The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.

Other Advanced Action Bar Techniques

The action bar offers a number of other features that developers can take advantage of, ones that do not necessarily fit into the other chapters. Hence, this chapter is a “catch all” for other things you may wish to do with your action bar. Note that this chapter is focused on the native action bar, not the AppCompat backport.


Understanding this chapter requires that you have read the core chapters, particularly the one on the action bar.

Action Layouts

What happens if you want something other than a button to appear as an action bar item? Suppose you want a field instead?

Fortunately, this is supported. Otherwise, this would be a completely pointless section of the book.

You can specify android:actionLayout on an <item> element in a menu resource. This will point to a reference to a layout XML resource that you want to have inflated into the action bar instead of a toolbar button. Then, in onCreateOptionsMenu(), you can call findMenuItem() on the Menu to retrieve the MenuItem associated with this <item> element, then call getActionView() to retrieve the root of your inflated layout. At that point, you can hook up event listeners to the widgets in that layout, as needed.

Obviously, since the action bar is only so big, you will need to be judicious about your use of space.

Action Views and Action Providers

The preview of this section was lost in the sofa cushions.

The preview of this section was the victim of a MITM ('Martian in the middle') attack.

Floating Action Bars

The preview of this section is out seeking fame and fortune as the Dread Pirate Roberts.