Android – how to run a socket in a long lives background thread

I’ve created a similar app and I used a Service which runs in the background.

  1. I’ve copied the code from the IntentService clas and updated handleMessage(Message msg) method and removed stopSelf(msg.arg1); line. In this way you have a service that runs in the background. After it I used a Thread for the connection.
  2. You have two choices here. Store the data into the database and the GUI refreshes itself. Or use LocalBroadcastManager.
  3. Here you can also store the data into the db or Start the service with a special intent.

Here is my implementation. I hope you will understand the code.

public class KeepAliveService extends Service {

/**
 * The source of the log message.
 */
private static final String TAG = "KeepAliveService";

private static final long INTERVAL_KEEP_ALIVE = 1000 * 60 * 4;

private static final long INTERVAL_INITIAL_RETRY = 1000 * 10;

private static final long INTERVAL_MAXIMUM_RETRY = 1000 * 60 * 2;

private ConnectivityManager mConnMan;

protected NotificationManager mNotifMan;

protected AlarmManager mAlarmManager;

private boolean mStarted;

private boolean mLoggedIn;

protected static ConnectionThread mConnection;

protected static SharedPreferences mPrefs;

private final int maxSize = 212000;

private Handler mHandler;

private volatile Looper mServiceLooper;

private volatile ServiceHandler mServiceHandler;

private final class ServiceHandler extends Handler {
    public ServiceHandler(final Looper looper) {
        super(looper);
    }

    @Override
    public void handleMessage(final Message msg) {
        onHandleIntent((Intent) msg.obj);
    }
}

public static void actionStart(final Context context) {
    context.startService(SystemHelper.createExplicitFromImplicitIntent(context, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_START)));
}

public static void actionStop(final Context context) {
    context.startService(SystemHelper.createExplicitFromImplicitIntent(context, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_STOP)));
}

public static void actionPing(final Context context) {
    context.startService(SystemHelper.createExplicitFromImplicitIntent(context, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER)));
}

@Override
public void onCreate() {
    Log.i(TAG, "onCreate called.");
    super.onCreate();

    mPrefs = getSharedPreferences("KeepAliveService", MODE_PRIVATE);

    mConnMan = (ConnectivityManager) getSystemService(CONNECTIVITY_SERVICE);

    mNotifMan = (NotificationManager) getSystemService(NOTIFICATION_SERVICE);

    mAlarmManager = (AlarmManager) getSystemService(ALARM_SERVICE);

    mHandler = new Handler();

    final HandlerThread thread = new HandlerThread("IntentService[KeepAliveService]");
    thread.start();

    mServiceLooper = thread.getLooper();
    mServiceHandler = new ServiceHandler(mServiceLooper);

    // If our process was reaped by the system for any reason we need to
    // restore our state with merely a
    // call to onCreate.
    // We record the last "started" value and restore it here if necessary.
    handleCrashedService();
}

@Override
public void onDestroy() {
    Log.i(TAG, "Service destroyed (started=" + mStarted + ")");
    if (mStarted) {
        stop();
    }
    mServiceLooper.quit();
}

private void handleCrashedService() {
    Log.i(TAG, "handleCrashedService called.");
    if (isStarted()) {
        // We probably didn't get a chance to clean up gracefully, so do it now.
        stopKeepAlives();

        // Formally start and attempt connection.
        start();
    }
}

/**
 * Returns the last known value saved in the database.
 */
private boolean isStarted() {
    return mStarted;
}

private void setStarted(final boolean started) {
    Log.i(TAG, "setStarted called with value: " + started);
    mStarted = started;
}

protected void setLoggedIn(final boolean value) {
    Log.i(TAG, "setLoggedIn called with value: " + value);
    mLoggedIn = value;
}

protected boolean isLoggedIn() {
    return mLoggedIn;
}

public static boolean isConnected() {
    return mConnection != null;
}

@Override
public void onStart(final Intent intent, final int startId) {
    final Message msg = mServiceHandler.obtainMessage();
    msg.arg1 = startId;
    msg.obj = intent;
    mServiceHandler.sendMessage(msg);
}

@Override
public int onStartCommand(final Intent intent, final int flags, final int startId) {
    Log.i(TAG, "Service started with intent : " + intent);

    onStart(intent, startId);

    return START_NOT_STICKY;
}

private void onHandleIntent(final Intent intent) {
    if (IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_STOP.equals(intent.getAction())) {
        stop();

        stopSelf();
    } else if (IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_START.equals(intent.getAction())) {
        start();
    } else if (IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER.equals(intent.getAction())) {
        keepAlive(false);
    }
}

