Jetpack Compose Navigation

Last Updated: 2021-03-17

What you'll need

Navigation is a Jetpack library that enables navigating from one destination within your app to another, along specific routes. The Navigation library also provides a specific artifact to enable consistent and idiomatic navigation within screens built with Jetpack Compose. This artifact (navigation-compose) is the focal point of this codelab.

What you'll do

You're going to use the Rally Material study as the base for this codelab. You'll migrate the existing navigation code to use the Jetpack Navigation component to navigate between screens in Jetpack Compose.

What you'll learn

  • Basics of using Jetpack Navigation with Jetpack Compose
  • Navigating between composables
  • Navigating with required and optional arguments
  • Navigating using deep links
  • Integrating a TabBar into your navigation hierarchy
  • Testing navigation

You can follow along this codelab on your machine.

To follow along on your own, clone the starting point for the codelab.

$ git clone https://github.com/googlecodelabs/android-compose-codelabs.git

Alternatively, you can download two zip files:

Now that you've downloaded the code, open the NavigationCodelab project in Android Studio. You're now ready to get started.

Rally is an existing app which initially doesn't use Navigation. The migration follows several steps:

  1. Add the Navigation dependency
  2. Set up the NavController and NavHost
  3. Prepare routes for destinations
  4. Replace the original destination mechanism with navigation routes

Add the Navigation dependency

Open the app's build file, found at app/build.gradle. In the dependencies section, add the navigation-compose dependency.

dependencies {
  implementation "androidx.navigation:navigation-compose:2.4.0-alpha04"
  // other dependencies
}

Now, sync the project and you're ready to start using Navigation in Compose.

Set up the NavController

The NavController is the central component when using Navigation in Compose; it keeps track of back stack entries, moves the stack forward, enables back stack manipulation, and navigating between screen states. Because NavController is central to navigation it has to be created first in order to navigate to destinations.

Within Compose you're working with a NavHostController, which is a subclass of NavController. Obtain a NavController by using the rememberNavController() function; this creates and remembers a NavController which survives configuration changes (using rememberSavable). The NavController is associated with a single NavHost composable. The NavHost links the NavController with a navigation graph where composable destinations are specified.

For this codelab, obtain and store your NavController within RallyApp. It is the root composable for the entire application. You can find it in RallyActivity.kt.

import androidx.navigation.compose.rememberNavController
...

@Composable
fun RallyApp() {
    RallyTheme {
        val allScreens = RallyScreen.values().toList()
        var currentScreen by rememberSaveable { mutableStateOf(RallyScreen.Overview) }
        val navController = rememberNavController()
        Scaffold(...
}

Prepare routes for destinations

Overview

Rally App has three screens:

  1. Overview — Overview of all financial transactions and alerts
  2. Accounts — Insights into existing accounts
  3. Bills — Scheduled expenses

Screenshot of the overview screen containing information on Alerts, Accounts and Bills. Screenshot of the Accounts Screen, containing information on several accounts. Screenshot of the Bills Screen, containing information on several outgoing bills.

All three screens are built using composables. Take a look at RallyScreen.kt. The three screens are declared in this file. You will later map these screens to navigation destinations, with Overview as the start destination. You will also move the composables away from RallyScreen and into a NavHost. For now, you can leave RallyScreen untouched.

When using Navigation within Compose, routes are represented as strings. You can think of these strings as being similar to URLs or deep links. In this codelab we'll use the name property of each RallyScreen item as the route, for example, RallyScreen.Overview.name.

Preparation

Go back to the RallyApp composable in RallyActivity.kt and replace Box containing the screen's contents with a newly created NavHost. Pass in the navController we created in the previous step. The NavHost also needs a startDestination. Set it to RallyScreen.Overview.name. Also, create a Modifier to pass the padding into the NavHost.

import androidx.compose.foundation.layout.Box
import androidx.compose.material.Scaffold
import androidx.navigation.compose.NavHost
...

