Add a list activity in your app


In this lesson, you will learn how to create a new View in your app to list data.

Create an activity list


We want to display room window information in our app.

A room is defined by several properties

  • an id

  • a name

  • a current temperature (this property can be nullable if no data is available)

  • a target temperature (this property can be nullable if no data is available)

A Window is defined by several properties

  • an id

  • a room

  • a status (OPEN, CLOSED)

We are going to create classes to represent windows and rooms.

  1. In the Project window, right-click the package com.faircorp and select New > package.

  2. New package will be called model. Select this package, redo a right-click and select New > Kotlin File/Class.

  3. Fill a name. For example RoomDto (dto = data transfer object) and create window properties. You can copy this code

    data class RoomDto(val id: Long,
                       val name: String,
                       val currentTemperature: Double?,
                       val targetTemperature: Double?)

    Note: when a value is nullable you need to suffix type with ?. In our example currentTemperature can be null, so type is Double? and not Double

  4. Redo same steps to create WindowDto

    enum class WindowStatus { OPEN, CLOSED}
    data class WindowDto(val id: Long, val name: String, val room: RoomDto, val windowStatus: WindowStatus)
  5. We will now create a service class to manage these windows. We will write 2 methods : one to find all building windows and a second to load only one window by its id. For the moment we will use fake data. In a next lesson we will learn how call a remote service to load real data.

    class WindowService {
        companion object {
            // Fake rooms
            val ROOMS: List<RoomDto> = listOf(
                RoomDto(1, "Room EF 6.10", 18.2, 20.0),
                RoomDto(2, "Hall", 18.2, 18.0),
                RoomDto(3, "Room EF 7.10", 21.2, 20.0)
            // Fake windows
            val WINDOWS: List<WindowDto> = listOf(
                WindowDto(1, "Entry Window", ROOMS[0], WindowStatus.CLOSED),
                WindowDto(2, "Back Window", ROOMS[0], WindowStatus.CLOSED),
                WindowDto(3, "Sliding door", ROOMS[1], WindowStatus.OPEN),
                WindowDto(4, "Window 1", ROOMS[2], WindowStatus.CLOSED),
                WindowDto(5, "Window 2", ROOMS[2], WindowStatus.CLOSED),
        fun findById(id: Long) = WINDOWS.firstOrNull { == id}
        fun findAll() = WINDOWS.sortedBy { }


When you want to create a list view you will use a RecyclerView widget. This widget is able to manage a large data sets and scrool between elements.

The overall container for your user interface is a RecyclerView object that you add to your layout. The RecyclerView fills itself with views provided by a layout manager that you provide. The views in the list (used to dispaly items) are represented by view holder objects. Each view holder is in charge of displaying a single item with a view.

Android RecyclerView

For example, if your list shows music collection, each view holder might represent a single album. The RecyclerView creates only as many view holders as are needed to display the on-screen portion of the dynamic content, plus a few extra. As the user scrolls through the list, the RecyclerView takes the off-screen views and rebinds them to the data which is scrolling onto the screen.

The view holder objects are managed by an adapter (create by extending RecyclerView.Adapter). This adapter creates view holders as needed. The adapter also binds the view holders to their data. It does this by assigning the view holder to a position.

Update window list activity

In last session you added an activity with just a TextView inside.

  1. Open res > layout > activity_windows.xml and delete the TextView

  2. In common palette select a RecyclerView widget and drag into your layout below your welcome message. A dialog should ask you if you want to add lib androidx.recyclerview:recyclerview:+ in your app. Click on OK button to let Android Studio add this dependency in your Gradle config file (build.gradle (Module app))

  3. This RecyclerView widget should have these properties

    • id : list_windows

    • margins : 16dp Apply a top, right and left margin

    • layout_width : widget should take all the width (0dp or match_parent)

    • layout_height : widget should take all the height (0dp or match_parent)

Create a layout for a list item

  1. Select res > layout right click and choose New > Layout resource file

  2. Name your future layout activity_windows_item.xml

  3. In Component Tree panel (below Plaette panel) select ConstraintLayout (the main viewgroup) and update property layout_height to wrap_content. If you don’t, the view will always fill all the available height on its parent (our recyclerview) and you will still only see one element in your list and others will be hidden.

  4. Add 3 Textviews

    • A TextView on the left to display window status

      • id : txt_status

      • marginStart : 16dp

      • marginTop : 16dp

      • marginBottom : 16dp

      • layout_width : 100dp

      • textStyle : bold

      • textAppearance : @style/TextAppearance.AppCompat.Large

      • capitalize : characters

      • text : empty

    • A TextView on the right to display window name

      • id : txt_window_name

      • marginStart : 16dp

      • marginTop : 8dp

      • marginEnd : 16dp

      • marginEnd : 16dp

      • layout_width : 0dp

      • text : empty

    • A last TextView to display window room

      • id : txt_window_room

      • marginStart : 16dp

      • marginTop : 8dp

      • marginBottom : 8dp

      • marginEnd : 16dp

      • layout_width : 0dp

      • textAppearance : @style/TextAppearance.AppCompat.Small

      • capitalize : characters

      • text : empty

        Android item layout

Create an adapter class

As we see in previous chapter, an adapter manages the view holder objects. The adapter also binds the view holders to their data. It does this by assigning the view holder to a position.

