Android Activities and Tasks series – Activity Attributes

The previous post of the Android Activities and Tasks series explained the concept of Android’s intents. We have seen how to use them to launch activities and how to utilize intent flags to customize the behavior of the launch to our needs.

In this post, we focus on activities themselves and explain the properties we can set on an activity or task to influence the activity launch behavior on the receiver side. In detail:

  1. activity launch modes
  2. task attributes
  3. task affinities of activities

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Reusing Android components with Rindirect.

Android applications can grow very quickly. As they are composed of components (Activities, Services and Content Providers), it should be easy to extend an existing application to create new applications by just reusing already developed components. Recently, the akquinet Mobile Team had to develop several versions of the same application with a different set of features. This might sound easy, but Android does not really support such kind of modular development. Indeed, we faced several issues coming from the Android development model.
This blog post explains the encountered issues and how we fixed them by using rindirect. This tool allows, inside an Android application, to integrate components defined in other Android applications. This reuse pattern is close to impossible to achieve without rindirect or implies major limitations. Rindirect is developed by akquinet and is now available as open-source. This tools is well suited for Maven-based development, and so, works pretty well alongside the maven-android plugin.
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Android Activities and Tasks series – Intent flags

The previous post of the Activities and Tasks series gave an introduction to the concepts behind activities and tasks. We have seen that activities correspond to visible screens in the UI, that activities are grouped as stacks within tasks, and tasks are sent to the background and foreground as atomic units. In this post of the series, we focus on Android’s intent concept and address the following questions:

  1. What are intents?
  2. How do we use them to launch activities?
  3. What options (flags) does Android provide to customize this launch? (e.g. in terms of target task or activity instance creation)

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