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Fragments and the Navigation Component

In the Activities and Intents codelab, you added intents in the Words app, to navigate between two activities. While this is a useful navigation pattern to know, it's only part of the story of making dynamic user interfaces for your apps. Many Android apps don't need a separate activity for every screen. In fact, many common UI patterns, such as tabs, exist within a single activity, using something called fragments.

586ff7b88b0d2455.png

A fragment is a reusable piece of UI; fragments can be reused and embedded in one or more activities. In the above screenshot, tapping on a tab doesn't trigger an intent to display the next screen. Instead, switching tabs simply swaps out the previous fragment with another fragment. All of this happens without launching another activity.

You can even show multiple fragments at once on a single screen, such as a master-detail layout for tablet devices. In the example below, both the navigation UI on the left and the content on the right can each be contained in a separate fragmen. Both fragments exist simultaneously in the same activity.

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As you can see, fragments are an integral part of building high quality apps. In this codelab, you'll learn the basics of fragments, and convert the Words app to use them. You'll also learn how to use the Jetpack Navigation component and work with a new resource file called the Navigation Graph to navigate between fragments in the same host activity. By the end of this codelab, you'll come away with the foundational skills for implementing fragments in your next app.

Prerequisites

Before completing this codelab, you should know

  • How to add resource XML files and Kotlin files to an Android Studio project.
  • How the activity lifecycle works at a high level.
  • How to override and implement methods in an existing class.
  • How to create instances of Kotlin classes, access class properties, and call methods.
  • Basic familiarity with nullable and non-nullable values and know how to safely handle null values.

What you'll learn

  • How the fragment lifecycle differs from the activity lifecycle.
  • How to convert an existing activity into a fragment.
  • How to add destinations to a navigation graph, and pass data between fragments while using the Safe Args plugin.

What you'll build

  • You'll modify the Words app to use a single activity and multiple fragments, and navigate between fragments with the Navigation Component.

What you need

  • A computer with Android Studio installed.
  • Solution code of Words app from the Activities and Intents codelab

In this codelab, you'll pick up where you left off with the Words app at the end of the Activities and Intents codelab. If you've already completed the codelab for activities and intents, feel free to use your code as a starting point. You can alternately download the code up until this point from GitHub.

Download the starter code for this codelab

This codelab provides starter code for you to extend with features taught in this codelab. Starter code may contain code that is familiar to you from previous codelabs. It may also contain code that is unfamiliar to you, and that you will learn about in later codelabs.

If you use the starter code from GitHub, note that the folder name is android-basics-kotlin-words-app-activities. Select this folder when you open the project in Android Studio.

To get the code for this codelab and open it in Android Studio, do the following.

Get the code

  1. Click on the provided URL. This opens the GitHub page for the project in a browser.
  2. On the GitHub page for the project, click the Code button, which brings up a dialog.

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  1. In the dialog, click the Download ZIP button to save the project to your computer. Wait for the download to complete.
  2. Locate the file on your computer (likely in the Downloads folder).
  3. Double-click the ZIP file to unpack it. This creates a new folder that contains the project files.

Open the project in Android Studio

  1. Start Android Studio.
  2. In the Welcome to Android Studio window, click Open an existing Android Studio project.

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Note: If Android Studio is already open, instead, select the File > New > Import Project menu option.

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  1. In the Import Project dialog, navigate to where the unzipped project folder is located (likely in your Downloads folder).
  2. Double-click on that project folder.
  3. Wait for Android Studio to open the project.
  4. Click the Run button j7ptomO2PEQNe8jFt4nKCOw_Oc_Aucgf4l_La8fGLCMLy0t9RN9SkmBFGOFjkEzlX4ce2w2NWq4J30sDaxEe4MaSNuJPpMgHxnsRYoBtIV3-GUpYYcIvRJ2HrqR27XGuTS4F7lKCzg to build and run the app. Make sure it works as expected.
  5. Browse the project files in the Project tool window to see how the app was implemented.

A fragment is simply a reusable piece of your app's user interface. Like activities, fragments have a lifecycle and can respond to user input. A fragment is always contained within the view hierarchy of an activity when it is shown onscreen. Due to their emphasis on reusability and modularity, it's even possible for multiple fragments to be hosted simultaneously by a single activity. Each fragment manages its own separate lifecycle.

