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Learn Android 4.0 Programming in Java

Learn to write real, working Android applications quickly and effectively, from the ground up.
4.4 (1,196 ratings)
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57,763 students enrolled
Created by John Purcell
Last updated 2/2013
English English
  • 15.5 hours on-demand video
  • 6 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion

A practical guide to Android development. Learn to create Android programs using Java, and create the app of your dreams!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who wants to create Android apps
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What Will I Learn?
Learn how to create Android applications
View Curriculum
  • You should ideally already know some Java before taking this course.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 96 Lectures Collapse All 96 Lectures 15:21:27
Nuts and Bolts: The Basics of Android Programming
48 Lectures 07:53:27
What we're going to cover in the first section of the tutorial.
Nuts and Bolts Introduction

How to install the free software that you'll need to develop for Android.

Setting Up Your System

You'll need an emulator to see your first program running. We'll create one in this tutorial.

Creating An Emulator

Finally, it's time to create a "Hello World" application!

Hello World

The EditText "View" lets the user enter text. We'll use it in our application to let the user save some notes.

The EditText View

Buttons And Linear Layouts

In this tutorial we'll add some code that will get run when the "save" button is clicked.

Responding To Button Clicks

Important Notes

In spite of the ferocious-sounding names, DDMS and logcat are very easy to work with and will help you double-check what's going on in your application. In this tutorial we'll use DDMS to double-check that our button click handler is working as expected.

Debugging With DDMS And Logcat

There are various options for saving data in Android; search for "android storage options" in Google for more info. We'll be taking a look at some of them in this course, starting with saving files to internal storage in this tutorial.

Saving Files To Internal Storage

Now that we've written a file to internal storage, in this tutorial we'll move on to reading it.

Reading Files From Internal Storage

String Resources and Localization

You can, and should, create a nice icon to launch your application with. There are a few little complications to creating graphics for phones, but we'll get the hardest bit out the way right here!
Creating Launcher Icons

Running On Your Phone

Preferences allow you to save small amounts of data -- single boolean values, integers and so on -- in such a way that the data persists between runs of your application.
Saving Program Data: Preferences

Toasts are little dialogs which go away by themselves, enabling you to mention something to the user without being too annoying in the process.
Toasts: Alerting the User

Applications often consist of more than one activitiy. Here we'll create a second activity that we're going to use to display an image.
Adding a New Activity

The ImageView view lets you display images.
Displaying Images with the ImageView View

You can use touch listeners to find out exactly where the user touches the screen.
Getting Touch Coordinates

If you really want a dialog and not a toast, you can have one. Here we use one to make sure the user has absolutely definitely read our information before proceeding.
Alert Dialogs

While not Android-specific, I'll be using the Event-Listener pattern to simplify the code a little bit. We'll cover it here. If you only want to know Android-specific stuff, you can skip this tutorial. But if you want to increase your mastery of Java, stay tuned.
The Event-Listener (aka Observer) Pattern

Android incorporates the SQLite database. Here we'll see how to create a database that your application can use to store data. I assume you know basic SQL for this tutorial, or else at least don't mind seeing a bit of SQL from time to time ...
Creating a Database

Adding Data to a Database

Once we've covered retrieving values from our database, we'll finally be able to check that it actually works ....
Retrieving Data from Databases

Asynchronous tasks let you execute stuff in the background. If you have a task that takes up to a few seconds, it's best to execute it in the background rather than hold up your main application thread, freezing the interface. Note: if you have a task that takes more than a few seconds, you need to look into more general Java concurrency; check out my free tutorials on multithreading on www.caveofprogramming.com. 
Asynchronous Tasks: Running Stuff in the Background

You can't update the main thread from the doInBackground method of an asynchronous task. So how can you return data from your processing? We'll look at that here. 
Verifying the Passpoints: Getting Return Values From Asynchronous Tasks

You can declare the screen sizes your application supports in the manifest file, and indeed you should ....
Supporting Different Screen Resolutions

To tell your phone to do something programmatically, you need to create an "intent". Here we'll use an intent to launch an activity.
Intents and Launching Activities

You can nest ViewGroups to create quite complex layouts, although this isn't always the most efficient way to arrange your screen.
Nesting ViewGroups

Option Menus

Often you want to start some activity and send it some data at the same time, perhaps instructing it to take some special action.
Passing Data to Activities

You can trigger an activity and return later to the activity you triggered it from. This is very useful for stuff like taking photos in your application, as well as about a million other things, so we'll take a look at it here.

