Home > Tutorials > Create Application Launcher as a list

Create Application Launcher as a list

This is how Google Android default Application screen looks like:

Default Android Application Launcher

Default Android Application Launcher

It’s a grid view and when you click on one of those, the corresponding activity is launched.

Ok, so now I’ll guide you how to create a similar one but in a list view. Here the screenshot:

Application Viewer

Application Viewer

A – What Does It Do?

- All the installed application on the machine is displayed with their icons, label names and package names.

- When an item is clicked the corresponding activity is launched.

- If the item does not exist, a small message notification will display. (it might not happen, lol)

- If the item exist, but current user does not have the permission to launch, well, just do nothing. (it’s kinda fun on slow emulator :D)

B – Create the Project

Project Name: Application Viewer

Build Target: Android 2.3.3 (the latest one at this time, well, I like it though)

Application Name: Application Viewer

Package Name: pete.android.study

Create Activity: MainActivity

Min SDK: 10

C – Sketch the Layout

Like old times (my previous post), we need two layouts:

+ one layout for each item in the list view

+ one layout for main list view display

1. List Item Layout (/res/layout/layout_appinfo.xml)

- You may want to refer to my previous tutorial on creating a PhoneBook, because the layout is much alike. I’m feeling lazy to describe it again…zzz

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

2. Main Layout (/res/layout/layout_main.xml)

- Just one single list view to apply.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"



D – Class Design: On the Idea

This is a quite complicated shit of class diagram. I’m just thinking of making it more details.

Application Viewer - Class Diagram

Application Viewer - Class Diagram

MainActivity: the entry of the program, we will load list view here, create and set adapter to list view, and handle OnItemClickListener (which is from AdapterView) in list view.

AppInfoAdapter: the adapter inherits from BaseAdapter to handle list item, we need to handle things in getView() (loading controls from resources, set them appropriate values,  get application info meta data..).

Utilities: to support

+ get installed application list.

+ launch an activity.

E – From Design to Coding (w/ Passion)

1. AppInfoAdapter: (AppInfoAdapter.java)

package pete.android.study;

import java.util.List;

import android.content.Context;
import android.content.pm.ApplicationInfo;
import android.content.pm.PackageManager;
import android.view.LayoutInflater;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.ViewGroup;
import android.widget.BaseAdapter;
import android.widget.ImageView;
import android.widget.TextView;

public class AppInfoAdapter extends BaseAdapter {
	private Context mContext;
	private List mListAppInfo;
	private PackageManager mPackManager;

	public AppInfoAdapter(Context c, List list, PackageManager pm) {
		mContext = c;
		mListAppInfo = list;
		mPackManager = pm;

	public int getCount() {
		return mListAppInfo.size();

	public Object getItem(int position) {
		return mListAppInfo.get(position);

	public long getItemId(int position) {
		return position;

	public View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
		// get the selected entry
		ApplicationInfo entry = mListAppInfo.get(position);

		// reference to convertView
		View v = convertView;

		// inflate new layout if null
		if(v == null) {
			LayoutInflater inflater = LayoutInflater.from(mContext);
			v = inflater.inflate(R.layout.layout_appinfo, null);

		// load controls from layout resources
		ImageView ivAppIcon = (ImageView)v.findViewById(R.id.ivIcon);
		TextView tvAppName = (TextView)v.findViewById(R.id.tvName);
		TextView tvPkgName = (TextView)v.findViewById(R.id.tvPack);

		// set data to display

		// return view
		return v;

2. Utilities: (Utilities.java)

package pete.android.study;

import java.util.List;

import android.content.ActivityNotFoundException;
import android.content.Context;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.content.pm.ApplicationInfo;
import android.content.pm.PackageManager;
import android.widget.Toast;

public class Utilities {

	 * Get all installed application on mobile and return a list
	 * @param	c	Context of application
	 * @return	list of installed applications
	public static List getInstalledApplication(Context c) {
		return c.getPackageManager().getInstalledApplications(PackageManager.GET_META_DATA);

