Android Module Quick Start

Introduction

This guide walks through the steps to create, build and test an Android module using Studio.  The equivalent CLI instructions are given in the information boxes near the top of each section.

Android module prerequisites

To develop an Android-based Module, you need to install the following tools and setup a few additional environment variables:

If you want to use Studio, install:

Create a new module

First, create a new module project.

CLI Instructions

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 From a terminal, change the current working directory to your workspace and run:

cd /PATH/TO/WORKSPACE
appc new --n test --id com.example.test -p Android
## when prompted, select "Titanium Module"

In Studio:

  1. From the menu, select File > New > Mobile Module Project to open the New Mobile Module Project dialog.
  2. In the Project name field, enter test.
  3. In the Module Id field, enter com.example.test.
  4. In Deployment Targets, select Android.
  5. Click Next, then click Finish.

Studio sets up a new folder called test that contains your module project.

Build and package the module

Next, build the module and package it. This process produces a ZIP file in the android /dist directory containing a binary library with unprocessed module assets, example code and documentation.

CLI Instructions

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From a terminal, go to the module's android directory and run appc run -p android --build-only:

cd test/android
appc run -p android --build-only

After the build completes, unzip the built module in the Titanium SDK home path:

unzip -o com.example.test-android-1.0.0.zip -d ~/Library/Application\ Support/Titanium/

In Studio:

  1. Select your module folder in the Project Explorer view.
  2. Verify Package and Android Module are displayed in Launch Mode and Launch Target, respectively.
  3. Click the Package icon to open the Package Android Module dialog.
  4. In Output Location, choose the Titanium SDK to install the module in the Titanium SDK home path to be accessed by any Titanium application.
  5. Click Finish.

Studio builds and installs the module to the Titanium SDK home path.

Test the module

To test the module, create a test application and add the module as a dependency of the project.  Then, load the module and make module API calls to the module reference.

Create a test application

CLI Instructions

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From a new terminal window, change the current working directory to your workspace and run the following commands:

cd /PATH/TO/WORKSPACE
appc new -t titanium -p android -d . -n Hello -u http:// --id com.example.hello
cd Hello/

In Studio:

  1. From the menu, select File > New > Mobile App Project to open the New Mobile App Project dialog.
  2. On the Project Template page, select Default Alloy Project as the template type, then click Next.
  3. On the Project Location page, enter the following information:
    • In the Project Name field, enter Hello.
    • In the App ID field, enter com.example.hello.
    • In Deployment Targets, select Android.
  4. Click Finish to create the project. 

Studio sets up a new folder called Hello that contains the test application you will be using to test the module.

Add the module as a dependency to the project

To load the module in the application, you need to add it as a dependency to the project.

CLI Instructions

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Open the tiapp.xml and update the <modules/> element to include the module as a dependency to the project: 

<ti:app>
    <modules>
        <module platform="android">com.example.test</module>
    </modules>
</ti:app>

In Studio:

  1. Open the tiapp.xml file located in the root directory of the project.

  2. Under the Modules section, click the Add button.

  3. Select com.example.test.
  4. Click OK.

Load the module and make module API calls

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The module can be loaded by passing the module ID to the require()method, which returns a reference to the module that API calls can be made on.

Open the app/alloy.js file and replace the code with the following, which invokes API calls to the module:

app/alloy.js
var test = require('com.example.test');
Ti.API.info("module is => " + test);
Ti.API.info("module example() method returns => " + test.example());
Ti.API.info("module exampleProp is => " + test.exampleProp);
test.exampleProp = "This is a test value";

Run the application

CLI Instructions

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From a terminal that has the test app as its current working directory, run:

appc run -p android

In the Studio toolbar, select Run in Launch Modes and select an Android emulator in Launch Targets.

Studio builds and launches the application on the selected Android simulator.  Monitor the Console view for log output.

The console lines seen below show us that the module is working as expected.

Console
[INFO]  module is => [object Object]
[INFO]  module example() method returns => hello world
[INFO]  module exampleProp is => hello world

Modify the module

Let's modify the module code to create a view object and access a string property.

First, look at some of the default files created by the Titanium SDK.  Expand the android/src/com/example/test folder.  Inside this folder are two files:

  • TestModule.java: This is a boiler plate Module class.  Every module requires a module class, which acts as the base API for the module, such as providing the module ID, GUID, etc.
  • ExampleProxy.java: This is a boiler plate Proxy class that you can model your module Proxy and View components on.  All Proxy classes must end with Proxy in the name of the class and file.

