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Create XML layouts for Android

In this codelab, you will be building the layout for a basic tip calculator app. At the end of the codelab, you'll have a working UI for the app, but the app won't actually calculate the tip yet. Making the app work and look more professional will be in the following codelabs.

Prerequisites

  • Able to create and run an Android app from a template in Android Studio

What you'll learn

  • How to read and write XML layouts in Android
  • How to build the layout for a simple form to take in user text input and choices

What you'll build

  • The UI for a tip calculator Android app

What you need

Check out the tip calculator on Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=tip+calculator

In this pathway, you'll build a simple version of a tip calculator as an Android app.

Developers will often work in this way—getting a simple version of the app ready and partially functioning (even if it doesn't look very good), and then making it fully functional and visually polished later.

By the end of this codelab, your tip calculator app will look like this:

You will be using these UI elements that are provided by Android:

  • EditText - for entering and editing text
  • TextView - to display text like the service question and tip amount
  • RadioButton - a selectable radio button for each tip option
  • RadioGroup - to group the radio button options
  • Switch - an on/off toggle for choosing whether to round up the tip or not

Create an Empty Activity project

  1. To start, create a new Kotlin project in Android Studio using the Empty Activity template.
  2. Call the app "Tip Time", with a minimum API level of 19 (KitKat).
    The package name is com.example.tiptime.

  1. Click Finish to create the app.

This codelab will be different from the earlier ones. Instead of using the Layout Editor which you're already familiar with, you will build this layout by modifying the XML. Both can accomplish the same result, but learning how to understand and modify XML layouts will be important for you as an Android developer.

You will be looking at and editing the XML file that defines the layout for this app. XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, which is a way of organizing a text-based document. Because XML is extensible and very flexible, it's used for many different things, including defining the layout of Android apps. You may recall from earlier codelabs that other resources like strings for your app are also defined in an XML file called strings.xml.

An XML file can describe the view hierarchy of UI elements on the screen. For example, a ConstraintLayout (the parent) can contain Buttons, TextViews, ImageViews, or other views (the children). (Note that this view hierarchy is unrelated to the hierarchy of classes mentioned in the previous codelab. The terms parent and child are used again, but the context here is talking about parent views containing children views, which in turn can contain children views.)

Each UI element is represented by an XML element in the XML file. Each element starts and ends with a tag, and each tag starts with a < and ends with a >. Just as you can set attributes on UI elements using the Layout Editor, the XML elements can have attributes, too. Simplified, the XML for the UI elements above might be something like this:

<ConstraintLayout>
    <TextView
        text="Hello World!">
    </TextView>
</ConstraintLayout>


This may seem abstract, and it's not exactly how things work, so it's helpful to look at a real example.

  1. Open activity_main.xml (res > layout > activity_main.xml)
  2. Notice that the app shows a TextView with "Hello World!" within a ConstraintLayout, as you have seen in previous projects created from this template.

  1. Find the options for Code, Split, and Design views in the upper right of the Layout Editor.
  2. Select the Code view.

This is what the XML in activity_main.xml looks like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout  
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <TextView
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Hello World!"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />

</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

There's a lot more going on than in the simplified example, but Android Studio does some things to help make the XML more readable, just as it does with your Kotlin code.

  1. Notice the indentation. Android Studio does this automatically to show you the hierarchy of elements. The TextView is indented because it is contained in the ConstraintLayout. The ConstraintLayout is the parent, and the TextView is the child. The attributes for each element are indented to show that they're part of that element.
  2. Notice the color coding—some things are in blue, some in green, and so on. Similar parts of the file are drawn in the same color to help you match them up. In particular, notice that Android Studio draws the start and end of tags of elements in the same color. (Note: the colors used in the codelab may not match what you see in Android Studio.)

