Linear Layout

LinearLayout aligns all children in a single direction — vertically or horizontally, depending on how you define the orientation attribute. All children are stacked one after the other, so a vertical list will only have one child per row, no matter how wide they are, and a horizontal list will only be one row high (the height of the tallest child, plus padding). A LinearLayout respects margins between children and the gravity (right, center, or left alignment) of each child.

LinearLayout also supports assigning a weight to individual children. This attribute assigns an "importance" value to a view, and allows it to expand to fill any remaining space in the parent view. Child views can specify an integer weight value, and then any remaining space in the view group is assigned to children in the proportion of their declared weight. Default weight is zero. For example, if there are three text boxes and two of them declare a weight of 1, while the other is given no weight (0), the third text box without weight will not grow and will only occupy the area required by its content. The other two will expand equally to fill the space remaining after all three boxes are measured. If the third box is then given a weight of 2 (instead of 0), then it is now declared "more important" than both the others, so it gets half the total remaining space, while the first two share the rest equally.

The following two forms represent a LinearLayout with a set of elements: a button, some labels and text boxes. The text boxes have their width set to fill_parent; other elements are set to wrap_content. The gravity, by default, is left. The difference between the two versions of the form is that the form on the left has weight values unset (0 by default), while the form on the right has the comments text box weight set to 1. If the Name textbox had also been set to 1, the Name and Comments text boxes would be the same height.

Tip: To create a proportionate size layout on the screen, create a container view group object with the layout_width and layout_height attributes set to fill_parent; assign the children height or width to 0 (zero); then assign relative weight values to each child, depending on what proportion of the screen each should have.

Within a horizontal LinearLayout, items are aligned by the position of their text base line (the first line of the first list element — topmost or leftmost — is considered the reference line). This is so that people scanning elements in a form shouldn't have to jump up and down to read element text in neighboring elements. This can be turned off by setting android:baselineAligned="false" in the layout XML.

To view other sample code, see the Hello LinearLayout tutorial.

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