v0.2.6 (Apr 30, 2017)
May 28, 2013
Feb 11, 2018
Mark Murphy (commonsguy)
Mark Murphy (commonsguy)
Source code
APK file


CWAC-Pager: Power to the PagerAdapter

NOTE: Work on this project is suspended, as the author has moved away from ViewPager to using RecyclerView as a pager.

This project offers an ArrayPagerAdapter that offers another alternative PagerAdapter implementation for use with ViewPager.

This Android library project is available as a JAR or as an artifact for use with Gradle. To use that, add the following blocks to your build.gradle file:

repositories {
    maven {
        url ""

dependencies {
    compile 'com.commonsware.cwac:pager:0.2.6'

Or, if you cannot use SSL, use for the repository URL.

NOTE: The JAR name, as of v0.2.2, has a cwac- prefix, to help distinguish it from other JARs.

The two concrete PagerAdapter implementations shipped in the Android Support package -- FragmentPagerAdapter and FragmentStatePagerAdapter -- have their limitations when it comes to things like:

  • Using fragments created by those adapters in other fashions, such as in using ViewPager in portrait and columns of "pages" in landscape

  • Handling dynamically-changing contents, such as adding pages, removing pages, or reordering pages

The ArrayPagerAdapter is an attempt to provide a more flexible PagerAdapter implementation that still feels a lot like FragmentPagerAdapter in terms of its use of fragments. It also bears some resemblance to the ArrayAdapter used for AdapterView implementations like ListView, giving rise to its name.


Once you have added the JAR or AAR to your project, you can start using ArrayPagerAdapter.

Choosing the Package

There are two implementations of ArrayPagerAdapter. One, in the com.commonsware.cwac.pager package, is designed for use with native API Level 11 fragments. The other, in the com.commonsware.cwac.pager.v4 package, is designed for use with the Android Support package's backport of fragments. You will need to choose the right ArrayPagerAdapter for the type of fragments that you are using.

However, other than choosing suitable versions of classes for Fragment, etc., there is no real public API difference between the two. Hence, the documentation that follows is suitable for either implementation of ArrayPagerAdapter, so long as you use the one that matches the source of your fragment implementation.

Note that only ArrayPagerAdapter lives in the com.commonsware.cwac.pager.v4 package. The classes and interfaces that support ArrayPagerAdapter, like PageDescriptor, are implemented in com.commonsware.cwac.pager and used by both implementations of ArrayPagerAdapter.

Creating PageDescriptors

You might think that ArrayPagerAdapter would take an array of pages, much like ArrayAdapter takes an array of models.

That's not how it works.

Instead, ArrayPagerAdapter wants an ArrayList of PageDescriptor objects. PageDescriptor is an interface, requiring you to supply implementations of two methods:

  • getTitle(), which will be the title used for this page, for things like PagerTabStrip and the ViewPagerIndicator family of indicators

  • getFragmentTag(), which is a unique tag for this page's fragment

Also, PageDescriptor extends the Parcelable interface, and so any implementation of PageDescriptor must also implement the methods and CREATOR required by Parcelable.

You are welcome to create your own PageDescriptor if you wish. However, there is a built-in implementation, SimplePageDescriptor, which probably meets your needs. You just pass the unique tag and title into the SimplePageDescriptor constructor, and it handles everything else, including the Parcelable implementation.

Note that getFragmentTag() must return unique values compared to any other outstanding page in the adapter.

Creating and Populating the Adapter

To work with ArrayPagerAdapter, you start by creating an ArrayList of PageDescriptor objects, one for each page that is to be in your pager.

Then, create a subclass of ArrayPagerAdapter. ArrayPagerAdapter uses Java generics, requiring you to declare the type of fragment the adapter is serving up to the ViewPager. So, for example, if you have a ViewPager that will have each page be an EditorFragment, you would declare your custom ArrayPagerAdapter like so:

static class SamplePagerAdapter extends
   ArrayPagerAdapter<EditorFragment> {

If you will have pages come from a variety of fragments, just use the Fragment base class appropriate for your fragment source (e.g.,

Your custom ArrayPagerAdapter subclass will need to override (at minimum) one method: createFragment(). This method is responsible for instantiating fragments, as requested. You are passed the PageDescriptor for the fragment to be created -- you simply create and return that fragment.

