Question:

What is the difference between a fragment and an activity? Explain the relationship between the two.

Answer:

An activity is typically a single, focused operation that a user can perform (such as dial a number, take a picture, send an email, view a map, etc.). Yet at the same time, there is nothing that precludes a developer from creating an activity that is arbitrarily complex.

Activity implementations can optionally make use of the Fragment class for purposes such as producing more modular code, building more sophisticated user interfaces for larger screens, helping scale applications between small and large screens, and so on. Multiple fragments can be combined within a single activity and, conversely, the same fragment can often be reused across multiple activities. This structure is largely intended to foster code reuse and facilitate economies of scale.

A fragment is essentially a modular section of an activity, with its own lifecycle and input events, and which can be added or removed at will. It is important to remember, though, that a fragment’s lifecycle is directly affected by its host activity’s lifecycle; i.e., when the activity is paused, so are all fragments in it, and when the activity is destroyed, so are all of its fragments.

More information is available here in the Android Developer’s Guide.


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