ViewPager

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last updated: 2017-06

ViewPager is a layout manager that lets you implement gestural navigation. Gestural navigation allows the user to swipe left and right to step through pages of data. This guide explains how to implement gestural navigation with ViewPager, with and without Fragments. It also describes how to add page indicators using PagerTitleStrip and PagerTabStrip.

Overview

A common scenario in app development is the need to provide users with gestural navigation between sibling views. In this approach, the user swipes left or right to access pages of content (for example, in a setup wizard or a slide show). You can create these swipe views by using the ViewPager widget, available in Android Support Library v4. The ViewPager is a layout widget made up of multiple child views where each child view constitutes a page in the layout:

Screenshots of TreePager app with horizontal swipe example

Typically, ViewPager is used in conjunction with Fragments; however, there are some situations where you might want to use ViewPager without the added complexity of Fragments.

ViewPager uses an adapter pattern to provide it with the views to display. The adapter used here is conceptually similiar to that used by RecyclerView – you supply an implementation of PagerAdapter to generate the pages that the ViewPager displays to the user. The pages displayed by ViewPager can be Views or Fragments. When Views are displayed, the adapter subclasses Android's PagerAdapter base class. If Fragments are displayed, the adapter subclasses Android's FragmentPagerAdapter. The Android support library also includes FragmentPagerAdapter (a subclass of PagerAdapter) to help with the details of connecting Fragments to data.

This guide demonstrates both approaches:

  • In Part 1, a TreePager app is developed to demonstrate how to use ViewPager to display views of a tree catalog (an image gallery of deciduous and evergreen trees). PagerTabStrip and PagerTitleStrip are used to display titles that help with page navigation.

  • In Part 2, a slightly more complex FlashCardPager app is developed to demonstrate how to use ViewPager with Fragments to build an app that presents math problems as flash cards and responds to user input.

Requirements

To use ViewPager in your app project, you must install the Android Support Library v4 package. For more information about installing NuGet packages, see Walkthrough: Including a NuGet in your project.

Architecture

Three components are used for implementing gestural navigation with ViewPager:

  • ViewPager
  • Adapter
  • Pager Indicator

Each of these components is summarized below.

ViewPager

ViewPager is a layout manager that displays a collection of Views one at a time. Its job is to detect the user's swipe gesture and navigate to the next or previous view as appropriate. For example, the screenshot below demonstrates a ViewPager making the transition from one image to the next in response to a user gesture:

Closeup of TreePager app displaying a transition between Views

Adapter

ViewPager pulls its data from an adapter. The adapter's job is to create the Views displayed by the ViewPager, providing them as needed. The diagram below illustrates this concept – the adapter creates and populates Views and provides them to the ViewPager. As the ViewPager detects the user's swipe gestures, it asks the adapter to provide the appropriate View to display:

Diagram illustrating how the Adapter connects images and names to the ViewPager

In this particular example, each View is constructed from a tree image and a tree name before it is passed to the ViewPager.

Pager Indicator

ViewPager may be used to display a large data set (for example, an image gallery may contain hundreds of images). To help the user navigate large data sets, ViewPager is often accompanied by a pager indicator that displays a string. The string might be the image title, a caption, or simply the current view's position within the data set.

There are two views that can produce this navigation information for you: PagerTabStrip and PagerTitleStrip. Each displays a string at the top of a ViewPager, and each pulls its data from the ViewPager's adapter so that it always stays in sync with the currently-displayed View. The difference between them is that PagerTabStrip includes a visual indicator for the "current" string while PagerTitleStrip does not (as shown in these screenshots):

Screenshots of the TreePager app with PagerTitleStrip and PagerTabStrip

This guide demonstrates how to immplement ViewPager, adapter, and indicator app components and integrate them to support gestural navigation.

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