Add a View Proxy and View

To display any UI with a module, create a view proxy and view class in pairs.  Open the ExampleProxy.java file and replace its contents with the following:

ExampleProxy.java
package com.example.test;

import org.appcelerator.kroll.KrollDict;
import org.appcelerator.kroll.annotations.Kroll;
import org.appcelerator.kroll.common.AsyncResult;
import org.appcelerator.kroll.common.TiMessenger;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.TiApplication;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.TiC;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.util.TiConvert;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.proxy.TiViewProxy;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.view.TiCompositeLayout;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.view.TiCompositeLayout.LayoutArrangement;
import org.appcelerator.titanium.view.TiUIView;
import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Handler;
import android.os.Message;
import android.view.View;

@Kroll.proxy(creatableInModule=TestModule.class)
public class ExampleProxy extends TiViewProxy
{    
    private static final int MSG_SET_COLOR = 70000;
    private static final String PROPERTY_COLOR = "color";
    
    private class ExampleView extends TiUIView
    {
        public ExampleView(TiViewProxy proxy) {
            super(proxy);
            LayoutArrangement arrangement = LayoutArrangement.DEFAULT;
            if (proxy.hasProperty(TiC.PROPERTY_LAYOUT)) {
                String layoutProperty = TiConvert.toString(proxy.getProperty(TiC.PROPERTY_LAYOUT));
                if (layoutProperty.equals(TiC.LAYOUT_HORIZONTAL)) {
                    arrangement = LayoutArrangement.HORIZONTAL;
                } else if (layoutProperty.equals(TiC.LAYOUT_VERTICAL)) {
                    arrangement = LayoutArrangement.VERTICAL;
                }
            }
            setNativeView(new TiCompositeLayout(proxy.getActivity(), arrangement));
        }

        @Override
        public void processProperties(KrollDict props) 
        {
            super.processProperties(props);
            
            // Check if the color is specified when the view was created
            if (props.containsKey(PROPERTY_COLOR)) {
                View square = (View)getNativeView();
                square.setBackgroundColor(TiConvert.toColor(props, PROPERTY_COLOR));            
                square.invalidate();
            }
        }        

        // Setter method called by the proxy when the 'color' property is set.
        public void setColor(String color) 
        {            
            // Use the TiConvert method to get the values from the arguments
            int newColor = TiConvert.toColor(color);
            View square = (View)getNativeView();
            square.setBackgroundColor(newColor);
        }        
    }
 

    @Override
    public TiUIView createView(Activity activity)
    {
        TiUIView view = new ExampleView(this);
        view.getLayoutParams().autoFillsHeight = true;
        view.getLayoutParams().autoFillsWidth = true;
        return view;
    }

    @Kroll.setProperty(retain=false)
    public void setColor(final String color) 
    {    
        // Get the view object from the proxy and set the color
        if (view != null) {
            if (!TiApplication.isUIThread()) {
                // If we are not on the UI thread, need to use a message to set the color
                TiMessenger.sendBlockingMainMessage(new Handler(TiMessenger.getMainMessenger().getLooper(), new Handler.Callback() {
                    public boolean handleMessage(Message msg) {
                        switch (msg.what) {
                            case MSG_SET_COLOR: {
                                AsyncResult result = (AsyncResult) msg.obj;
                                ExampleView fooView = (ExampleView)view;
                                fooView.setColor(color);
                                result.setResult(null);
                                return true;
                            }
                        }
                        return false;
                    }
                }).obtainMessage(MSG_SET_COLOR), color);
            } else {
                ExampleView fooView = (ExampleView)view;
                fooView.setColor(color);
            }
        }
        // Updates the property on the JavaScript proxy object
        setProperty("color", color, true);
    }
}

The ExampleProxy class extends the TiViewProxy class.  This class exposes the view to the JavaScript and acts as an intermediary between the JavaScript and the native view.  The class implements one method of the TiViewProxy class and a custom setter method:

  • createView : This method must be implemented in every class that extends a TiViewProxy.  The method should create and return the View.
  • setColor : Calls the setColor method of the view and sets the color property on the JavaScript proxy object.  Note the @Kroll.setProperty annotation before the method.  This annotation exposes the property and setter to JavaScript.

