Android Question How to add "Home Screen" Shortcuts with a button?

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
Hi,

I want to install my app to my phone via USB or wifi (from my NAS) or sd card to my phone, tablet, or Sony Android TV, and I want my app to install a home screen icon when I press a button within the app. I am not installing the app from the Google Play store.

Can some one please provide a working *.b4a sample? The code provided here in the forum has been copy/pasted from working apps but that doesn't show/mention which libraries to use or where exactly the code goes... There is even a thread (by Woinowski) that shows how to have a button add (manually) a shortcut to the home screen, but I cannot modify the code successfully. I'm using B4A v.5. The example provided by Erel only adds a shortcut to the Application drawer but it does not add it to the home screen.

Woinowski example:

B4X:
Sub CreateShortCut_Click 'I already have a button in the Designer for this Click
   If CurrentState = States.EMPTY Or DataManager.CurrentDBName = Null Or DataManager.CurrentDBName = "" Then
      Return
   End If
 
   Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
   shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
   shortcutIntent.SetComponent("de.woinowski.cardboard/.main")
   shortcutIntent.PutExtra("CurrentDBName", DataManager.CurrentDBName)
   shortcutIntent.PutExtra("CurrentDBPath", DataManager.CurrentDBPath)
   shortcutIntent.PutExtra("NamedShortCut", True)
 
   Dim in As Intent
   in.Initialize("", "")
   in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
   in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME", DataManager.RemoveSuffix(DataManager.CurrentDBName))
   If GetApi > 10 Then
      in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "CardBoardMini.png"))
   Else
      in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "CardBoardMicro.png"))
   End If    
   in.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"
 
   Dim p As Phone
   p.SendBroadcastIntent(in)
   DoEventsNow
End Sub

I understand from the code above that he makes a shortcut that point to different states of his database.

I only need the code to create the shortcut to my app when tapping on the button, an icon to run the app. That's all.

In cleaning his code, in the Main Activity, I get to:

B4X:
Sub CreateShortCut_Click 'I already have a button in the Designer for this Click
   Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
   shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
   shortcutIntent.SetComponent("de.woinowski.cardboard/.main") '<---- can I type myapp.apk/main here?  I don't get this part.
   shortcutIntent.PutExtra("NamedShortCut", True)
 
   Dim in As Intent
   in.Initialize("", "")
   in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
   in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "mypic.gif"))
   in.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"
 
   Dim p As Phone
   p.SendBroadcastIntent(in)
   DoEventsNow '<------------this is red and is missing something???
End Sub
But the last line: DoEventsNow is red... what does it need? What libraries, what extra "Activities"?

Also, instead of "de.woinosky.cardbaord/.main", can I type the name of my app which is "myapp.apk"? Or is it just "myapp"? Where does the "de.woinosky." come from?

In my Main Activity I have:

B4X:
Sub Globals
    Private CreateShortcut As Button
End Sub
Then on the Designer I have a simple button called CreateShortcut.

In other words, this simple app has only one button. When you press that button it should create an app shortcut on the phone, tablet, or Android TV home screen. That's it...

Can some one please be kind and tell me what I'm missing? I mean, besides programing skills.

B4A is awesome, but at the other end is a huge lack for a great programming tutorial for those like me who have never done programming before... from a non-programming mind point of view.

Thanks in advanced.
 
Last edited:

sonicmayne

Member
Licensed User
The "de.woinosky.cardbaord/.main" is the package name and activity name that Woinowski is launching from their shortcut. You replace it with your package name (e.g. myapp/main) to launch your main activity, remember to use your package name.

I think DoEventsNow should be DoEvents
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
You were right, the "DoEvents" was correct.

Now the button makes the shortcut on the home screen. The shortcut icon is there too, and it has the intended name. The problem now is that when I click/tap on the shortcut it gives the message "Application is not installed on your phone".

Here is the code so far:

On the Manifest...

B4X:
'This code will be applied to the manifest file during compilation.
'You do not need to modify it in most cases.
'See this link for for more information: http://www.basic4ppc.com/forum/showthread.php?p=78136
AddManifestText(
<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="4" android:targetSdkVersion="14"/>
<uses-permission android:name="com.android.launcher.permission.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"/>
<supports-screens android:largeScreens="true"
    android:normalScreens="true"
    android:smallScreens="true"
    android:anyDensity="true"/>)
SetApplicationAttribute(android:icon, "@drawable/icon")
SetApplicationAttribute(android:label, "$LABEL$")
'End of default text.
On the Main activity...

