Addition of Bookmarks to the Homescreen in the Open Event Android App

In the Open Event Android app we had already built the new homescreen but the users only had access to bookmarks in a separate page which could be accessed from the navbar.If the bookmarks section were to be incorporated in the homescreen itself, it would definitely improve its access to the user. In this blog post, I’ll be talking about how this was done in the app.

These 2 images show the homescreen and the bookmarks section respectively.

No Bookmark View
Bookmark View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the proposed homescreen page for the app. This would provide easy access to important stuff to the user such as event venue,date,description etc. Also the same homescreen would also have the bookmarks showing at the top if there are any.

The list of bookmarks in the first iteration of design was modeled to be a horizontal list of cards.

Bookmarks Merging Process

These are some variables for reference.

private SessionsListAdapter sessionsListAdapter;
 private RealmResults<Session> bookmarksResult;
 private List<Session> mSessions = new ArrayList<>();

The code snippet below highlights the initial setup of the bookmarks recycler view for the horizontal List of cards. All of this is being done in the onCreateView callback of the AboutFragment.java file which is the fragment file for the homescreen.

bookmarksRecyclerView.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
 sessionsListAdapter = new SessionsListAdapter(getContext(), mSessions, bookmarkedSessionList);
 sessionsListAdapter.setBookmarkView(true);
 bookmarksRecyclerView.setAdapter(sessionsListAdapter);
 bookmarksRecyclerView.setLayoutManager(new LinearLayoutManager(getContext(),LinearLayoutManager.HORIZONTAL,false));

The SessionListAdapter is an adapter that was built to handle multiple types of displays of the same viewholder i.e SessionViewHolder . This SessionListAdapter is given a static variable as an argument which is just notifies the adapter to switch to the bookmarks mode for the adapter.

private void loadData() {
    bookmarksResult = realmRepo.getBookMarkedSessions();
    bookmarksResult.removeAllChangeListeners();
    bookmarksResult.addChangeListener((bookmarked, orderedCollectionChangeSet) -> {
        mSessions.clear();
        mSessions.addAll(bookmarked);
 
        sessionsListAdapter.notifyDataSetChanged();
 
        handleVisibility();
    });
 }

This function loadData() is responsible for extracting the sessions that are bookmarked from the local Realm database. We the update the BookmarkAdapter on the homescreen with the list of the bookmarks obtained. Here we see that a ChangeListener is being attached to our RealmResults. This is being done so that we do our adapter notify only after the data of the bookmarked sessions has been processed from a background thread.

if(bookmarksResult != null)
    bookmarksResult.removeAllChangeListeners();

And it is good practice to remove any ChangeListeners that we attach during the fragment life cycle in the onStop() method to avoid memory leaks.

So now we have successfully added bookmarks to the homescreen.

Resources

Addition Of Track Tags In Open Event Android App

In the Open Event Android app we only had a list of sessions in the schedule page without  knowing which track each session belonged to. There were several iterations of UI design for the same. Taking cues from the Google I/O 17 App we thought that the addition of track tags would be informative to the user.  In this blog post I will be talking about how this feature was implemented.

TrackTag Layout in Session

<Button
                android:layout_width="wrap_content"
                android:layout_height="@dimen/track_tag_height"
                android:id="@+id/slot_track"
                android:textAllCaps="false"
                android:gravity="center"
                android:layout_marginTop="@dimen/padding_small"
                android:paddingLeft="@dimen/padding_small"
                android:paddingRight="@dimen/padding_small"
                android:textStyle="bold"
                android:layout_below="@+id/slot_location"
                android:ellipsize="marquee"
                android:maxLines="1"
                android:background="@drawable/button_ripple"
                android:textColor="@color/white"
                android:textSize="@dimen/text_size_small"
                tools:text="Track" />

The important part here is the track tag was modelled as a <Button/> to give users a touch feedback via a ripple effect.

