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Generic RecyclerViewAdapter

Bigyan Thapa
Android enthusiast
Updated on ・2 min read
Trying to make one adapter fit all RecyclerViews in the application.

While this is not an absolute use-case as we might want different list to behave differently. But the core purpose of RecyclerView is to display the data and be able to scroll through it. Also, when we click on the list-item we possible want to navigate to details for that list-item. While doing this, there will be a lot of redundant code that will be duplicated in all RecyclerView adapters in our codebase.

Below is a basic example of abstracting away the core functionality of a RecyclerView adapter and have the sub-classes take care of the rest. This articles assumes that the readers will have basic understanding of RecyclerView, databinding and kotlin.

abstract class BaseRecyclerViewAdapter<T> : Adapter<ViewHolder>(), {

  var items: List<T> = emptyList()
    set(value) {
      field = value

  override fun onCreateViewHolder(parent: ViewGroup, viewType: Int): ViewHolder = getViewHolder(parent, viewType)

  override fun onBindViewHolder(holder: ViewHolder, position: Int) {
    if(position in items.indices) {
      (holder as Binder<T>).bind(items[position])

  abstract fun getViewHolder(parent: ViewGroup, viewType: Int): ViewHolder

  interface Binder<in T> {
    fun bind(item: T)


The above abstract RecyclerView adapter can be used in a fragment as follows:

class SomeListFragment {

  private lateinit var adapter: SomeAdapter

  override fun onCreateView(inflater: LayoutInflater, container: ViewGroup?, savedInstanceState: Bundle?) : View? {
    super.onCreateView(inflater, container, savedInstanceState)
    // initialization code here ...
    adapter = SomeAdapter() // initialize adapter here
    // ...

  // rest of fragment implementation

  inner class SomeAdapter : BaseRecyclerViewAdapter<SomeData>() {
    override fun getViewHolder(parent: ViewGroup, viewType: Int): ViewHolder {
      val viewBinding: SomeListItemBinding = DataBindingUtil.inflate(layoutInflater, R.layout.some_list_item, parent, false)
      return SomeViewHolder(viewBinding)

  inner class SomeViewHolder(private val viewBinding: SomeListItemBinding) : ViewHolder(viewBinding.root), BaseRecyclerViewAdapter.Binder<SomeData> {

   override fun bind(item: SomeData) {
       bind data here, we can also assign click listeners
       viewBinding.root.setOnClickListener { ... }

Please provide feedback in comments.
Thank you for reading.

Discussion (4)

funkymuse profile image

Or you can use listadapter and abstract over it, it offers diff utils with nice animations.

bigyan4424 profile image
Bigyan Thapa Author

@crazylegend Thank you for the feedback. I will try to put something together for ListAdapter in my future post.

coroutinedispatcher profile image
Stavro Xhardha

And you don't need to override getItemCount() at all

bigyan4424 profile image
Bigyan Thapa Author

That is correct. We don't need to override that in the above use case.
I will update the post. Thanks @Stavro Xhardha