B4X:
Sub Process_Globals
End Sub

Sub Globals
    Private CreateShortcut As Button
End Sub

Sub Activity_Create(FirstTime As Boolean)
    Activity.LoadLayout("myappmain")
End Sub

Sub Activity_Resume
End Sub

Sub Activity_Pause (UserClosed As Boolean)
End Sub

Sub CreateShortCut_Click
  
       Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
       shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
       'shortcutIntent.SetComponent("myapp/main")    '<------ with or without this line the shortcut still gets created
       'shortcutIntent.PutExtra("name", "my app")        '<------ with or without this line the shortcut still gets created
       'shortcutIntent.PutExtra("from_shortcut", True)  '<------ with or without this line the shortcut still gets created

       Dim in As Intent
       in.Initialize("", "")
       in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
       in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME", "My App")
       in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "color01.png"))
       in.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"

       Dim p As Phone
       p.SendBroadcastIntent(in)
       DoEvents

End Sub
In the Designer I have a button called "CreateShortcut" which is found in the Sub Globals.

Adding or not adding the code suggested in other tutorials in "Sub Activity_Resume" does not affect/help it.

How do I make the shortcut load/run the app once is on the home screen?
 

sonicmayne

Member
Licensed User
Is your package name really myapp?

B4X:
shortcutIntent.SetComponent("myapp/main")
should probably have a different package name, and be uncommented.
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
Yes... once it is compiled, it reads - myapp - in the objects folder of B4A project. I tried that line with or without comment, period, with or without that line entirely... The shortcut gets created, I even get the message 'Shortcut "My App" created', then you see the icon and title on the home screen. Try to tap on it and you get the message "Application is not installed on your phone". The shortcut gets created no matter where I test it, my phone, tablet, but it won't run...

As of matter of fact, I included here the project so anyone can run it and hopefully find a solution.

Thanks.

p.s. I have a transparent purple square as the app and home icon, just for testing purposes...
 

Attachments

Last edited:

sonicmayne

Member
Licensed User
I tested it, and as you said I got "Application is not installed on your phone", however I noticed that you had shortcutIntent.SetComponent("My.App/.Main")

It should be shortcutIntent.SetComponent("My.App/.main")

I made the change, recompiled and I can tap the shortcut and it will open the app.
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
That was it!!!!! Thank you sonicmayne.

All I need to add now is the "If-Then-Else" so that it will not go on making home icons forever... maybe I'm pushing it, but, do you know how to do that?

Thanks a million. After all the combinations I had tried, how could I have skipped that one??!! The evil is in the details indeed.
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
Thanks to you sonicmayne, the code is complete now... fully working.

Here it is:


The code in the Manifest...

B4X:
'This code will be applied to the manifest file during compilation.
'You do not need to modify it in most cases.
'See this link for for more information: http://www.basic4ppc.com/forum/showthread.php?p=78136
AddManifestText(
<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="4" android:targetSdkVersion="14"/>
<uses-permission android:name="com.android.launcher.permission.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"/>
<supports-screens android:largeScreens="true"
    android:normalScreens="true"
    android:smallScreens="true"
    android:anyDensity="true"/>)
'SetApplicationAttribute(android:hardwareAccelerated, "false")
SetApplicationAttribute(android:icon, "@drawable/icon")
SetApplicationAttribute(android:label, "$LABEL$")
'End of default text.


The code in the Main Activity...

B4X:
#Region  Project Attributes
    #FullScreen: False
    #IncludeTitle: True
    #ApplicationLabel: My App
    #VersionCode: 1
    #VersionName:
    #SupportedOrientations: unspecified
    #CanInstallToExternalStorage: False
    '#DebuggerForceStandardAssets: true
#End Region

#Region  Activity Attributes
    #FullScreen: False
    #IncludeTitle: True
#End Region

Sub Process_Globals
End Sub

Sub Globals
    Private CreateShortcut As Button
End Sub

Sub Activity_Create(FirstTime As Boolean)
    Activity.LoadLayout("myappmain")
End Sub

Sub Activity_Resume
End Sub

Sub Activity_Pause (UserClosed As Boolean)
End Sub

Sub CreateShortCut_Click

    Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
    shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
    shortcutIntent.SetComponent("My.App/.main") '<------change My.App for your own app file name here, like "My.Game", look into Tools, Build Configurations for your app's name

    Dim in As Intent
    in.Initialize("", "")
    in.PutExtra("duplicate",False)
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME", "My App") '<-----Type here the name of the shortcut, "My App" for "Your App"
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "color01.png")) '<----your app image here, "color01.png" for "yourpic.png"
    in.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"

    Dim p As Phone
    p.SendBroadcastIntent(in)
    DoEvents
 
End Sub


The libraries in use are "Core" and "Phone".

In the Designer, I have a button called "CreateShortcut" and it is found in the Main activity, in the "Sub Globals" section as a button.

Once the button is pressed, it will create a shortcut icon on the phone/tablet home screen. If the icon already exist, it will not be duplicated.

Again, thanks a million sonicmayne... everybody owes it to you, specially me, for completing this code.