	 * Launch an application
	 * @param	c	Context of application
	 * @param	pm	the related package manager of the context
	 * @param	pkgName	Name of the package to run
	public static boolean launchApp(Context c, PackageManager pm, String pkgName) {
		// query the intent for lauching
		Intent intent = pm.getLaunchIntentForPackage(pkgName);
		// if intent is available
		if(intent != null) {
			try {
				// launch application
				// if succeed
				return true;

			// if fail
			} catch(ActivityNotFoundException ex) {
				// quick message notification
				Toast toast = Toast.makeText(c, "Application Not Found", Toast.LENGTH_LONG);
				// display message
		// by default, fail to launch
		return false;

3. MainActivity: (MainActivity.java)

package pete.android.study;

import android.app.Activity;
import android.content.pm.ApplicationInfo;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.view.View;
import android.widget.AdapterView;
import android.widget.ListView;
import android.widget.AdapterView.OnItemClickListener;

public class MainActivity extends Activity {
    private ListView mListAppInfo;

    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        // set layout for the main screen

        // load list application
        mListAppInfo = (ListView)findViewById(R.id.lvApps);
        // create new adapter
        AppInfoAdapter adapter = new AppInfoAdapter(this, Utilities.getInstalledApplication(this), getPackageManager());
        // set adapter to list view
        // implement event when an item on list view is selected
        mListAppInfo.setOnItemClickListener(new OnItemClickListener() {
        	public void onItemClick(AdapterView parent, View view, int pos, long id) {
        		// get the list adapter
        		AppInfoAdapter appInfoAdapter = (AppInfoAdapter)parent.getAdapter();
        		// get selected item on the list
        		ApplicationInfo appInfo = (ApplicationInfo)appInfoAdapter.getItem(pos);
        		// launch the selected application
        		Utilities.launchApp(parent.getContext(), getPackageManager(), appInfo.packageName);

F – Note

- Using the tip of retrieving the list of installed application.

- Using the tip of launching an activity from another.

- Performance is not so good :), of course. You can think of better solution than mine!

- The code is toooo simple, I guess!

G – Get the Sample Project by Pete

Pick your favorite file hosting server: Mediafire | Rapidshare | Megaupload

H – Final Words

- Have you learned something?

- Is it easy to understand?

- Make sure you practice day by day with me :D, it’s fun, isn’t it?

- Hope you enjoy it!


Pete Houston

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  1. Aba
    October 14, 2013 at 4:07 am | #1

    How can I organize the list into alphabetical order using Collections.sort()?
    I understand that it uses a comparator but how would I go about using it?

  2. August 30, 2013 at 9:04 am | #2

    If you notice you are not converting well, make changes to attempt to improve sales.

    Top News lists active news and updates among your friends.
    All it takes is a little common sense and your mind to be made up to get the training.

  3. TheDevMan
    August 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm | #3

    Thanks for nice piece of code. The problem is this shows even system applications like launcher, Network location and more. How do I filter it not to show them?

  4. July 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm | #4

    Hello Pete Houston, Thanks for this great tutorials, I want full source code of any one of this Image Processing tutorial, because I cant get how to process and which library to use please help me, I struggle to use OpenCV library for image processing.

  5. jake
    June 21, 2013 at 10:26 am | #5

    How do you filter out non-launchable apps?

  6. Halil Kaya
    February 23, 2013 at 1:54 am | #6

    Thank you so much. It strongly helped me…

  7. February 13, 2013 at 10:55 am | #7

    What about running apps list??
    Can i get running apps list by editing AppInfoAdapter?

  8. Will
    January 13, 2013 at 6:48 am | #8

    Can this list be sorted alphabetically by Application Name?

    • January 13, 2013 at 9:38 am | #9

      Yes, you do it by Collections.sort()

      • Will
        February 12, 2013 at 7:14 am | #10

        Sorry, where do you apply Collections.sort? I tried that on the List and the PackageManager and just found errors.