@Override
public IBinder onBind(final Intent intent) {
    return null;
}

private synchronized void start() {
    if (mStarted) {
        Log.w(TAG, "Attempt to start connection that is already active");
        setStarted(true);
        return;
    }

    try {
        registerReceiver(mConnectivityChanged, new IntentFilter(ConnectivityManager.CONNECTIVITY_ACTION));
    } catch (final Exception e) {
        Log.e(TAG, "Exception occurred while trying to register the receiver.", e);
    }

    if (mConnection == null) {
        Log.i(TAG, "Connecting...");
        mConnection = new ConnectionThread(Config.PLUGIN_BASE_HOST, Config.PLUGIN_BASE_PORT);
        mConnection.start();
    }
}

private synchronized void stop() {
    if (mConnection != null) {
        mConnection.abort(true);
        mConnection = null;
    }

    setStarted(false);

    try {
        unregisterReceiver(mConnectivityChanged);
    } catch (final Exception e) {
        Log.e(TAG, "Exception occurred while trying to unregister the receiver.", e);
    }
    cancelReconnect();
}

/**
 * Sends the keep-alive message if the service is started and we have a
 * connection with it.
 */
private synchronized void keepAlive(final Boolean forced) {
    try {
        if (mStarted && isConnected() && isLoggedIn()) {
            mConnection.sendKeepAlive(forced);
        }
    } catch (final IOException e) {
        Log.w(TAG, "Error occurred while sending the keep alive message.", e);
    } catch (final JSONException e) {
        Log.w(TAG, "JSON error occurred while sending the keep alive message.", e);
    }
}


/**
 * Uses the {@link android.app.AlarmManager} to start the keep alive service in every {@value #INTERVAL_KEEP_ALIVE} milliseconds.
 */
private void startKeepAlives() {
    final PendingIntent pi = PendingIntent.getService(this, 0, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER), PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
    mAlarmManager.setRepeating(AlarmManager.RTC_WAKEUP, System.currentTimeMillis() + INTERVAL_KEEP_ALIVE, INTERVAL_KEEP_ALIVE, pi);
}

/**
 * Removes the repeating alarm which was started by the {@link #startKeepAlives()} function.
 */
private void stopKeepAlives() {
    final PendingIntent pi = PendingIntent.getService(this, 0, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER), PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
    mAlarmManager.cancel(pi);
}

public void scheduleReconnect(final long startTime) {
    long interval = mPrefs.getLong("retryInterval", INTERVAL_INITIAL_RETRY);

    final long now = System.currentTimeMillis();
    final long elapsed = now - startTime;

    if (elapsed < interval) {
        interval = Math.min(interval * 4, INTERVAL_MAXIMUM_RETRY);
    } else {
        interval = INTERVAL_INITIAL_RETRY;
    }

    Log.i(TAG, "Rescheduling connection in " + interval + "ms.");

    mPrefs.edit().putLong("retryInterval", interval).apply();

    final PendingIntent pi = PendingIntent.getService(this, 0, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_RECONNECT), PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
    mAlarmManager.set(AlarmManager.RTC_WAKEUP, now + interval, pi);
}

public void cancelReconnect() {
    final PendingIntent pi = PendingIntent.getService(this, 0, new Intent(IntentActions.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_RECONNECT), PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
    mAlarmManager.cancel(pi);
}

private synchronized void reconnectIfNecessary() {
    if (mStarted && !isConnected()) {
        Log.i(TAG, "Reconnecting...");

        mConnection = new ConnectionThread(Config.PLUGIN_BASE_HOST, Config.PLUGIN_BASE_PORT);
        mConnection.start();
    }
}

private final BroadcastReceiver mConnectivityChanged = new BroadcastReceiver() {
    @Override
    public void onReceive(final Context context, final Intent intent) {
        final NetworkInfo info = mConnMan.getActiveNetworkInfo(); //  (NetworkInfo) intent.getParcelableExtra(ConnectivityManager.EXTRA_NETWORK_INFO);

        final boolean hasConnectivity = info != null && info.isConnected();

        Log.i(TAG, "Connecting changed: connected=" + hasConnectivity);

        if (hasConnectivity) {
            reconnectIfNecessary();
        } else if (mConnection != null) {
            mConnection.abort(false);
            mConnection = null;
        }
    }
};

protected class ConnectionThread extends Thread {
    private final Socket mSocket;

    private final String mHost;

    private final int mPort;

    private volatile boolean mAbort = false;

    public ConnectionThread(final String host, final int port) {
        mHost = host;
        mPort = port;
        mSocket = new Socket();
    }

    /**
     * Returns whether we have an active internet connection or not.
     *
     * @return <code>true</code> if there is an active internet connection.
     * <code>false</code> otherwise.
     */
    private boolean isNetworkAvailable() {
        final NetworkInfo info = mConnMan.getActiveNetworkInfo();
        return info != null && info.isConnected();
    }

    @Override
    public void run() {
        final Socket s = mSocket;

        final long startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();

        try {
            // Now we can say that the service is started.
            setStarted(true);

            // Connect to server.
            s.connect(new InetSocketAddress(mHost, mPort), 20000);

            Log.i(TAG, "Connection established to " + s.getInetAddress() + ":" + mPort);

            // Start keep alive alarm.
            startKeepAlives();

            final DataOutputStream dos = new DataOutputStream(s.getOutputStream());
            final BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(s.getInputStream(), "UTF-8"));

            // Send the login data.
            final JSONObject login = new JSONObject();

            // Send the login message.
            dos.write((login.toString() + "rn").getBytes());

