Tag Archives: file browser

Open File Dialog in Android

Android Open File BrowserThe Android SDK does not have a file browser dialog for use by app developers. ¬†For my app MoPhotos, I needed to allow the user to select a file from their Android system that my app can use. I was surprised to learn there is no real built-in file chooser dialog. From my experience with .NET and the Win32 API, that’s a function that you can count on being there. I did not think it would be difficult to write one myself, but I’m always looking for quicker ways to get there.

Eventually, I found a blog post by Android-er, who shows a very simple version of the mechanics behind a file open dialog. After getting my version of his code up and running, I wanted to make a few modifications to meet my needs. These modifications are:

  • Alphabetize the list of files
  • Exclude hidden files, hidden directories, and directories without read access
  • Only show files with compatible file extensions

Fortunately, this was very easy to do using standard Java API’s. Instead of calling:

File[] files = f.listFiles();

I create a FileFilter to filter out the results:

File[] files = f.listFiles(new FileFilter() {
  public boolean accept(File pathname)
    //If a file or directory is hidden, or unreadable, don't show it in the list.</div>
      return false;
      return false;

    //Show all directories in the list.
      return true;

    //Check if there is a supported file type that we can read.
    String fileName = pathname.getName();
    String fileExtension;
    int mid= fileName.lastIndexOf(".");
    fileExtension = fileName.substring(mid+1,fileName.length());
    for(String s : supportedFileExtensions) {
        return true;

    return false;

The last change was to sort the files and directories alphabetically. I do the sorting operations after the list is constructed, but before the ArrayAdapter is initialized.
//Sort the files alphabetically.

fileListAdapter = new ArrayAdapter(this.getContext(), R.layout.open_file_entry, R.id.fileName, fileStringList);
ListView lv = (ListView) this.findViewById(R.id.pcap_files_list);
if(lv != null)

So far, this code is working as intended. I don’t know if this is the most-optimal to do this, but that will be analyzed before I release this app to the market. For now, I’m still building out the basic infrastructure.