up

The Android SDK


Creating a Project

Setting Up the Emulator

Compiling the Application

Chapter 2 Hello, Android

App Structure Overview

Creating a User Interface

Adding a Button

Defining String Resources

Detecting Button Input

4 Logging Output

Creating Another Activity

Linking Activities With An Intent

Another Button

Passing Data with Intents


Chapter 3 The Activity Lifecycle

Common Activity Transition Events

Pressing the Power Button

Rotating the Device

Tapping the Back Button

Recreating Destroyed Activities

Restoring Instance State

Saving Instance State

View States

Example Project


Chapter 4 User Interface Layouts

–  –  –

Loading Layouts

Basic View Attributes




Common Layouts

Linear Layouts

Relative Layouts

List and Grid Layouts

Nesting Layouts


Chapter 5 User Interface Widgets


Adding Drawable Resources

Scaling Images

Programmatically Defining the Image Source


6 Text Fields

Styling Text Fields

Editable Text Fields


Radio Buttons


Date/Time Pickers


Chapter 6 Fragments

Creating a Fragment

Embedding Fragments in Activities

Swipe Views

Adding Tabs


Chapter 7 Application Data

Shared Preferences

Internal Storage

SQLite Databases

–  –  –

Accessing the Database

Inserting Rows

Querying the Database


–  –  –

Whenever platforms or tools are shipping out of Microsoft, which seems to be about every other week these days, we have to educate ourselves, quickly.

Information is plentiful but harder to digest In reality, this translates into a lot of book orders, blog searches, and Twitter scans.

While more information is becoming available on the Internet and more and more books are being published, even on topics that are relatively new, one aspect that continues to inhibit us is the inability to find concise technology overview books.

We are usually faced with two options: read several 500+ page books or scour the web for relevant blog posts and other articles. Just as everyone else who has a job to do and customers to serve, we find this quite frustrating.

The Succinctly series This frustration translated into a deep desire to produce a series of concise technical books that would be targeted at developers working on the Microsoft platform.

We firmly believe, given the background knowledge such developers have, that most topics can be translated into books that are between 50 and 100 pages.

This is exactly what we resolved to accomplish with the Succinctly series. Isn’t everything wonderful born out of a deep desire to change things for the better?

The best authors, the best content Each author was carefully chosen from a pool of talented experts who shared our vision. The book you now hold in your hands, and the others available in this series, are a result of the authors’ tireless work. You will find original content that is guaranteed to get you up and running in about the time it takes to drink a few cups of coffee.

9 Free forever Syncfusion will be working to produce books on several topics. The books will always be free.

Any updates we publish will also be free.

Free? What is the catch?

There is no catch here. Syncfusion has a vested interest in this effort.

As a component vendor, our unique claim has always been that we offer deeper and broader frameworks than anyone else on the market. Developer education greatly helps us market and sell against competing vendors who promise to “enable AJAX support with one click,” or “turn the moon to cheese!” Let us know what you think If you have any topics of interest, thoughts, or feedback, please feel free to send them to us at succinctly-series@syncfusion.com.

We sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book and that it helps you better understand the topic of study. Thank you for reading.

–  –  –

10 About the Author Ryan Hodson began learning ActionScript at age 14, which eventually led to a job creating Flash-based data visualizations for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. Since then, he's worked in a diverse collection of programming fields, building everything from websites to e-publishing platforms, touch-screen thermostats, and natural language processing tools. These experiences have led to a love of exploring new software and a proficiency in several languages (HTML/CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, Python, Java, Objective-C, PDF) and many frameworks (WordPress, Django, CherryPy, and the iOS and OSX SDKs, to name a few).

In 2012, Ryan founded an independent publishing firm called RyPress and published his first book, Ry's Friendly Guide to Git. Since then, he has worked as a freelance technical writer for well-known software companies, including Syncfusion and Atlassian. Ryan continues to publish high-quality software tutorials via RyPress.com.

–  –  –

Android is the main alternative to the iOS platform for mobile applications, but unlike iOS, Android projects can easily be created using OS X, Windows, or Linux-based computers. And since Android uses the Java programming language, developers coming from a C# background will most likely feel more comfortable than they would with iOS’s Objective-C programming language.

The goal of Android Programming Succinctly is to guide you through the major aspects of Android development with friendly, concise examples. You should walk away with a solid understanding of the necessary design patterns, frameworks, and APIs for producing a polished Android app. If you would like to follow along with the sample code, it can be found here.