Fragment lifecycle

Like activities, fragments can be initialized and removed from memory, and throughout their existence, appear, disappear, and reappear onscreen. Also, just like activities, fragments have a lifecycle with several states, and provide several methods you can override to respond to transitions between them. The fragment lifecycle has five states, represented by the Lifecycle.State enum.

  • INITIALIZED: A new instance of the fragment has been instantiated.
  • CREATED: The first fragment lifecycle methods are called. During this state, the view associated with the fragment is also created.
  • STARTED: The fragment is visible onscreen but does not have "focus", meaning it can't respond to user input.
  • RESUMED: The fragment is visible and has focus.
  • DESTROYED: The fragment object has been de-instantiated.

Also similar to activities, the Fragment class provides many methods that you can override to respond to lifecycle events.

  • onCreate(): The fragment has been instantiated and is in the CREATED state. However, it's corresponding view has not been created yet.
  • onCreateView(): This method is where you inflate the layout. The fragment has entered the CREATED state.
  • onViewCreated(): This is called after the view is created. In this method, you would typically bind specific views to properties by calling findViewById().
  • onStart(): The fragment has entered the STARTED state.
  • onResume(): The fragment has entered the RESUMED state and now has focus (can respond to user input).
  • onPause(): The fragment has re-entered the STARTED state. The UI is visible to the user
  • onStop(): The fragment has re-entered the CREATED state. The object is instantiated but is no longer presented on screen.
  • onDestroyView(): Called right before the fragment enters the DESTROYED state. The view has already been removed from memory, but the fragment object still exists.
  • onDestroy(): The fragment enters the DESTROYED state.

The chart below summarizes the fragment lifecycle, and the transitions between states.

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The lifecycle states and callback methods are quite similar to those used for activities. However, keep in mind the difference with the onCreate() method. With activities, you would use this method to inflate the layout and bind views. However, in the fragment lifecycle, onCreate() is called before the view is created, so you can't inflate the layout here. Instead, you do this in onCreateView(). Then, after the view has been created, the onViewCreated() method is called, where you can then bind properties to specific views.

While that probably sounded like a lot of theory, you now know the basics of how fragments work, and how they're similar and different to activities. For the remainder of this codelab, you'll put that knowledge to work. First, you'll migrate the Words app you worked on previously to use a fragment based layout. Then, you'll implement navigation between fragments within a single activity.

As with activities, each fragment you add will consist of two files—an XML file for the layout and a Kotlin class to display data and handle user interactions. You'll add a fragment for both the letter list and the word list.

  1. With app selected in the Project Navigator, add the following fragments (File > New > Fragment > Fragment (Blank)) and both a class and layout file should be generated for each.
  • For the first fragment, set the Fragment Name to LetterListFragment. The Fragment Layout Name should populate as fragment_letter_list.

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  • For the second fragment, set the Fragment Name to WordListFragment. The Fragment Layout Name should populate as fragment_word_list.xml.

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  1. The generated Kotlin classes for both fragments contain a lot of boilerplate code commonly used when implementing fragments. However, as you're learning about fragments for the first time, go ahead and delete everything except the class declaration for LetterListFragment and WordListFragment from both files. We'll walk you through implementing the fragments from scratch so that you know how all of the code works. After deleting the boilerplate code, the Kotlin files should look as follows.

LetterListFragment.kt

package com.example.wordsapp

import androidx.fragment.app.Fragment

class LetterListFragment : Fragment() {
    
}

WordListFragment.kt

package com.example.wordsapp

import androidx.fragment.app.Fragment

class WordListFragment : Fragment() {
    
}
  1. Copy the contents of activity_main.xml into fragment_letter_list.xml and the contents of activity_detail.xml into fragment_word_list.xml. Update tools:context in fragment_letter_list.xml to .LetterListFragment and tools:context in fragment_word_list.xml to .WordListFragment.