XML tags, elements and attributes

Here's a simplified version of the TextView element so you can look at some of the important parts:

<TextView
    android:text="Hello World!"
/>

The line with <TextView is the start of the tag, and the line with /> is the end of the tag. The line with android:text="Hello World!" is an attribute of the tag and represents text that will be displayed by the TextView. These 3 lines are a commonly used shorthand called an empty-element tag. It would mean the same thing if you wrote it with a separate start-tag and end-tag, like this:

<TextView
    android:text="Hello World!"
></TextView>

It's also common with an empty-element tag to write it on as few lines as possible and combine the end of the tag with the line before it. So you might see an empty-element tag on two lines (or even one line if it had no attributes):

<!-- with attributes, two lines -->
<TextView
    android:text="Hello World!" />


The ConstraintLayout element is written with separate start and end tags, because it needs to be able to hold other elements inside it. Here's a simplified version of the ConstraintLayout element with the TextView element inside it:

<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>
    <TextView
        android:text="Hello World!" />
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

If you wanted to add another View as a child of the ConstraintLayout, like a Button below the TextView, it would go after the end of the TextView tag /> and before the end tag of the ConstraintLayout, like this:

<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>
    <TextView
        android:text="Hello World!" />
    <Button
        android:text="Calculate" />
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

More about XML for layouts

  1. Look at the tag for the ConstraintLayout, and notice that it says androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout instead of just ConstraintLayout like the TextView. This is because ConstraintLayout is part of the Android Jetpack, which contains libraries of code which offers additional functionality on top of the core Android platform. Jetpack has useful functionality that you can take advantage of to make building apps easier. You'll recognize that this UI component as being part of Jetpack because it starts with "androidx".
  2. You may have noticed the lines that begin with xmlns:, followed by android, app, and tools.
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"

The xmlns stands for XML namespace, and each line defines a schema, or vocabulary for attributes related to those words. The android: namespace, for example, marks attributes that are defined by the Android system. All of the attributes in the layout XML begins with one of those namespaces.

  1. Whitespace between XML elements doesn't change the meaning to a computer, but it can help make the XML easier for people to read.

Android Studio will automatically add some whitespace and indenting for readability. You'll learn later how to have Android Studio make sure your XML follows coding style conventions.

  1. You can add comments to XML, just like you would with Kotlin code. Start <!-- and end with -->.
<!-- this is a comment in XML -->

<!-- this is a
multi-line comment -->
  1. Note the first line of the file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

This indicates that the file is an XML file, but not every XML file includes this.

  1. Still in activity_main.xml, switch to the Split screen view to see the XML beside the Design Editor.

  1. It is up to personal preference which view you use, but for this codelab, use the Split view so you can see both the XML that you edit and the changes those edits make in the Design Editor.
  2. Try clicking on different lines, one below the ConstraintLayout, and then one below the TextView, and notice that the corresponding view is selected in the Design Editor. The reverse works, too—for example, if you click on the TextView in the Design Editor, the corresponding XML is highlighted.

Delete the TextView

  1. You don't need the TextView now, so delete it. Be sure to delete everything from the <TextView to the closing />.
<TextView
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:text="Hello World!"
    app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />

All that's left in the file is the ConstraintLayout:

<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout     
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>
  1. Add 16dp of padding to the ConstraintLayout so the UI won't be crowded against the edge of the screen.
    Padding is similar to margins, which you've used before, but it adds space to the inside of the ConstraintLayout, instead of adding space to the outside.
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout  
    ...
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    android:padding="16dp"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

Add cost of service text field

In this step you'll add the UI element to allow the user to enter the cost of service into the app. You'll use an EditText element, which lets a user enter or modify text in an app.

  1. Look at the EditText documentation, and examine the sample XML.
  2. Find a blank space between the opening and closing tags of the ConstraintLayout.
  3. Copy and paste the XML from the documentation into that space in your layout in Android Studio.

Your layout file should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout     
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/plain_text_input"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:inputType="text"/>
  
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

You may not understand all of this yet, but it will be explained in the following steps.

  1. Notice EditText is underlined in red.
  2. Hover the pointer over it, and you'll see a "view is not constrained" error, which should look familiar from earlier codelabs. Recall that children of a ConstraintLayout need constraints so the layout knows how to arrange them.

