Save ArrayList to SharedPreferences

I have an ArrayList with custom objects. Each custom object contains a variety of strings and numbers. I need the array to stick around even if the user leaves the activity and then wants to come back at a later time, however I don’t need the array available after the application has been closed completely. I save a lot of other objects this way by using the SharedPreferences but I can’t figure out how to save my entire array this way. Is this possible? Maybe SharedPreferences isn’t the way to go about this? Is there a simpler method?

Answer

After API 11 the SharedPreferences Editor accepts Sets. You could convert your List into a HashSet or something similar and store it like that. When you read it back, convert it into an ArrayList, sort it if needed and you’re good to go.

//Retrieve the values
Set<String> set = myScores.getStringSet("key", null);

//Set the values
Set<String> set = new HashSet<String>();
set.addAll(listOfExistingScores);
scoreEditor.putStringSet("key", set);
scoreEditor.commit();

You can also serialize your ArrayList and then save/read it to/from SharedPreferences. Below is the solution:

EDIT:
Ok, below is the solution to save ArrayList as a serialized object to SharedPreferences and then read it from SharedPreferences.

Because API supports only storing and retrieving of strings to/from SharedPreferences (after API 11, it’s simpler), we have to serialize and de-serialize the ArrayList object which has the list of tasks into a string.

In the addTask() method of the TaskManagerApplication class, we have to get the instance of the shared preference and then store the serialized ArrayList using the putString() method:

public void addTask(Task t) {
  if (null == currentTasks) {
    currentTasks = new ArrayList<task>();
  }
  currentTasks.add(t);
 
  // save the task list to preference
  SharedPreferences prefs = getSharedPreferences(SHARED_PREFS_FILE, Context.MODE_PRIVATE);
  Editor editor = prefs.edit();
  try {
    editor.putString(TASKS, ObjectSerializer.serialize(currentTasks));
  } catch (IOException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
  }
  editor.commit();
}

Similarly we have to retrieve the list of tasks from the preference in the onCreate() method:

public void onCreate() {
  super.onCreate();
  if (null == currentTasks) {
    currentTasks = new ArrayList<task>();
  }
 
  // load tasks from preference
  SharedPreferences prefs = getSharedPreferences(SHARED_PREFS_FILE, Context.MODE_PRIVATE);
 
  try {
    currentTasks = (ArrayList<task>) ObjectSerializer.deserialize(prefs.getString(TASKS, ObjectSerializer.serialize(new ArrayList<task>())));
  } catch (IOException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
  } catch (ClassNotFoundException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
  }
}

You can get the ObjectSerializer class from the Apache Pig project ObjectSerializer.java

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *