Android Simple ListView - Fill with List of Objects

How to populate a simple ListView with a java List of POJOs.

In this tutorial we see how to fill a simple listview with "Person" objects.When clicked we show the Person's name in a Toast message.

Concepts You will Learn from this Example

  1. What is a ListView?
  2. What is a List Collection?
  3. How to populate a ListView from a List of POJO Objects data structure in android studio.
  4. How to simple click listener in a listview.
  5. What is an ArrayAdapter?
  6. How to use ArrayAdapter to bind a java list to a simple listview.

How to Define ListView in XML Layout

You use the ListView object as the element:


How To Reference a ListView in Java Code

Here's how you reference a ListView. You use the findViewById() method:

ListView lv= (ListView) findViewById(;

In Java List is an interface representing an ordered collection (also known as a sequence).

As an interface you cannot directly instantiate List<E>, instead it is there to be implemented by classes, which may then be instantiated.

And infact many important classes like the ArrayList either directly or indirectly implement this interface.

Then those implementers get precise control over which position an element is inserted. Afterwards you can access elements by their integer index (position in the list), and also search for elements in the list.

Lists can allow duplicate elements. If you don't want duplicates then it is recommended you use Set.

The List interface places additional stipulations, beyond those specified in the Collection interface, on the contracts of the iterator, add, remove, equals, and hashCode methods. Declarations for other inherited methods are also included here for convenience.

The List interface provides four methods for positional (indexed) access to list elements. Lists (like Java arrays) are zero based. Note that these operations may execute in time proportional to the index value for some implementations (the LinkedList class, for example). Thus, iterating over the elements in a list is typically preferable to indexing through it if the caller does not know the implementation.

The List interface provides a special iterator, called a ListIterator, that allows element insertion and replacement, and bidirectional access in addition to the normal operations that the Iterator interface provides. A method is provided to obtain a list iterator that starts at a specified position in the list.

The List interface provides two methods to search for a specified object. From a performance standpoint, these methods should be used with caution. In many implementations they will perform costly linear searches.

The List interface provides two methods to efficiently insert and remove multiple elements at an arbitrary point in the list.

(a). Initializing a Java List

Here's how you can initialize a List. You cannot directly instantiate since as we said it's an interface:

    List<String> people=new ArrayList<>();

(b). How to Clear a Java List

You can remove all items in a java list using the clear() method:


(c). Populating a Java List with Objects

You can populate a java list using the add() method:

    private void fillPeople()
        Person p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

Read more about java list here.

What is an ArrayAdapter?

We need an adapter to work with a listview.

An adapter is a class that acts as a bridge between an adapterview and the underlying data source.

In this case we'll use an ArrayAdapter.

You can read more about ArrayAdapter here.

1. Project Demo

Here's the demo of the example:

Project Demo

2. Android Studio and Project Ceation

(a). What is Android Studio?

We will use Android Studio, the official IDE for android development. Android Studio is maintained by both Google and Jetbrains.

Android Studio comes bundled with the Android SDK Manager, which is a tool that allows us download the Android SDK components required to develop android applications.

To learn more about Android Studio go here.

(b). How to Create an Empty Activity in Android Studio
  1. First create an empty project in android studio. Go to File --> New Project.
  2. Type the application name and choose the company name.
  3. Choose minimum SDK.
  4. Choose Empty activity.
  5. Click Finish.

This will generate for us a project with the following:

No. Name Type Description
1. activity_main.xml XML Layout Will get inflated into MainActivity View.You add your views and widgets here.
2. Class Our Launcher activity

To learn more about how to create an android project in android studio go here.

(c). Generated Project Structure in Android Stduo

Android Studio will generate for you a project with default configurations via a set of files and directories.

Here are the most important of them:

No. File Major Responsibility
1. build/ A directory containing resources that have been compiled from the building of application and the classes generated by android tools. Such a tool is the file. file normally holds the references to application resources.
2. libs/ To hold libraries we use in our project.
3. src/main/ To hold the source code of our application.This is the main folder you work with.
4. src/main/java/ Contains our java classes organized as packages.
5. src/main/res/ Contains our project resources folders as follows.
6. src/main/res/drawable/ Contains our drawable resources.
7. src/main/res/layout/ Contains our layout resources.
8. src/main/res/menu/ Contains our menu resources XML code.
9. src/main/res/values/ Contains our values resources XML code.These define sets of name-value pairs and can be strings, styles and colors.
10. AndroidManifest.xml This file gets autogenerated when we create an android project.It will define basic information needed by the android system like application name,package name,permissions,activities,intents etc.
11. build.gradle Gradle Script used to build the android app.

2. Resources.

Android platform provides a powerful and flexible way of adding static content as a resource.

These static content will also be packaged into the APK file. The static content will be stored either as a resource or as an asset.

Resources belong to a given type. These types can be:

  1. Drawable.
  2. Layout.
  3. Value.

Let's start by looking at the layout resources

(a). activity_main.xml

This layout will get inflated into the main activity's user interface. This will happen via the Activity's setContentView() method which will require us to pass it the layout.

We will do so inside the onCreate() method of Activity.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android=""


3. Java Code.

Android apps can be mainly written in Java or Kotlin. These days however there are many frameworks like Flutter also which use languages like Dart.

In this class we are using Java programming language.

We will have these classes in our project.


This is our data object. This class will represent a single person.

A single person will have these properties:

  1. id - an Integer. The id of the person.
  2. name - The name of the person. A String.

Then our list will comprise Person objects.

package com.tutorials.hp.listviewandobjects;

public class Person {

    int id;
    String name;

    public int getId() {
        return id;

    public void setId(int id) { = id;

    public String getName() {
        return name;

    public void setName(String name) { = name;

This is our launcher activity as the name suggests. This means it will be the main entry point to our app in that when the user clicks the icon for our app, this activity will get rendered first.

We override a method called onCreate(). Here we will start by inflating our main layout via the setContentView() method.

Our main activity is actually an activity since it's deriving from the AppCompatActivity.

package com.tutorials.hp.listviewandobjects;

import android.os.Bundle;
import android.view.View;
import android.widget.AdapterView;
import android.widget.ArrayAdapter;
import android.widget.ListView;
import android.widget.Toast;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    List<String> people=new ArrayList<>();

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

        ListView lv= (ListView) findViewById(;

        //FILL LIST

        ArrayAdapter<String> adapter=new ArrayAdapter<String>(this,android.R.layout.simple_list_item_1,people);

        lv.setOnItemClickListener(new AdapterView.OnItemClickListener() {
            public void onItemClick(AdapterView<?> adapterView, View view, int i, long l) {
                Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, people.get(i), Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();


    private void fillPeople()
        Person p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

        p=new Person();

4. Download

Everything is in the source code reference. It is well commented and easy to understand and can be downloaded below.

Also check our video tutorial it's more detailed and explained in step by step.

No. Location Link
1. GitHub Direct Download
2. GitHub Browse
3. YouTube Our YouTube Channel

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