After the changes, the fragment layout files should look as follows.

fragment_letter_list.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<FrameLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent"
   tools:context=".WordListFragment">

   <androidx.recyclerview.widget.RecyclerView
       android:id="@+id/recycler_view"
       android:layout_width="match_parent"
       android:layout_height="match_parent"
       android:clipToPadding="false"
       android:padding="16dp" />

</FrameLayout>

fragment_word_list.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<FrameLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent"
   tools:context=".WordListFragment">

   <androidx.recyclerview.widget.RecyclerView
       android:id="@+id/recycler_view"
       android:layout_width="match_parent"
       android:layout_height="match_parent"
       android:clipToPadding="false"
       android:padding="16dp"
       tools:listitem="@layout/item_view" />

</FrameLayout>

As with activities, you need to inflate the layout and bind individual views. There are just a few minor differences when working with the fragment lifecycle. We'll walk you through the process for setting up the LetterListFragment, and then you'll get the chance to do the same for WordListFragment.

To implement view binding in LetterListFragment, you first need to get a nullable reference to FragmentLetterListBinding. Binding classes like this are generated by Android Studio for each layout file, when the viewBinding property is enabled under the buildFeatures section of the build.gradle file. You just need to assign properties in your fragment class for each view in the FragmentLetterListBinding.

The type should be FragmentLetterListBinding? and it should have an initial value of null. Why make it nullable? Because you can't inflate the layout until onCreateView() is called. There's a period of time in-between when the instance of LetterListFragment is created (when its lifecycle begins with onCreate()) and when this property is actually usable. Also keep in mind that fragments' views can be created and destroyed several times throughout the fragment's lifecycle. For this reason you also need to reset the value in another lifecycle method, onDestroyView().

  1. In LetterListFragment.kt, start by getting a reference to the FragmentLetterListBinding, and name the reference _binding.
private var _binding: FragmentLetterListBinding? = null

Because it's nullable, every time you access a property of _binding, (e.g. _binding?.someView) you need to include the ? for null safety. However, that doesn't mean you have to litter your code with question marks just because of one null value. If you're certain a value won't be null when you access it, you can append !! to its type name. Then you can access it like any other property, without the ? operator.

  1. Create a new property, called binding (without the underscore) and set it equal to _binding!!.
private val binding get() = _binding!!

Here, get() means this property is "get-only". That means you can get the value, but once assigned (as it is here), you can't assign it to something else.

  1. To implement onCreate(), simply call setHasOptionsMenu().
override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
   super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
   setHasOptionsMenu(true)
}
  1. Remember that with fragments, the layout is inflated in onCreateView(). Implement onCreateView() by inflating the view, setting the value of _binding, and returning the root view.
override fun onCreateView(
   inflater: LayoutInflater, container: ViewGroup?,
   savedInstanceState: Bundle?
): View? {
   _binding = FragmentLetterListBinding.inflate(inflater, container, false)
   val view = binding.root
   return view
}
  1. Below the binding property, create a property for the recycler view.
private lateinit var recyclerView: RecyclerView
  1. Then set the value of the recyclerView property in onViewCreated(), and call chooseLayout() like you did in MainActivity. You'll move the chooseLayout() method into LetterListFragment soon, so don't worry that there's an error.
override fun onViewCreated(view: View, savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
   recyclerView = binding.recyclerView
   chooseLayout()
}

Notice how the binding class already created a property for recyclerView, and you don't need to call findViewById() for each view.

  1. Finally, in onDestroyView(), reset the _binding property to null, as the view no longer exists.
override fun onDestroyView() {
   super.onDestroyView()
   _binding = null
}
  1. The only other thing to note is there are some subtle differences with the onCreateOptionsMenu() method when working with fragments. While the Activity class has a global property called menuInflater, Fragment does not have this property. The menu inflater is instead passed into onCreateOptionsMenu(). Also note that the onCreateOptionsMenu() method used with fragments doesn't require a return statement. Implement the method as shown:
override fun onCreateOptionsMenu(menu: Menu, inflater: MenuInflater) {
   inflater.inflate(R.menu.layout_menu, menu)