The ExampleView class extends the TiUIView class. The TiUIView can be added to other Titanium views and windows, which makes it the perfect place for a UIView to be added so that it can be displayed in a Titanium app. This class creates the native view to display.  The class implements the the constructor and one method of the TiUIView class, and a custom setter method:

  • constructor: The constructor must be implemented in every class that extends a TiUIView.
  • processProperties :  This method allows the application to processes properties passed in when the view is created.  In this example, the application intercepts the color property to set the native view's background color.
  • setColor : Sets the background color of the native view.  This method is called by the View Proxy's setColor method.

Notice the @Kroll.proxy(creatableInModule=TestModule.class) annotation before the View Proxy class declaration.  This annotation exposes the createExample() method to JavaScript to create the view from a Titanium application.  The name of the method is the name of the View Proxy class without the Proxy suffix, then prefixed with create.  For example, if the class was calledTestViewProxy (rather than ExampleProxy), the method would be called createTestView() (rather than createExample()).

Below is an example of calling createExample(), and passing dimensions and color properties to the method.

Example
var view = test.createExample({
    color: 'blue',
    height: 50,
    width: 50
});
win.add(view);

Add a property

A Proxy is a key/value store like an Object. Without any modification, you can set properties on a Module, Proxy or ViewProxy and then read them back at will as if they were properties. You can also override the getters and setters to add some custom logic.

Modify the default module class file to store and retrieve a string value.  Add a private variable to store the string value, then modify the example setter and getter to actually set and get the variable you just declared. These methods are already declared in the ComExampleTestModule.m file but not implemented. Titanium requires that all setter methods be declared with the method name starting with set and being passed an id datatype.

TestModule.java
    private String foo;
...
    @Kroll.getProperty @Kroll.method
    public String getExampleProp()
    {
        Log.i(LCAT, "In Module - the stored value for exampleProp:" + foo);
        return foo;
    }

    @Kroll.setProperty @Kroll.method
    public void setExampleProp(String value) {
        Log.i(LCAT, "In Module - the new value for exampleProp:" + foo);
        foo = value;
    }

In the JavaScript code, the foo string can be accessed using the exampleProp property, and getExampleProp() and setExampleProp () methods.

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To create a property without a custom getter or setter, add the property name in the propertyAccessors element list of the @Kroll.proxy or @Kroll.module annotation type:

// package...
// import(s)...
@Kroll.module(name="Test", id="com.example.test", propertyAccessors = {"exampleProp"})
public class TestModule extends KrollModule {
    // Class stuff...
}

Test the module

Open the app/views/index.xml file and replace the code with the following, which loads the module and displays a red square:

app/views/index.xml
<Alloy>
	<Window>
        <!-- Invokes the createView method and provides a reference to the module in the controller -->
		<Module id="test" module="com.example.test" method="createView" height="50" width="50" color="red"/>
	</Window>
</Alloy>

Open the app/controllers/index.js file and replace the code with the following, which invokes API calls to the module:

app/controllers/index.js
$.index.open();

$.test.exampleProp = 'foobar';
Ti.API.info('exampleProp: ' + $.test.getExampleProp()); 

Build and install your module, then run the example app. 

When the application starts running, you see should a red square in the middle of the screen and see the log output below, which means the application successfully loaded the module and called its APIs.

Console
[INFO] :   TestModule: (KrollRuntimeThread) [1,165] In Module - the new value for exampleProp:foobar
[INFO] :   TestModule: (KrollRuntimeThread) [2,167] In Module - the stored value for exampleProp:foobar
[INFO]  exampleProp: foobar

Next steps

  • For information about how to structure your module project, add assets or third-party frameworks to your module project or more details on how to use the CLI or Studio, see Android Module Project.
  • For information about how to construct the class components for your project, see Android Module Architecture.
  • For more examples of using the module API, see the ti.moddevguide Github project.

AIDL support

As of 5.2.0, building Android modules now supports AIDL files. To use AIDL files in your app, apply the following steps:

  1. Using Studio, you can generate the AIDL .java file. The AIDL file is only used to generate the Java interface code. Once that file is available, it isn't required anymore. See Android Developer's page called Preparing Your In-app Billing Application for more details.
  2. Copy over the AIDL file into the correct namespace package folder into the src directory of the Appcelerator Studio module.

See IInAppBillingService.java for reference information.

Note: Prior to Studio 5.2.0, you will need to use either Eclipse or Android Studio to generate the AIDL file.

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