What Is an XMLBased Layout

As the name suggests, an XML-based layout is a specification of widgets' relationships to each other—and to their containers (more on this in Chapter 7)—encoded in XML format. Specifically, Android considers XML-based layouts to be resources, and as such layout files are stored in the res/layout directory inside your Android project.

Each XML file contains a tree of elements specifying a layout of widgets and their containers that make up one view hierarchy. The attributes of the XML elements are properties, describing how a widget should look or how a container should behave. For example, if a Button element has an attribute value of android:textStyle = "bold", that means that the text appearing on the face of the button should be rendered in a boldface font style.

Android's SDK ships with a tool (aapt) which uses the layouts. This tool should be automatically invoked by your Android tool chain (e.g., Eclipse, Ant's build.xml). Of particular importance to you as a developer is that aapt generates the R.java source file within your project, allowing you to access layouts and widgets within those layouts directly from your Java code.

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