   val layoutButton = menu.findItem(R.id.action_switch_layout)
   setIcon(layoutButton)
}
  1. Move the remaining code for chooseLayout(), setIcon(), and onOptionsItemSelected() from MainActivity as-is. The only other difference to note is that because unlike an activity, a fragment is not a Context. You can't pass in this (referring to the fragment object) as the layout manager's context. However, fragments provide a context property you can use instead. The rest of the code is identical to MainActivity.
private fun chooseLayout() {
   when (isLinearLayoutManager) {
       true -> {
           recyclerView.layoutManager = LinearLayoutManager(context)
           recyclerView.adapter = LetterAdapter()
       }
       false -> {
           recyclerView.layoutManager = GridLayoutManager(context, 4)
           recyclerView.adapter = LetterAdapter()
       }
   }
}

private fun setIcon(menuItem: MenuItem?) {
   if (menuItem == null)
       return

   menuItem.icon =
       if (isLinearLayoutManager)
           ContextCompat.getDrawable(this.requireContext(), R.drawable.ic_grid_layout)
       else ContextCompat.getDrawable(this.requireContext(), R.drawable.ic_linear_layout)
}

override fun onOptionsItemSelected(item: MenuItem): Boolean {
   return when (item.itemId) {
       R.id.action_switch_layout -> {
           isLinearLayoutManager = !isLinearLayoutManager
           chooseLayout()
           setIcon(item)

           return true
       }

       else -> super.onOptionsItemSelected(item)
   }
}
  1. Finally, copy over the isLinearLayoutManager property from MainActivity. Put this right below the declaration of the recyclerView property.
private var isLinearLayoutManager = true
  1. Now that all the functionality has been moved to LetterListFragment, all the MainActivity class needs to do is inflate the layout so that the fragment is displayed in the view. Go ahead and delete everything except onCreate() from MainActivity. After the changes, MainActivity should contain only the following.
override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
   super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)

   val binding = ActivityMainBinding.inflate(layoutInflater)
   setContentView(binding.root)
}

Your turn

That's it for migrating MainActivity to LettersListFragment. Migrating the DetailActivity is almost identical. Perform the following steps to migrate the code to WordListFragment.

  1. Copy the companion object from DetailActivity to WordListFragment. Make sure the reference to SEARCH_PREFIX in WordAdapter is updated to reference WordListFragment.
  2. Add a _binding variable The variable should be nullable and have null as its initial value.
  3. Add a get-only variable called binding equal to the _binding variable.
  4. Inflate the layout in onCreateView(), setting the value of _binding and returning the root view.
  5. Perform any remaining setup in onViewCreated(): get a reference to the recycler view, set its layout manager and adapter, and add its item decoration. You'll need to get the letter from the intent. As fragments don't have an intent property and shouldn't normally access the intent of the parent activity. For now, you refer to activity.intent (rather than intent in DetailActivity) to get the extras.
  6. Reset _binding to null in onDestroyView.
  7. Delete the remaining code from DetailActivity, leaving only the onCreate() method.

Try to go through the steps on your own before moving on. A detailed walkthrough is available on the next step.

Hopefully you enjoyed getting the chance to migrate DetailActivity to WordListFragment. This is almost identical to migrating MainActivity to LetterListFragment. If you got stuck at any point, the steps are summarized below.

  1. First, copy the companion object to WordListFragment.
companion object {
   val LETTER = "letter"
   val SEARCH_PREFIX = "https://www.google.com/search?q="
}
  1. Then in LetterAdapter, in the onClickListener() where you perform the intent, you need to update the call to putExtra(), replacing DetailActivity.LETTER with WordListFragment.LETTER.
intent.putExtra(WordListFragment.LETTER, holder.button.text.toString())
  1. Similarly, in WordAdapter you need to update the onClickListener() where you navigate to the search results for the word, replacing DetailActivity.SEARCH_PREFIX with WordListFragment.SEARCH_PREFIX.
val queryUrl: Uri = Uri.parse("${WordListFragment.SEARCH_PREFIX}${item}")
  1. Back in WordListFragment, you add a binding variable of type FragmentWordListBinding?.
private var _binding: FragmentWordListBinding? = null
  1. You then create a get-only variable so that you can reference views without having to use ?.
private val binding get() = _binding!!
  1. Then you inflate the layout, assigning the _binding variable and returning the root view. Remember that for fragments you do this in onCreateView(), not onCreate().
override fun onCreateView(
   inflater: LayoutInflater,
   container: ViewGroup?,
   savedInstanceState: Bundle?
): View? {
   _binding = FragmentWordListBinding.inflate(inflater, container, false)
   return binding.root
}
  1. Next, you implement onViewCreated(). This is almost identical to configuring the recyclerView in onCreateView() in the DetailActivity. However, because fragments don't have direct access to the intent, you need to reference it with activity.intent. You have to do this in onCreateView() however, as there's no guarantee the activity exists earlier in the lifecycle.
override fun onViewCreated(view: View, savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
   val recyclerView = binding.recyclerView
   recyclerView.layoutManager = LinearLayoutManager(requireContext())
   recyclerView.adapter = WordAdapter(activity?.intent?.extras?.getString(LETTER).toString(), requireContext())