  1. In the Project window, right-click the package com.faircorp.model and right-click and select New > Kotlin File/Class. We will create a new class called WindowsAdapterView

  2. You can copy this code inside

    class WindowAdapter : RecyclerView.Adapter<WindowAdapter.WindowViewHolder>() { // (1)
        inner class WindowViewHolder(view: View) : RecyclerView.ViewHolder(view) { // (2)
            val name: TextView = view.findViewById(
            val room: TextView = view.findViewById(
            val status: TextView = view.findViewById(
        private val items = mutableListOf<WindowDto>() // (3)
        fun update(windows: List<WindowDto>) {  // (4)
        override fun getItemCount(): Int = items.size // (5)
        override fun onCreateViewHolder(parent: ViewGroup, viewType: Int): WindowViewHolder { // (6)
            val view = LayoutInflater.from(parent.context)
                .inflate(R.layout.activity_windows_item, parent, false)
            return WindowViewHolder(view)
        override fun onBindViewHolder(holder: WindowViewHolder, position: Int) {  // (7)
            val window = items[position]
            holder.apply {
                name.text =
                status.text = window.windowStatus.toString()
                room.text =
    • (1) an adapter must implement RecyclerView.Adapter wich manage a RecyclerView.ViewHolder

    • (2) we create a WindowViewHolder which is able to hold fields defined in layout activity_windows_item.xml. When you scroll through the list view, system does not recreate these fields. It will update the values via method (7)

    • (3) adapter has a mutable list to store elements to display

    • (4) method used to update the list content. This method will be called when data will be ready

    • (5) RecyclerView.Adapter abstract class asks you to implement a first method that returns the number of records

    • (6) RecyclerView.Adapter abstract class asks you to implement a second method used to initialize a ViewHolder

      • we inflate activity_windows_item.xml layout

      • we send it to ViewHolder constructor

    • (7) RecyclerView.Adapter abstract class asks you to implement a last method to define what to do when position in the list changes

Update activity WindowsActivity (Activity for list of windows)

We need to update WindowsActivity to initialize the recycler view

class WindowsActivity : BasicActivity() {

    private val windowService = WindowService() // (1)

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {

        val recyclerView = findViewById<RecyclerView>( // (2)
        val adapter = WindowAdapter() // (3)

        recyclerView.layoutManager = LinearLayoutManager(this)
        recyclerView.addItemDecoration(DividerItemDecoration(this, DividerItemDecoration.VERTICAL))
        recyclerView.adapter = adapter

        adapter.update(windowService.findAll()) // (4)
  • (1) we instantiate service created in first chapter of this lesson

  • (2) we find the recycler view defined in layout by its id list_windows

  • (3) adapter is created and recycler view properties are defined

  • (4) on the last step we update adapter data

You can now open a list screen as this screenshot

Android list example

At this step we have a list of windows. We would now like to open the detail of a window when the user clicks on an item in the list.

You need to define an interface which defines a method called when a user clicks on an element

interface OnWindowSelectedListener {
   fun onWindowSelected(id: Long)
  • WindowsActivity will implement this interface and it will able to call WindowActivity and send it the given id

  • WindowAdapter will receive an instance of this interface (ie WindowsActivity) and call the method when a user will click on a line

class WindowAdapter(val listener: OnWindowSelectedListener): RecyclerView.Adapter<WindowAdapter.WindowViewHolder>() {
   // ...

    override fun onBindViewHolder(holder: WindowViewHolder, position: Int) {
        val window = items[position]
        holder.apply {
            name.text =
            status.text = window.windowStatus.toString()
            room.text =
            itemView.setOnClickListener { listener.onWindowSelected( } // (1)

    override fun onViewRecycled(holder: WindowViewHolder) { // (2)
        holder.apply {

  • (1) listener is called when someone clicks on an item

  • (2) it’s very important to clear OnClickListener when a view holder is recycled to prevent memory leaks

You can now update WindowsActivity

class WindowsActivity : BasicActivity(), OnWindowSelectedListener {

   override fun onWindowSelected(id: Long) {
      val intent = Intent(this,, id)

Don’t forget to update WindowAdapter constructor val adapter = WindowAdapter(this) in WindowsActivity

Update window activity (Activity used for window detail)

For the moment window activity only display a name sent by MainActivity

  1. Update MainActivity and delete Button View and EditText widget used to send a name

  2. Update WindowActivity to read a given id in intent and use it to load and update your view. For example

    val id = intent.getLongExtra(WINDOW_NAME_PARAM, 0)
    val window = windowService.findById(id)
    if (window != null) {
        findViewById<TextView>( =
        findViewById<TextView>( =
        findViewById<TextView>( =
        findViewById<TextView>( =
        findViewById<TextView>( = window.status.toString()
  3. Update layout activity_window.xml to display 5 TextView identified by txt_window_name, txt_room_name, txt_window_current_temperature, txt_window_target_temperature, txt_window_status

  4. Remember to use labels with strings defined in res> values> strings.xml

    <string name="act_window_name">Window name</string>
    <string name="act_window_room">Room</string>
    <string name="act_window_room_target_temp">Target room temperature</string>
    <string name="act_window_room_current_temp">Current room temperature</string>
    <string name="act_window_status">Status</string>
  5. When you launch your app you should see a screen as this one

    Android detail example


If you want more explanations about RecyclerView you can read this codelabs made by Google