            // Wait until we receive something from the server.
            String receivedMessage;
            while ((receivedMessage = in.readLine()) != null) {
                Log.i(TAG, "Received data: " + receivedMessage);
                processMessagesFromServer(dos, receivedMessage);
            }

            if (!mAbort) {
                Log.i(TAG, "Server closed connection unexpectedly.");
            }
        } catch (final IOException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "Unexpected I/O error.", e);
        } catch (final Exception e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "Exception occurred.", e);
        } finally {
            setLoggedIn(false);
            stopKeepAlives();

            if (mAbort) {
                Log.i(TAG, "Connection aborted, shutting down.");
            } else {
                try {
                    s.close();
                } catch (final IOException e) {
                    // Do nothing.
                }

                synchronized (KeepAliveService.this) {
                    mConnection = null;
                }

                if (isNetworkAvailable()) {
                    scheduleReconnect(startTime);
                }
            }
        }
    }

    /**
     * Sends the PING word to the server.
     *
     * @throws java.io.IOException    if an error occurs while writing to this stream.
     * @throws org.json.JSONException
     */
    public void sendKeepAlive(final Boolean forced) throws IOException, JSONException {
        final JSONObject ping = new JSONObject();

        final Socket s = mSocket;
        s.getOutputStream().write((ping.toString() + "rn").getBytes());
    }

    /**
     * Aborts the connection with the server.
     */
    public void abort(boolean manual) {
        mAbort = manual;

        try {
            // Close the output stream.
            mSocket.shutdownOutput();
        } catch (final IOException e) {
            // Do nothing.
        }

        try {
            // Close the input stream.
            mSocket.shutdownInput();
        } catch (final IOException e) {
            // Do nothing.
        }

        try {
            // Close the socket.
            mSocket.close();
        } catch (final IOException e) {
            // Do nothing.
        }

        while (true) {
            try {
                join();
                break;
            } catch (final InterruptedException e) {
                // Do nothing.
            }
        }
    }
}

public void processMessagesFromServer(final DataOutputStream dos, final String receivedMessage) throws IOException {
}

}

You can start the service by calling KeepAliveService.actionStart() and you can also define custom functions.

Please note that the service will be stopped only if you call KeepAliveService.actionStop(). Otherwise it will run forever. If you call e.g. KeepAliveService.actionSendMessage(String message) then the intent will be passed to the service and you can handle it easily.

EDIT:

The SystemHelper class is only a utility class which contains static methods.

public class SystemHelper {

    /**
     * Android Lollipop, API 21 introduced a new problem when trying to invoke implicit intent,
     * "java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Service Intent must be explicit"
     *
     * If you are using an implicit intent, and know only 1 target would answer this intent,
     * This method will help you turn the implicit intent into the explicit form.
     *
     * Inspired from SO answer: http://stackoverflow.com/a/26318757/1446466
     * @param context the application context
     * @param implicitIntent - The original implicit intent
     * @return Explicit Intent created from the implicit original intent
     */
    public static Intent createExplicitFromImplicitIntent(Context context, Intent implicitIntent) {
        Log.i(TAG, "createExplicitFromImplicitIntent ... called with intent: " + implicitIntent);
        // Retrieve all services that can match the given intent
        PackageManager pm = context.getPackageManager();
        List<ResolveInfo> resolveInfo = pm.queryIntentServices(implicitIntent, 0);

        // Make sure only one match was found
        if (resolveInfo == null || resolveInfo.size() != 1) {
            Log.i(TAG, "createExplicitFromImplicitIntent ... resolveInfo is null or there are more than one element.");
            return null;
        }

        // Get component info and create ComponentName
        ResolveInfo serviceInfo = resolveInfo.get(0);
        String packageName = serviceInfo.serviceInfo.packageName;
        String className = serviceInfo.serviceInfo.name;
        ComponentName component = new ComponentName(packageName, className);

        Log.i(TAG, "createExplicitFromImplicitIntent ... found package name:" + packageName + ", class name: " + className + ".");

        // Create a new intent. Use the old one for extras and such reuse
        Intent explicitIntent = new Intent(implicitIntent);

        // Set the component to be explicit
        explicitIntent.setComponent(component);

        return explicitIntent;
    }
}

The Config class.

public class Config {

    public static final String PACKAGE_NAME = "com.yourapp.package";
    public static final String PLUGIN_BASE_HOST = "test.yoursite.com";
    public static final int PLUGIN_BASE_PORT = 10000;
}

And the IntentActions class.

public class IntentActions {

    public static final String KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_START = Config.PACKAGE_NAME + ".intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_START";
    public static final String KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_STOP = Config.PACKAGE_NAME + ".intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_STOP";
    public static final String KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER = Config.PACKAGE_NAME + ".intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER";
}

In the AndroidManifest file the service is defined in the following way:

<service android:name="com.yourapp.package.services.KeepAliveService"
         android:exported="false">
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="com.yourapp.package.intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_START" />
        <action android:name="com.yourapp.package.intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_STOP" />
        <action android:name="com.yourapp.package.intent.action.KEEP_ALIVE_SERVICE_PING_SERVER" />
    </intent-filter>
</service>