Chapter 12. Putting Android to work in a field service application

This chapter covers

  • Designing a real-world Android application
  • Mapping out the application flow
  • Writing application source code
  • Downloading, data parsing, and signature capture
  • Uploading data to a server

Now that we’ve introduced and examined Android and some of its core technologies, it’s time to put together a more comprehensive application. Exercising APIs can be informative, educational, and even fun for a while, but at some point a platform must demonstrate its worth via an application that can be used outside of the ivory tower—and that’s what this chapter is all about. In this chapter, we systematically design, code, and test an Android application to aid a team of field service technicians in performing their job. The application syncs XML data with an internet-hosted server, presents data to the user via intuitive user interfaces, links to Google Maps, and concludes by collecting customer signatures via Android’s touch screen. Many of the APIs introduced earlier are exercised here, demonstrating the power and versatility of the Android platform.

In addition to an in-depth Android application, this chapter’s sample application works with a custom website application that manages data for use by a mobile worker. This server-side code is presented briefly toward the end of the chapter. All of the source code for the server-side application is available for download from the book’s companion website.

12.1. Designing a real-world Android application

12.2. Mapping out the application flow

12.3. Application source code

12.4. Source code for managing jobs

12.5. Server code

12.6. Summary