      • Will
        February 28, 2013 at 2:35 am | #11

        Nevermind, I forgot Collections.sort() allows Comparators as a parameter

  9. December 1, 2012 at 2:44 am | #12

    Howdy I am so grateful I found your weblog, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on
    Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would
    just like to say thanks for a incredible post and a all round
    enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

  10. subs
    November 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm | #13

    Great! Now I want to get an app like this in the app store… :)

  11. November 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm | #14

    thank u so much for nice example can i change icons ???

  12. Jefferson
    July 23, 2012 at 12:29 am | #15

    Is it possible to integrate this application launcher with a list of displayed permissions from http://www.xinotes.org/notes/note/1153/ ? I tried a couple of methods but it is not working. I have no idea how to get the package name when trying to do a onclicklistener

    • Jefferson
      July 23, 2012 at 3:13 am | #16

      Nevermind fixed it!

  13. gorbi
    June 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm | #17

    you saved my day :-)

  14. April 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm | #18

    Hi..Thanks for the excellent tutorial :)

  15. ElM
    January 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | #19

    Hi, could you tell me how to show installed application (exclude systems app.) in GridView?

  16. December 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | #20

    I keep getting an error around “”pm.getLaunchIntentForPackage(pkgName);”” in the Utilities.java file
    Any help?

  17. B770
    November 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm | #21


    thx for your work. I like that :)
    Could you tell me what must be changed if I don’t want a list of all installed Apps, just one ore two chosen apps?
    What I’m also interrested about is a query of a password. So that I can just enter the app from the launcher if I imput the correct password. If not it will do nothing. Any hint?

    Thx :)

  18. July 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm | #22

    You’re always welcome buddy ^^! It’s great to know that my articles are helpful for you :)

  19. Alfox
    July 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm | #23

    Hello! Alfox here :)
    I have another problem :)
    I have create a list, now I want add a OnItemClick
    this is my code:


    private OnItemClickListener mItemClickListener = new OnItemClickListener() {
    public void onItemClick(AdapterView parent, View view, int pos, long id) {
    ViewHolderApp holder = (ViewHolderApp) view.getTag();
    if(holder == null) {
    Toast.makeText(Appelli.this, “Error”, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();

    Toast.makeText(Appelli.this, “You have clicked on item ‘” + holder.app_desc.getText() + “‘”, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();


    ViewHolderApp is a method inside a service class “AppelliUtilsAdapter” (it works like AppInfoAdapter of your Grid example)
    “Appelli” is the main class, like your MainActivity always in Grid example

    I receive always the Toast with “Error”, so the “holder” is null, why? I am sure mListApp is not null


    • Alfox
      July 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm | #24

      EDIT: Solved with your example above
      this is the code:
      private OnItemClickListener mItemClickListener = new OnItemClickListener() {

      public void onItemClick(AdapterView parent, View view, int pos, long id) {
      AppelliUtilsAdapter aua = (AppelliUtilsAdapter)parent.getAdapter();

      final AppelliUtils appUtils = (AppelliUtils)aua.getItem(pos);

      AlertDialog alertDialog = new AlertDialog.Builder(Appelli.this).create();
      alertDialog.setTitle(“Prenotazione Esame”);
      alertDialog.setMessage(“Vuoi prenotarti all’esame di\n”+appUtils.getDesc());
      alertDialog.setButton(“Prenota”, new DialogInterface.OnClickListener() {
      public void onClick(DialogInterface dialog, int which) {

      Toast.makeText(Appelli.this, “Esame Prenotato”, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();

      } });
      alertDialog.setButton2(“Annulla”, new DialogInterface.OnClickListener() {
      public void onClick(DialogInterface dialog, int which) {

      Toast.makeText(Appelli.this, “Annullato”, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();

      } });

      There is also an AlertDialog before :)

      Thanks for all your tutorial, very helpful for my university exam!

  1. November 26, 2011 at 5:33 am | #1
  2. May 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm | #2

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