Android Dreams, Widgets and Notifications: Life Outside Your App

This course teaches you how to provide users with a rich and interactive experience without ever requiring them to open your app through the effective use of Android Dreams, widgets, and notifications.
Course info
Rating
(47)
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Nov 19, 2013
Duration
3h 20m
Table of contents
Providing an Out-of-App Experience
Creating Engaging Notfications
Making Notfications Interactive
Creating Home Screen Widgets
Updating and Configuring Widgets
Description
Course info
Rating
(47)
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Nov 19, 2013
Duration
3h 20m
Description

Sometimes the best app experiences occur completely outside of your app. Users must often switch back and forth between a variety of tasks, which they can do much more effectively if they can interact with each app’s information without having to explicitly open the app. This course teaches you how to provide this incredible out-of-app user experience using Android dreams, widgets, and notifications. Dreams allow your app to display information or provide entertainment while the device is docked or charging. Widgets allow your app to provide an interactive user experience directly on the Android home screen. With notifications your app can provide information to the user through the status bar even when the user is using a different app; notifications can also gather information from the user and, when necessary, allow the user to jump directly to the appropriate screen within your app right from the status bar.

About the author
About the author

Jim Wilson is president of JW Hedgehog, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in solutions for the Android, iOS, and Microsoft platforms. Jim has over 30 years of software engineering experience, with the past 15 years heavily focused on creating mobile device and location-based solutions.

More from the author
More courses by Jim Wilson
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Providing an Out-of-App Experience
Welcome to the Pluralsight course Android Dreams, Widgets, and Notifications, Life Outside Your App. This is our first module, Providing an Out-of-App Experience, my name is Jim Wilson. In this first module we're going to introduce much of the rest of the course, so the first one we're going to look at is why an application isn't enough, why do we need to interact with user outside our application? Then we're going to introduce the concept of Android notifications, and we're going to actually dig into those a great deal later into this course. We'll introduce Android Widgets, something else we'll talk about a great deal later in this course. And then we'll finish up this module with talking about something that's relatively new to Android, something called Dreams.

Creating Engaging Notfications
Welcome to the Creating Engaging Notifications module, of Pluralsight course, Android Dreams, Widgets and Notifications, Life Outside Your App. My name is Jim Wilson. In this module the first thing we're going to look at is, creating compatible notifications, how do we create notifications that are positioned to take advantage of the rich capabilities of newer versions of Android, but still work effectively on the older versions of Android? Then we look at associating actions with notifications, basically triggering something when these are clicks on a notifications. And then we get into the issue of personalized notifications, when you send a notification, or when you display a notification it's much more than just a bunch of information's right? It doesn't need to be meaningful to the user, so look at ways to make that more meaningful, particularly in the case of when a notification that a user receives ties to an individual that user might know, maybe a message they received from someone, or a notification about a worker, how we make that immediately obvious in the notification. Deal with the issue of stacking notifications, it's not uncommon for a particular application to have to generate a large number of notifications, we don't want to fill up users notification area with a bunch of messages from one app, so we use stacking to combine those in a meaningful way so the users aware that things are going on, and can easily get to the details when they need to see them. And then finally we'll look at expandable notifications, the ability to incorporate extended information in a notification, large amounts of text, or even relatively large images directly inside of a notification.

Making Notfications Interactive
Welcome to the Making Notifications Interactive module, of the Pluralsight course Android Dreams, Widgets and Notifications, Life Outside Your App, my name is Jim Wilson. In this course the first thing we're going to look at is notification and how they affect activity navigation, particularly how they affect the back stack. Then we'll look at foreground services, which is an effect of service that ties itself to a notification. Something called notification actions, the ability to provide multiple actions for the user to perform directly from the notifications. How to create a custom layout for your notifications, so if you don't like the default layouts you can build one of your own. And in order to create custom layouts we need to understand something called RemoteViews, the ability to describe a layout in one application and then pass it to another process.

Creating Home Screen Widgets
Welcome to the Creating Home screen Widgets module, of the Pluralsight course Android Dreams, Widgets and Notifications, Life Outside Your App, my name is Jim Wilson. Now this is the first module of two that talk about widgets, so initially in this module what we'll look at is, widget behavior and interaction, what do they do and how do they work with the system and your components? What is our basic widget creations check list? How do we get started building a widget, and what are the steps we have to follow? Completing widget creation, widget creation occurs in phases and even though we do some initial build work, once the user drops it onto the home screen additional steps have to occur and we'll look at those. And finally we'll look at the widget broadcast actions, what are the various broadcast intents that we might receive for our widgets, and what are we expected to do when those broadcasts arrive?

Updating and Configuring Widgets
Welcome to the Updating and Configuring Widgets module, the Pluralsight course Android Dreams, Widgets and Notifications, Life Outside Your App, my name is Jim Wilson. So in this module we're going to look at the different ways that a widget can be updated, so we're going to start out by just looking at the various options for updating our widgets, and then we'll go through each one. One is the widget provider update period where we just use configuration information to say that the widget should be updated at some regular interval. Look at application triggered update, so something actually goes on in your application and because of that you need to change what the widget displays or how it behaves, how do we do that? As part of doing that we'll need to look more closely at RemoteViews, and understand how it can modify RemoteViews prior to passing them off into the widget system. We're going to look at AlarmManager triggered updates, a way to have very very close control over a timing based updates, and have those even modify and change over time. And then we'll finish up with adding and configuration activity, how do we allow the user to customize our widget as they drop it onto the home screen?