Friday 15 April 2016

Android Development for Everyday People - Creating Multi-screen Applications

Welcome to a new week. This week we cross the point of safe return. All the applications we have created so far have been single screen. This week, we will be creating our first multi-screen application. The concepts from this week will be extending into next week so please pay attention as we begin.

A multi-screen application in App Inventor is an application that has more than one screen. When you have an application like this, you have to figure out a way to transfer your program flow from your current screen to a new screen.

The transfer of program flow means that your data will not be transferred from one screen to the other. The way to do this is to use a database. This we shall cover next week. For this week, we shall look at how to transfer program flow from one screen to another.

Getting Started

To start we shall be creating an application called Movie Magic 2016. Movie Magic 2016 is an application designed to allow a user view details of the movies from 2016 and below.

You already know how to do this so create a project called MovieMagic2016. Let the project load up.

Drag in an Image component, a Label and a ListPicker to Screen1. Next click on Screen1 in the Components list and set its AlignHorizontal property to center.

Now find your movie image and upload it to the server. Next set the uploaded image as the Picture for the Image component.

Next change text in the Label component to “Find all your favourite movies”. Finally, change the text in the ListPicker component to “View List of Movies”.

Your application screen should now look as shown below:

Adding a New Screen

Now that we are done with our user interface for the first screen, we need a second screen to display the image of the movie that is selected by the user.

To do this, we need to add a second screen to our application. To do this, click on the Add Screen button as shown below:

Once you click on it, it brings up the New Screen dialog box as shown below:

Click on OK. Once you do that, a new screen loads up. This screen will be where we will view the image of our selected movie. Set the AlignHorizontal property of the Screen component to Center. Also set the ScreenOrientation property to Portrait.

To keep this simple, we will make this screen display an image for the movie selected by the user. Once we get to this screen, we want to see the movie name and the image of the movie selected by the user. To make things simple, we want a way to go back to our first screen.

Our first task is to create the user interface of the second screen. To do this, we need to add a Label, an Image component and a Button component to the screen.

Our list of movies for selection are:
  1. Deadpool
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. Avengers Age of Ultron
  4. Terminator Geneysis
  5. Fast and Furious 7

Find images for the movies listed above and ensure that they are the same size. Ensure that you rename the images from 1 to 5 matching the movies in the list above.

Upload the images for the movies listed 1 to 5 and set the image for Deadpool as the Picture for the Image component. My images are sized 225 by 225.

Our second screen is now as shown below:

Now we can start our programming. To switch between screens, Click on the screens dropdown and select Screen1. The screens dropdown is shown below:

Once you get to the layout for Screen1, switch to the Blocks editor. Create a list called movies and assign the movies in the list above to it.

Now our list will be as shown below:

Next we have to initialize our ListPicker component to have the elements when the Screen components initializes.

Going To The Next Screen

Go to the Control drawer in the Built-in section of the palette. Find the “open another screen”  block in the Control drawer. This is shown below:

Go to the Text drawer in the Built-in section of the palette. Drag out an empty Textblock and enter Screen2. Join it to the block above. Your block is now as shown below:

Click on the ListPicker component and drag out the AfterPicking block. This event handler responds to what happens after an item is selected from the list. The final code block is shown below:

Going Back To The Previous Screen

To go back to the previous screen, you need to go to the code for the Screen2 component and repeat the process of creating a block.

The Button component will be used to back to Screen1. When you are done, your code should look as shown below:

Now test your mobile application using your setup. You will see that the Screens move between themselves.


This section was meant to teach you how to create multi-screen applications and in this we have succeeded. You should have a simple application that moves between screens.

In App Inventor, there is no way to transfer data from one screen to another so the movie that we have selected will not reflect on the next screen.

To transfer data from one screen to another in App Inventor, we need to use a database. We will go into this next week. See you then.


  1. Opening Screen1 from Screen2 is a classic mistake. This results in loss of usable RAM from the stack each time it happens. The proper approach is to close a screen as many times as you open a screen. See the Screens section of the Power Users FAQ pinned to the start of the AI2 support board for more discussion.

    1. You are right and I sincerely apologize for the late reply. I was reviewing this section for a class when I saw your comment.

      Please where can I find the Screens section of the Power Users FAQ.

      I would be grateful if you sent me the link in this reply.

    2. Sorry for the late reply, I returned here by accident.
      Here is the part of the AI2 FAQ with the Screens section ...!msg/mitappinventortest/2F51UhB4z0A/IcuCSPpOAgAJ