Tag Implementation in DayScheduleAdapter

All the dynamic colors for the track tags was handled separately in the DayScheduleAdapter.

final Track sessionTrack = currentSession.getTrack();
       int storedColor = Color.parseColor(sessionTrack.getColor());
       holder.slotTrack.getBackground().setColorFilter(storedColor, PorterDuff.Mode.SRC_ATOP);

       holder.slotTrack.setText(sessionTrack.getName());
       holder.slotTrack.setOnClickListener(v -> {
            Intent intent = new Intent(context, TrackSessionsActivity.class);
            intent.putExtra(ConstantStrings.TRACK, sessionTrack.getName());

            intent.putExtra(ConstantStrings.TRACK_ID, sessionTrack.getId());
            context.startActivity(intent);
      });

As the colors associated with a track were all stored inside the track model we needed to obtain the track from the currentSession. We could get the storedColor by calling getColor() on the track object associated with the session.

In order to set this color as the background of the button we needed to set a color filter with a PorterDuff Mode called as SRC_ATOP.

The name of the parent class is an homage to the work of Thomas Porter and Tom Duff, presented in their seminal 1984 paper titled “Compositing Digital Images”. In this paper, the authors describe 12 compositing operators that govern how to compute the color resulting of the composition of a source (the graphics object to render) with a destination (the content of the render target).

Ref : https://developer.android.com/reference/android/graphics/PorterDuff.Mode.html

To exactly understand what does the mode SRC_ATOP do we can refer to the image below for understanding. There are several other modes with similar functionality.

               

      SRC IMAGE             DEST IMAGE           SRC ATOP DEST

Now we also set an onClickListener for the track tag so that it directs us to the tracks Page.

So now we have successfully added track tags to the app.

Resources

GlobalSearchAdapter Setup in Open Event Android App

In this blog post I describe how the GlobalSearchAdapter in Open Event Android was made which enabled users to search quickly within the app. This post also outlines how to create Recycler Views with heterogenous layouts and explains how to write ViewHolders.

Adapter Logic

A custom adapter was built for the population of views in the Recycler View in the SearchActivity.

private List<Object> filteredResultList = new ArrayList<>();
//ViewType Constants
private final int TRACK = 0;
private final int SPEAKER = 2;
private final int LOCATION = 3;
private final int DIVIDER = 4;

The DIVIDER constant was assigned to the Result Type Header View.

In a gist all the item types such as Speaker, Track, Location, Divider etc have been designated some constants.

Getting the ItemViewType

@Override
public int getItemViewType(int position) {

   if(filteredResultList.get(position) instanceof Track){
       return TRACK;
   }
   else if(filteredResultList.get(position) instanceof String){
       return DIVIDER;
   }
   ...Similarly for other ItemTypes such as Session or Location
   else{
       return 1;
   }
}

As the filteredResultList is of type Object we can insert objects of any type into the list as Object is a superclass of all classes. We would want a view which represents a TRACK if we have an object of type Track in the filteredResultList. And similarly for the other result types we could insert objects of type LOCATION, SPEAKER types in this list. getItemViewType() basically determines the type of the item that is visible to us. If the list consists of an item of type SPEAKER, in the RecyclerView.

Speaker Item Type
Track Item Type
Divider Item Type
Location Item Type

Code for onCreateViewHolder in GlobalSearchAdapter for the Recycler View

@Override
public RecyclerView.ViewHolder onCreateViewHolder(ViewGroup parent, int viewType) {

   RecyclerView.ViewHolder resultHolder = null;
   LayoutInflater inflater = LayoutInflater.from(parent.getContext());

   switch(viewType) {
       case TRACK:
           View track = inflater.inflate(R.layout.item_track, parent,   false);
           resultHolder = new TrackViewHolder(track,context);
           break;
       case SPEAKER:
           View speaker = inflater.inflate(R.layout.search_item_speaker, parent, false);
           resultHolder = new SpeakerViewHolder(speaker,context);
           break;
       //Similarly for other types
       default:
           break;
   }
   return resultHolder;
}

Depending upon the the viewType returned the desired layout is inflated and the desired ViewHolder is returned.