  1. Add these constraints to anchor the text field in the top left corner of the parent.
app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent"

If you're writing in English or another language that's written left-to-right (LTR), the starting edge is the left. But some languages like Arabic are written right-to-left (RTL), so the starting edge is the right. That's why the constraint uses "start", so that it can work with either LTR or RTL languages. Similarly, constraints use "end" instead of right.

With the new constraints added, the EditText element will look like this:

<EditText
    android:id="@+id/plain_text_input"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent"
    android:inputType="text"/>

Review the EditText attributes

Double check all the EditText attributes that you pasted in to make sure it works for how it will be used in your app.

  1. Find the id attribute, which is set to @+id/plain_text_input.
  2. Change the id attribute to a more appropriate name, @+id/cost_of_service.
  1. Look at the layout_height attribute. It's set to wrap_content which means the height will be as tall as the content inside it. That's OK, because there will only be 1 line of text.
  2. Look at the layout_width attribute. It's set to match_parent, but you can't set match_parent on a child of ConstraintLayout. Furthermore, the text field doesn't need to be so wide. Set it to be a fixed width of 160dp, which should be plenty of space for the user to enter in a cost of service.

  1. Notice the inputType attribute—it's something new.
    The value of the attribute is "text", which means the user can type in any text characters into the field on screen (alphabetical characters, symbols, etc.)
android:inputType="text"

However, you want them to only type numbers into the EditText, because the field represents a monetary value.

  1. Erase the word text, but leave the quotes.
  2. Start typing number in its place.
    After typing "n", Android Studio shows a list of possible completions that include "n".
  3. Choose numberDecimal, which limits them to numbers with a decimal point.
android:inputType="numberDecimal"

To see other options for input types, see Specify the input method type in the developer documentation.

There's one more change to make, because it's helpful to display some hint as to what the user should enter into this field.

  1. Add a hint attribute to the EditText describing what the user should enter in the field.
android:hint="Cost of Service"

You will see the Design Editor update, too.

  1. Run your app in the emulator. It should look like this:

Nice job! It doesn't do much yet, but you've got a good start and have edited some XML. The XML for your layout should look something like this.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/cost_of_service"
        android:layout_width="160dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:hint="Cost of Service"
        android:inputType="numberDecimal"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />

</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Add the service question

In this step, you'll add a TextView for the question prompt, "How was the service?" Try typing this out without copy/pasting. The suggestions from Android Studio should help you.

  1. After the close of the EditText tag, />, add a new line and start typing <TextView
  2. Select TextView from the suggestions, and Android Studio will automatically add the layout_width and layout_height attributes for the TextView.
  3. Choose wrap_content for both, since you only need the TextView to be as big as the text content inside it.
  4. Add the text attribute with "How was the service?"
<TextView
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:text="How was the service?"
  1. Close the tag with />.
  2. Notice in the Design Editor that the TextView overlaps the EditText.

That doesn't look right, so you'll add constraints on the TextView next. Think about what constraints you need. Where should the TextView be positioned horizontally and vertically? You can check the app screenshot to help you.

Vertically, you want the TextView to be below the cost of service text field. Horizontally, you want the TextView aligned to the starting edge of the parent.

  1. Add a horizontal constraint to the TextView to constrain its starting edge to the starting edge of the parent.
app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
  1. Add a vertical constraint to the TextView to constrain the top edge of the TextView to the bottom edge of the cost of service View.
app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/cost_of_service"

Note that there's no plus in @id/cost_of_service because the ID is already defined.

It doesn't look the best, but don't worry about that for now. You just want to make sure all the necessary pieces are on screen and the functionality works. You'll fix how it looks in the following codelabs.

  1. Add a resource ID on the TextView. You'll need to refer to this view later as you add more views and constrain them to each other.
android:id="@+id/service_question"

At this point, your XML should look like this.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/cost_of_service"
        android:hint="Cost of Service"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_width="160dp"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent"
        android:inputType="numberDecimal"/>

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/service_question"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="How was the service?"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/cost_of_service"/>

</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Next you'll add radio buttons for the different tip options the user can choose from.

