Intents and Activities

Create Parent Activity and pass  its information to Child Activity using Intents.

.xml and .java files to pass message between two activities

Intents: An Intent is a messaging object used to request an action from another app component. There are three basic uses of Intents :

  1. To start an activity: An Activity represents a single screen in an app. You can start a new instance of an Activity by passing an Intent to startActivity(). The Intent describes the activity to start and carries any necessary data. If you want to receive a result from the activity when it finishes, call startActivityForResult(). Your activity receives the result as a separate Intent object in your activity’s onActivityResult() callback.
  2. To start a service: A Service is a component that performs operations in the background without a user interface. You can start a service to perform a one-time operation (such as download a file) by passing an Intent to startService(). The Intent describes the service to start and carries any necessary data.
  3. To deliver a broadcast: A broadcast is a message that any app can receive. The system delivers various broadcasts for system events, such as when the system boots up or the device starts charging. You can deliver a broadcast to other apps by passing an Intent to sendBroadcast(), sendOrderedBroadcast(), or sendStickyBroadcast().

 Intent Types: There are two types of intents:

  •  Explicit intents specify the component to start by name (the fully-qualified class name). You’ll typically use an explicit intent to start a component in your own app, because you know the class name of the activity or service you want to start. For example, start a new activity in response to a user action or start a service to download a file in the background.
  • Implicit intents do not name a specific component, but instead declare a general action to perform, which allows a component from another app to handle it. For example, if you want to show the user a location on a map, you can use an implicit intent to request that another capable app show a specified location on a map.

 

When you construct an intent, you must specify the action you want the intent to “trigger.” Android defines several actions, including ACTION_SEND which, as you can probably guess, indicates that the intent is sending data from one activity to another, even across process boundaries. To send data to another activity, all you need to do is specify the data and its type, the system will identify compatible receiving activities and display them to the user (if there are multiple options) or immediately start the activity (if there is only one option).

Sending and receiving data between applications with intents is most commonly used for social sharing of content. Intents allow users to share information quickly and easily, using their favorite applications.

Send Text Content: The most straightforward and common use of the ACTION_SEND action is sending text content from one activity to another. For example, the built-in Browser app can share the URL of the currently-displayed page as text with any application. This is useful for sharing an article or website with friends via email or social networking. Here is the code to implement this type of sharing:

Intent sendIntent = new Intent();
sendIntent.setAction(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
sendIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, "This is my text to send.");
sendIntent.setType("text/plain");
startActivity(sendIntent);

If there’s an installed application with a filter that matches ACTION_SEND and MIME type text/plain, the Android system will run it; if more than one application matches, the system displays a disambiguation dialog (a “chooser”) that allows the user to choose an app.

However, if you call Intent.createChooser(), passing it your Intent object, it returns a version of your intent that will always display the chooser. This has some advantages:

  • Even if the user has previously selected a default action for this intent, the chooser will still be displayed.
  • If no applications match, Android displays a system message.
  • You can specify a title for the chooser dialog.

 

Here’s the updated code:

Intent sendIntent = new Intent();
sendIntent.setAction(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
sendIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, "This is my text to send.");
sendIntent.setType("text/plain");
startActivity(Intent.createChooser(sendIntent, getResources().
getText(R.string.send_to)));

Update Your Manifest: Intent filters inform the system what intents an application component is willing to accept. Similar to how you constructed an intent with action ACTION_SEND in the Sending Simple Data to Other Apps lesson, you create intent filters in order to be able to receive intents with this action. You define an intent filter in your manifest, using the <intent-filter> element. For example, if your application handles receiving text content, a single image of any type, or multiple images of any type, your manifest would look like:

<activity android:name=".ui.MyActivity" >
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEND" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <data android:mimeType="image/*" />
    </intent-filter>
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEND" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <data android:mimeType="text/plain" />
   </intent-filter>
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEND_MULTIPLE" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <data android:mimeType="image/*" />
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

Handle the Incoming Content: To handle the content delivered by an Intent, start by calling getIntent() to get Intent object. Once you have the object, you can examine its contents to determine what to do next. Keep in mind that if this activity can be started from other parts of the system, such as the launcher, then you will need to take this into consideration when examining the intent.

void onCreate (Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   ...
    // Get intent, action and MIME type
    Intent intent = getIntent();
    String action = intent.getAction();
    String type = intent.getType();
    if (Intent.ACTION_SEND.equals(action) && type != null) {
        if ("text/plain".equals(type)) {
            handleSendText(intent); // Handle text being sent
        } else if (type.startsWith("image/")) {
            handleSendImage(intent); // Handle single image being sent
        }
    } else if (Intent.ACTION_SEND_MULTIPLE.equals(action) && type != null) {
        if (type.startsWith("image/")) {
            handleSendMultipleImages(intent); // Handle multiple images being sent
        }
    } else {
        // Handle other intents, such as being started from the home screen
    }
    ...
}
void handleSendText(Intent intent) {
    String sharedText = intent.getStringExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT);
    if (sharedText != null) {
        // Update UI to reflect text being shared
    }
void handleSendImage(Intent intent) {
    Uri imageUri = (Uri) intent.getParcelableExtra(Intent.EXTRA_STREAM);
    if (imageUri != null) {
        // Update UI to reflect image being shared
    }
}
void handleSendMultipleImages(Intent intent) {
    ArrayList<Uri> imageUris = intent.getParcelableArrayListExtra
(Intent.EXTRA_STREAM);
    if (imageUris != null) {
        // Update UI to reflect multiple images being shared
    }

}

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