android-basics: user interface

1 referenccre

2 create the birthday card app

2.1 drawing to code

when you're designing application layouts, there are 3 good steps to follow if
you're not sure how to get started.

  • step1: select the Views
    take the layout and select the correct views to use
  • step2: position the Views
    take those views and position them on the screen, and basically, you do this
    step by choosing the correct view group and then selecting the correct positioning
  • step3: style the Views
    we add all of the stylistic touches in step three. This is where we take the
    views and add things like color or font related attributes.

2.2 RelativeLayout LinearLayout

LinearLayouts are great for aligning views in rows or columns.
They're a good way to divide up one space using layout weights, that will expand
or shrink views depending on the size of the display.

On the other hand, RelativeLayouts are great for positioning elements relative
to one another. For example, putting B below A, or putting C in the lower
left-hand corner. RelativeLayouts also make it easy to overlap views.

2.3 the drawable folder

For images, there's this folder called drawable. Once you've put the image into
the drawable foler, you can use the source attribute of an image view, and give
it the value@drawable and then the name of the image. e.g.


2.4 positioning

orientation, and layout_weight attributes belong to LinearLayout.


to put the TextView to the right bottom corner.

2.5 styling

  • text is much larger
  • text font is different
  • text is white
  • iamge expanded to fill screen
  • text is not pushed against side of screen

2.5.1 make the text larger

use attribute `textSize' to make the text larger. Then change the text
to be 36sp for both TextViews.

2.5.2 setting the font

use attribute fontFamily to change the text font. Then change the text
font to sans-serif-light for both TextViews.

Attribute fontFamily is only used in API level 16 and higher.

2.5.3 setting the color

use attribute textColor to change the text color. Then change the color
to @android:Color/white for both TextViews.

we use @android:Color to get access to the standard Android colors, and then
/white specifies that we're looking to use Android's white color. If you want
to specific color, ist's a lot easier to use a hex code. A good resource for hex
codes is the material design color web page from the Android developer website.

2.5.4 attributes for the ImageView

use attribute scaleType to change to expand the image, but it needs to work in
conjuncture with the view's boundaries to fill the entire background.

ScaleType will change the size of the image within the view box that surrounds it.
While layout_width and layout_height will actually change the size of that
view box.

Because we are trying to get the view to expand to the entire screen, it would
probably be good to set these explicitly as match parent.

2.5.5 how to style the image

expand the image to fill the screen. Hints:

  • we know of two values for scaleType, center and centerCrop.
  • Does your image expand but your text disappear?
    Try changing the order of your views.

Now center doesn't actually scale the image, it doesn't change the size of the
image. So it makes it a pretty straightforward that I need to use centerCrop.

About centerCrop the documentation says:

Scale image uniformly (maintain the image's aspect ratio) so that both dimensions
(width and height) of the image will e equal to or larger than the correspondinng
dimension of the image view (minus padding).

If you've ever tried to scale an image, scaling uniformly means that it keeps the
image from getting stretched out either horizontally or vertically.

If the centerCrop expands over the edge of the phone, it will center this image
in the view, and then as the name implies, it'll crop off the excess parts of the

Views can overlap each other much like playing cards can overlap each other. And
the order of these view tags here determines the order that the views get placed
on the screen.


So since view A is first, it would get placed on the screen first, followed by
view B, and then view C.

2.5.6 minor adjustments

use attributes layout_margin to change to make room between the side of the
phone screen and the text. Make this space 20dp on all sides.

margin adds space around views and padding adds space within views.

2.6 make your own card

Explaining and communicating your design is not only an important skill for a
burgeoning app developer, such as yourself, but it will also really help solidify
the concepts you're practicing.

Think of Android development as a new skill in your tool kit that you can use
to solve problems in your own community.

Whether you're a social good app or just an app, try to create value versus hype.
Try to create an app that makes people happ, that makes people healthy, that
improves life somehow.

To do something you love. It's the thrill of a lifetime, you should do it.