Android AutocompleteTextView with Suggestions from SQLite Database

Photo of Mike Dalisay
Modified Saturday, November 30, 2013
by - @ninjazhai
Our code example for today is about a very useful Android widget called AutocompleteTextView. This widget looks like an EditText but shows completion suggestions automatically while the user is typing. 

The list of suggestions is displayed in a drop down menu from which the user can choose an item to replace the content of the edit box with.

I recently played with this widget for my project, but it requires that the auto-complete suggestions must come from SQLite database. 

Here's a video I shoot to show you the final output of our code.

Project Files

Our example project for today contains only 5 java files. Click the file names below to read its purpose and see the code inside.
  1. activity_main.xml

Let's do the Code!

activity_main.xml - see how the AutoCompleteTextView widget was put in the XML layout. The tag looks like com.example.autocompletetextviewdb.CustomAutoCompleteView because it was referenced to our file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android=""
    android:orientation="vertical" >

        android:text="" />

        android:completionThreshold="1" >

</LinearLayout> - this is where we initialize everything and insert sample data to the database.

package com.example.autocompletetextviewdb;

import java.util.List;

import android.os.Bundle;
import android.widget.ArrayAdapter;

public class MainActivity extends Activity {

     * Change to type CustomAutoCompleteView instead of AutoCompleteTextView 
     * since we are extending to customize the view and disable filter
     * The same with the XML view, type will be CustomAutoCompleteView
    CustomAutoCompleteView myAutoComplete;
    // adapter for auto-complete
    ArrayAdapter<String> myAdapter;
    // for database operations
    DatabaseHandler databaseH;
    // just to add some initial value
    String[] item = new String[] {"Please search..."};
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
            // instantiate database handler
            databaseH = new DatabaseHandler(MainActivity.this);
            // put sample data to database
            // autocompletetextview is in activity_main.xml
            myAutoComplete = (CustomAutoCompleteView) findViewById(;
            // add the listener so it will tries to suggest while the user types
            myAutoComplete.addTextChangedListener(new CustomAutoCompleteTextChangedListener(this));
            // set our adapter
            myAdapter = new ArrayAdapter<String>(this, android.R.layout.simple_dropdown_item_1line, item);
        } catch (NullPointerException e) {
        } catch (Exception e) {
    public void insertSampleData(){
        // CREATE
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("January") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("February") ); 
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("March") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("April") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("May") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("June") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("July") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("August") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("September") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("October") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("November") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("December") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("New Caledonia") ); 
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("New Zealand") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("Papua New Guinea") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("COFFEE-1K") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("coffee raw") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("authentic COFFEE") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("k12-coffee") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("view coffee") );
        databaseH.create( new MyObject("Indian-coffee-two") );
    // this function is used in
    public String[] getItemsFromDb(String searchTerm){
        // add items on the array dynamically
        List<MyObject> products =;
        int rowCount = products.size();
        String[] item = new String[rowCount];
        int x = 0;
        for (MyObject record : products) {
            item[x] = record.objectName;
        return item;

} - since we want the AutocompleteTextView to work with a database, we must customize by extending it.

package com.example.autocompletetextviewdb;

import android.content.Context;
import android.util.AttributeSet;
import android.widget.AutoCompleteTextView;

public class CustomAutoCompleteView extends AutoCompleteTextView {

    public CustomAutoCompleteView(Context context) {
        // TODO Auto-generated constructor stub
    public CustomAutoCompleteView(Context context, AttributeSet attrs) {
        super(context, attrs);
        // TODO Auto-generated constructor stub

    public CustomAutoCompleteView(Context context, AttributeSet attrs, int defStyle) {
        super(context, attrs, defStyle);
        // TODO Auto-generated constructor stub

    // this is how to disable AutoCompleteTextView filter
    protected void performFiltering(final CharSequence text, final int keyCode) {
        String filterText = "";
        super.performFiltering(filterText, keyCode);

     * after a selection we have to capture the new value and append to the existing text
    protected void replaceText(final CharSequence text) {

} - as the name suggests, this is where we can create the database, tables, manipulate and query the data.

package com.example.autocompletetextviewdb;

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

import android.content.ContentValues;
import android.content.Context;
import android.database.Cursor;
import android.database.sqlite.SQLiteDatabase;
import android.database.sqlite.SQLiteOpenHelper;
import android.util.Log;

public class DatabaseHandler extends SQLiteOpenHelper {

    // for our logs
    public static final String TAG = "";

