Android Interface Definition Language (AIDL)

The Android Interface Definition Language (AIDL) is similar to other IDLs you might have worked with. It allows you to define the programming interface that both the client and service agree upon in order to communicate with each other using interprocess communication (IPC). On Android, one process cannot normally access the memory of another process. So to talk, they need to decompose their objects into primitives that the operating system can understand, and marshall the objects across that boundary for you. The code to do that marshalling is tedious to write, so Android handles it for you with AIDL.

Note: Using AIDL is necessary only if you allow clients from different applications to access your service for IPC and want to handle multithreading in your service. If you do not need to perform concurrent IPC across different applications, you should create your interface by implementing a Binder or, if you want to perform IPC, but do not need to handle multithreading, implement your interface using a Messenger. Regardless, be sure that you understand Bound Services before implementing an AIDL.


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