CWAC TouchListView: A Drag-and-Drop Capable ListView
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CWAC TouchListView: Dragging and Dropping for Fun and Profit!

The standard ListView is a very sophisticated tool, but it lacks any sort of drag-and-drop support. The Android open source project has an example of implementing drag-and-drop on a ListView, in the form of the TouchInterceptor class used in the Music application — you use this to re-arrange a playlist. However, that widget is not in the Android SDK as of Android 2.2.

TouchListView is 95% the Android open source code for TouchInterceptor. TouchListView also allows the widget to be configured from an XML layout file, replacing some hard-wired values that TouchInterceptor uses.

This is distributed as an Android library project, following the conventions of the Android Parcel Project. You can download a ZIP file containing just the library project (sans sample code) from the Downloads section of this GitHub repository.


You will see a sample project that uses TouchListView in the demo/ directory of the repository. It references TouchListView as an Android library project. You can build it via Eclipse or the command line (e.g., ant clean debug install).

To work with TouchListView in your own project, place the library project somewhere and update your project to reference the library project (via Eclipse, via android update lib-project, etc.). Then, add a com.commonsware.cwac.tlv.TouchListView widget to your XML layout file. You have five customizable attributes:

  • normal_height: the height of one of your regular rows (required)
  • expanded_height: the height of a row when an item is dragged over it. Use a larger value than normal_height to supply space for a drop. Defaults to normal_height.
  • grabber: the android:id value of an icon in your rows that should be used as the "grab handle" for the drag-and-drop operation (required)
  • dragndrop_background: a color to use as the background of your row when it is being dragged (defaults to being fully transparent)
  • remove_mode: can be none (user cannot remove entries), slideRight (user can remove entries by dragging to the right quarter of the list), slideLeft (user can remove entries by dragging to the left quarter of the list), or fling (...not quite sure what this does) (defaults to none)

NOTE: remove_mode of slide is equivalent to slideRight, but slideRight is recommended.

For example, here is the layout from the demo/ project:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>


You will need to change the com.commonsware.cwac.tlv.demo to your own project's package in the tlv namespace declaration.

In code, you set up a TouchListView just like a regular ListView, except that you need to register a TouchListView.DropListener via setDropListener(). In your listener, you will need to do something to affect the re-ordering requested via the drag-and-drop operation. In the demo project, this is a matter of removing the entry from the old position and putting it in the new position.

If you have remove_mode enabled, you will also need to register a TouchListView.RemoveListener via setRemoveListener(). This will be notified when the user removes an entry from the list. Once again, you need to make this change permanent in your data model. In the demo project, this removes the row from the actual ArrayAdapter supporting the list.

There is also a TouchListView.DragListener that you can register via setDragListener(), if you want to know when the user has initiated a drag operation.

NOTE #2: You cannot use addHeaderView() with TouchListView due to some compatibility issues.

NOTE #3: You can use addFooterView() with TouchListView, but the footer rows cannot contain a widget with the android:id value you specified for the grabber attribute (i.e., they have to be distinguishable from regular draggable rows). Also, you cannot use both remove_mode and addFooterView(), due to some outstanding issues with how things are removed.


This depends upon the CWAC-Parcel JAR for accessing project-level resources. That can be obtained from its GitHub repository, though a compatible edition of the JAR is included in this GitHub repo for convenience.


This is version v0.4.2 of this module, meaning it is slowly gaining acceptance, though it still has warts due to its under-documented original code base.


There is a demo/ directory containing a demo project. It uses the library project itself to access the source code and resources of the TouchListView library.


The code in this project is licensed under the Apache Software License 2.0, per the terms of the included LICENSE file.


If you have questions regarding the use of this code, please post a question on StackOverflow tagged with commonsware and android. Be sure to indicate what CWAC module you are having issues with, and be sure to include source code and stack traces if you are encountering crashes.

If you have encountered what is clearly a bug, please post an issue. Be certain to include complete steps for reproducing the issue.

Do not ask for help via Twitter.

Release Notes

  • v0.4.3: accepted pull request to fix hitbox calculation bug
  • v0.4.2: bug fix (see issue #9)
  • v0.4.1: better support for rows with different heights
  • v0.4.0: added code to block unsupported header/footer operations
  • v0.3.1: fixed to better support non-full-screen operation
  • v0.3.0: added support for footer views, explicitly blocked support for header views
  • v0.2.0: converted to Android library project

Bear in mind that the person who converted TouchInterceptor into TouchListView does not fully understand the original TouchInterceptor code, and so support may be limited.