This section jumps right into the fray of Android development to focus on an important component of the Android platform, then expands to take a broader view of how Android applications are constructed. An important and recurring theme of Android development is the Intent. An Intent in Android describes what you want to do. This may look like "I want to look up a contact record," or "Please launch this website," or "Show the Order Confirmation Screen." Intents are important because they not only facilitate navigation in an innovative way as discussed next, but they also represent the most important aspect of Android coding. Understand the Intent, understand Android.
NOTE Instructions for setting up the Eclipse development environment are found in appendix A. This environment is used for all examples in this book. Chapter 2 goes into more detail on setting up and using the development tools.
The code examples in this chapter are primarily for illustrative purposes. Classes are referenced and introduced without necessarily naming specific Java packages. Subsequent chapters take a more rigorous approach to introducing Android-specific packages and classes.
The next section provides foundational information about why Intents are important, then describes how Intents work. Beyond the introduction of the Intent, the remainder of this chapter describes the major elements of Android application development leading up to and including the first complete application.
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