Tag: Android

Setting Opacity of Android Toolbar Overlay Based on ViewPager Position

Setting Opacity of Android Toolbar Overlay Based on ViewPager Position

I’ve recently delved into the world of mobile development using Xamarin with Visual Studio. A tutorial on their website introduced me to the Android toolbar, and how it can be used as a more robust and flexible action bar. This was fairly straightforward to implement but I had a requirement that the toolbar overlay shouldn’t be visible on certain fragments of a ViewPager.

The Goal

What were trying to achieve here is a way to change the opacity of the toolbar overlay based on the ViewPager’s current position and offset. As paging occurs, the toolbar should become more or less transparent depending on the fragment we’re paging to. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Android Toolbar Overlay with ViewPager

The above is what we’ll be covering in this post. Here’s some additional resources that helped get me to this point. These go a bit more in depth in their respective areas and will prove useful in case anything here isn’t quite detailed enough:

The full solution has been added to my GitHub repository as well. Get to forking!

Let’s get to it!

Prerequisites

Before getting started you’ll need to create a new Xamarin Android project in Visual Studio. You’ll also need to add the v13 and v4 Android Support libraries as references.

While this post is targeted toward Xamarin for Visual Studio, the majority of its content is very translatable to Xamarin and Android Studio

In Visual Studio, adding the support libraries can be done via the NuGet Package Manager:

  1. Navigate to Tools -> NuGet Package Manager -> Manage NuGet Packages for this Solution...
  2. Click the Browse window, then search for Xamarin.Android.Support.v13
  3. In the resulting window, install both Xamarin.Android.Support.v13 and Xamarin.Android.Support.v4 libraries

Android Support Libraries NuGet Package Manager

Adding the ViewPager and Fragment Layouts

We’ll start by creating the ViewPager and its accompanying fragments which will enable that smooth swiping transition between the fragment views. This requires that we create a couple new fragments to be used by the ViewPager control, and add the ViewPager itself to the Main.axml layout.

Under the Resources -> layout folder of your project let’s modify Main.axml and add a couple new layouts:

Modify the Main Layout

This is the starting view of our activity and will encompass our toolbar overlay and the ViewPager. For now we’re just going to focus on adding the ViewPager. We’ll circle back to adding the toolbar overlay to this layout once we’ve built it.

Double-click the Main.axml layout file to edit it. The layout will likely open in the visual designer so you’ll want to click the Source button at the bottom left of the designer, then paste the following:

Add the FragmentOne Layout

This layout will be the one where we don’t want the toolbar overlay to be visible, allowing the view itself to utilize the screen in its entirety. An example of where this might be handy is when showing a live camera stream in the view; you wouldn’t want the toolbar overlay to take precious real-estate.

Add a new layout file called FragmentOne under the Resources -> layout folder with the following inside:

Add the FragmentTwo Layout

This layout will embrace the toolbar overlay. Since the toolbar will indeed be an overlay (that is, it’s floating on top of other content, rather than pushing other content below), we’ll need to force the view’s content to begin below the toolbar. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but for this example we’re just adding padding to the top of the fragment.

Add a new layout file called FragmentTwo under the Resources -> layout folder with the following inside:

Implement the FragmentPagerAdapter for the ViewPager

At this point we have the fragment layouts for our ViewPager in place and the ViewPager itself added to the main layout. Now we need to implement a FragmentPagerAdapter for our ViewPager so it knows about our fragments, and how to view them.

Create the ViewPageFragmentAdapter Class

As I mentioned, the ViewPager control requires a concrete implementation of the FragmentPagerAdapter so it knows how to handle paging. In your project, add a new class called ViewPageFragmentAdapter with the following:

To resolve the missing reference error you’re seeing on the FragmentPagerAdapter, add the using statement using Android.Support.Android.V13.App;.

Modify the MainActivity Class

Our MainActivity class needs to be updated to do the following:

  • Grab a reference to our ViewPager
  • Implement the ViewPager.IOnPageChangeListener interface, which is responsible for handling ViewPager paging and will eventually be where we set the opacity of our toolbar overlay
  • Set the ViewPageFragmentAdapter as the official adapter of our ViewPager.

Modify your MainActivity class to look as follows:

To resolve the reference error you’re seeing on ViewPager.IOnPageChangeListener, add the using statement using Android.Support.V4.View.

At this point we’ve created a ViewPager, a couple fragments for it to page through and implemented the necessary code to teach the pager how to page. With all that in place we should have a fully functional pager, but the default action bar is still visible. Let’s replace it with our custom toolbar overlay!