   recyclerView.addItemDecoration(
       DividerItemDecoration(context, DividerItemDecoration.VERTICAL)
   )
}
  1. Finally, you can reset the _binding variable in onDestroyView().
override fun onDestroyView() {
   super.onDestroyView()
   _binding = null
}
  1. With all this functionality moved into WordListFragment, you can now delete the code from DetailActivity. All that should be left is the onCreate() method.
override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
   super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)

   val binding = ActivityDetailBinding.inflate(layoutInflater)
   setContentView(binding.root)
}

Remove DetailActivity

Now that you've successfully migrated the functionality of DetailActivity into WordListFragment, you no longer need DetailActivity. You can go ahead and delete both the DetailActivity.kt and activity_detail.xml as well as make a small change to the manifest.

  1. First, delete DetailActivity.kt

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  1. Make sure Safe Delete is Unchecked and click OK.

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  1. Next, delete activity_detail.xml. Again, make sure Safe Delete is unchecked.

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  1. Finally, as DetailActivity no longer exists, remove the following from AndroidManifest.xml.
<activity
   android:name=".DetailActivity"
   android:parentActivityName=".MainActivity" />

After deleting the detail activity, you're left with two fragments (LetterListFragment and WordListFragment) and a single activity (MainActivity). In the next section, you'll learn about the Jetpack Navigation component and edit activity_main.xml so that it can display and navigate between fragments, rather than host a static layout.

Android Jetpack provides the Navigation component to help you handle any navigation implementation, simple or complex, in your app. The Navigation component has three key parts which you'll use to implement navigation in the Words app.

  • Navigation Graph: The navigation graph is an XML file that provides a visual representation of navigation in your app. The file consists of destinations which correspond to individual activities and fragments as well as actions between them which can be used in code to navigate from one destination to another. Just like with layout files, Android Studio provides a visual editor to add destinations and actions to the navigation graph.
  • NavHost: A NavHost is used to display destinations form a navigation graph within an activity. When you navigate between fragments, the destination shown in the NavHost is updated. You'll use a built-in implementation, called NavHostFragment, in your MainActivity.
  • NavController: The NavController object lets you control the navigation between destinations displayed in the NavHost. When working with intents, you had to call startActivity to navigate to a new screen. With the Navigation component, you can call the NavController's navigate() method to swap the fragment that's displayed. The NavController also helps you handle common tasks like responding to the system "up" button to navigate back to the previously displayed fragment.
  1. In the project-level build.gradle file, in buildscript > ext, below material_version set the nav_version equal to 2.3.1.
buildscript {
    ext {
        appcompat_version = "1.2.0"
        constraintlayout_version = "2.0.2"
        core_ktx_version = "1.3.2"
        kotlin_version = "1.3.72"
        material_version = "1.2.1"
        nav_version = "2.3.1"
    }

    ...

}

  1. In the app-level build.gradle file, add the following to the dependencies group.
implementation "androidx.navigation:navigation-fragment-ktx:$nav_version"
implementation "androidx.navigation:navigation-ui-ktx:$nav_version"

Safe Args Plugin

When you first implemented navigation in the Words app, you used an explicit intent between the two activities. To pass data between the two activities, you called the putExtra() method, passing in the selected letter.

Before you start implementing the Navigation component into the Words app, you'll also add something called Safe Args—a Gradle plugin that will assist you with type safety when passing data between fragments.

Perform the following steps to integrate SafeArgs into your project.

