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Guide to Creating a Calculator in Android

written by: Jbeerdev•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/3/2011

In this article we will finish creating our Android Calculator.

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    Placing the XML

    In the First part of this article series we created, in XML, the User Interface. Now its time to get started with the Google Android code.

    First of all, we need to create a new Android Project. We need to have configured Eclipse in the right way, as we saw in my first article.

    In Eclipse:

    File -> New -> (If “Android Project” doesn't appear here, click on the “Other...” option, and select "Android project").

    The Android application structure will be created. We can see the src folder (source code), the res folder (resources) and the AndroidManifest.xml file (Configuration file). We will focus on the source and some resources.

    Remember the .xml file we got in the last article when we created the Calculator UI? Its time to place it somewhere. Where? In the resources folder, we are going to put it in the main.xml file inside layout folder. So, copy the xml information created in DroidDraw and overwrite whatevers already inside the main.xml file.

    In the layouts folder we are going to put the User Interfaces we are going to use in our applications. Ours, so we just need a .xml file.

    Now, if you go to the file inside src folder, you will see that new variables have been created, variables with familiar names!!! These names were the names we used in the User Interface (plusbutton, minusbutton). Java code use this file to access the resources of the application.

    In this file, we can see different classes:

    id class, stores all widgets Identifiers.

    layout class, stores all variables that refers to layouts we have in the resources

    string class, stores the variables of the strings we have in the resources

    When we start thinking more about the Calculator, we realize that the inputs widgets must be numeric inputs. We can control this in java code, but, why not do it in the XML using some type of parameter?

    For that, we have the “android:numeric” parameter. If we put this to a widget, in the .xml file, we are just saying to the system that that input widget is going to admit only numeric characters. Let's put the next parameter inside the inputs widgets:

    android:numeric= “decimal|signed”

    We are limiting the input values to decimals and signed.

    So the code would look like this:

    <EditText android:id="@+id/input2" android:layout_width="156px"

    android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:textSize="18sp"

    android:numeric= “decimal|signed”

    android:layout_x="10px" android:layout_y="109px">


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    Source Code

    Now its time go to the source code.

    When we created the project, we put a name to the Activity, I used “Calculator”, so this is the main file of the Application.

    Here, we can find the onCreate method. This is the method that its called when we create the Activity, so here we will initialize all variables.

    First, we are going to create the widgets in the Java Code, using the following line-format:

    input1 = (EditText) findViewById(;

    Where input1 is a EditText type variable, and with the findViewById( we associate this variable to the widget we create in the XML code (main.xml).

    We create one variable for each widget: input1, input2, solution, operator and all buttons.

    For buttons, we are going to assign a onClick event to each one. In this way, we will control when this buttons are clicked.

    plusButton.setOnClickListener(new OnClickListener() {

    public void onClick(View arg0) {




    We create a OnClickListener, this element “listen” clicks events on this button (plusbutton) and when a click happens, the “onClick” method is executed.

    Inside the onClick method we are going to put just a simple line:


    This is: “To the widget 'operator' (the one between the two Edits texts), assign the text '+'”. In the screen, when the "+" button is clicked, a "+" simbol will apear between the two EditTexts. I do this just to show how we can change the elements of the screen with the code.

    The others buttons are the same, just change witch button calls the OnClick and the value inside the operator.setText().

    The whole source code is here:

    When we arrive to the “equalbutton” we are going to do something different.

    We are going to create some filter and show a Alarm when, for example, the inputs are empty and we press the “=” button.

    Creating the Alarm is so simple:

    show = new AlertDialog.Builder(mContext)


    .setMessage("Some inputs are empty")

    .setPositiveButton("OK", null).show();

    Where mContext is the actual Activity, “Error” is the title of the Alert and “Some inputs are empty” is the message. We can add a button with the “Ok” message. And all this is shown, using .show(); method.

    Now, we are going to check the value of the “operator”, when we click on the “equal button”, depending on what its on it (“+”,”-”...) we do an operation or other and we put the value on the solution EditText.

    if (operator.getText().equals("+")) {

    double result = new Double(input1.getText().toString())+ new Double(input2.getText().toString());


    The full source code is in my new created Google Code acount:

    This is a very simple example, just for learning. In further examples we will complicate the code.

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How to- Develop Applications on Android: Simple Applications

In this 5-articles series we will see how to create simple applications, using the tools and knowledge we have acquiredfrom others articles.
  1. How to Create a Calculator in Google Android: Part I
  2. Guide to Creating a Calculator in Android
  3. Dev Guide to Creating an Android Address Book
  4. How-to create an Address Book in the Google Android Programming Environment - ListActivity Implementation
  5. Dev Guide to Making an Android Address Book