Charlie Calvert on Elvenware

Writing Code and Prose on Computers



Activities usually run in a Window that takes up an entire screen. You can have more than one Activity on screen at a time, but at least at first, developers start by creating Activities that fill the entire screen. The user interacts with the application through the Activity. The onCreate method of the Activity is called first, and onDestroy is called just before it exits. There is also an important method called onPause. Other methods include onStop, onResume and onRestart(). The Activity that runs first is declared to do so in the Manifest file, nested inside the Application, and other Activities are typically listed below it. This process is described in more depth below.

Each Activity extends a class called ApplicationContext().

Switching Activities

Because the screen on a phone or tablet is relatively small, you frequently want to switch screens, that is, you want to switch from one Activity to another. There are several different ways to switch Activities, but one of the simplest and most useful involves starting new Intents.

In the simplest form of this scheme, you should create a layout for each screen, and a class for each layout. If you want to display three different screens, then your res/layout folder would typically have three XML files in it. Use the layout manager or write XML that defines the file your want to create. Give each XML file a reasonable name, such as view_data.xml, insert_data.xml, edit_data.xml.

You will need to create or edit three classes, one for each XML file. Each class should extend Activity, or one of its derivide classes, such as ListActivity. For instance, you might create three classes called ViewData, InsertData and EditData.

You need to be sure to tell Android about these classes by referencing them in your Manifest:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android=""
    <application android:name=".MyApplication"
        android:label="Test Provider">
        <activity android:name=".HelloWorld"
            android:label="Test Provider">
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
        <activity android:name=".ViewData"></activity>
        <activity android:name=".InsertData"></activity>
        <activity android:name=".EditData"></activity>
	<provider android:name=".BookProvider"
    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="3" />

Each class that you create will be like a normal Activity, or a normal ListActivity. You load the appropriate view just as you normally would, via call to setContentView

public class InsertData extends Activity 
	protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {	
	public void onSwitch(View view)
		Intent intent = new Intent(view.getContext(), EditData.class);
		startActivityForResult(intent, 0);		

Notice that in this code shown here I have included a simple event handler, of the type that might be used to respond to a button click. The handler creates an Intent designed to start a new Activty. In this case, the Activity is the EditData class. After the call to startActivityForResult, the current screen will be hidden, and the EditData Activity will be brought to the fore.

Recall that inside the appropriate layout XML file the declaration for the button designed to call this method might look something like this:

 android:text="@string/buttonInsertData" />