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Android RecyclerView - Grouping Data

This post was featured in Android Weekly’s #238 issue.

Recently, I was asked to implement recycler view in an interesting way - group data within a list with respect to a specific attribute of the list elements and also show the grouping attribute tag on top of each group. The closest comparison I can make is how WhatsApp groups together chats with respect to dates. In my case I had to group by months. I found the problem pretty interesting and decided to document my implementation.

In the above image we can see that the chats are divided into groups by dates - “25 June 2016”, “2 July 2016” etc. This is what we wish to achieve.

Response from the server

Here is an example JSON response that is to be populated as a list.

{
  "list_elements_array": [
    {
      "key_1": "abc",
      "key_2": "xyz",
      "key_3": "Title",
      "key_4": "2016-06-21"
    },
    {...},
    {...},
  ]
}

The JSON has to be converted into a list using key_4 as the grouping parameter i.e. all JSON Objects having 2016-06-21 as their respective key_4 value need to be put under 2016-06-21 group and so on.

(i) Group data into a HashMap according to the grouping parameter. We create a HashMap whose key is the group label and the value is a POJO for the JSON Objects.

Example HashMap -

HashMap<String, List<PojosOfJsonArray>>

values -

"2016-06-21" -> listOfJsonArrayPojo[3]
"2016-06-05" -> listOfJsonArrayPojo[1]
"2016-05-17" -> listOfJsonArrayPojo[1]

We can see three groups in the HashMap above - 2016-06-21 with three objects under it, 2016-06-05 with one object under it and, 2016-05-17 also with one object under it.

How do we create such a HashMap?

We have a method which accepts the server response curated in a list, loops through it and spews out a HashMap.

private HashMap<String, List<PojoOfJsonArray>>
groupDataIntoHashMap(List<PojoOfJsonArray> listOfPojosOfJsonArray) {

  HashMap<String, List<PojoOfJsonArray>> groupedHashMap = new HashMap<>();

  for(PojoOfJsonArray pojoOfJsonArray : listOfPojosOfJsonArray) {

      String hashMapKey = listOfPojosOfJsonArray.getKey4Value();

      if(groupedHashMap.containsKey(hashMapKey)) {
          // The key is already in the HashMap; add the pojo object
          // against the existing key.
          groupedHashMap.get(hashMapKey).add(pojosOfJsonArray);
      } else {
          // The key is not there in the HashMap; create a new key-value pair
          List<PojoOfJsonArray> list = new ArrayList<>();
          list.add(listOfPojosOfJsonArray);
          groupedHashMap.put(hashMapKey, list);
      }
  }

  return groupedHashMap;
}

(ii) Creating required data structures for the RecyclerView. Now we make an abstract class called ListItem that will be inherited by two classes which will represent the two different types of list items - DateItem, which will show the month and the GeneralItem which will show the required data.

ListItem -

public abstract class ListItem {

  public static final int TYPE_DATE = 0;
  public static final int TYPE_GENERAL = 1;

  abstract public int getType();
}

GeneralItem -

  public class GeneralItem extends ListItem {

    private PojoOfJsonArray pojoOfJsonArray;

    public PojoOfJsonArray getPojoOfJsonArray() {
        return pojoOfJsonArray;
    }

    public void setPojoOfJsonArray(PojoOfJsonArray pojoOfJsonArray) {
        this.pojoOfJsonArray = pojoOfJsonArray;
    }

    @Override
    public int getType() {
      return TYPE_GENERAL;
    }
  }

DateItem -

public class DateItem extends ListItem {

  private String date;

  public String getDate() {
    return date;
  }

  public void setDate(String date) {
    this.date = date;
  }

  @Override
  public int getType() {
    return TYPE_DATE;
  }
}

(iii) Converting the HashMap data into a sorted list. Next, we consolidate the HashMap into a ArrayList (of our newly created ListItem type) called consolidatedList with DateItem injected between GeneralItem at the required places.

// We linearly add every
List<ListItem> consolidatedList = new ArrayList<>();

for (String date : groupedHashMap.keySet()) {
  DateItem dateItem = new DateItem();
  dateItem.setDate(date);
  consolidatedList.add(dateItem);

  for (PojoOfJsonArray pojoOfJsonArray : groupedHashMap.get(date)) {
    GeneralItem generalItem = new GeneralItem();
    generalItem.setBookingDataTabs(bookingDataTabs);
    consolidatedList.add(generalItem);
  }
}

We pass consolidatedList to the constructor of the RecyclerView adapter.

(iv) Defining the RecyclerView. We now define our RecyclerView which will check which type layout is to be populated depending on type of ListItem (TYPE_DATE or TYPE_GENERAL); We’ll need to create two ViewHolders for the respective layouts.

public class GroupedListRecyclerAdapter
  extends RecyclerView.Adapter<RecyclerView.ViewHolder> {

      private List<ListItem> consolidatedList = new ArrayList<>();

      public GroupedListRecyclerAdapter(List<ListItem> consolidatedList) {
        this.consolidatedList = consolidatedList;
      }

      @Override
      public int getItemViewType(int position) {
        return consolidatedList.get(position).getType();
      }

      @Override
      public int getItemCount() {
        return consolidatedList != null ? consolidatedList.size() : 0;
      }

      @Override
      public RecyclerView.ViewHolder onCreateViewHolder(ViewGroup parent,
                                                        int viewType) {

        RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder = null;
        LayoutInflater inflater = LayoutInflater.from(parent.getContext());

        switch (viewType) {

          case ListItem.TYPE_BOOKING:
              View v1 = inflater.inflate(R.layout.general_layout, parent,
                                          false);
              viewHolder = new GeneralViewHolder(v1);
              break;

          case ListItem.TYPE_DATE:
              View v2 = inflater.inflate(R.layout.date_layout, parent, false);
              viewHolder = new DateViewHolder(v2);
              break;
        }

        return viewHolder;
    }

    @Override
    public void onBindViewHolder(RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder,
                                  int position) {

            switch (viewHolder.getItemViewType()) {

                case ListItem.TYPE_BOOKING:
                    GeneralItem generalItem
                    = (GeneralItem) consolidatedList.get(position);
                    GeneralViewHolder generalViewHolder
                    = (GeneralViewHolder) viewHolder;

                    // Populate general item data here

                    break;

                case ListItem.TYPE_DATE:
                    DateItem dateItem
                    = (DateItem) consolidatedList.get(position);
                    DateViewHolder dateViewHolder
                    = (DateViewHolder) viewHolder;

                    // Populate date item data here

                    break;
            }
        }
    }

    // ViewHolder for date row item
    class DateViewHolder extends RecyclerView.ViewHolder {
        ...
        public DateViewHolder(View v) {
            super(v);
            ...
        }
    }

    // View holder for general row item
    class GeneralViewHolder extends RecyclerView.ViewHolder {
        ...
        public GeneralViewHolder(View v) {
            super(v);
            ...
        }
    }
}

You’ll notice that we are overriding getItemViewType, a method we usually don’t override. This method is responsible for informing the adapter which type of row to work on.

The other thing to notice is how both onCreateViewHolder and onBindViewHolder have a switch case. These are there for same reasons as above - informing the adapter which type of row to work on.