Android Setup Custom Appbar (Action bar) and Toolbar

May 11, 2018

NOTE: appbar is also known as action bar, and toolbar (container for menus) exist within appbar

Beginning with Android 3.0 (API level 11), all activities that use the default theme have an ActionBar as an app bar. However, app bar features have gradually been added to the native ActionBar over various Android releases. As a result, the native ActionBar behaves differently depending on what version of the Android system a device may be using. By contrast, the most recent features are added to the support library’s version of Toolbar, and they are available on any device that can use the support library.

For this reason, you should use the support library’s Toolbar class to implement your activities’ app bars. Using the support library’s toolbar helps ensure that your app will have consistent behavior across the widest range of devices. For example, the Toolbar widget provides a material design experience on devices running Android 2.1 (API level 7) or later, but the native action bar doesn’t support material design unless the device is running Android 5.0 (API level 21) or later.

What the above statement means is activity comes with a default ActionBar as appbar which we have very little control and very hard to customize. Nowadays we usually hide/disable the default ActionBar through theming and utilize support library to implement a custom AppBarLayout with Toolbar.

NOTE: the result of the following tutorial can be created using Android Studio -> File -> New -> Activity -> Basic Activity

Disable default Activity’s ActionBar using android:theme="@style/AppTheme.NoActionBar" through AndroidManifest.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest ...>
    <application ...>
        <activity
            android:name=".MainActivity"
            android:label="@string/app_name"
            android:theme="@style/AppTheme.NoActionBar">
        </activity>
    </application>
</manifest>

@style/AppTheme.NoActionBar is declared in res/values/styles

<resources>

    <!-- Base application theme. -->
    <style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.Light.DarkActionBar">
        <!-- Customize your theme here. -->
        <item name="colorPrimary">@color/colorPrimary</item>
        <item name="colorPrimaryDark">@color/colorPrimaryDark</item>
        <item name="colorAccent">@color/colorAccent</item>
    </style>

    <style name="AppTheme.NoActionBar">
        <item name="windowActionBar">false</item>
        <item name="windowNoTitle">true</item>
    </style>

    <style name="AppTheme.AppBarOverlay" parent="ThemeOverlay.AppCompat.Dark.ActionBar" />

    <style name="AppTheme.PopupOverlay" parent="ThemeOverlay.AppCompat.Light" />

</resources>

activity_main.xml with the following highlights

  • CoordinatorLayout as root layout.
  • AppBarLayout with android:theme="@style/AppTheme.AppBarOverlay"
  • Toolbar with android:theme="@style/AppTheme.AppBarOverlay"
  • a content layout with app:layout_behavior="@string/appbar_scrolling_view_behavior"
  • FloatingActionButton is optional

NOTE: CoordinatorLayout and content layout’s app:layout_behavior="@string/appbar_scrolling_view_behavior" are required to make sure AppBarLayout doesn’t cover/overlap the content layout.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<android.support.design.widget.CoordinatorLayout 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=".view.MainActivity">

    <android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:theme="@style/AppTheme.AppBarOverlay">

        <android.support.v7.widget.Toolbar
            android:id="@+id/toolbar"
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="?attr/actionBarSize"
            android:background="?attr/colorPrimary"
            app:popupTheme="@style/AppTheme.PopupOverlay" />

    </android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout>

    <FrameLayout
        android:id="@+id/content"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="match_parent"
        app:layout_behavior="@string/appbar_scrolling_view_behavior"
        / >

    <android.support.design.widget.FloatingActionButton
        android:id="@+id/fab"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_gravity="bottom|end"
        android:layout_margin="@dimen/fab_margin"
        app:srcCompat="@android:drawable/ic_dialog_email" />

</android.support.design.widget.CoordinatorLayout>

MainActivity.kt

  • Extends AppCompatActivity
  • Execute setSupportActionBar(toolbar) at onCreate
class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main)
        setSupportActionBar(toolbar)
    }

}

References:

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