How to get RelativeLayout working with merge and include?

0 votes
asked Feb 23, 2010 by justin

I have been trying for a few days now to make my layouts more efficient by converting from using several levels of nested LinearLayouts to one RelativeLayout and have come across a few problems that I haven not been able to find a workaround for...

I have searched the Android beginners group and this site and have not been able to find anything that would help me solve the problem.

I read on one of the blogs that you can combine layouts with merge and include tags. So what I have is a main layout file with a RelativeLayout root element. Inside of that I have 5 include tags that reference 5 different xml layout files that each have a merge element for the root (all of my merge files are the same except for the ids in them).

I am running into two problems, which I will explain after posting a simplified version of my layout code:

Sample Main Layout File:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent"
    android:layout_height="fill_parent"
    android:background="@drawable/translucent_gray" >

    <include 
        android:id="@+id/running_gallery_layout_id"
        layout="@layout/running_gallery_layout" />

    <include 
        android:id="@+id/recent_gallery_layout_id" 
        layout="@layout/recent_gallery_layout"
        android:layout_below="@id/running_gallery_layout_id" />

    <include
        android:id="@+id/service_gallery_layout_id"
        layout="@layout/service_gallery_layout"
        android:layout_below="@id/recent_gallery_layout_id" />

    <include
        android:id="@+id/process_gallery_layout_id"
        layout="@layout/process_gallery_layout"
        android:layout_below="@id/service_gallery_layout_id" />

</RelativeLayout>

Sample included merge file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<merge xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <TextView 
        style="@style/TitleText"
        android:id="@+id/service_gallery_title_text_id"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:gravity="left"
        android:text="@string/service_title" />

    <Gallery
        android:id="@+id/service_gallery_id"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_weight="1"
        android:layout_below="@id/service_gallery_title_text_id" />

    <TextView 
        style="@style/SubTitleText"
        android:id="@+id/service_gallery_current_text_id"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_toRightOf="@id/service_gallery_title_text_id"
        android:layout_above="@id/service_gallery_id" />
</merge>

I am running into two problems:

1) The android:layout_* attributes seem to be ignored when used in the include tag and all of the merged layouts are displayed on top of each other. According to this post (http://developer.android.com/resources/articles/layout-tricks-reuse.html) "any android:layout_* attribute can be used with the <include /> tag"

2) Since I couldn't get this working I decided to try adding an android:layout_below attribute to the first TextView item in each merge layout file, meaning that each merge file would be referencing an id from another merge layout file... For the most part this actually worked and my layout looks fine. However, I get an error on one of the android:layout_below attributes saying that it can't find the id I specified... I have double and triple checked the ids to make sure they were correct. The weirdest part is that I used the AutoFill feature to put the id in the attribute in the first place.

If anyone has any suggestions or workarounds I will be more than happy to try them out. Also, if anyone can think of a way for me to just have one merge xml layout file instead of 5 that would be greatly appreciated. I couldn't find a way to do that because I need to have access to each item in the merge layout files at runtime...

6 Answers

0 votes
answered by alienjazzcat

See the more highly voted answer below. Mine is woefully outdated


i can address one issue Justin raised: inability of RelativeLayout to manage positioning of an include (at least in this simple case, on a 1.6 emulator)

CommonsWare suggests wrapping the includes in a unique parent container, but does so in order to assist addressing & scoping identically named Views within Justin's includes

Each would have to have a unique parent container, and you would call findViewById() on that container (ViewGroup) rather than on the Activity.

In fact, you also must do it in order to get RelativeLayout to behave as expected:

This works (footer is well positioned):

<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent">
    <include android:id="@+id/header" layout="@layout/header"
        android:layout_alignParentTop="true" />
    <WebView android:id="@+id/webView" android:layout_below="@id/header"
        android:background="#77CC0000" android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:focusable="false" />
    <LinearLayout android:layout_alignParentBottom="true"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_width="fill_parent">
        <include android:id="@+id/footer" layout="@layout/footer" />
    </LinearLayout>
</RelativeLayout>

This does not (footer is floating at top of screen):

<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent">
    <include android:id="@+id/header" layout="@layout/header"
        android:layout_alignParentTop="true" />
    <WebView android:id="@+id/webView" android:layout_below="@id/header"
        android:background="#77CC0000" android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:focusable="false" />
    <include android:id="@+id/footer" layout="@layout/footer"
        android:layout_alignParentBottom="true" />
</RelativeLayout>

The bare footer include will not align to bottom of parent, without the surrounding LinearLayout.. I wouldn't call this expected behavior.

Additionally, the WebView appears to attach itself nicely to the header by ID, but I believe this to be illusion, due to it simply flowing below the header vertically. I also tried to set a button right above the footer include, but it got all floaty and wrong, too

RelativeLayout had more problems in 1.5, but i still like it :)

0 votes
answered Feb 23, 2010 by commonsware

The android:layout_* attributes seem to be ignored when used in the include tag and all of the merged layouts are displayed on top of each other.

My guess is that you cannot reference, from layout rules, android:id attributes that are defined on <include> elements, only ones that are on "real" widgets and containers.

Also, if anyone can think of a way for me to just have one merge xml layout file instead of 5 that would be greatly appreciated.

Simple: put them all in one file.

I couldn't find a way to do that because I need to have access to each item in the merge layout files at runtime

Whether you have one <include> element or 1,000, all of the contents should be accessible at runtime. One exception is if you have duplicated android:id attributes -- you would need to properly scope your findViewById() calls to get the right one, just like you have to when getting widgets from a ListView row.

If you can create a sample project that uses 2+ merge files where you can demonstrate that the contents are not accessible at runtime, let me know.

0 votes
answered Feb 7, 2011 by maragues

For positioning to work on RelativeLayout you need to set the layout_* parameters in the include file, not in the main layout file. That way

main_layout.xml

<RelativeLayout
  android:id="@+id/header"
  android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  android:layout_height="wrap_content">
   ....
</RelativeLayout>

<RelativeLayout 
  android:id="@+id/footer"
  android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  android:layout_height="wrap_content"
  android:layout_alignParentBottom="true">
    .....
</RelativeLayout>

<include layout="@layout/content_layout" />

content_layout.xml

<merge xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
<RelativeLayout
    android:id="@+id/content"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent"
    android:layout_height="fill_parent"
    android:layout_above="@id/footer"
    android:layout_below="@id/header" >

    ....
</RelativeLayout>
</merge>

This is obviously not what us developers want, but it's the only solution I've found to avoid duplicating xml

0 votes
answered Feb 19, 2011 by macarse

There is an issue with the include tag. Check: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/36908001

To fix it, make sure you overwrite BOTH layout_width and layout_height when including, otherwise everything will be ignored.

0 votes
answered Feb 27, 2012 by plantage

Man, this is old, but it seems to come up at the top of searches, so I'm going to comment.

I think the trick here is that the <merge> tag combined with the <include> tag essentially remove any sort of "parent" view group at that level. So then, who exactly are you asking to "layout_below" someone else? No one. There is no view at that level.

The <merge> tag takes the child views and pops them right into the parent of the <include> tag. You must therefore ask the children in the layout you're including to anchor themselves accordingly.

0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by rohit-mandiwal

In my case, the layout which I was trying to include starts with <merge tag. When I changed it to a layout, say <RelativeLayout it worked. Below is the illustration.

WORKING

<RelativeLayout xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    tools:showIn="@layout/activity_home">

NOT WORKING

<merge xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    tools:showIn="@layout/activity_home">
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