Android Styles and Themes

Advertisements


If you already know about Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) in web design then to understand Android Style also works very similar way. There are number of attributes associated with each Android widget which you can set to change your application look and feel. A style can specify properties such as height, padding, font color, font size, background color, and much more.

You can specify these attributes in Layout file as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   android:layout_width="fill_parent"
   android:layout_height="fill_parent"
   android:orientation="vertical" >

   <TextView
   android:id="@+id/text_id"
   android:layout_width="wrap_content"
   android:layout_height="wrap_content"
   android:capitalize="characters"
   android:textColor="#00FF00"
   android:typeface="monospace"
   android:text="@string/hello_world" />

</LinearLayout>

But this way we need to define style attributes for every attribute separately which is not good for source code maintenance point of view. So we work with styles by defining them in separate file as explained below.

Defining Styles

A style is defined in an XML resource that is separate from the XML that specifies the layout. This XML file resides under res/values/ directory of your project and will have <resources> as the root node which is mandatory for the style file. The name of the XML file is arbitrary, but it must use the .xml extension.

You can define multiple styles per file using <style> tag but each style will have its name that uniquely identifies the style. Android style attributes are set using <item> tag as shown below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<resources>
   <style name="CustomFontStyle">
      <item name="android:layout_width">fill_parent</item>
      <item name="android:layout_height">wrap_content</item>
      <item name="android:capitalize">characters</item>
      <item name="android:typeface">monospace</item>
      <item name="android:textSize">12pt</item>
      <item name="android:textColor">#00FF00</item>/> 
   </style>
</resources>
The value for the <item> can be a keyword string, a hex color, a reference to another resource type, or other value depending on the style property.

Using Styles

Once your style is defined, you can use it in your XML Layout file using style attribute as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   android:layout_width="fill_parent"
   android:layout_height="fill_parent"
   android:orientation="vertical" >

   <TextView
   android:id="@+id/text_id"
   style="@style/CustomFontStyle"
   android:text="@string/hello_world" />

</LinearLayout>

To understand the concept related to Android Style, you can check Style Demo Example.

Style Inheritance

Android supports style Inheritance in very much similar way as cascading style sheet in web design. You can use this to inherit properties from an existing style and then define only the properties that you want to change or add.

Its simple, to create a new style LargeFont that inherits the CustomFontStyle style defined above, but make the font size big, you can author the new style like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<resources>
   <style name="CustomFontStyle.LargeFont">
      <item name="android:textSize">20ps</item>
   </style>
</resources>

You can reference this new style as @style/CustomFontStyle.LargeFont in your XML Layout file. You can continue inheriting like this as many times as you'd like, by chaining names with periods. For example, you can extend FontStyle.LargeFont to be Red, with:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<resources>
   <style name="CustomFontStyle.LargeFont.Red">
      <item name="android:textColor">#FF0000</item>/> 
   </style>
</resources>

This technique for inheritance by chaining together names only works for styles defined by your own resources. You can't inherit Android built-in styles this way. To reference an Android built-in style, such as TextAppearance, you must use the parent attribute as shown below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<resources>
   <style name="CustomFontStyle" parent="@android:style/TextAppearance">
      <item name="android:layout_width">fill_parent</item>
      <item name="android:layout_height">wrap_content</item>
      <item name="android:capitalize">characters</item>
      <item name="android:typeface">monospace</item>
      <item name="android:textSize">12pt</item>
      <item name="android:textColor">#00FF00</item>/> 
   </style>
</resources>

Android Themes

Hope you understood the concept of Style, so now let's try to understand what is a Theme. A theme is nothing but an Android style applied to an entire Activity or application, rather than an individual View.

Thus, when a style is applied as a theme, every View in the Activity or application will apply each style property that it supports. For example, you can apply the same CustomFontStyle style as a theme for an Activity and then all text inside that Activity will have green monospace font.

To set a theme for all the activities of your application, open the AndroidManifest.xml file and edit the <application> tag to include the android:theme attribute with the style name. For example:

<application android:theme="@style/CustomFontStyle">

But if you want a theme applied to just one Activity in your application, then add the android:theme attribute to the <activity> tag only. For example:

<activity android:theme="@style/CustomFontStyle">

There are number of default themes defined by Android which you can use directly or inherit them using parent attribute as follows:

<style name="CustomTheme" parent="android:Theme.Light">
    ...
</style>

To understand the concept related to Android Theme, you can check Theme Demo Example.

Default Styles & Themes

The Android platform provides a large collection of styles and themes that you can use in your applications. You can find a reference of all available styles in the R.style class. To use the styles listed here, replace all underscores in the style name with a period. For example, you can apply the Theme_NoTitleBar theme with "@android:style/Theme.NoTitleBar". You can see the following source code for Android styles and themes:



Advertisements
Advertisements