August 31, 2011 07:05 AM

Android Tab Layout Tutorial

As tabhost is deprecated by android it is not recommended to implement tab layout using the way mentioned in this article. Consider reading updated article about implementing tab layout using Fragments and ViewPager Android Tab Layout with Swipeable Views

In my previous article Android Layouts i explained about three layouts (Linear Layout, Relative Layout and Table Layout). In this post i will be discussing about Android Tab Layout. This is a simple tab layout contains 3 tabs.

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The final output of this tutorial will be like below image

Android Tab Layout output

In this post we need three separate activities for three tab screens. So let’s get started by creating a simple project by opening eclipse IDE.

1. Create a new project File -> New -> Android Project and give activity name as AndroidTabLayoutActivity.
2. Open your AndroidTabLayoutActivity and extend the class from TabActivity.

public class AndroidTabLayoutActivity extends TabActivity {

3. Now open your main.xml under res -> layout folder and type the following code.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<TabHost xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:id="@android:id/tabhost"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent"
    android:layout_height="fill_parent">
    <LinearLayout
        android:orientation="vertical"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent"
        android:layout_height="fill_parent">
        <TabWidget
            android:id="@android:id/tabs"
            android:layout_width="fill_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content" />
        <FrameLayout
            android:id="@android:id/tabcontent"
            android:layout_width="fill_parent"
            android:layout_height="fill_parent"/>
    </LinearLayout>
</TabHost>

4. Now we need 3 activities and 3 xml layouts for three tabs. So create three activities by right click on your package folder and create classes and name them as PhotosActivity.java, SongsActivity.java and VideosActivity.java. Type the following code respectively.
Right Click on package folder -> New -> Class

package com.example.androidtablayout;

import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Bundle;

public class PhotosActivity extends Activity {
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.photos_layout);
    }
}
package com.example.androidtablayout;

import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Bundle;

public class SongsActivity extends Activity {
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.songs_layout);
    }
}
package com.example.androidtablayout;

import android.app.Activity;
import android.os.Bundle;

public class VideosActivity extends Activity {
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.videos_layout);
    }
}

5. Now create 3 xml layouts by right clicking on res/layout -> New -> Android XML File and name them as photos_layout.xml, songs_layout.xml and videos_layout.xml and type the following code in respective files.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout
  xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
  android:orientation="vertical"
  android:layout_width="match_parent"
  android:layout_height="match_parent">
  
  <!-- Screen Design for Photos -->
  <TextView android:text="PHOTOS HERE"
  			android:padding="15dip"
  			android:textSize="18dip"
  			android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  			android:layout_height="wrap_content"/>
    
</LinearLayout>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout
  xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
  android:orientation="vertical"
  android:layout_width="match_parent"
  android:layout_height="match_parent">
  
  <!-- Screen Design for the SONGS -->
  <TextView android:text="SONGS HERE"
  			android:padding="15dip"
  			android:textSize="18dip"
  			android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  			android:layout_height="wrap_content"/>
</LinearLayout>

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout
  xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
  android:orientation="vertical"
  android:layout_width="match_parent"
  android:layout_height="match_parent">
  
  <!--  Screen Design for VIDEOS -->
  <TextView android:text="VIDEOS HERE"
  			android:padding="15dip"
  			android:textSize="18dip"
  			android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  			android:layout_height="wrap_content"/>
</LinearLayout>

6. Each and every tab needs an icon so design icons for each tab. We need three dimensions of each icon. Design each icon in 48 x 48 px, 32 x 32 px and 24 x 24 px and place them in drawable-hdpi, drawable-mdpi and drawable-ldpi respectively. See following diagram for your guidance

Android icon sizes

7. Android icon states will be define in xml files with default and hover state configurations. For three icons we need the icon state configuration files. So create three 3 xml files under drawable-hdpi directory. Type the following code for icon states.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<selector xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <!-- When selected, use grey -->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/photos_gray"
          android:state_selected="true" />
    <!-- When not selected, use white-->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/photos_white" />
</selector>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<selector xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <!-- When selected, use grey -->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/songs_gray"
          android:state_selected="true" />
    <!-- When not selected, use white-->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/songs_white" />
</selector>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<selector xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <!-- When selected, use grey -->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/videos_gray"
          android:state_selected="true" />
    <!-- When not selected, use white-->
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/videos_white" />
</selector>

8. Now open AndroidTabLayoutActivity.java and type the following code. In the following code we are creating three TabSepcs and adding them to TabHost.

package com.example.androidtablayout;

import android.app.TabActivity;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.widget.TabHost;
import android.widget.TabHost.TabSpec;

public class AndroidTabLayoutActivity extends TabActivity {
    /** Called when the activity is first created. */
    @Override
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.main);
        
        TabHost tabHost = getTabHost();
        
        // Tab for Photos
        TabSpec photospec = tabHost.newTabSpec("Photos");
        // setting Title and Icon for the Tab
        photospec.setIndicator("Photos", getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.icon_photos_tab));
        Intent photosIntent = new Intent(this, PhotosActivity.class);
        photospec.setContent(photosIntent);
        
        // Tab for Songs
        TabSpec songspec = tabHost.newTabSpec("Songs");        
        songspec.setIndicator("Songs", getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.icon_songs_tab));
        Intent songsIntent = new Intent(this, SongsActivity.class);
        songspec.setContent(songsIntent);
        
        // Tab for Videos
        TabSpec videospec = tabHost.newTabSpec("Videos");
        videospec.setIndicator("Videos", getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.icon_videos_tab));
        Intent videosIntent = new Intent(this, VideosActivity.class);
        videospec.setContent(videosIntent);
        
        // Adding all TabSpec to TabHost
        tabHost.addTab(photospec); // Adding photos tab
        tabHost.addTab(songspec); // Adding songs tab
        tabHost.addTab(videospec); // Adding videos tab
    }
}

9. Now everything is ready and before running your project make sure that you an entry of new activity name in AndroidManifest.xml file. Open you AndroidManifest.xml file and modify the code as below

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
      package="com.example.androidtablayout"
      android:versionCode="1"
      android:versionName="1.0">
    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="8" />

    <application android:icon="@drawable/icon" android:label="@string/app_name">
        <activity android:name=".AndroidTabLayoutActivity"
                  android:label="@string/app_name">
            <intent-filter>
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
            </intent-filter>
        </activity>
        
        <!--  Songs Activity -->
        <activity android:name=".SongsActivity" />
        
        <!--  Videos Activity -->
        <activity android:name=".VideosActivity" />
        
        <!--  Photos Activity -->
        <activity android:name=".PhotosActivity" />

    </application>
</manifest>

10. Finally run your project by right clicking on your project folder -> Run As -> 1 Android Application. You will see simple tabs app with awesome navigation.

(If you find any error either in code or content please help me in improvising the content)

THANK YOU
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