Scaffold(...) { innerPadding ->
        NavHost(
            navController = navController,
            startDestination = RallyScreen.Overview.name,
            modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)
        ) { ... }

Now we can define our nav graph. The destinations that the NavHost can navigate to are ready to accept destinations. We do this using a NavGraphBuilder, which is provided to the last parameter of NavHost; a lambda for defining your graph. As this parameter expects a function you can declare destinations in a trailing lambda. The Navigation Compose artifact provides the NavGraphBuilder.composable extension function. Use it to define navigation destinations in your graph.

import androidx.navigation.compose.NavHost
...

NavHost(
    navController = navController,
    startDestination = RallyScreen.Overview.name,
    modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)

) { 
    composable(RallyScreen.Overview.name) { ... }
}

For now, we'll temporarily set a Text with the screen's name as content of the composable. In the following step we'll use the existing composables.

import androidx.compose.material.Text
import androidx.navigation.compose.composable
...

NavHost(
    navController = navController,
    startDestination = RallyScreen.Overview.name
    modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)
) { 
    composable(RallyScreen.Overview.name) {
      Text(text = RallyScreen.Overview.name)
    }

    // TODO: Add the other two screens
}

Now remove the currentScreen.content call from the Scaffold and run the app; you will see the name of your start destination and the tabs above.

You should end up with a NavHost similar to this one:

NavHost(
    navController = navController,
    startDestination = RallyScreen.Overview.name,
    modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)
) {
    composable(RallyScreen.Overview.name) { 
      Text(RallyScreen.Overview.name)
    }
    composable(RallyScreen.Accounts.name) {
        Text(RallyScreen.Accounts.name) 
    }
    composable(RallyScreen.Bills.name) { 
        Text(RallyScreen.Bills.name) 
    }
}

The NavHost now can replace the Box within Scaffold. Pass the Modifier into NavHost to keep the innerPadding intact.

@Composable
fun RallyApp() {
    RallyTheme {
        val allScreens = RallyScreen.values().toList()
        // FIXME: This duplicate source of truth
        //  will be removed later.
        var currentScreen by rememberSaveable {
            mutableStateOf(RallyScreen.Overview)
        }
        val navController = rememberNavController()
        Scaffold(
            topBar = {
                RallyTabRow(
                    allScreens = allScreens,
                    onTabSelected = { screen -> currentScreen = screen },
                    currentScreen = currentScreen
                )
            }
        ) { innerPadding ->
            NavHost(
                navController = navController,
                startDestination = RallyScreen.Overview.name,
                modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)) {
            }
        }
    }
}

At this point the top bar is not yet wired up, so clicking on the tabs won't change the displayed composable. In the next step you'll take care of this.

Fully integrate navigation bar state changes

In this step you'll wire up the RallyTabRow and will get to delete the current manual navigation code. After you have finished this step, the navigation component will completely take care of routing.

Still in RallyActivity, you'll find that the RallyTabRow composable has a callback when a tab has been clicked, called onTabSelected. Update the selection code to use navController for navigating to the selected screen.

This is all that's necessary to navigate to a screen via the TabRow using navigation:

@Composable
fun RallyApp() {
    RallyTheme {
        val allScreens = RallyScreen.values().toList()
        // FIXME: This duplicate source of truth
        //  will be removed later.
        var currentScreen by rememberSaveable {
            mutableStateOf(RallyScreen.Overview)
        }
        val navController = rememberNavController()
        Scaffold(
            topBar = {
                RallyTabRow(
                    allScreens = allScreens,
                    onTabSelected = { screen ->
                        navController.navigate(screen.name)
                },
                    currentScreen = currentScreen,
                )
            }

With this change, currentScreen will no longer be updated. This means that expanding and collapsing of selected items won't work. To re-enable this behavior, the currentScreen property needs to be updated as well. Luckily Navigation holds on to the back stack for you and can provide you with the current back stack entry as a State. With this State you can react to changes to the back stack. You can even query the current back stack entry for its route.