  1. In the top-level build.gradle file, in buildscript > dependencies, add the following classpath.
classpath "androidx.navigation:navigation-safe-args-gradle-plugin:$nav_version"
  1. In the app-level build.gradle file, within plugins at the top, add androidx.navigation.safeargs.kotlin.
plugins {
    id 'com.android.application'
    id 'kotlin-android'
    id 'kotlin-kapt'
    id 'androidx.navigation.safeargs.kotlin'
}
  1. Once you've edited the Gradle files, you may see a yellow banner at the top asking you to sync the project. Click "Sync Now" and wait a minute or two while Gradle updates your project's dependencies to reflect your changes.

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Once syncing is complete, you're ready to move on to the next step where you'll add a navigation graph.

Now that you have a basic familiarity with fragments and their lifecycle, it's time for things to get a bit more interesting. The next step is to incorporate the Navigation component. The navigation component simply refers to the collection of tools for implementing navigation, particularly between fragments. You'll be working with a new visual editor to help implement navigation between fragments; the Navigation Graph (or NavGraph for short).

What is a Navigation Graph?

The Navigation Graph (or NavGraph for short) is a virtual mapping of your app's navigation. Each screen, or fragment in your case, becomes a possible "destination" that can be navigated to. A NavGraph can be represented by an XML file showing how each destination relates to one another.

Behind the scenes, this actually creates a new instance of the NavGraph class. However, destinations from the navigation graph are displayed to the user by the FragmentContainerView. All you need to do is to create an XML file and define the possible destinations. Then you can use the generated code to navigate between fragments.

Use FragmentContainerView in MainActivity

Because your layouts are now contained in fragment_letter_list.xml and fragment_word_list.xml, your activity_main.xml file no longer needs to contain the layout for the first screen in your app. Instead, you'll repurpose MainActivity to contain a FragmentContainerView to act as the NavHost for your fragments. From this point forward, all the navigation in the app will take place within the FragmentContainerView.

  1. Replace the content of the FrameLayout in activity_main.xml that is androidx.recyclerview.widget.RecyclerView with a FragmentContainerView. Give it an ID of nav_host_fragment and set its height and width to match_parent to fill the entire frame layout.

Replace this:

    <androidx.recyclerview.widget.RecyclerView
        android:id="@+id/recycler_view"
        ...
        android:padding="16dp" />

With this:

<androidx.fragment.app.FragmentContainerView
   android:id="@+id/nav_host_fragment"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent" />
  1. Below the id attribute, add a name attribute and set it to androidx.navigation.fragment.NavHostFragment. While you can specify a specific fragment for this attribute, setting it to NavHostFragment allows your FragmentContainerView to navigate between fragments.
android:name="androidx.navigation.fragment.NavHostFragment"
  1. Below the layout_height and layout_width attributes, add an attribute called app:navHost and set it equal to "true". This allows the fragment container to interact with the navigation hierarchy. For example, if the system back button is pressed, then the container will navigate back to the previously shown fragment, just like what happens when a new activity is presented.
app:defaultNavHost="true"
  1. Add an attribute called app:navGraph and set it equal to "@navigation/nav_graph". This points to an XML file that defines how your app's fragments can navigate to one another. For now, the Android studio will show you an unresolved symbol error. You will address this in the next task.
app:navGraph="@navigation/nav_graph"
  1. Finally, because you added two attributes with the app namespace, be sure to add the xmlns:app attribute to the FrameLayout.
<xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
   xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent"
   tools:context=".MainActivity">

That's all the changes in activity_main.xml. Next up, you'll create the nav_graph file.

Set Up the Navigation Graph

Add a navigation graph file (File > New > Android Resource File) and filling the fields as follows.

  • File Name: nav_graph.xml. This is the same as the name you set for the app:navGraph attribute.
  • Resource Type: Navigation. The Directory Name should then automatically change to navigation. A new resource folder called "navigation" will be created.

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Upon creating the XML file, you're presented with a new visual editor. Because you've already referenced nav_graph in the FragmentContainerView's navGraph property, To add a new destination, click the new button in the top left of the screen and create a destination for each fragment (one for fragment_letter_list and one for fragment_word_list).

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Once added, these fragments should appear on the navigation graph in the middle of the screen. You can also select a specific destination using the component tree that appears on the left.

