Android 3.0 SDK, Multi-Pane UI and “Fragments”
With Android 3.0 SDK (API 11), Honeycomb, Android introduced “Fragments,” a new, complex and powerful tool to encourage great large-screen UIs with consistent feel and behavior.
What is interesting about Fragments?
When Android was used nearly exclusively for very small screens, the one-activity/one-screen UI worked very well. Users moved from screen to screen to access different parts of a program’s interface, and the Activity class (Android’s concept of a task) maintained a back stack enabling quick and intuitive traversal through the strictly tree-structured workflow.
This changes completely, however, when the UI is spread over the surface of a larger tablet screen. Some parts of the screen will remain constant over longer durations than others. Some parts of the screen determine the contents of other parts. A card-stack metaphor simply won’t cut it anymore.
How can I learn more?
We will be introducing Fragments via a webcast on August 25th (RSVP link). Blake Meike will be introducing Fragments, giving a thorough example of their use, and describing some of the traps that lurk in their use.