I'm not sure if this code will work on older version of B4A. I am using v.5x

According to this forum, a few years ago (as far as 2012), this was not possible... Oh I love all the new B4A updates/upgrades... so many more possibilities...

I also attached here the working and finished project file.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
I just discovered that on "old" android devices the code for creating a home screen shortcut works flawlessly.

However, on newer devices, say Android 4.3 (kitkat, jellybeans, lolipop, etc) or newer, the shortcut will be created and when pressing again on the button to make the shortcut it will also detect that it has already been made... BUT, after closing/exiting the app and waiting for a minute (or forcing the app to stop with another app like Clean Master or even from the "Settings, Apps" control), then, it will not detect the already existing shortcut and it will create a new one. That second one will be detected and it will not be duplicate it. However, repeat the process of closing the app, waiting for a minute, then open the app again and tap the button to create a home screen shortcut and it will be made again... now there are 3 shortcuts, etc.

Do you have any ideas sonicmayne? Does any one has an idea how to fix it? I tried the If-Then-Else, but I'm not so good at this... I'm learning as I go...

I know is not the end of the world, is just a little tiny hiccup... but, it is not done until it is done right all the way.
 

sonicmayne

Member
Licensed User
The only thing I can think of is removing it, then creating a new one.

The following code removes your shortcut:

B4X:
Sub RemoveShortCut

    Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
    shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
    shortcutIntent.SetComponent("My.App/.main") '<------change My.App for your own app file name here, like "My.Game", look into Tools, Build Configurations for your app's name

    Dim In As Intent
    In.Initialize("", "")
    In.PutExtra("duplicate",False)
    In.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
    In.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME", "My App") '<-----Type here the name of the shortcut, "My App" for "Your App"
    In.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "color01.png")) '<----your app image here, "color01.png" for "yourpic.png"
    In.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.UNINSTALL_SHORTCUT"

    Dim p As Phone
    p.SendBroadcastIntent(In)
    DoEvents
End Sub
Your manifest will also need:
B4X:
AddPermission(com.android.launcher.permission.UNINSTALL_SHORTCUT)
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
Removing and then creating the shortcut does not work.

How should the Sub CreateShortCut_Click code be warped with - If Then Else - so that:

IF the shortcut_already_Exist on Home Screen = True Then Stop Sub
Else If Shortcut_already_Exist on Home Screen = False Then Do Sub bla bla bla
End If

or something like that...?

Any one?

Here is again the code that I'm trying to wrap with If-Then-Else:

B4X:
Sub CreateShortCut_Click

    Dim shortcutIntent As Intent
    shortcutIntent.Initialize("", "")
    shortcutIntent.SetComponent("My.App/.main") '<------change My.App for your own app file name here, like "My.Game", look into Tools, Build Configurations for your app's name

    Dim in As Intent
    in.Initialize("", "")
    in.PutExtra("duplicate",False)
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.INTENT", shortcutIntent)
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.NAME", "My App") '<-----Type here the name of the shortcut, "My App" for "Your App"
    in.PutExtra("android.intent.extra.shortcut.ICON", LoadBitmap(File.DirAssets, "color01.png")) '<----your app image here, "color01.png" for "yourpic.png"
    in.Action = "com.android.launcher.action.INSTALL_SHORTCUT"

    Dim p As Phone
    p.SendBroadcastIntent(in)
    DoEvents
  
End Sub
 

luisftv

Member
Licensed User
The same as if you don't add the code to delete the shortcut and then re-create it.

After I press the button, the shortcut gets created on the home screen. If immediately I press the button to create the shortcut again, then it will tell me that the shortcut already exist. Exit the application, open it again, hit the create shortcut button, and it will also tell you that the shortcut already exist.

BUT, if now you exit the application and terminate all apps on the phone and say clean the trash (using an app like Clean Master, for example), etc, then you wait about a minute, then open again the MyApp (using the shortcut on the home screen or not, makes no difference) and tap the create shortcut button, it will make a shortcut as if the first one does not exist. Tap the button again and it will tell you that the shortcut already exist... and here we go on a loop again. Turn of the device, turn it back on, open the app and tap the button to create the shortcut and it will make a new shortcut, again, and not notice that there are already two other shortcuts on the home screen.

The app only "remembers" for a while that the shortcut has been made. If you force the app out of the device memory or reboot the device (phone/tablet) then the app will act as if the shortcut has never been made and create a new one, and it will keep going until it runs out of empty space.

There has to be a way for the app to physically check that the shortcut already exist on the home screen, and if so, to stop the "Sub" action of the CreateShortCut button.

NOTE: When using older versions of Android such as v.2.2 it works flawlessly all the time. If using newer version of Android like 4.3 or newer, then the problem show up. ONLY with Android OS v.4.x or newer.
 
Last edited:
Top