Android UI Controls

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An Android application user interface is everything that the user can see and interact with. You have learned about the various layouts that you can use to position your views in an activity. This chapter will give you detail on various views.

A View is an object that draws something on the screen that the user can interact with and a ViewGroup is an object that holds other View (and ViewGroup) objects in order to define the layout of the user interface.

You define your layout in an XML file which offers a human-readable structure for the layout, similar to HTML. For example, a simple vertical layout with a text view and a button looks like this:

<?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"
      android:layout_width="wrap_content"
      android:layout_height="wrap_content"
      android:text="I am a TextView" />
   <Button android:id="@+id/button"
      android:layout_width="wrap_content"
      android:layout_height="wrap_content"
      android:text="I am a Button" />
</LinearLayout>

Android UI Controls

There are number of UI controls provided by Android that allow you to build the graphical user interface for your app.

S.N.UI Control & Description
1TextView
This control is used to display text to the user.
2EditText
EditText is a predefined subclass of TextView that includes rich editing capabilities.
3AutoCompleteTextView
The AutoCompleteTextView is a view that is similar to EditText, except that it shows a list of completion suggestions automatically while the user is typing.
4Button
A push-button that can be pressed, or clicked, by the user to perform an action.
5ImageButton
AbsoluteLayout enables you to specify the exact location of its children.
6CheckBox
An on/off switch that can be toggled by the user. You should use checkboxes when presenting users with a group of selectable options that are not mutually exclusive.
7ToggleButton
An on/off button with a light indicator.
8RadioButton
The RadioButton has two states: either checked or unchecked.
9RadioGroup
A RadioGroup is used to group together one or more RadioButtons.
10ProgressBar
The ProgressBar view provides visual feedback about some ongoing tasks, such as when you are performing a task in the background.
11Spinner
A drop-down list that allows users to select one value from a set.
12TimePicker
The TimePicker view enables users to select a time of the day, in either 24-hour mode or AM/PM mode.
13DatePicker
The DatePicker view enables users to select a date of the day.

Create UI Controls

As explained in previous chapter, a view object may have a unique ID assigned to it which will identify the View uniquely within the tree. The syntax for an ID, inside an XML tag is:

android:id="@+id/text_id"

To create a UI Control/View/Widget you will have to define a view/widget in the layout file and assign it a unique ID 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:text="I am a TextView" />
</LinearLayout>

Then finally create an instance of the Control object and capture it from the layout, use the following:

TextView myText = (TextView) findViewById(R.id.text_id);


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