There should be three options:

  • Amazing (20%)
  • Good (18%)
  • Okay (15%)

If you're not sure how to do this, you can do a Google search. This is a great tool that developers use when they're stuck.

  1. Do a Google search for radio button android.
    The top result is a guide from the Android developers site on how to use radio buttons—perfect!

  1. Skim through the Radio Buttons guide.

Reading the description, you can confirm that you can use a RadioButton UI element in your layout for each radio button you need. Furthermore, you also need to group the radio buttons within a RadioGroup because only one option can be selected at a time.

There is some XML that looks like it would fit your needs. Read through it and see how RadioGroup is the parent view and the RadioButtons are child views within it.

  1. Go back to your layout in Android Studio to add the RadioGroup and RadioButton to your app.
  2. After the TextView element, but still within the ConstraintLayout, start typing out <RadioGroup.
    Android Studio will provide helpful suggestions to help you complete your XML.
  3. Set the layout_width and layout_height of the RadioGroup to wrap_content.
  4. Add a resource ID set to @+id/tip_options.
  5. Close the start tag with >.
  6. Android Studio adds </RadioGroup>. Like the ConstraintLayout, the RadioGroup element will have other elements inside it, so you might want to move it to its own line.
  7. Constrain the RadioGroup below the service question (vertically) and to the start of the parent (horizontally).
  8. Set the android:orientation attribute to vertical. If you wanted the RadioButtons in a row, you would set the orientation to horizontal.

The XML for the RadioGroup should look like this:

<RadioGroup
    android:id="@+id/tip_options"
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:orientation="vertical"
    app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question">

</RadioGroup>

Add RadioButtons

  1. After the last attribute of the RadioGroup, but before the </RadioGroup> end tag, add a RadioButton.
<RadioGroup
    android:id="@+id/tip_options"
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:orientation="vertical"
    app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question">

    <!-- add RadioButtons here -->

</RadioGroup>
  1. Set the layout_width and layout_height to wrap_content.
  2. Assign a resource ID of @+id/option_twenty_percent to the RadioButton.
  3. Set the text to Amazing (20%).
  4. Close the tag with />.
<RadioGroup
   android:id="@+id/tip_options"
   android:layout_width="wrap_content"
   android:layout_height="wrap_content"
   app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question"
   app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
   android:orientation="vertical">

   <RadioButton
       android:id="@+id/option_twenty_percent"
       android:layout_width="wrap_content"
       android:layout_height="wrap_content"
       android:text="Amazing (20%)" />

</RadioGroup>

Now that you've added one RadioButton, can you modify the XML to add 2 more radio buttons for the Good (18%) and Okay (15%) options?

This is what the XML for the RadioGroup and RadioButtons looks like:

<RadioGroup
   android:id="@+id/tip_options"
   android:layout_width="wrap_content"
   android:layout_height="wrap_content"
   app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question"
   app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
   android:orientation="vertical">

   <RadioButton
       android:id="@+id/option_twenty_percent"
       android:layout_width="wrap_content"
       android:layout_height="wrap_content"
       android:text="Amazing (20%)" />

   <RadioButton
       android:id="@+id/option_eighteen_percent"
       android:layout_width="wrap_content"
       android:layout_height="wrap_content"
       android:text="Good (18%)" />

   <RadioButton
       android:id="@+id/option_fifteen_percent"
       android:layout_width="wrap_content"
       android:layout_height="wrap_content"
       android:text="OK (15%)" />

</RadioGroup>

Add a default selection

Currently, none of the tip options are selected. It would be nice to select one of the radio button options by default.

There's an attribute on the RadioGroup where you can specify which button should be checked initially. It's called checkedButton, and you set it to the resource ID of the radio button you want selected

  1. On the RadioGroup, set the android:checkedButton attribute to @id/option_twenty_percent.
<RadioGroup
   android:id="@+id/tip_options"
   android:checkedButton="@id/option_twenty_percent"
   ...

