Basic Android: definition, events and use of buttons (part 1)

- Andrés Cruz

En español
Basic Android: definition, events and use of buttons (part 1)

Buttons, like any user interface, consist of an element that allows a user to interact with the system; they are generally event-based and highly customizable; in this article we will see how to define and use a button in Android.

In Android, the buttons can consist of text and/or image, classifying it into three types of buttons:

Text: To create a button with only text, just use the following XML:

<Button
        android:id="@+id/button"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Boton" />

When interpreting the above XML:

botón

Image: To create a button with an image, just use the following XML:

<ImageButton
        android:id="@+id/button"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:background="@drawable/ic_action_new" />

When interpreting the above XML:

boton con una imagen

Text and Image: To create a button made up of text and images, just use the following XML to define the button:

<Button
        android:id="@+id/button"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:drawableLeft="@drawable/ic_action_new"
        android:text="Boton" />

When interpreting the above XML:

botón con una imagen alineada a la izquierda

If we want the image to be aligned to the right:

<Button
 	android:id="@+id/button"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:drawableRight="@drawable/ic_action_new"
        android:text="Boton" />

When interpreting the above XML:

botón con una imagen alineada a la derecha

Button attributes

Some of the main button attributes are:

  • android:id Identifier of the element; in this case of the button; as with HTML, it is the way to uniquely identify and access an element.
  • android:text Text of the element; in this case of the button.
  • drawable(Left/Right) With this attribute we can place an image to the button aligned to the left (drawableLeft) or to the right (drawableRight).
  • layout_width and layout_height We indicate the width and height respectively of the element; in this case our button; can receive any of the following values:
    • wrap_content Indicates that the dimensions of the element will be adjusted to the content that it presents:
imagen explicativa sobre el wrap_content
android:layout_width="match_content" y android:layout_height="wrap_content".
  • match_parent Indicates that the element's dimensions will be matched to the container's means; It's like the width or height property with the value 100%:
imagen explicativa sobre el match_content
android:layout_width="wrap_content" y android:layout_height="wrap_content".

A numerical value, generally in densities per pixels (dp) or dpi, but others such as and in pixels (px) can also be used, but the latter is not highly recommended; example 50 dp.

Of course, other style attributes can also be applied to them, such as:

  • android:visibility Allows you to define if the element will be visible or not; same as the visibility property in CSS.
  • android:padding Allows you to define the space or margin between the element and its content; like the padding property in CSS.
  • android:background Allows you to indicate the background color or image of an element; same as the background property in CSS.
  • android:layout_gravity Align an element; they behave similarly to the float property in CSS.
  • android:layout_margin Allows you to define the space or margin between the element and its container; like the margin property in CSS.
  • Among many others.

Button events

We can use the attribute:

android:onClick="funcion"

For example, if we wanted to apply this functionality to the first type of button seen (although it is possible to use it in all three types of buttons):

<Button
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:text="Alarm"/>
    android:onClick="funcion" 	

Where "function" is the method or function that will be called in the Activity when the button is clicked.

public void funcion(View view) {
    // hacemos algo ...
}

OnClickListener event handler

We can also program the event handler outside of the XML that forms the interface and place it inside the Activity:

Button buttonButton = (Button) findViewById(R.id.buttonButton); buttonButton.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() { public void onClick(View v) { // do something ... } });

The R class contains the references to the components of our application; basically graphics, elements and global texts of the application; with R.id.buttonButton we can access the element with id buttonButton:

android:id="@+id/botonButton"
Andrés Cruz

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