I finished with the part three of this series of android tutorial with android application project folder. I went ahead to explain what each folder and file is used for and their functions.

Today we will take a quick look on android and important basic information that will help you understand in detail how to develop android application. I know that most people are more interested in the code than the theories behind how it works. But I want to remind you that this tutorial is a beginner’s android development tutorial so it is important for newbies in android development to understand how the system works

What is android?

I know that this question might sound fun but I also know that not everybody understand what android means. So I will go ahead and give a little excerpt from Wikipedia “Android is a mobile operating system (OS) based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google. With a user interface based on direct manipulation, Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The OS uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Despite being primarily designed for touchscreen input, it also has been used in game consoles, digital cameras, regular PCs (e.g. the HP Slate 21) and other electronics.”

Android Components

Since we have an idea on what android is, we will go further to explain components in android that help in android application development. They are the essential or rather the building blocks of android application. A full detailed about android component s is lift from google android page 

“Each component is a different point through which the system can enter your app. Not all components are actual entry points for the user and some depend on each other, but each one exists as its own entity and plays a specific role—each one is a unique building block that helps define your app’s overall behaviour.

There are four different types of app components. Each type serves a distinct purpose and has a distinct lifecycle that defines how the component is created and destroyed.

Here are the four types of app components:


An activity represents a single screen with a user interface. For example, an email app might have one activity that shows a list of new emails, another activity to compose an email, and another activity for reading emails. Although the activities work together to form a cohesive user experience in the email app, each one is independent of the others. As such, a different app can start any one of these activities (if the email app allows it). For example, a camera app can start the activity in the email app that composes new mail, in order for the user to share a picture.

An activity is implemented as a subclass of Activity and you can learn more about it in the Activities developer guide.


A service is a component that runs in the background to perform long-running operations or to perform work for remote processes. A service does not provide a user interface. For example, a service might play music in the background while the user is in a different app, or it might fetch data over the network without blocking user interaction with an activity. Another component, such as an activity, can start the service and let it run or bind to it in order to interact with it.

A service is implemented as a subclass of Service and you can learn more about it in the Services developer guide.

 Content providers

A content provider manages a shared set of app data. You can store the data in the file system, an SQLite database, on the web, or any other persistent storage location your app can access. Through the content provider, other apps can query or even modify the data (if the content provider allows it). For example, the Android system provides a content provider that manages the user’s contact information. As such, any app with the proper permissions can query part of the content provider (such as ContactsContract.Data) to read and write information about a particular person.

Content providers are also useful for reading and writing data that is private to your app and not shared. For example, the Note Pad sample app uses a content provider to save notes.

A content provider is implemented as a subclass of ContentProvider and must implement a standard set of APIs that enable other apps to perform transactions. For more information, see the Content Providers developer guide.

Broadcast receivers

A broadcast receiver is a component that responds to system-wide broadcast announcements. Many broadcasts originate from the system—for example, a broadcast announcing that the screen has turned off, the battery is low, or a picture was captured. Apps can also initiate broadcasts—for example, to let other apps know that some data has been downloaded to the device and is available for them to use. Although broadcast receivers don’t display a user interface, they may create a status bar notification to alert the user when a broadcast event occurs. More commonly, though, a broadcast receiver is just a “gateway” to other components and is intended to do a very minimal amount of work. For instance, it might initiate a service to perform some work based on the event.

A broadcast receiver is implemented as a subclass of BroadcastReceiver and each broadcast is delivered as an Intent object. For more information, see the BroadcastReceiver class.”

There is one more thing we will look into before will end this tutorial. It is the android life cycle

Android Activity Lifecycle

You can find the information below on Google android manual page

“Activities in the system are managed as an activity stack. When a new activity is started, it is placed on the top of the stack and becomes the running activity – the previous activity always remains below it in the stack, and will not come to the foreground again until the new activity exits.

An activity has essentially four states:

If an activity in the foreground of the screen (at the top of the stack), it is active or running.

If an activity has lost focus but is still visible (that is, a new non-full-sized or transparent activity has focus on top of your activity), it is paused. A paused activity is completely alive (it maintains all state and member information and remains attached to the window manager), but can be killed by the system in extreme low memory situations.

If an activity is completely obscured by another activity, it is stopped. It still retains all state and member information, however, it is no longer visible to the user so its window is hidden and it will often be killed by the system when memory is needed elsewhere.

If an activity is paused or stopped, the system can drop the activity from memory by either asking it to finish, or simply killing its process. When it is displayed again to the user, it must be completely restarted and restored to its previous state.”

android lifecycle

(Image source )

What next

There is no better time to now. We are going to pull up and sleeve and get our mind ready to start with the coding process. But before then, you can go outside and take some fresh air. Meet you in tutorial 5

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