The ABC'S of Android: A quick start guide to learning Android

By Quintin Balsdon

Elevator Pitch

Are you a developer looking for the “int main()” in Android? In this session, I’ll explain the basic concepts and structure of an Android application to get you on your way to engaging people on a whole new level.



A is for Activity

The entry point for any Android screen is an Activity. This is where a user will engage with the application and you as a developer will spend most of your time

B is for Broadcast

Broadcasts are how we can communicate with the Android system, mainly used as “events of interest”

C is for Content Providers

This is a mechanism by which other applications can share data in a client-server fashion, for example: requesting a list of contacts from the contacts app

S is for Services

Services are non UI elements with longer running purposes

Intents and Context

The “Glue” that binds all these concepts together. Intents and Context are important components to all apps



The manifest file is a list of all Activities, Broadcasts, Content Providers and Services. It also lists the permissions and features the app will be using


There are 2 important files where dependencies are declared


I have been teaching computer science related topics since 2004, presented papers in several international conferences and been developing Android applications for over 8 years. I have mentored many developers in Android development and this presentation is a labour of love.