ActionBar is a user interface (UI) design pattern found in Android that allows users to quickly perform common actions within your application. ActionBar replaces the traditional title bar with a more featured and consistent UI. Popular applications that use this pattern include Facebook App and Twitter App. ActionBars help us to:
- Have a dedicated UI space for commonly used actions in your applications to increase user engagement (e.g. Search, Refresh, display status etc.)
- Have a consistent look and feel across all activities
- Allows the user to perform common/key actions quickly without having to use the menu
Though framework support for ActionBars has been added in Android 3.0+ (Honeycomb), developers are required to implement it from scratch for non-tablet versions of Android. The aims of this tutorial are two-fold; Firstly to demonstrate how to build an ActionBar widget from ground up, and secondly to illustrate how to use the ActionBar in your application.
Figure 1 shows an Activity with the ActionBar we are planning to implement in this tutorial.