To finish migrating the TabRow screen selection to Navigation, update currentScreen to use the navigation backstack like this.

import androidx.navigation.compose.currentBackStackEntryAsState
...

@Composable
fun RallyApp() {
    RallyTheme {
        val allScreens = RallyScreen.values().toList()
        val navController = rememberNavController()
        val backstackEntry = navController.currentBackStackEntryAsState()
        val currentScreen = RallyScreen.fromRoute(
            backstackEntry.value?.destination?.route
        )
        ...
    }
}

At this point, when you run the app you're able to switch between screens using the tabs but all that's shown is the screen's name. Before the screen can be displayed, RallyScreen needs to be migrated to navigation.

Migrate RallyScreen to Navigation

After you have completed this step, the composable will be completely decoupled from RallyScreen enum and moved into the NavHost. RallyScreen will only exist to provide an icon and title for the screen.

Open RallyScreen.kt. Move each screen's implementation of body into the corresponding composables within your NavHost in RallyApp.

import com.example.compose.rally.data.UserData
import com.example.compose.rally.ui.accounts.AccountsBody
import com.example.compose.rally.ui.bills.BillsBody
import com.example.compose.rally.ui.overview.OverviewBody
...

NavHost(
    navController = navController,
    startDestination = Overview.name,
    modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)
) {
    
    composable(Overview.name) {
        OverviewBody()
    }
    composable(Accounts.name) {
        AccountsBody(accounts = UserData.accounts)
    }
    composable(Bills.name) {
        BillsBody(bills = UserData.bills)
    }
}

At this point you can safely remove the content function and body parameter and its usages from RallyScreen which will leave you with this code:

enum class RallyScreen(
    val icon: ImageVector,
) {
    Overview(
        icon = Icons.Filled.PieChart,
    ),
    Accounts(
        icon = Icons.Filled.AttachMoney,
    ),
    Bills(
        icon = Icons.Filled.MoneyOff,
    );

    companion object {
        ...
    }
}

Run the app again. You'll see the original three screens and can navigate between them through the TabRow.

Enable clicks on OverviewScreen

In this codelab, click events on OverviewBody were initially ignored. This means that the "SEE ALL" button was clickable, but did not go anywhere.

Screen recording of the overview screen, scrolling to eventual click destinations, and attempting to click. Clicks don't work as they aren't implemented yet.

Let's fix that!

OverviewBody can accept several functions as callbacks to click events. Let's implement onClickSeeAllAccounts and onClickSeeAllBills to navigate to relevant destinations.

To enable navigation when the "see all" button is clicked, use the navController and navigate to either the Accounts or Bills screen. Open RallyActivity.kt, find OverviewBody within NavHost and add the navigation calls.

OverviewBody(
    onClickSeeAllAccounts = { navController.navigate(Accounts.name) },
    onClickSeeAllBills = { navController.navigate(Bills.name) },
)

Now it has become possible to easily change the behavior of click events for OverviewBody. Keeping the navController at the top level of your navigation hierarchy and not passing it directly into OverviewBody makes it easy to preview or test OverviewBody in isolation, without having to rely on an actual navController being present when doing so.

Let's add some new functionality to Rally! We'll add an Accounts screen which shows details of an individual account when a row is clicked.

A navigation argument makes the route dynamic. Navigation arguments are a very powerful tool to make routing behavior dynamic by passing one or more arguments into a route and adjusting argument types or default values.

In RallyActivity add a new destination to the graph by adding a new composable to the existing NavHost with the argument Accounts/{name}. For this destination we'll also specify a list of navArguments. We'll define a single argument called "name" of type String.

import androidx.navigation.NavType
import androidx.navigation.compose.currentBackStackEntryAsState
import androidx.navigation.compose.navArgument
...

val accountsName = RallyScreen.Accounts.name

composable(
    route = "$accountsName/{name}",
    arguments = listOf(
        navArgument("name") {
            // Make argument type safe
            type = NavType.StringType
        }
    )
) { 
    // TODO
}

The body of each composable destination receives a parameter (which we haven't used so far) of the current NavBackStackEntry which models the route and arguments of the current destination. We can use arguments to retrieve the argument i.e. the name of the selected account, and look this up in UserData and pass it into the SingleAccountBody composable.