Create a navigation action

To create a navigation action between the letterListFragment to the wordListFragment destinations, hover your mouse over the letterListFragment destination and drag from the circle that appears on the right onto the wordListFragment destination.

c9477af5828a83f4.gif

You should now see an arrow has been created to represent the action between the two destinations. Click on the arrow, and you can see in the attributes pane that this action has a name action_letterListFragment_to_wordListFragment that can be referenced in code.

Specify Arguments for WordListFragment

When navigating between activities using an intent, you specified an "extra" so that the selected letter could be passed to the wordListFragment. Navigation also supports passing parameters between destinations and plus does this in a type safe way.

Select the wordListFragment destination and in the attributes pane, under Arguments, click the plus button to create a new argument.

The argument should be called letter and the type should be String. This is where the Safe Args plugin you added earlier comes in. Specifying this argument as a string ensures that a String will be expected when your navigation action is performed in code.

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Setting the Start Destination

While your NavGraph is aware of all the needed destinations, how will the FragmentContainerView know which fragment to show first? On the NavGraph, you need to set the letter list as a start destination.

Set the start destination by selecting letterListFragment and clicking the Assign start destination button.

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That's all you need to do with the NavGraph editor for now. At this point, go ahead and build the project. This will generate some code based on your navigation graph so that you can use the navigation action you just created.

Perform the Navigation Action

Open up LetterAdapter.kt to perform the navigation action. This only requires two steps.

  1. Delete the contents of the button's onClickListener(). Instead, you need to retrieve the navigation action you just created. Add the following to the onClickListener().
val action = LetterListFragmentDirections.actionLetterListFragmentToWordListFragment(letter = holder.button.text.toString())

You probably don't recognize some of these class and function names and that's because they've been automatically generated after you built the project. That's where the Safe Args plugin you added in the first step comes in—the actions created on the NavGraph are turned into code that you can use. The names, however, should be fairly intuitive. LetterListFragmentDirections lets you refer to all possible navigation paths starting from the letterListFragment. The function actionLetterListFragmentToWordListFragment()

is the specific action to navigate to the wordListFragment.

Once you have a reference to your navigation action, simply get a reference to your NavController (an object that lets you perform navigation actions) and call navigate() passing in the action.

holder.view.findNavController().navigate(action)

Configure MainActivity

The final piece of setup is in MainActivity. There are just a few changes needed in MainActivity to get everything working.

  1. Create a navController property. This is marked as lateinit since it will be set in onCreate.
private lateinit var navController: NavController
  1. Then, after the call to setContentView() in onCreate(), get a reference to the nav_host_fragment (this is the ID of your FragmentContainerView) and assign it to your navController property.
val navHostFragment = supportFragmentManager
    .findFragmentById(R.id.nav_host_fragment) as NavHostFragment
navController = navHostFragment.navController
  1. Then in onCreate(), call setupActionBarWithNavController(), passing in navController. This ensures action bar (app bar) buttons, like the menu option in LetterListFragment are visible.
setupActionBarWithNavController(navController)
  1. Finally, implement onSupportNavigateUp(). Along with setting defaultNavHost to true in the XML, this method allows you to handle the up button. However, your activity needs to provide the implementation.
override fun onSupportNavigateUp(): Boolean {
   return navController.navigateUp() || super.onSupportNavigateUp()
}

At this point, all the components are in-place to get navigation working with fragments. However, now that navigation is performed using fragments instead of the intent, the intent extra for the letter that you use in WordListFragment will no longer work. In the next step, you'll update WordListFragment, to get the letter argument.

Previously, you referenced activity?.intent in WordListFragment to access the letter extra. While this works, this is not a best practice, since fragments can be embedded in other layouts, and in a larger app, it's much harder to assume which activity the fragment belongs to. Furthermore, when navigation is performed using nav_graph and safe arguments are used, there are no intents, so trying to access intent extras is simply not going to work.

Thankfully, accessing safe arguments is pretty straightforward, and you don't have to wait until onViewCreated() is called either.