Taking Photos

How to save the photos you take and use them in your application, plus a first look at permissions in Android.
Saving and Displaying Photos

ListViews allow the user to choose between a bunch of different options. They're one of the commonest Android views, so well worth knowing.
List Views

You can populate your lists dynamically at runtime, rather than hardcoding values. We'll also look at retrieving string array resources in this tutorial.
Dynamically Populating Lists

Formatting List Items: Custom Adapters

Using Icons in Views

You can take style information (fonts, colours, etc) out of your XML layouts and put them in separate stylesheets instead. That way you can more easily re-use a given style, and you can collect all style information together in one place. A style for an entire activity is known as a theme. In this tutorial we'll use styles to style our list demo.
Styles and Themes

Selectors are drawable items that change depending on your application state. We'll use color selectables here to change the color of list items temporarily when you click on them.

Relative layout is a very powerful ViewGroup that allows you to create complex arrangements of Views by positioning them relative to each other.
Relative Layouts

How to browse the gallery from your application by launching an appropriate sub-activity.
Browsing the Gallery

Once you've browsed the gallery and selected an image, you have to do a little work to convert the URI of the image to a file name ....
Retrieving an Image from the Gallery

All activities have a "lifecycle", which you need to understand and can use to your advantage.
The Activity Lifecycle and Saving Data

Some things you shouldn't forget to do before attempting to publish your app.
Pre-Publication Checks

You can use DDMS to take screenshots of your application, which you can then use when you publish your app.
Taking Screenshots of Your App

You need to sign your application by creating a digital certificate before you can publish it. In this tutorial we'll see how to create a digital certificate and export the app as an .apk file, signed with the certificate.
Signing and Exporting Your App

Once you've digitally signed and exported your app, it's easy to publish it --- although you do need to pay 25 USD for a developer account before you can publish apps. We'll look at the process here.
Publishing Your App
More Useful Stuff
3 Lectures 25:32
Using 3rd Party APIs

Action bars are those bars that appear at the top of the screen in Android 3.0 or greater. You can put icons, titles and menus in them. We'll take a good look at menus in this tutorial, as well as how to turn display of the titles and icons on and off.
Action Bars

Once you've created your action bar menu, you'll be wanting to take action when someone selects things from it. We'll see how to do it here.
Responding to Action Bar Menu Clicks
10 Lectures 01:45:49
In this tutorial we'll start to look at communication by taking the simplest case -- downloading textual data from the Internet.
Downloading Text Data from the Internet

Let's take a look at how phones can communicate with PCs, with the Internet and with each other. No code in this tutorial; it's just an overview. 
Internet Communication Overview

In this tutorial we'll create a simple Java servlet program to act as an Internet server for our device to communicate with. You can find more about servlet programming at this url:


The first seven videos are free and cover everything you need to know in detail to get a servlet up and running on the Internet. You could also use something like PHP or Ruby to get a server program up and running.

A Simple Server (Java Servlet) Program

If you want to send small amounts of data to a server (e.g. an id) you can do it via a HTTP GET (in other words, in the URL). 
Sending Small Amounts of Data to a Server

If you want to send text to a server in a URL, you have to be careful to only send small amounts and you need to take care of special characters. We'll look at the latter here.
URL Escaping

Let's take a look at an example of an existing JSON server. You can write your own JSON servers too, of course. JSON is an alternative to XML, and either option is a good way to protect a database while allowing people to connect to it in a controlled way.
Introducing JSON with Twitter and The Onion

Decoding JSON

Let's take a look at encoding data in the JSON format.
Encoding Data as JSON

Responding to POST Requests in a Servlet

If you want to send a lot of data to a server, you'll want to send it via a POST request, not a GET. We'll look at how to POST text (JSON) data here.
Posting JSON Data to a Server
Layout Techniques
5 Lectures 01:07:23
Fragments are self-contained re-useable parts of activities. In this tutorial we'll create a simple example.
Introducing Fragments

ListFragment is a specialised kind of fragment that makes displaying lists very easy. We'll take a look at it here.
Using ListFragment to Display Lists

It's pretty easy to format items in a list fragment (or anything else that uses ArrayAdapter to format items). Let's do it here, because these items are rather unsightly due to being unduly large.
Formatting Items in ListFragment

The key to fragment communication is the Observer pattern, which old hands will recognise at once, while if you're relatively new to GUI programming, you may be left puzzled by it. In this tutorial we'll break it down into steps, and you'll most likely find that once you've typed out the steps yourself a few times, it'll start to really make sense.
Fragment Communication

You can replace one fragment with another, meaning we can do stuff like showing fragments side by side on a large screen, but replacing one with another in response to user interaction on a small screen. In this tutorial we'll look at how to use the fragment manager to replace one fragment with another.
Managing Fragments
Games and Animation
21 Lectures 03:27:29
Introducing frame-based animation in Android with a very simple game example.
Animation Introduction

By extending SurfaceView we can create a view that we can use for drawing on.

