Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anatomy of an Android Application

Before reading this,  learn how to create android application:

Click here


First, note the various files that make up an Android project in the Package Explorer in Eclipse.

The various folders and their files are as follows:

 ➤ src — Contains   the   .java source files for your project. In this example, there is

 one  file, HelloworldActivity.java.  The HelloworldActivity.java file is the source file for 

your activity. You will write the code for your application in this file.

➤ Android 2.3 library — This item contains one file, android.jar, which contains all the 

class libraries needed for an Android application.

➤ gen — Contains the R.java file, a compiler-generated file that references all the 

resources found in your project. You should not modify this file. 

➤ assets — This folder contains all the assets used by your application, such as 

HTML, text files, databases, etc.

➤ res — This folder contains all the resources used in your application. It also   

contains a few other subfolders: drawable-<resolution>, layout, and values.

➤ AndroidManifest.xml — This is the manifest file for your Android application. Here 

you specify the permissions needed by your application, as well as other features 

(such as intent-filters,receivers, etc.).


The main.xml file defines the user interface for your activity. Observe the following in red color:

android:text=”@string/hello” />

The @string in this case refers to the strings.xml file located in the res/values folder. 

Hence, @string/hello refers to the hello string defined in the strings.xml file, which is “Hello World, MainActivity!”:

<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”utf-8”?>
<string name=”hello”>Hello World, MainActivity!</string>
<string name=”app_name”>HelloWorld</string>

It is recommended that you store all the string constants in your application in this 

strings.xml file and reference these strings using the @string identifier. That way, if 

you ever need to localize your application to another language, all you need to do is 

replace the strings stored in the strings.xml file with the targeted language and 

recompile your application.

Observe the content of the AndroidManifest.xml file:

<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”utf-8”?>
<manifest xmlns:android=”http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android”
<application android:icon=”@drawable/icon” android:label=”@string/app_name”>
<activity android:name=”.
<action android:name=”android.intent.action.MAIN” />
<category android:name=”android.intent.category.LAUNCHER” />
<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion=”9” />

The AndroidManifest.xml file contains detailed information about the application:

➤    It defines the package name of the application as m.m.

➤   The version code of the application is 1. This value is used to identify the version number of your application. It can be used to programmatically determine whether an application needs to be upgraded.

➤   The version name of the application is 1.0. This string value is mainly used for display to the user. You should use the format: <major>.<minor>.<point> for this value.

➤    The application uses the image named icon.png located in the drawable folder.

➤  The name of this application is the string named app_name defined in the strings.xml file.

➤   There is one activity in the application represented by the
file. The label displayed for this activity is the same as the application name.

➤    Within the definition for this activity, there is an element named <intent-filter>:

➤   The action for the intent fi lter is named android.intent.action.MAIN to indicate that
this activity serves as the entry point for the application.

➤    The category for the intent-fi lter is named android.intent.category.LAUNCHER
to indicate that the application can be launched from the device’s Launcher icon.

➤  Finally, the android:minSdkVersion attribute of the <uses-sdk> element specifi es the minimum version of the OS on which the application will run.

As you add more fi les and folders to your project, Eclipse will automatically generate the content of R.java, which at the moment contains the following:

package m.m;
public final class R {
public static final class attr {
public static final class drawable {
public static final int icon=0x7f020000;
public static final class layout {
public static final int main=0x7f030000;
public static final class string {
public static final int app_name=0x7f040001;
public static final int hello=0x7f040000;

You are not supposed to modify the content of the R.java file; Eclipse automatically generates the content for you when you modify your project.

Finally, the code that connects the activity to the UI (main.xml) is the setContentView() method, which is in the MainActivity.java file:

package m.m;
import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Bundle;
public class
extends Activity 

/** Called when the activity is first created. */
public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) 

Here, R.layout.main refers to the main.xml file located in the res/layout folder. As you 

add additional XML files to the res/layout folder, the filenames will automatically be 

generated in the R.java file. The onCreate() method is one of many methods that are 

fired when an activity is loaded.

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