Notice in the Design Editor that the layout has updated. The 20% tip option is selected by default—cool! Now it's starting to look like a tip calculator!

Here is what the XML looks like so far:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout 
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/cost_of_service"
        android:hint="Cost of Service"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_width="160dp"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent"
        android:inputType="numberDecimal"/>

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/service_question"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="How was the service?"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/cost_of_service"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent" />

    <RadioGroup
        android:id="@+id/tip_options"
        android:checkedButton="@id/option_twenty_percent"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        android:orientation="vertical">

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_twenty_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="Amazing (20%)" />

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_eighteen_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="Good (18%)" />

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_fifteen_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="OK (15%)" />
    </RadioGroup>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

You're on the last part of the layout now. You'll add a Switch, Button, and a TextView to display the tip amount.

Add a Switch for rounding up the tip

Next, you'll use a Switch element to allow the user to select yes or no for rounding up the tip.

You want the Switch to be as wide as the parent, so you might think the width should be set to match_parent. As noted earlier, you can't set match_parent on UI elements in a ConstraintLayout. Instead, you need to constrain the start and end edges of the view, and set the width to 0dp. Setting the width to 0dp tells the system not to calculate the width, just try to match the constraints that are on the view.

  1. Add a Switch element after the XML for the RadioGroup.
  2. As noted above, set the layout_width to 0dp.
  3. Set the layout_height to wrap_content. This will make the Switch view as tall as the content inside.
  4. Set the id attribute to @+id/round_up_switch.
  5. Set the text attribute to Round up tip?.
    This will be used as a label for the Switch.
  6. Constrain the start edge of the Switch to the start edge of the parent, and the end to the end of the parent.
  7. Constrain the top of the Switch to the bottom of the tip_options.
  8. Close the tag with />.

It would be nice if the switch was turned on by default, and there's an attribute for that, android:checked, where the possible values are true (on) or false (off).

  1. Set the android:checked attribute to true.

Putting that all together, the XML for the Switch element looks like this:

<Switch
    android:id="@+id/round_up_switch"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:checked="true"
    android:text="Round up tip?"
    app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/tip_options" />

Add the Calculate button

Next you'll add a Button so the user can request that the tip be calculated. You want the button to be as wide as the parent, so the horizontal constraints and width are the same as they were for the Switch.

  1. Add a Button after the Switch.
  2. Set the width to 0dp, as you did for the Switch.
  3. Set the height to wrap_content.
  4. GIve it a resource ID of @+id/calculate_button, with the text "Calculate".
  5. Constrain the top edge of Button to the bottom edge of the Round up tip? Switch.
  6. Constrain the start edge to the start edge of the parent and the end edge to the end edge of the parent.
  7. Close the tag with />.

Here's what the XML for the Calculate Button looks like.

<Button
   android:id="@+id/calculate_button"
   android:layout_width="0dp"
   android:layout_height="wrap_content"
   android:text="Calculate"
   app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/round_up_switch"
   app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
   app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent" />

Add tip result

You're almost done with the layout! In this step you'll add a TextView for the tip result, putting it below the Calculate button, and aligned with the end instead of the start like the other UI elements.

  1. Add a TextView with a resource ID named tip_result and the text Tip Amount.
  2. Constrain the ending edge of the TextView to the ending edge of the parent.
  3. Constrain the top edge to the bottom edge of the Calculate button.
<TextView
    android:id="@+id/tip_result"
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/calculate_button"
    android:text="Tip Amount" />

Run the app

Great job, especially if this is your first time working with XML!

Note that the app may not look exactly the same as the screenshot because the templates may have changed in Android Studio. The Calculate button doesn't do anything yet, but you can type in the cost, select the tip percentage, and toggle the option to round up the tip or not. You'll make the Calculate button work in the next codelab, so be sure to come back for it!

Extract the strings

You may have noticed the warnings about hard-coded strings. Recall from the earlier codelabs that extracting strings to a resource file makes it easier to translate your app to other languages and to reuse strings. Go through activity_main.xml and extract all the string resources.

