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Jetpack Compose Tutorial for Android: Getting Began

Replace observe: Joey deVilla up to date this tutorial for Android Studio Giraffe, Kotlin 1.9 and Android 14. Alex Sullivan wrote the unique.

We’re at an thrilling level in Android growth. In response to a survey of the cellular growth ecosystem taken in late 2022 by the Cellular Native Basis, half of Android builders are constructing apps with Jetpack Compose. The opposite half are constructing them “the outdated means.”

Working programs evolve, and Android — the world’s hottest OS — isn’t any exception. When a platform the scale of Android makes a change this huge, the primary builders who embrace the change acquire a major benefit. With half the Android builders nonetheless ready to make the leap, the time to be taught Jetpack Compose is now.

What Is Jetpack Compose?

Launched in July 2021, Jetpack Compose is a UI toolkit that updates the method of constructing Android apps. As a substitute of XML, you utilize Kotlin code to declaratively specify how the UI ought to look and behave in numerous states. You don’t have to fret how the UI strikes amongst these states — Jetpack Compose takes care of that. You’ll discover it acquainted when you’re acquainted with declarative net frameworks reminiscent of React, Angular or Vue.

The Jetpack Compose strategy is a major departure from Android’s unique XML UI toolkit, now known as Views. Views was modeled after outdated desktop UI frameworks and dates to Android’s starting. In Views, you utilize a mechanism reminiscent of findViewById() or view binding to attach UI parts to code. This crucial strategy is straightforward however requires defining how this system strikes amongst states and the way the UI ought to look and behave in these states.

Jetpack Compose is constructed with Kotlin, and it takes benefit of the options and design philosophy of Kotlin language. It’s designed to be used in purposes written in Kotlin. With Jetpack Compose, you now not should context-switch to XML when designing your app’s UI; you do all the pieces in Kotlin.

On this tutorial, you’ll construct two Jetpack Compose apps:

  • A easy check run app, which you’ll construct from scratch, beginning with FileNew.
  • A extra complicated cookbook app that may show an inventory of recipe playing cards containing photographs and textual content. You’ll construct this utilizing a starter challenge.

Your First Jetpack Compose App

Make sure you’re working the newest steady model of Android Studio. Each apps on this tutorial — the straightforward app you’re about to construct and the cookbook app you’ll construct afterward — had been constructed utilizing the Flamingo model of Android Studio. These days, Google has been upgrading Android Studio at a livid tempo, and the code under may not work on earlier variations.

Be aware: “Examine for Updates” is your buddy! On the macOS model of Android Studio, you’ll discover it beneath the Android Studio menu. If you happen to’re a Home windows- or Linux-based Android Studio person, you’ll discover it beneath the Assist menu.

When you’ve confirmed your Android Studio is updated, launch it and choose FileNewNew Mission…. Relying on the way you final resized the New Mission window, you’ll both see one thing like this:

A small version of Android Studio’s New Project window

or this:

A wide version of Android Studio’s New Project window

Both means, you’ll see the first template within the checklist is for an Empty Exercise challenge with the Jetpack Compose icon:

On this planet of programming, the place it’s important to state issues explicitly so a compiler can perceive them, that is thought of a refined trace. It is best to infer that Jetpack Compose is predicted to be the popular means for constructing Android UIs going ahead, and the earlier you be taught it, the higher.

Choose the Jetpack Compose Empty Exercise template and click on Subsequent. Within the following New Mission window, identify the challenge My First Compose App and click on the End button.

Good day, Android!

As soon as Android Studio completed constructing the challenge, run the app. It is best to see one thing like this:

Android phone emulator displaying the Hello Android! screen

To see what’s behind this notably unexciting display, open MainActivity.kt. It nonetheless comprises a MainActivity class and an onCreate() methodology, and onCreate() nonetheless calls on its counterpart in MainActivity’s superclass, ComponentActivity.

What’s completely different is the remainder of the code in onCreate(). When constructing Android UIs the outdated means — which is known as ViewsonCreate() calls the setContentView() methodology and passes it the ID of the view’s XML file, which Android makes use of to render the onscreen parts. In Jetpack Compose, onCreate() calls a way named setContent(), and within the default challenge, it seems to be like this:

setContent {
  MyFirstComposeAppTheme {
  // A floor container utilizing the 'background' coloration from the theme
      modifier = Modifier.fillMaxSize(),
      coloration = MaterialTheme.colorScheme.background
    ) {

setContent() takes a lambda as its parameter, and close to the tip of that lambda is a name to a way known as Greeting(). You’ll discover its definition instantly after the MainActivity class:

enjoyable Greeting(identify: String, modifier: Modifier = Modifier) {
 Textual content(
   textual content = "Good day $identify!",
   modifier = modifier

As you see, Greeting() is the strategy that determines what seems onscreen if you run the app. You also needs to discover the next parts of this methodology:

  • It’s annotated with @Composable. This informs the compiler that Greeting() is a composable operate (or composable for brief), which suggests it receives knowledge and generates a UI factor in response. One motive to make it clear {that a} operate is composable is that composable features can solely be known as by different composable features. setContent() which calls Greeting() is a composable.
  • It has parameters. As a operate, it has parameters (or, when you want, it takes arguments). That makes composables versatile, permitting you to cross state to them. If you happen to’re acquainted with programming in React, composable parameters are Jetpack Compose’s model of props.
  • It’s a Unit operate. It has no return worth. As a substitute, it causes a person interface factor to be drawn onscreen. Practical programming language purists would name this a facet impact; we Jetpack Composers want to say that composables emit UI parts.
  • Its identify is a CapitalizedNoun. The conference is that composable operate names are nouns capitalized in PascalCase. It helps distinguish composables from extraordinary features and strategies, the place the conference is to make their names verbs that use camelCase capitalization.
  • It comprises a name to a way known as Textual content(). Textual content() is certainly one of Jetpack Compose’s built-in composables, and given a string, it emits a textual content view containing that string.


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