Showing a Dialog

A dialog is always created and displayed as a part of an Activity. You should normally create dialogs from within your Activity's onCreateDialog(int) callback method. When you use this callback, the Android system automatically manages the state of each dialog and hooks them to the Activity, effectively making it the "owner" of each dialog. As such, each dialog inherits certain properties from the Activity. For example, when a dialog is open, the Menu key reveals the options menu defined for the Activity and the volume keys modify the audio stream used by the Activity.

Note: If you decide to create a dialog outside of the onCreateDialog() method, it will not be attached to an Activity. You can, however, attach it to an Activity with setOwnerActivity(Activity).

When you want to show a dialog, call showDialog(int) and pass it an integer that uniquely identifies the dialog that you want to display.

When a dialog is requested for the first time, Android calls onCreateDialog(int) from your Activity, which is where you should instantiate the Dialog. This callback method is passed the same ID that you passed to showDialog(int). After you create the Dialog, return the object at the end of the method.

Before the dialog is displayed, Android also calls the optional callback method onPrepareDialog(int, Dialog). Define this method if you want to change any properties of the dialog each time it is opened. This method is called every time a dialog is opened, whereas onCreateDialog(int) is only called the very first time a dialog is opened. If you don't define onPrepareDialogQ, then the dialog will remain the same as it was the previous time it was opened. This method is also passed the dialog's ID, along with the Dialog object you created in onCreateDialog().

The best way to define the onCreateDialog(int) and onPrepareDialog(int, Dialog) callback methods is with a switch statement that checks the id parameter that's passed into the method. Each case should check for a unique dialog ID and then create and define the respective Dialog. For


A dialog that can manage zero, one, two, or three buttons, and/or a list of selectable items that can include checkboxes or radio buttons. The AlertDialog is capable of constructing most dialog user interfaces and is the suggested dialog type. See Creating an AlertDialog below.


A dialog that displays a progress wheel or progress bar. Because it's an extension of the AlertDialog, it also supports buttons. See Creating a ProgressDialog below.

example, imagine a game that uses two different dialogs: one to indicate that the game has paused and another to indicate that the game is over. First, define an integer ID for each dialog:









Then, define the onCreateDialog(int) callback with a switch case for each ID:

protected Dialog onCreateDialog(int id) { Dialog dialog; switch(id) { case DIALOG_PAUSED_ID:

// do the work to define the pause Dialog break;


// do the work to define the game over Dialog break; default:

dialog = null;

return dialog;

Note: In this example, there's no code inside the case statements because the procedure for defining your Dialog is outside the scope of this section. See the section below about Creating an AlertDialog, offers code suitable for this example.

When it's time to show one of the dialogs, call showDialog(int) with the ID of a dialog:


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