You also could provide a default value to use if the argument has not been provided. We'll skip that because it's not necessary here.

Your code should now look like this:

import androidx.navigation.NavType
import androidx.navigation.compose.currentBackStackEntryAsState
import androidx.navigation.compose.navArgument
...

val accountsName = RallyScreen.Accounts.name
NavHost(...) {
    ...
    composable(
        "$accountsName/{name}",
        arguments = listOf(
            navArgument("name") {
                // Make argument type safe
                type = NavType.StringType
            }
        )
    ) { entry -> // Look up "name" in NavBackStackEntry's arguments
        val accountName = entry.arguments?.getString("name")
        // Find first name match in UserData
        val account = UserData.getAccount(accountName)
        // Pass account to SingleAccountBody
        SingleAccountBody(account = account)
    }
}

Now that the composable is set up with the argument, you can navigate to it, using the navController like this: navController.navigate("${RallyScreen.Accounts.name}/$accountName").

Add this function to the onAccountClick parameter of OverviewBody's declaration in NavHost and to onAccountClick of AccountsBody.

To keep things reusable you could create a private helper function like below.

fun RallyNavHost(
    ...
) {
    NavHost(
        ...
    ) {
        composable(Overview.name) {
            OverviewBody(
                ...
                onAccountClick = { name ->
                    navigateToSingleAccount(navController, name)
                },
            )
        }
        composable(Accounts.name) {
            AccountsBody(accounts = UserData.accounts) { name ->
                navigateToSingleAccount(
                    navController = navController,
                    accountName = name
                )
            }
        }
        ...
    }
}

private fun navigateToSingleAccount(
    navController: NavHostController,
    accountName: String
) {
    navController.navigate("${Accounts.name}/$accountName")
}

When you run the app at this point, you're able to click on each account and will be taken into a screen, displaying data for the given account.

Screen recording of the overview screen, scrolling to eventual click destinations, and attempting to click. Clicks lead to destinations now.

In addition to arguments you can also use deep links to expose destinations in your app to third party apps. In this section you'll add a new deep link to the route created in the previous section, enabling deep links from outside your app to individual accounts directly by name.

Add the intent filter

To start, add the deep link to the AndroidManifest.xml. You need to create a new intent filter for RallyActivity with the action VIEW and categories BROWSABLE and DEFAULT.

Then, using the data tag, add a scheme, host and pathPrefix.

This codelab will use rally://accounts/{name} as a deep link URL.

You don't need to declare the "name" argument in the AndroidManifest. It will be parsed as an argument by Navigation.

<activity
    android:name=".RallyActivity"
    android:windowSoftInputMode="adjustResize"
    android:label="@string/app_name"
    android:exported="true">
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
    </intent-filter>
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
        <data android:scheme="rally" android:host="accounts" />
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

Now you can react to the incoming intent from within RallyActivity.

The composable you created earlier to accept arguments can also accept the newly created deep link.

Add a list of deepLinks using the navDeepLink function. Pass the uriPattern and provide the matching uri for the intent-filter above. Pass the created deep link into the composable, using the deepLinks parameter.

val accountsName = RallyScreen.Accounts.name

composable(
    "$accountsName/{name}",
    arguments = listOf(
        navArgument("name") {
            type = NavType.StringType
        },
    ),
    deepLinks =  listOf(navDeepLink {
        uriPattern = "rally://$accountsName/{name}"
    })
)

Now your app is ready to handle deep links. To test that it behaves correctly, install a current version of Rally on an emulator or device, open a command line and execute the following command:

adb shell am start -d "rally://accounts/Checking" -a android.intent.action.VIEW

This will take you directly into the checking account and works for all account names in the app.

