Inside the Manifest

The foundation for any Android application is the manifest file: AndroidManifest.xml in the root of your project. Here is where you declare what is inside your application—the activities, the services, and so on. You also indicate how these pieces attach themselves to the overall Android system; for example, you indicate which activity (or activities) should appear on the device's main menu (aka the launcher).

When you create your application, you will get a starter manifest generated for you. For a simple application, offering a single activity and nothing else, the auto-generated manifest will probably work out fine, or perhaps require a few minor modifications. On the other end of the spectrum, the manifest file for the Android API demo suite is over 1,000 lines long. Your production Android applications will probably fall somewhere in the middle.

Most of the interesting bits of the manifest will be described in greater detail in the chapters on their associated Android features. For example, the service element is described in greater detail in Chapter 30. For now, you just need to understand what the role of the manifest is and its general construction.

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