Hence, a custom ArrayPagerAdapter can be as simple as:

static class SamplePagerAdapter extends
    ArrayPagerAdapter<EditorFragment> {
  public SamplePagerAdapter(FragmentManager fragmentManager,
                            ArrayList<PageDescriptor> descriptors) {
    super(fragmentManager, descriptors);

  protected EditorFragment createFragment(PageDescriptor desc) {

Then, you can create an instance of your custom ArrayPagerAdapter subclass as needed, supplying the constructor with a suitable FragmentManager and your ArrayList of PageDescriptor objects. Once attached to a ViewPager, ArrayPagerAdapter behaves much like a FragmentPagerAdapter by default.

There is another flavor of the ArrayPagerAdapter constructor, one that takes a RetentionStrategy as a parameter. This will eventually allow ArrayPagerAdapter to work either like FragmentPagerAdapter (current) or FragmentStatePagerAdapter (future).

Modifying the Contents

ArrayPagerAdapter offers several methods to allow you to change the contents of the ViewPager:

  • add() takes a PageDescriptor and adds a new page at the end of the current roster of pages

  • insert() takes a PageDescriptor and an insertion point and inserts a new page before the current page at that insertion point

  • remove() takes a position and removes the page at that position

  • move() takes an old and new position and moves the page from the old position to the new position (effectively combining a remove() from the old position and an insert() of the same page into the new position

Other Useful Methods

  • getExistingFragment(), given a position, returns the existing fragment for that position in the ViewPager, if that fragment exists. Otherwise, it returns null.

  • getCurrentFragment() is like getExistingFragment(), but returns the fragment for the currently-viewed page in the ViewPager.

  • getPositionForTag() tells you the position index of the page associated with a particular tag, where the tag comes from the PageDescriptor

  • getPageDescriptor(), given a position, returns the PageDescriptor associated with that position (e.g., so you can modify data in the descriptor)


The ViewPager used by the ArrayPagerAdapter must have the same ID in all configurations. Usually, this is not a problem, particularly if the ID is set to be the same via android:id in layouts. However, if you are dynamically creating your ViewPager instance at runtime, this is something to keep in mind.


This project depends on the Android Support package at compile time, if you are using the Android library project. It also depends on the Android Support Library at runtime if you are using the v4 classes. The Gradle files handle this automatically, pulling from the appropriate repositories.


This is version v0.2.6 of this module, meaning it is still pretty young.


In the demo/ sub-project you will find a sample project demonstrating the use of ArrayPagerAdapter for the native API Level 11 implementation of fragments. The demo-v4/ sub-project has a similar sample for the v4 backport of fragments from the Android Support package.

Additional Documentation

The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development contains two chapters covering ViewPager. The second chapter, on advanced ViewPager techniques, covers this library in depth.


The code in this project is licensed under the Apache Software License 2.0, per the terms of the included LICENSE file.


If you have questions regarding the use of this code, please post a question on Stack Overflow tagged with commonsware and android. Be sure to indicate what CWAC module you are having issues with, and be sure to include source code and stack traces if you are encountering crashes.

You are also welcome to join the CommonsWare Community and post questions and ideas to the CWAC category.

If you have encountered what is clearly a bug, or if you have a feature request, please post an issue. The contribution guidelines provide some suggestions for how to create a bug report that will get the problem fixed the fastest.

Do not ask for help via Twitter.

Also, if you plan on hacking on the code with an eye for contributing something back, please open an issue that we can use for discussing implementation details. Just lobbing a pull request over the fence may work, but it may not. Again, the contribution guidelines provide a bit of guidance here.

Release Notes

  • v0.2.6: reset Android Support Library dependency to a fixed value, vs. +
  • v0.2.5: added setTitle() to SimplePageDescriptor, getPositionForTag() and getPageDescriptor() to ArrayPagerAdapter
  • v0.2.4: updated to Android Studio 1.0 and new AAR publishing system
  • v0.2.3: added some defensive programming around state
  • v0.2.2: merged issue #5 to support List in ArrayPagerAdapter constructor
  • v0.2.1: re-fixed Parcelable classloader bug, now enforcing tag uniqueness
  • v0.2.0: added Gradle build files and published AAR
  • v0.1.2: fixed Parcelable classloader bug
  • v0.1.1: minor bug fixes in backwards-compatibility support
  • v0.1.0: initial release

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