Now your NavHost is complete. You can extract it from the RallyApp composable to its own function and call it RallyNavHost. This is the one and only composable you should work directly with the navController. By not creating the navController within RallyNavHost, you can still use it to make tab selection, which is part of the higher structure, within RallyApp.

@Composable
fun RallyNavHost(
    navController: NavHostController,
    modifier: Modifier = Modifier
) {
    NavHost(
        navController = navController,
        startDestination = Overview.name,
        modifier = modifier
    ) {
        composable(Overview.name) {
            OverviewBody(
                onClickSeeAllAccounts = { navController.navigate(Accounts.name) },
                onClickSeeAllBills = { navController.navigate(Bills.name) },
                onAccountClick = { name ->
                    navController.navigate("${Accounts.name}/$name")
                },
            )
        }
        composable(Accounts.name) {
            AccountsBody(accounts = UserData.accounts) { name ->
                navController.navigate("Accounts/${name}")
            }
        }
        composable(Bills.name) {
            BillsBody(bills = UserData.bills)
        }
        val accountsName = Accounts.name
        composable(
            "$accountsName/{name}",
            arguments = listOf(
                navArgument("name") {
                    type = NavType.StringType
                },
            ),
            deepLinks = listOf(navDeepLink {
                uriPattern = "example://rally/$accountsName/{name}"
            }),
        ) { entry ->
            val accountName = entry.arguments?.getString("name")
            val account = UserData.getAccount(accountName)
            SingleAccountBody(account = account)
        }
    }
}

Also, make sure to replace the original call site with RallyNavHost(navController) to keep things working as intended.

fun RallyApp() {
    RallyTheme {
    ...
        Scaffold(
        ...
        ) { innerPadding ->
            RallyNavHost(
                navController = navController,
                modifier = Modifier.padding(innerPadding)
            )
            
        }
     }
}

From the beginning of this codelab we made sure not to pass the navController directly into any composables, but instead you passed callbacks as parameters. This means that all your composables are individually testable. But you also can test the entire NavHost, and that's what this step is all about. To test individual Composable functions, make sure to check out the Testing in Jetpack Compose codelab.

Prepare the test class

Your NavHost can be tested in isolation from the Activity itself.

As this test still will run on an Android device you'll need to create your test file in the androidTest directory under /app/src/androidTest/java/com/example/compose/rally.

Do this and name it RallyNavHostTest.

And then, to use the compose testing APIs, create the compose test rule like below.

import androidx.compose.ui.test.junit4.createComposeRule
import org.junit.Rule

class RallyNavHostTest {

    @get:Rule
    val composeTestRule = createComposeRule()

}

Now you're set to write an actual test.

Write your first test

Create a test function, which has to be public and annotated with @Test. In that function, you have to set the content that you want to test. Do this, using composeTestRule's setContent. It takes a Composable parameter and enables you to write Compose code, as if you were in a regular app. Set up the RallyNavHost like you did in RallyActivity.

import androidx.navigation.compose.rememberNavController
import org.junit.Assert.fail
import org.junit.Test
...

class RallyNavHostTest {

    @get:Rule
    val composeTestRule = createComposeRule()
    lateinit var navController: NavHostController

    @Test
    fun rallyNavHost() {
        composeTestRule.setContent {
            navController = rememberNavController()
            RallyNavHost(navController = navController)
        }
        fail()
    }
}

If you copied above code, the fail() call will ensure that your test fails until there is an actual assertion made. It serves as a reminder to finish implementing the test.

You can verify that the correct screen is displayed using content description. In this codelab, content descriptions for "Accounts Screen" and "Overview Screen" are provided for you to use for test verification. Create a lateinit property in the test class itself, so you can use it in future tests as well.

