Denting via Android Intents

This is just a quick post to share something cool that I was playing with the other day. I was wondering if it was possible to send a message from an Android application via the Mustard identi.ca client. It turns out it is, and here’s how you do it:

Intent i = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
i.setType("text/plain");
i.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, "Testing intents on android");
startActivity(i);

These four lines of code hook into a key feature of the Android platform: Intents. The intent system is a neat way of communicating via apps and enables different apps to integrate together without knowing about each other specifically.

In this case, we are sending the ACTION_SEND intent, which Mustard is set up to handle. We set the mime-type of the message to ‘text/plain’ and put the contents of our message into the EXTRA_TEXT field. We then start the intent, and we’re done!

When the intent is started Android presents the user with a list of all the possible applications which can handle the ACTION_SEND intent. In my case this is Email, Gmail, Messaging and Mustard, when I select mustard the new message screen pops up and is populated with my message content. Hitting send posts the message and returns control to my app. Neat!

There are probably a whole host of ways you can integrate your apps with other apps on the phone using the intents system, I guess it’s just a matter of knowing what intents are received by each app and what they do.

Thanks to @macno (main developer of Mustard) and @bugabundo on identi.ca for their help working this out!

Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful. This is the first time I’ve posted about Android development, but I’ll hopefully write more about it in the future. Bye for now!

One thought on “Denting via Android Intents

  1. Jeremy says:

    That is cool! I was wondering what was behind the application types. Opening an image from the filebrowser for example. The Froyo intents update make much more sense now.

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