  1. Click on a string; hover over on the yellow light bulb icon that appears, then click on the triangle next to it; choose Extract String Resource.
    The default names for the string resources are fine. If you want, for the tip options you can use amazing_service, good_service, and okay_service to make the names more descriptive.

Now verify the string resources you just added.

  1. If the Project window isn't showing, click the Project tab on the left side of the window.
  2. Open app > res > values > strings.xml to see all the UI string resources.
<resources>
    <string name="app_name">Tip Time</string>
    <string name="cost_of_service">Cost of Service</string>
    <string name="how_was_the_service">How was the service?</string>
    <string name="amazing_service">Amazing (20%)</string>
    <string name="good_service">Good (18%)</string>
    <string name="ok_service">Okay (15%)</string>
    <string name="round_up_tip">Round up tip?</string>
    <string name="calculate">Calculate</string>
    <string name="tip_amount">Tip Amount</string>
</resources>

Reformat the XML

Android Studio provides various tools to tidy up your code and make sure it follows recommended coding conventions.

  1. In activity_main.xml, choose Edit > Select All.
  2. Choose Code > Reformat Code.

This will make sure the indenting is consistent, and it may reorder some of the XML of UI elements to group things, for example, putting all the android: attributes of one element together.

res/layout/activity_main.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    android:padding="16dp"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/cost_of_service"
        android:layout_width="160dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:hint="@string/cost_of_service"
        android:inputType="numberDecimal"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/service_question"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="@string/how_was_the_service"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/cost_of_service" />

    <RadioGroup
        android:id="@+id/tip_options"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:checkedButton="@id/option_twenty_percent"
        android:orientation="vertical"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/service_question">

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_twenty_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="@string/amazing_service" />

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_eighteen_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="@string/good_service" />

        <RadioButton
            android:id="@+id/option_fifteen_percent"
            android:layout_width="wrap_content"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:text="@string/ok_service" />
    </RadioGroup>

    <Switch
        android:id="@+id/round_up_switch"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:checked="true"
        android:text="@string/round_up_tip"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/tip_options" />

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/calculate_button"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="@string/calculate"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/round_up_switch" />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/tip_result"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="@string/tip_amount"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@id/calculate_button" />
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

res/values/strings.xml

<resources>
   <string name="app_name">Tip Time</string>
   <string name="cost_of_service">Cost of Service</string>
   <string name="how_was_the_service">How was the service?</string>
   <string name="amazing_service">Amazing (20%)</string>
   <string name="good_service">Good (18%)</string>
   <string name="ok_service">Okay (15%)</string>
   <string name="round_up_tip">Round up tip?</string>
   <string name="calculate">Calculate</string>
   <string name="tip_amount">Tip Amount</string>
</resources>
  • XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a way of organizing text, made of tags, elements, and attributes.
  • Use XML to define the layout of an Android app.
  • Use EditText to let the user input or edit text.
  • An EditText can have a hint to tell the user what is expected in that field.
  • Specify the android:inputType attribute to limit what type of text the user can input into an EditText field.
  • Make a list of exclusive options with RadioButtons, grouped with a RadioGroup.
  • A RadioGroup can be vertical or horizontal, and you can specify which RadioButton should be selected initially.
  • Use a Switch to let the user toggle between two options.
  • You can add a label to a Switch without using a separate TextView.
  • Each child of a ConstraintLayout needs to have vertical and horizontal constraints.
  • Use "start" and "end" constraints to handle both Left to Right (LTR) and Right to Left (RTL) languages.
  • Names of the constraint attributes follow the form layout_constraint<Source>_to<Target>Of.
  • To make a View as wide as the ConstraintLayout it's in, constrain the start and end to the start and end of the parent, and set the width to 0dp.

Below are links to more documentation on the topics covered. You can find all of the documentation for Android Development on developer.android.com. And don't forget you can do a Google search if you get stuck on something.

Do the following:

  • Create a different calculator app, like a unit converter for cooking, to convert milliliters to or from fluid ounces, grams to or from cups, and so on. What fields do you need?