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Programming Mobile Services for Android Handheld Systems Communication

Course Summary

In this course, we will learn how to apply patterns and frameworks to alleviate the complexity of developing concurrent and networked applications and services on mobile devices running Android that connect to popular cloud computing platforms.

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    Course Syllabus

    • Section 0:
      • Part 1: Overview of Android Activity and Service Components
      • Part 2: Overview of Android Content Provider and Broadcast Receiver Components
    • Section 1: Android Services and Local IPC
      • Part 1: Overview of Started and Bound Services
      • Part 2: Programming Started Services
      • Part 3: Android IntentService
      • Part 4: Activity and Service Communication
      • Part 5: Service to Activity Communication Using Android Messenger
      • Part 6: Programming Bound Services with Messengers
      • Part 7: Overview of AIDL
      • Part 8: Programming Bound Services with AIDL
    • Section 2: Android Networking, Remote IPC, and Content Providers
      • Part 1: Overview of Android Network Programming with Sockets
      • Part 2: Overview of the HTTP Protocol and JSON
      • Part 3: Designing Android Applications with HTTP Communication
      • Part 4: Overview of Content Providers
      • Part 5: Advanced Content Provider Interactions
    • Section 3: Communication Patterns in Android
      • Part 1: Activating Services on Demand with the Activator Pattern
      • Part 2: Passing Commands to Services with the Command Processor Pattern
      • Part 3: Automating Marshaling and Demarshaling of Data with the Proxy Pattern
      • Part 4: Supporting Object-Oriented Remote Method Calls with the Broker Pattern
      • Part 5: Decoupling Producers from Consumers with the Publisher-Subscriber Pattern
    • Section 4: Case Study Applications
      • Part 1: The Acronym Application
      • Part 2: The Concurrent Downloads Application
      • Part 3: The Potlatch Application

    Throughout this MOOC we'll focus on pattern-oriented software architecture, with an emphasis on concurrent programming in the context of Android middleware systems programming mechanisms, such as synchronous and asynchronous concurrency models, background service processing, storage and retrieval of structured data, and local inter-process communication (IPC) and networking. We illustrate by example how key pattern and framework concepts and relationships are applied in Android Services, Content Providers, Broadcast Receivers, and various secure local and remote IPC mechanisms from both an application and infrastructure perspective. Many code examples are shown throughout using Java, with case study projects used to reify the key points throughout all the modules in this section.

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    Recommended Background

    Ideally, students who take this course will have already taken Professor Porter’s MOOCs on “Programming Mobile Applications with Android Handheld Systems”, as well as Part 1 of “Programming Mobile Services for Android Handheld Systems.” Students should also be familiar with general object-oriented design and programming concepts (such as encapsulation, abstraction, polymorphism, extensibility, and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) ), fundamental object-oriented programming language features (such as classes, inheritance, dynamic binding, and generics available in Java, basic systems programming concepts (such as event handling, processes/threads, synchronization, interprocess communication, and dynamic linking), and networking terminology (such as client/server and peer-to-peer architectures, TCP/IP, and layering).  We will review object-oriented design, systems programming, and networking concepts and techniques, so students who understand how to read/write Java code examples should be fine.

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    Course Format

    This course consists of both live and recorded lectures, with integrated quiz questions designed to ensure students understand the material covered in the lectures.  There will also be the following graded material:

    • Weekly quizzes. Each quiz will contain a number of equally-weighted questions. There will be four weekly quizzes.
    • Programming assignments. You will have N programming assignments (where N == 4) by the end of the course. You will have roughly 14 days to submit your solution. Each assignment will account for 1/Nth of the total programming assignment points, so it's possible to miss an assignment and still pass the class as long as you do well on the other assignments.  

    Signature TrackCoursera offers the Signature Track to verify the identity of students. Students in the Signature Track can receive a Verified Certificate, which involves earning a final grade greater than or equal to 70% on the quizzes, as well as completing the programming assignments with a score equal to 70% or higher.  It's  mandatory for students in the Signature Track to successfully achieve a Verified Certificate to be eligible to take the Capstone project at the end of the MoCCA Specialization.

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    Suggested Reading

    Although the lectures are designed to be largely self-contained, it's recommended (but not required) that students refer to the following books:

    • Mark Murphy, The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, CommonsWare.
    • Goetz et al., Java Concurrency in Practice, Addison-Wesley, 2006.
    • Doug Lea, Concurrent Programming in Java, Prentice Hall, 1999.
    • Gamma et at., Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1995.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 1: A System of Patterns, Wiley and Sons, 1996.
    • Schmidt et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 2: Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects, Wiley and Sons, 2000.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture:, Vol 4: A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing, Wiley and Sons, 2007.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 5 On Patterns and Pattern Langauges, Wiley and Sons, 2007.

    Much of this material is available online.

Course Fee:

Course Type:


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1 - 4 hours / week

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