Code for onBindViewHolder in GlobalSearchAdapter for the Recycler View

@Override
 public void onBindViewHolder(RecyclerView.ViewHolder holder, int position) {
 
    switch (holder.getItemViewType()){
        case TRACK:
            TrackViewHolder trackSearchHolder = (TrackViewHolder)holder;
            final Track currentTrack = (Track)getItem(position);
            trackSearchHolder.setTrack(currentTrack);
            trackSearchHolder.bindHolder();
            break;
         //Similarly for all the other View Types
        default:
            break;
    }
 }

These functions are being used to bind the data to the layouts that have been inflated already in the earlier snippet of code of onCreateViewHolder.

The bindHolder functions of each ViewHolder type are being used to do the view binding i.e converting the information in the Object Track into what we see in the TrackViewHolder as seen in TrackViewFormat.

All ViewHolders have been defined as separate classes in order to enable re usability of these classes.

ViewHolder Implementation

There are 4 main ViewHolders that were made to enable such a search. I’ll be talking about the TrackViewHolder in detail.

public class TrackViewHolder extends RecyclerView.ViewHolder {
    
    @BindView(R.id.imageView)
    ImageView trackImageIcon;
    @BindView(R.id.track_title)
    TextView trackTitle;
    @BindView(R.id.track_description)
    TextView trackDescription;
 
    private Track currentTrack;
    private Context context;
    private TextDrawable.IBuilder drawableBuilder = TextDrawable.builder().round();
 
    public void setTrack(Track track) {
        this.currentTrack = track;
    }
 
    public TrackViewHolder(View itemView,Context context) {
        super(itemView);
        ButterKnife.bind(this, itemView);
        this.context = context;
    }
    public void bindHolder(){
 
        //Set all Views to their correct configurations
        itemView.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
            @Override
            public void onClick(View v) {
                Intent intent = new Intent(context,   TrackSessionsActivity.class);
                intent.putExtra(ConstantStrings.TRACK,   currentTrack.getName());
 
                // Send Track ID to Activity to leverage color cache
                intent.putExtra(ConstantStrings.TRACK_ID,   currentTrack.getId());
                context.startActivity(intent);
            }
        });
} }

Those @BindView annotations that we can see are the result of a library called as Butterknife which is used to reduce standard boilerplate findViewById lines.

@BindView(R.id.imageView) ImageView trackImageIcon;
IS THE SAME AS THIS  
ImageView trackImageIcon = (ImageView)findViewById(R.id.imageView);

The advantage of such a ViewHolder is that it knows what kind of data it stores as compared to traditional ViewHolders which do not know the kind of data it stores.

By making ViewHolders separate from the RecyclerViewAdapter we are essentially decoupling classes and are enabling reusability of code. Also we make the ViewHolder a bit more intelligent by storing the object it binds in the ViewHolder itself. In the above example we are storing an object of Track which is bind to the ViewHolder. We also see that we do the view binding inside the viewholder itself. All this helps us to reduce code inside the adapter class.

A recent addition to the app was custom colors for all TRACKS in the app that improved the visual feel of the app. So basically, for example if a SESSION has been associated with the track of Blockchain it would be given a color such as purple. onClickListeners are also being set with some extras which are self-descriptive in nature. Similarly the other ViewHolders have been implemented.

Resources

Global Search in Open Event Android

In the Open Event Android app we only had a single data source for searching in each page that was the content on the page itself. But it turned out that users want to search data across an event and therefore across different screens in the app. Global search solves this problem. We have recently implemented  global search in Open Event Android that enables the user to search data from the different pages i.e Tracks, Speakers, Locations etc all in a single page. This helps the user in obtaining his desired result in less time. In this blog I am describing how we implemented the feature in the app using JAVA and XML.

Implementing the Search

The first step of the work is to to add the search icon on the homescreen. We have done this with an id R.id.action_search_home.

@Override
public void onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu, MenuInflater inflater) {
   super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu, inflater);
   inflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_home, menu);
   // Get the SearchView and set the searchable configuration
   SearchManager searchManager = (SearchManager)getContext().    getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
   searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(R.id.action_search_home).getActionView();
  // Assumes current activity is the searchable activity
 searchView.setSearchableInfo(searchManager.getSearchableInfo(
getActivity().getComponentName()));
searchView.setIconifiedByDefault(true); 
}

What is being done here is that the search icon on the top right of the home screen  is being designated a searchable component which is responsible for the setup of the search widget on the Toolbar of the app.

