RecyclerView “swipe to delete”. No 3rd party lib necessary.

Author is a professional software developer providing android development services. More info here.

Checkout the code at the github repo.

Big shout-out to the guys creating libs for all the stuff Google promotes but doesn’t give us code for just yet, but the fact of the matter is I prefer not to use those libs unless I absolutely have to. The lib you include in your project might be doing a lot more than you need it for and with that comes a burden on your precious method limit count, possibly longer builds, another lib you and your coworkers need to keep in your heads…

The other day I had to implement “swipe to delete” feature. I wasn’t very happy about that since I feel that it’s not very discoverable and that those kind of gesture based actions shouldn’t be the only way to access the feature, but that’s another story. Still remembering how difficult this was couple of years back on a ListView I’ve started googling and soon enough there was a simple SO post with a simple solution and the best part – no 3rd party lib needed! However, it wasn’t to be so easy in the end.

First issue I had was what happens after the swipe? Sure I’d like to draw something below the swiping view, but once the view is swiped and the deed is done, it was kind of anticlimactic :/
issue 1

I wanted just to draw red background over empty space as items are animating to their new positions but I couldn’t do it inside the ItemTouchHelper class. I had to introduce another ItemDecorator in order to do so. The results were satisfying.

issue 1 fix

I was curious if I could easily implement the “undo” option, similar to the one GMail app provides. I had an idea how to do it and sure enough it worked!
But all the time I was seeing a weird issue: When I would swipe delete the row, scroll around and come back, the row above the previously deleted row would be gone. Debugging showed that it was x translated off screen, as a result of the swiping as it turns out. Note how I swipe delete Item 2 but afterwards Item 1 is gone!
issue 2
I’ve sunk several hours into this issue, actually more than I’d like to admit. During that time I found several hacks to make this go away but no proper solution. In the end turns out it’s a regression bug in a recyclerview-v7 support library and the bug is gone in the newest version 3.1.1.

That’s all folks!

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5 thoughts on “RecyclerView “swipe to delete”. No 3rd party lib necessary.”

  1. Nice post, and thanks for the sample code!
    Have you tested the scenario where you swipe to delete, and then close the Activity after one second? In that case, because there is a 3 second delay, if the Activity gets destroyed (and thus the Adapter also gets destroyed) I assume the delete never actually happens.
    I guess you would need some extra code in the onPause of the Activity to tell the adapter to remove everything asap.

  2. Great article! The only thing i am having trouble with is that after swiping the UNDO button is also swipeable, so a user can swipe it off too. How can i fix it?

  3. @Kevin
    I have not tested that scenario. There is actually nothing to delete here since the adapter just creates some strings to display but in reality it would depend on the implementation. Are you calling an API do delete something or are you deleting it from the local DB? Either it won’t be deleted or if it would you’d have to manage your memory carefully and not hold the activity and the views. This is not production ready code, it’s just a sample code to give you an idea how to implement something like this.

    1. @Nemanja Kovačević
      Works great! Thanks a lot.
      I am experiencing a little problem with the undo layout size. My undo is in a LinearLayout that i hide and show. I want it to be the same size as the item that is swiped.

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