    // database version
    private static final int DATABASE_VERSION = 4;

    // database name
    protected static final String DATABASE_NAME = "NinjaDatabase2";

    // table details
    public String tableName = "locations";
    public String fieldObjectId = "id";
    public String fieldObjectName = "name";

    // constructor
    public DatabaseHandler(Context context) {
        super(context, DATABASE_NAME, null, DATABASE_VERSION);

    // creating table
    public void onCreate(SQLiteDatabase db) {

        String sql = "";

        sql += "CREATE TABLE " + tableName;
        sql += " ( ";
        sql += fieldObjectId + " INTEGER PRIMARY KEY AUTOINCREMENT, ";
        sql += fieldObjectName + " TEXT ";
        sql += " ) ";



     * When upgrading the database, it will drop the current table and recreate.
    public void onUpgrade(SQLiteDatabase db, int oldVersion, int newVersion) {

        String sql = "DROP TABLE IF EXISTS " + tableName;


     * create new record
     * @param myObj contains details to be added as single row.
    public boolean create(MyObject myObj) {

        boolean createSuccessful = false;

            SQLiteDatabase db = this.getWritableDatabase();
            ContentValues values = new ContentValues();
            values.put(fieldObjectName, myObj.objectName);
            createSuccessful = db.insert(tableName, null, values) > 0;
                Log.e(TAG, myObj.objectName + " created.");
        return createSuccessful;
    // check if a record exists so it won't insert the next time you run this code
    public boolean checkIfExists(String objectName){
        boolean recordExists = false;
        SQLiteDatabase db = this.getWritableDatabase();
        Cursor cursor = db.rawQuery("SELECT " + fieldObjectId + " FROM " + tableName + " WHERE " + fieldObjectName + " = '" + objectName + "'", null);
        if(cursor!=null) {
            if(cursor.getCount()>0) {
                recordExists = true;

        return recordExists;

     * Read records related to the search term
    public List<MyObject> read(String searchTerm) {

        List<MyObject> recordsList = new ArrayList<MyObject>();

        // select query
        String sql = "";
        sql += "SELECT * FROM " + tableName;
        sql += " WHERE " + fieldObjectName + " LIKE '%" + searchTerm + "%'";
        sql += " ORDER BY " + fieldObjectId + " DESC";
        sql += " LIMIT 0,5";

        SQLiteDatabase db = this.getWritableDatabase();

        // execute the query
        Cursor cursor = db.rawQuery(sql, null);

        // looping through all rows and adding to list
        if (cursor.moveToFirst()) {
            do {

                // int productId = Integer.parseInt(cursor.getString(cursor.getColumnIndex(fieldProductId)));
                String objectName = cursor.getString(cursor.getColumnIndex(fieldObjectName));
                MyObject myObject = new MyObject(objectName);

                // add to list

            } while (cursor.moveToNext());


        // return the list of records
        return recordsList;

} - this is where the program requeries the database each time a user types a character on the AutocompleteTextView.

package com.example.autocompletetextviewdb;

import android.content.Context;
import android.text.Editable;
import android.text.TextWatcher;
import android.util.Log;
import android.widget.ArrayAdapter;

public class CustomAutoCompleteTextChangedListener implements TextWatcher{

    public static final String TAG = "";
    Context context;
    public CustomAutoCompleteTextChangedListener(Context context){
        this.context = context;
    public void afterTextChanged(Editable s) {
        // TODO Auto-generated method stub

    public void beforeTextChanged(CharSequence s, int start, int count,
            int after) {
        // TODO Auto-generated method stub

    public void onTextChanged(CharSequence userInput, int start, int before, int count) {

        // if you want to see in the logcat what the user types
        Log.e(TAG, "User input: " + userInput);

        MainActivity mainActivity = ((MainActivity) context);
        // query the database based on the user input
        mainActivity.item = mainActivity.getItemsFromDb(userInput.toString());
        // update the adapater
        mainActivity.myAdapter = new ArrayAdapter<String>(mainActivity, android.R.layout.simple_dropdown_item_1line, mainActivity.item);

} - this is used for inserting sample data and other operations related to the database.

package com.example.autocompletetextviewdb;

public class MyObject {

    public String objectName;

    // constructor for adding sample data
    public MyObject(String objectName){
        this.objectName = objectName;


On the next post, we'll have this code with a custom ArrayAdapter so you can style the drop down that appears, see you!

Thanks for reading this Android AutocompleteTextView code example!
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