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Posted 14 Feb 2011

Light-weight Timer for Android (background worker)

, 14 Feb 2011 CPOL
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A simple and light-wight timer/background worker class for Android that does not spawn new threads.
If you are new to Android development, I am pretty sure some of you may have been through the same problem where you needed a simple periodic timer for your Android app. You may use java.util.Timer but this is not a good choice as this timer creates a new thread for some reason and you don’t want to invoke multiple threads in your mobile app. So I created this simple timer that makes use of the android.os.Handler class. Below is the source code of the Timer for Android. Sorry for the formatting and naming convention. I’m used to the C# conventions.

import android.os.Handler;
public class Timer { 
  private int _interval; 
  public int getInterval() { return _interval; } 
  public void setInterval(int delay) { _interval = delay; } 
  private Handler handler; 
  private Runnable _tickHandler; 
  private Runnable delegate; 
  private boolean ticking; 
  public boolean getIsTicking(){ return ticking; } 
  public Timer(int interval) 
    _interval = interval; 
    handler = new Handler(); 
  public Timer(int interval, Runnable onTickHandler) 
    _interval = interval; 
    handler = new Handler(); 
  public void start(int interval, Runnable onTickHandler) 
    if (ticking) return; 
    _interval = interval; 
    handler.postDelayed(delegate, _interval); 
    ticking = true; 
  public void start() 
    if (ticking) return; 
    handler.postDelayed(delegate, _interval); 
    ticking = true; 
  public void stop() 
    ticking = false; 
  public void setOnTickHandler(Runnable onTickHandler) 
    if (onTickHandler == null) 
    _tickHandler = onTickHandler; 
    delegate = new Runnable() { 
      public void run() 
        if (_tickHandler == null) return;; 
        handler.postDelayed(delegate, _interval); 

I used this timer to make a TextViewbblink or to update values in the UI from a service, to monitor status, etc. with the following code:

  boolean blinkOn = false; 
  Timer tmrBlink = new Timer(500, new Runnable() { 
    public void run() { 
      if (blinkOn) 
        ((TextView) findViewById(; 
        ((TextView) findViewById(; 
      blinkOn = !blinkOn; 

I've used this timer in my simple app TaxiMate.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Ross Brigoli
Software Developer (Senior)
Philippines Philippines
Ambitious geek.

MCTS .NET 2.0, MCTS .NET 3.5

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Comments and Discussions

Questionstopping Thread doesn't work Pin
Madhan J14-Sep-12 11:25
memberMadhan J14-Sep-12 11:25 
QuestionStopping thread programmatically doesn't work Pin
NNTBIZ10-Jun-12 18:39
memberNNTBIZ10-Jun-12 18:39 
AnswerRe: Stopping thread programmatically doesn't work Pin
Ross Brigoli10-Jun-12 20:43
memberRoss Brigoli10-Jun-12 20:43 
GeneralRe: Stopping thread programmatically doesn't work Pin
NNTBIZ10-Jun-12 22:47
memberNNTBIZ10-Jun-12 22:47 
Questionthank a million times Pin
mustafabayer29-Mar-12 7:37
membermustafabayer29-Mar-12 7:37 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 D Pin
HemalathaMahesh13-Oct-11 13:13
memberHemalathaMahesh13-Oct-11 13:13 
Reason for my vote of 5
Generalnice Pin
maq_rohit27-Mar-11 7:08
membermaq_rohit27-Mar-11 7:08 

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