  1. In WordListFragment, create a letterId property. You can mark this as lateinit so that you don't have to make it nullable.
private lateinit var letterId: String
  1. Then override onCreate() (not onCreateView() or onViewCreated()!), add the following.
override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
    super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)

    arguments?.let {
        letterId = it.getString(LETTER).toString()
    }
}

Because it's possible for arguments to be optional, notice you call let() and pass in a lambda. This code will execute assuming arguments is not null, passing in the non null arguments for the it parameter. If arguments is null, however, the lambda will not execute.

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While not part of the actual code, Android Studio provides a helpful hint to make you aware of the it parameter.

What exactly is a Bundle? Think of it as a key-value pair used to pass data between classes, such as activities and fragments. Actually, you've already used a bundle when you called intent?.extras?.getString() when performing an intent in the first version of this app. Getting the string from arguments when working with fragments works exactly the same way.

  1. Finally, you can access the letterId when you set the recycler view's adapter. Replace activity?.intent?.extras?.getString(LETTER).toString() in onViewCreated() with letterId.
recyclerView.adapter = WordAdapter(letterId, requireContext())

You did it! Take a moment to run your app. It's now able to navigate between two screens, without any intents, and all in a single activity.

You've successfully converted both screens to use fragments. Before any changes were made, the app bar for each fragment had a descriptive title for each activity contained in the app bar. However, after converting to use fragments, this title is missing from the detail activity.

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Fragments have a property called "label" where you can set the title which the parent activity will know to use in the app bar.

  1. In strings.xml, after the app name, add the following constant.
<string name="word_list_fragment_label">Words That Start With {letter}</string>
  1. You can set the label for each fragment on the navigation graph. Go back into nav_graph.xml and select letterListFragment in the component tree, and in the attributes pane, set the label to the app_name string

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  1. Select wordListFragment and set the label to word_list_fragment_label

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Congratulations on making it this far! Run your app one more time and you should see everything just as it was at the start of the codelab, only now, all your navigation is hosted in a single activity with a separate fragment for each screen.

The solution code for this codelab is in the project shown below.

To get the code for this codelab and open it in Android Studio, do the following.

Get the code

  1. Click on the provided URL. This opens the GitHub page for the project in a browser.
  2. On the GitHub page for the project, click the Code button, which brings up a dialog.

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  1. In the dialog, click the Download ZIP button to save the project to your computer. Wait for the download to complete.
  2. Locate the file on your computer (likely in the Downloads folder).
  3. Double-click the ZIP file to unpack it. This creates a new folder that contains the project files.

Open the project in Android Studio

  1. Start Android Studio.
  2. In the Welcome to Android Studio window, click Open an existing Android Studio project.

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Note: If Android Studio is already open, instead, select the File > New > Import Project menu option.

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  1. In the Import Project dialog, navigate to where the unzipped project folder is located (likely in your Downloads folder).
  2. Double-click on that project folder.
  3. Wait for Android Studio to open the project.
  4. Click the Run button j7ptomO2PEQNe8jFt4nKCOw_Oc_Aucgf4l_La8fGLCMLy0t9RN9SkmBFGOFjkEzlX4ce2w2NWq4J30sDaxEe4MaSNuJPpMgHxnsRYoBtIV3-GUpYYcIvRJ2HrqR27XGuTS4F7lKCzg to build and run the app. Make sure it works as expected.
  5. Browse the project files in the Project tool window to see how the app was implemented.
  • Fragments are reusable pieces of UI that can be embedded in activities.
  • The lifecycle of a fragment differs from the lifecycle of an activity, with view setup occurring in onViewCreated(), rather than onCreateView().
  • A FragmentContainerView is used to embed fragments in other activities and can manage navigation between fragments.

Using the Navigation Component

  • Setting the navGraph attribute of a FragmentContainerView allows you to navigate between fragments within an activity.
  • The NavGraph editor allows you to add navigation actions and specify arguments between different destinations.
  • While navigating using intents requires you to pass in extras, the Navigation component uses SafeArgs to auto-generate classes and methods for your navigation actions, ensuring type safety with arguments.

Use cases for fragments.

  • Using the Navigation component, many apps can manage their entire layout within a single activity, with all navigation occurring between fragments.
  • Fragments make common layout patterns possible, such as master-detail layouts on tablets, or multiple tabs within the same activity.