For an easy start, check that the OverviewScreen is displayed.

import androidx.compose.ui.test.assertIsDisplayed
import androidx.compose.ui.test.onNodeWithContentDescription
import androidx.navigation.NavHostController
...

class RallyNavHostTest {

    @get:Rule
    val composeTestRule = createComposeRule()
    lateinit var navController: NavHostController

    @Test
    fun rallyNavHost() {
        composeTestRule.setContent {
            navController = rememberNavController()
            RallyNavHost(navController = navController)
        }
        composeTestRule
            .onNodeWithContentDescription("Overview Screen")
            .assertIsDisplayed()
    }
}

Remove the fail() call, run the test again, and it passes. Rightfully so.

In each of the following tests, RallyNavHost will be set up the same way. So you can extract this into a function annotated with @Before to keep your code clean.

import org.junit.Before
...

class RallyNavHostTest {

    @get:Rule
    val composeTestRule = createComposeRule()
    lateinit var navController: NavHostController

    @Before
    fun setupRallyNavHost() {
        composeTestRule.setContent {
            navController = rememberNavController()
            RallyNavHost(navController = navController)
        }
    }

    @Test
    fun rallyNavHost() {
        composeTestRule
            .onNodeWithContentDescription("Overview Screen")
            .assertIsDisplayed()
    }
}

You can test your navigation implementation in multiple ways, by performing clicks on the UI elements that should lead to a new destination or by calling navigate with the corresponding route name.

Test via UI and test rule

As you want to test your app's implementation, clicks on the UI are preferable. Write a test to click on the "All Accounts" button that leads to the "Accounts Screen" and verify that the right screen is displayed.

import androidx.compose.ui.test.performClick
...

@Test
fun rallyNavHost_navigateToAllAccounts_viaUI() {
    composeTestRule
        .onNodeWithContentDescription("All Accounts")
        .performClick()
    composeTestRule
        .onNodeWithContentDescription("Accounts Screen")
        .assertIsDisplayed()
}

Test via UI and navController

You also can use the navController to check your assertions. To do this perform a click on the UI and then, compare the current route to the one you expect, using backstackEntry.value?.destination?.route.

import androidx.compose.ui.test.performScrollTo
import org.junit.Assert.assertEquals
...

@Test
fun rallyNavHost_navigateToBills_viaUI() {
    // When click on "All Bills"
    composeTestRule.onNodeWithContentDescription("All Bills").apply {
        performScrollTo()
        performClick()
    }
    // Then the route is "Bills"
    val route = navController.currentBackStackEntry?.destination?.route
    assertEquals(route, "Bills")
}

Test via navController

A third option is to call navController.navigate directly — there's one caveat here. Calls to navController.navigate need to be made on the UI thread. You can achieve this by using Coroutines with the Main thread dispatcher. And since the call needs to happen before you can make an assertion about a new state, it needs to be wrapped in a runBlocking call.

runBlocking {
    withContext(Dispatchers.Main) {
        navController.navigate(RallyScreen.Accounts.name)
    }
}

With this you can navigate around the app and assert that the route takes you where you expect it to.

import kotlinx.coroutines.Dispatchers
import kotlinx.coroutines.runBlocking
import kotlinx.coroutines.withContext
...

@Test
fun rallyNavHost_navigateToAllAccounts_callingNavigate() {
    runBlocking {
        withContext(Dispatchers.Main) {
            navController.navigate(RallyScreen.Accounts.name)
        }
    }
    composeTestRule
        .onNodeWithContentDescription("Accounts Screen")
        .assertIsDisplayed()
}

To learn more about testing in Compose, check out the codelab linked in the "What's next?" section of the following step.

Congratulations, you've successfully completed this codelab!

You added Navigation to the Rally app and now know the key concepts of using navigation in Jetpack Compose. You learned how to create a nav graph of composable destinations, add arguments to routes, add deep links, and test your implementation in multiple ways.

What's next?

Check out some of these codelabs...

Reference docs