Replacing the Default Action Bar with a Toolbar Overlay

I mentioned it before, but this guide on Xamarin’s website helped walk me through how to replace the action bar with a custom toolbar. We’ll more or less be following its implementation with a few adjustments.

Create a Custom Theme to Disable the Action Bar

Before we can use our custom toolbar overlay, we need to disable the default action bar. Disabling the action bar can be done by implementing a custom theme. In your project under the Resources -> values folder, add a new XML file called styles.xml with the following:

That wasn’t too bad, but we still need to set this as the theme in the the Android App Manifest file before our application starts using it. In your project, open the AndroidManifest.xml file under the Properties tree and add the android:theme="@style/StoriKnowTheme" attribute to the application node. Here’s what mine looks like:

Create the Page Aware Custom Toolbar Overlay

We’re almost there! At this point we just need to:

  • Create the custom toolbar overlay layout
  • Add this layout to the Main.axml file
  • Set the opacity as we swipe between pages

Under the Resources -> layout folder, add a new layout called Toolbar with the following:

Now open up the Main layout under Resources -> layout and include the toolbar overlay you just created (that’s line 11 below):

Great, Main.axml knows about the toolbar now, but we still need to tell the main activity that this is actually the new action bar. Along with that, we want to set the opacity of the toolbar overlay as we change pages.

Use the Toolbar as an Action Bar and Set its Opacity During Paging

To wrap things up, let’s modify the MainActivity one last time using the highlighted rows as a visual guide to what changed:

Conclusion

There you have it, we’ve successfully utilized a custom toolbar overlay on a view pager and tied its opacity level to the current pages position and offset.

Hi, I’m Sam.
I’m a programmer and a DIYer. When I’m not finding things to build I enjoy cooking, hiking, camping and traveling the world with my best friend. Say Hello!

Working Around the Android Device Monitor File Explorer Bug

Working Around the Android Device Monitor File Explorer Bug

Using Xamarin and Visual Studio I created a sample application to test out the new Camera2ApI. The application is straightforward: provide a stream from the camera and persist the image when a button is clicked. After the image is saved it’d be nice to actually see it on the file system; that’s where the Android Device Monitor comes in. The Android Device Monitor is a debugging and analysis tool which provides a file explorer that enables you to navigate your device’s system. Unfortunately, my file explorer always returned an empty result.

After researching a bit I found I wasn’t the only one experiencing this issue. This has even been reported to the Android team and accepted as a known issue. There hasn’t been a bug fix released to date, but there is a workaround which I’ll be covering in this post.

Create a Supported Android Virtual Device

This bug was introduced in the API 24 release and still exists today. Fortunately, we can still make use of the file explorer by creating a new Android Virtual Device that targets API 23 or earlier. These instructions will be geared toward a Visual Studio audience, but should translate well to the other platforms:

Already have a Virtual Device that targets API 23 or less? Fantastic, you can skip these steps entirely and use that virtual device when you need the file explorer.

  1. In Visual Studio, open the Android SDK Manager: Tools -> Android -> Android SDK ManagerOpen Android SDK Manager
  2. Under any API that’s less than 24 (I chose API 21 here), install the SDK Platform and at least one System ImageAndroid SDK Manager Install
  3. Open the Android Emulator Manager (also called the Android Virtual Device Manager): Tools -> Android -> Android Emulator ManagerOpen Android Emulator Manager
  4. On the right-hand side of the Android Emulator Manager, click the Create button to begin creating a new virtual device. You may create an entirely different device than pictured below, and that’s alright! The point here is to create one that targets API 23 or less.Create Android Virtual Device

Now that we have a virtual device created, let’s verify that our solution works.

Verify the Android Device Monitor File Explorer Works

If all goes well we should be able to explore the files on our new virtual device using the Android Device Monitor file explorer.

  1. In the Android Virtual Device Manager (Tools -> Android -> Android Emulator Manager), start your newly created virtual deviceStart a Virtual Device in Android Device Manager
  2. Once the emulator starts, navigate to the Android Device Monitor: Tools -> Android -> Android Device Monitor, select the loaded emulator (emulator-5554 below) and view the File Explorer tab
    Android Device Monitor File Explorer

There we have it, the file explorer is back in action!

Conclusion

The Android Device Monitor is a highly valuable weapon in our arsenal, and will continue to be so. Bugs like this happen and will eventually go away, but until then we have a viable workaround for those of us who are able to target a lower API.

Hi, I’m Sam.
I’m a programmer and a DIYer. When I’m not finding things to build I enjoy cooking, hiking, camping and traveling the world with my best friend. Say Hello!