–  –  –

Before we start writing any code, our first task is to set up a development environment. The

major components necessary for building an Android app are as follows:

 A text editor for writing your code.

 The Android framework for linking against your application code.

 The Android command-line tools for compiling your code into a working app.

 An emulator or actual device for testing your compiled application.

While it’s possible to use virtually any IDE or text editor to create apps, the easiest way to get started with the Android platform is the official Android Software Development Kit (SDK), which contains all of these components in a single convenient download.

The Android SDK The Android SDK (available for OS X, Windows, and Linux) includes the Eclipse IDE with the Android Developer Tools (ADT) plugin, along with an emulator, a graphical layout editor, and some other useful features. This is also the development environment that we’ll be using in this book, so go ahead and download it now so you can follow along.

Installation After the download has completed, unzip the file and open the eclipse folder. It should contain an Eclipse executable that you can launch to start the IDE. You’ll be prompted to select a workspace folder, and then Eclipse should be ready to go. And that’s it for installation!

Creating a Project Let’s jump right in by creating a new Android project. On the File menu, click New. In the resulting wizard, select Android Application Project.

–  –  –

This will prompt you for some information about your new project:

 Application Name: The name of your app. Use Hello Android for this field.

 Project Name: The name of the project directory. This should be automatically populated with HelloAndroid, and you can leave this value as is.

 Package Name: The unique namespace for the project. Since it’s just an example app, you can leave the default com.example.helloandroid, but you should use the reverse domain name of your organization for real applications.

The remaining fields define important platform requirements, and you can leave them all at their

default values. Your configuration should look like the following when you’re done:

–  –  –

The next two windows ask you about some other miscellaneous details and the app’s icon. You can leave all of them at their default values. Finally, you’ll come to the following window asking if

you want to create an activity:

–  –  –

We’ll talk about activities in great detail next chapter, but all you need to know for now is that an activity represents a single screen of your application. We want to have something to look at initially, so make sure Create Activity is checked, then select Blank Activity to specify an empty screen. In the next window, you can use the default MainActivity and activity_main values for the Activity Name and Layout Name fields (again, we’ll discuss layouts in the next chapter). Click Finish to create a brand new Eclipse project.

Setting Up the Emulator Unfortunately, we can’t immediately compile the template project to see what it does. First, we need to set up a device on which to test our new app. Android is designed to let you run a single application on devices of wildly differing dimensions and capabilities, making it a very efficient platform for porting apps from smartphones to tablets to anything in between. The Android Virtual Device Manager included in the SDK allows you to emulate virtually any device on the market.

16 To view the list of emulated devices, navigate to Window and select Android Virtual Device Manager. This window makes it easy to see how your application behaves on all sorts of Android devices, test different screen resolutions and dimensions, and experiment with various device capabilities (e.g., hardware keyboards, cameras, storage capacity).

To create an emulated device for our project, click New... and use GalaxyNexus for the AVD Name, then select Galaxy Nexus from the Device dropdown menu, and leave everything else as the default. For development purposes, it’s also a good idea to check the Use Host GPU to use your computer’s GPU, since emulating animations can be quite slow and clunky. Your

configuration should resemble the following:

–  –  –

The emulator has to boot up the Android operating system (just like a real device), so you might be staring at that Android logo for a while before the emulator is actually ready to use. When it is finally ready, you’ll see the typical Android home screen, and you can click around to launch

apps and explore the emulated device:

–  –  –

18 Since it takes so long to boot, you’ll want to keep the emulator running as you start writing code (Eclipse can re-launch the application on the emulator without restarting it).

Compiling the Application We’re finally prepared to compile the sample project. Back in Eclipse, make sure one of the source files is selected in the Package Explorer, then click Run, select Run as, and choose Android Application. After taking a moment to compile, you should see your first Android app in the device emulator. As you can see, the default template contains a single text field that says “Hello world!”

–  –  –

In the next chapter, we’ll learn how to change the contents of this text field, add other UI components, and organize a simple Android application.

–  –  –

In this chapter, we’ll discover the fundamental design patterns of all Android applications. We’ll learn how to work with activities, display UI elements by editing XML layout files, handle button clicks, and switch between activities using intent objects. We’ll also learn about best practices for representing dimension and string values for maximum portability.

Each screen in an Android app is represented by a custom subclass of Activity. The subclass defines the behavior of the activity, and it’s also responsible for loading user interface from an XML layout file. Typically, this XML layout file is where the entire interface for a given activity is defined. To display text fields, buttons, images, and other widgets to the user, all you need to do is add XML elements to the layout file.

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