Implementing Contextual Action Bar in the Open Event Organizers App

The following blog post is regarding the using of Contextual Action Bar in the Open Event Orga App. In the Open Event Orga App, whenever an item was long pressed, then we had implemented a non standard way of showing the edit and delete button at the top. This would eventually degrade the UX of the app. So as to handle this, CAB was implemented.

When the user long presses on any item, we sometimes see a list of items such as Share, Delete or Edit on the toolbar. This is a standard functionality known as the Contextual Action Bar which is present in many apps. (image for reference given below)

Apart from the standard Action Bar, Android also provides us with the implementation of the Contextual Action Menu. A context menu is a floating menu that appears when the user performs a long-click on an element. It provides actions that affect the selected content or context frame.( image given below for reference)

(Contextual Action Bar)

(Contextual Action Menu)

To implement the standard CAB in the Orga App, the following steps given below have been followed.

In the FaqlistFragment class, an interface ActionMode.Callback is implemented. In its callback methods, you can specify the actions for the contextual action bar, respond to click events on action items, and handle other lifecycle events for the action mode.

Each of the callback methods have been discussed below:

  • onCreateActionMode( ) ->  This method is called first when the ActionMode is started. Here with the help of MenuInflater, the menu which has been made in the menus.xml file is inflated. Also when the app goes into Actions Mode , the status bar is black in color. Hence to handle that the color of the status bar is being changed programmatically.


  • onPrepareActionMode( ) -> This should generally return true.

  • onActionItemClicked( ) -> The action mode consists of many items which have separate action. The separate actions for the items are defined here. For eg.In the code snippet given below, when the icon with the id “del is selected then the showDeleteDialog( ) must be called.


  • onDestroyActionMode( ) -> When the user exits the Actions Mode, the mode should be assigned a null value and the app should be set to default state.
public ActionMode.Callback actionCallback = new ActionMode.Callback() {
  public boolean onCreateActionMode(ActionMode mode, Menu menu) {
      MenuInflater inflater = mode.getMenuInflater();
      inflater.inflate(, menu);
          //hold current color of status bar
          statusBarColor = getActivity().getWindow().getStatusBarColor();
          //set the default color
      return true;

  public boolean onPrepareActionMode(ActionMode mode, Menu menu) {
       return true;

  public boolean onActionItemClicked(ActionMode mode, MenuItem item) {
      switch (item.getItemId()) {
              return false;
      return false;

  public void onDestroyActionMode(ActionMode mode) {
      actionMode = null;
          //return to “old” color of status bar
  1. In the styles.xml, the XML Tag given below needs to be added so that the Action Mode replaces the current Action Bar otherwise, a new Action Bar is created above the Action Bar which is already present.

 <item name=“windowActionModeOverlay”>true</item>

  1. In the Orga App, as the MVP pattern is followed we need to add the following to methods to the interface so that the View and Presenter can communicate via these methods.
public interface FaqListView extends Progressive, Erroneous, Refreshable, Emptiable<Faq> {

  void exitContextualMenuMode();

  void enterContextualMenuMode();


  1. In the enterContextualMenuMode( ) implementation in the FaqListFragment the startActionMode()  is called to enable the contextual action mode.
public void enterContextualMenuMode() {
  actionMode = getActivity().startActionMode(actionCallback);


  • Official Android documentation for Menu’s

  • Sample CAB implementation

  • Action mode over Toolbar