I need to implement my own attributes like in

Found nothing in official documentation so I need information about how to define these attrs and how to use them from my code.

2/11/2017 9:25:17 AM

Accepted Answer

Currently the best documentation is the source. You can take a look at it here (attrs.xml).

You can define attributes in the top <resources> element or inside of a <declare-styleable> element. If I'm going to use an attr in more than one place I put it in the root element. Note, all attributes share the same global namespace. That means that even if you create a new attribute inside of a <declare-styleable> element it can be used outside of it and you cannot create another attribute with the same name of a different type.

An <attr> element has two xml attributes name and format. name lets you call it something and this is how you end up referring to it in code, e.g., R.attr.my_attribute. The format attribute can have different values depending on the 'type' of attribute you want.

  • reference - if it references another resource id (e.g, "@color/my_color", "@layout/my_layout")
  • color
  • boolean
  • dimension
  • float
  • integer
  • string
  • fraction
  • enum - normally implicitly defined
  • flag - normally implicitly defined

You can set the format to multiple types by using |, e.g., format="reference|color".

enum attributes can be defined as follows:

<attr name="my_enum_attr">
  <enum name="value1" value="1" />
  <enum name="value2" value="2" />

flag attributes are similar except the values need to be defined so they can be bit ored together:

<attr name="my_flag_attr">
  <flag name="fuzzy" value="0x01" />
  <flag name="cold" value="0x02" />

In addition to attributes there is the <declare-styleable> element. This allows you to define attributes a custom view can use. You do this by specifying an <attr> element, if it was previously defined you do not specify the format. If you wish to reuse an android attr, for example, android:gravity, then you can do that in the name, as follows.

An example of a custom view <declare-styleable>:

<declare-styleable name="MyCustomView">
  <attr name="my_custom_attribute" />
  <attr name="android:gravity" />

When defining your custom attributes in XML on your custom view you need to do a few things. First you must declare a namespace to find your attributes. You do this on the root layout element. Normally there is only xmlns:android="". You must now also add xmlns:whatever="".


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

      whatever:my_custom_attribute="Hello, world!" />

Finally, to access that custom attribute you normally do so in the constructor of your custom view as follows.

public MyCustomView(Context context, AttributeSet attrs, int defStyle) {
  super(context, attrs, defStyle);

  TypedArray a = context.obtainStyledAttributes(attrs, R.styleable.MyCustomView, defStyle, 0);

  String str = a.getString(R.styleable.MyCustomView_my_custom_attribute);

  //do something with str


The end. :)

12/27/2013 11:13:17 PM

Qberticus's answer is good, but one useful detail is missing. If you are implementing these in a library replace:




Otherwise the application that uses the library will have runtime errors.

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