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Replacing EditTexts with TextInputLayouts in Android

August 26, 2021

When working with EditText in Android applications, developers may have found it tricky to customize. To address this problem, developers came up with TextInputLayout that has more and better features, when compared to the normal EditText. In this tutorial, we will discuss TextInputLayout and focus on how it differs from EditText.

Prerequisites

To follow through this tutorial, the reader should:

  • Have Android Studio installed.
  • Have a good understanding of XML.
  • Be familiar with Android Studio.

Goal

By the end of this tutorial, the reader should:

  • Have an overview of what TextInputLayout is.
  • Know the difference between TextInputLayout and EditText.
  • Be able to create and work with different text fields.

What is TextInputLayout?

TextInputLayout is a view container that is used to add more features to an EditText. It acts as a wrapper for EditText and has some features like:

  • Floating hint.
  • Animation that can be disabled or enabled.
  • Error labels that display error messages when an error occurs.
  • Character counter that displays the number of characters that the user enters.
  • Password visibility toggle.
  • It also extend LinearLayout.

In a nutshell, TextInputLayout is an improvement of the existing EditText.

How TextInputLayout is different from EditText

The main difference between a TextInputLayout and an EditText is that TextInputLayout extends LinearLayout and it must contain TextInputEditText which extends EditText.

This is so because TextInputEditText works when enclosed in a TextInputLayout. If you substitute TextInputEditText with an EditText, it works but you will get a warning.

This is because TextInputEditText provides accessibility support for the text field and allows TextInputLayout to have a greater control over the visual aspects of the input text.

Text field

A text field is a standard entry widget (single line) that when a clicked, a cursor is placed on it and a keyboard pops up allowing the user to type text into the field. To add a text field to your layout we use EditText element.

Using text field

To use text field in your app, first, add the new material components dependency.

Filled text field

According to the official documentation, filled text field has more visual emphasis than outlined text field hence making them stand out when surrounded by other content and components.

It has two height variants, that is, it consist of standard and dense text fields. Filled text field is the default styles if the style is not set.

Outlined text field

In an outlined text field, we apply styles on the TextInputLayout. As a result we get the outlined look text field.

Like the filled text field, outlined text field has two height variants. We have attributes that we can use to set the outlined look (like corner-radius outline and stroke color outline) of a text field.

Theming text field

In theming, we use a material theme in text fields. You can customize text field in terms of color, topography, and shape.

Like in FilledTextField and OutlinedTextField, theming text field has two height variants, that is, it consists of standard and dense text fields.

Adding TextInputLayout in an Android app

At this point, we are going to create a new project to practically learn how to work with TextInputLayout in an Android application. We will be using a single activity project and we will be working with activity_main.xml file.

Step 1: Creating a project

First you have to open a new project in your Android Studio. Then open your app level build.gradle file, add material dependency, and click sync now.

Step 2: Adding material dependency

// Material dependency 
implementation 'com.google.android.material:material:1.4.0'

Step 3: Adding ‘TextInputLayout’ to your ‘activity_main’ file

Delete the default TextView, add TextInputLayout as a child layout inside the ConstraintLayout, and align it as shown below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 4: Adding TextInputEditText into TextInputLayout

Inside TextInputLayout, create TextInputEditText - where users can enter and edit the data.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"/>
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 5: Adding hint attribute into TextInputEditText

Add hint attribute android:hint="Enter your name" to your TextInputEditText as shown below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 6: Adding boxBackgroundMode into TextInputLayout

Since we have a FilledTextField, we can add boxBackgroundMode attribute app:boxBackgroundMode="outline" to our TextInputLayout and it will have a box outline appearance.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 7: Styling FilledTextField (Changing FilledTextField to OutlinedTextField)

You can style your FilledTextField to change box outline appearance to OutlinedTextField using style="@style/Widget.MaterialComponents.TextInputLayout.OutlinedBox".

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        style="@style/Widget.MaterialComponents.TextInputLayout.OutlinedBox"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 8: Adding boxCornerRadius attributes into TextInputLayout (This is optional)

You can also add boxCornerRadius attributes to your TextInputLayout to change the corner radius of the box outline.

<com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
app:boxCornerRadiusTopEnd="16dp"
app:boxCornerRadiusTopStart="16dp"
app:boxCornerRadiusBottomStart="16dp"
app:boxCornerRadiusBottomEnd="16dp" />

The above are the available boxCornerRadius attributes.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        style="@style/Widget.MaterialComponents.TextInputLayout.OutlinedBox"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopEnd="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomEnd="16dp"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 9: Adding HelperText into TextInputLayout (This is optional)

Helper text provides additional information about a field’s input, such as how it will be utilized.

You can enable or disable helper-text using the attribute app:helperText="This is an helper-text".

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        app:helperText="This is an helper text"
        style="@style/Widget.MaterialComponents.TextInputLayout.OutlinedBox"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopEnd="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomEnd="16dp"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Step 10: Adding text counter into TextInputLayout and maximum length into TextInputEditText (This is optional)

You can add a counter by enabling it, using the attribute app:counterEnabled="true" and setting the maximum length of the user input using counterMaxLength attribute app:counterMaxLength="20".

MaxLength attribute android:maxLength="20" is added to prevent the user from exceeding maximum number of input (characters) specified in the counterMaxLength value.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context=".MainActivity">
    <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="16dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="16dp"
        app:boxBackgroundMode="outline"
        style="@style/Widget.MaterialComponents.TextInputLayout.OutlinedBox"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopEnd="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusTopStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomStart="16dp"
        app:boxCornerRadiusBottomEnd="16dp"
        app:counterEnabled="true"
        app:counterMaxLength="20"
        app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent">
        <com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputEditText
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            android:maxLength="20"
            android:hint="Enter your name" />
    </com.google.android.material.textfield.TextInputLayout>
</androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>

Conclusion

TextInputLayout is a powerful layout that is easy to use and has awesome features like floating hint animation, error labels, character counter, password visibility toggle that are not available in normal EditTexts.

As a developer, TextInputLayout features allow you to create or design nice TextFields that can either be a filled text field, outlined text field or themed text field.

Happy coding!

References


Peer Review Contributions by: Eric Gacoki