Just a quick note on the software I used to generate the elementary sound and graphics for this section of the tutorial.
Images and Sound: POV Ray and Psycle

Finally we can draw some images!
Drawing Images

Our game is going to start up when the view surface is created, and stop (or pause) when the drawing surface is destroyed; so for that we need to know how to detect surface creation and destruction events.
Detecting Surface Changes

In this tutorial we'll set up a separate thread that will tell our game when to update and draw itself. It'll contain the "game loop" that's at the hard of all serious animation projects.
The Animation Thread (Game Loop)

In this tutorial we'll create a game class that basically will manage the various entities that will compose our game, drawing them and updating them.
The Game Class

Let's create a class that can represent a sprite (an entity that visually appears in our game). We'll get it drawing something in this tutorial; then we can use it as a base class for specific game entities in future.
A Sprite Class

In this tutorial we'll make our first sprite actually move.
Animating the Sprite

Making the Ball Bounce

In this tutorial I'm just going to show you a little bit of code I added to enable me to position the shadow relative to the main image. We'll also take a quick look at auto-cropping in GIMP.
Bring Out the GIMP: Autocropping

In this tutorial we'll add a couple of bats to our game. They won't hit the ball or move yet, but at least they'll be there.
Adding the Bats

Let's use the standard Random class to randomise the direction of the ball when the game starts.
Randomising the Ball Position

By handling touch events we can control the player's bat, taking a big step towards turning this from an animation into a game.
Controlling the Player's Bat (Touch Events)

In this tutorial we'll add a simple random algorithm to control the opponent's bat, giving a sort of vague appearance of a deranged hyperactive intelligence.
Simulating Intelligence

Once we've added some collision detection, making good use of Rect.contains(), we can get the ball to bounce off the bats.
Collision Detection

It's useful to be able to draw text in games, either to display an entire status screen, or just to show the score.
Drawing Text

In this tutorial we add states to our game, so that it can be paused vs running, won or lost etc.
Game States

It's time to add sound to our game! In this tutorial we'll look at playing sounds in Android.
Playing a Sound

In this tutorial we'll look at an efficient way of playing multiple sounds.
Playing Multiple Sounds

Now we can add the finishing touch to our game by allowing the user to adjust the volume, without which our game would be rather annoying.
Adjusting the Volume
Map Applications with Android V2 API
4 Lectures 41:05
The first step to creating a maps V2 application is installing Google Play Services and creating a library project.
Installing Google Play Services

Creating and signing a basic application; we'll leave actually getting it working for the next tutorial!
Creating and Signing a Map Application

Finally we can get the map demo up and running and actually see a map, if we're lucky.
Getting the Map Demo Running

This is a tutorial on adding markers to maps and making them clickable. Well if I'm honest, it's me blundering through the documentation to figure out how to do this. Hopefully it's entertaining :) It's good to see that Google have simplified this a lot since the last API version.
Adding Markers to Maps
Appendix 1: Source Code
5 Lectures 00:28
Nuts and Bolts Source Code

Communication source attached. Note, one of these projects is actually a Java servlet, not an Android app. If you prefer to use a PHP server, you can find an example at http://www.caveofprogramming.com/php/php-json-an-example-javascript-json-client-with-php-server/
Communication Source Code

Layout Techniques Source Code (Fragments)

Games and Animation Source Code

Attached you can find the source code for the map applications (API version 2, which is the latest version as of March 2013 --- but may not be the latest if you're watching this in the future .... note, Android maps API is only up to version 2, while the Javascript map API - something else entirely -- is up to version 3.)
Maps Source Code
About the Instructor
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Software Development Trainer

After working as a software developer and contractor for over 14 years for a whole bunch of companies including CSC, Proquest, SPSS and AT&T in the UK and Netherlands, I decided to work full-time as a private software trainer. I now live in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary, from where I run the website Cave of Programming.

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