What does it mean to inflate a view from an xml file?


I am new to android development and keep coming across references to Inflating views from a layout xml file. I googled and searched the development guide but still wasn't able to pick up a sense for what it means. If someone could provide a very simple example, it'd be much appreciated.

1/1/2011 11:39:05 PM

Accepted Answer

When you write an XML layout, it will be inflated by the Android OS which basically means that it will be rendered by creating view object in memory. Let's call that implicit inflation (the OS will inflate the view for you). For instance:

class Name extends Activity{
    public void onCreate(){
         // the OS will inflate the your_layout.xml
         // file and use it for this activity

You can also inflate views explicitly by using the LayoutInflater. In that case you have to:

  1. Get an instance of the LayoutInflater
  2. Specify the XML to inflate
  3. Use the returned View

For instance:

LayoutInflater inflater = LayoutInflater.from(YourActivity.this); // 1
View theInflatedView = inflater.inflate(R.layout.your_layout, null); // 2 and 3
4/21/2017 3:32:40 PM

"Inflating" a view means taking the layout XML and parsing it to create the view and viewgroup objects from the elements and their attributes specified within, and then adding the hierarchy of those views and viewgroups to the parent ViewGroup. When you call setContentView(), it attaches the views it creates from reading the XML to the activity. You can also use LayoutInflater to add views to another ViewGroup, which can be a useful tool in a lot of circumstances.

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