@Override
 public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
    MenuInflater inflater = getMenuInflater();
    inflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_home, menu);
    SearchManager searchManager =
            (SearchManager) getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
    searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(R.id.action_search_home).getActionView();
    searchView.setSearchableInfo(
            searchManager.getSearchableInfo(getComponentName()));
 
    searchView.setOnQueryTextListener(this);
    if (searchText != null) {
        searchView.setQuery(searchText, true);
    }
    return true; }

We can see that a queryTextListener has been setup in this function which is responsible to trigger a function whenever a query in the SearchView changes.

Example of a Searchable Component

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <searchable xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:hint="@string/global_search_hint"
    android:label="@string/app_name" />

For More Info : https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/search/searchable-config.html

If this searchable component is inserted into the manifest in the required destination activity’s body the destination activity is set and intent filter must be set in this activity to tell whether or not the activity is searchable.

Manifest Code for SearchActivity

<activity
        android:name=".activities.SearchActivity"
        android:launchMode="singleTop"
        android:label="Search App"
        android:parentActivityName=".activities.MainActivity">
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEARCH" />
    </intent-filter>
    <meta-data
        android:name="android.app.searchable"
        android:resource="@xml/searchable" />
 </activity>

And the attribute  android:launchMode=”singleTop is very important as if we want to search multiple times in the SearchActivity all the instances of our SearchActivity would get stored on the call stack which is not needed and would also eat up a lot of memory.

Handling the Intent to the SearchActivity

We basically need to do a standard if check in order to check if the intent is of type ACTION_SEARCH.

if (Intent.ACTION_SEARCH.equals(getIntent().getAction())) {
    handleIntent(getIntent());
 }
@Override
 protected void onNewIntent(Intent intent) {
    super.onNewIntent(intent);
    handleIntent(intent);
 }
 public void handleIntent(Intent intent) {
    final String query = intent.getStringExtra(SearchManager.QUERY);
    searchQuery(query);
 }

The function searchQuery is called within handleIntent in order to search for the text that we received from the Homescreen.

SearchView Trigger Functions

Next we need to add two main functions in order to get the search working:

  • onQueryTextChange
  • onQueryTextSubmit

The function names are self-explanatory. Now we will move on to the code implementation of the given functions.

@Override
 public boolean onQueryTextChange(String query) {
    if(query!=null) {
        searchQuery(query);
        searchText = query;
    }
    else{
        results.clear();
        handleVisibility();
    }
   return true;
 }
 
 @Override
 public boolean onQueryTextSubmit(String query) {
    searchView.clearFocus();
    return true;
 }

The role of the searchView.clearFocus() inside the above code snippet is to remove the keyboard popup from the screen to enable the user to have a clear view of the search result.

Here the main search logic is being handled by the function called searchQuery which I’ll talking about now.

Search Logic

private void searchQuery(String constraint) {
 
    results.clear();
 
    if (!TextUtils.isEmpty(constraint)) {
        String query = constraint.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault());
        addResultsFromTracks(query);
        addResultsFromSpeakers(query);
        addResultsFromLocations(query);
    }
 }
//THESE ARE SOME VARIABLES FOR REFERENCE
//This is the custom recycler view adapter that has been defined for the search
private GlobalSearchAdapter globalSearchAdapter;
 //This stores the results in an Object Array
 private List<Object> result

We are assuming that we have POJO’s(Plain Old Java Objects) for Tracks , Speakers , and Locations and for the Result Type Header.

The code posted below performs the function of getting the required results from the list of tracks. All the results are being fetched asynchronously from Realm and here we have also attached a header for the result type to denote whether the result is of type Track , Speaker or Location. We also see that we have added a changeListener to notify us if any changes have occurred in the set of results.

Similarly this is being done for all the result types that we need i.e Tracks, Locations and Speakers.

public void addResultsFromTracks(String queryString) {

   RealmResults<Track> filteredTracks = realm.where(Track.class)
                                        .like("name", queryString,                     Case.INSENSITIVE).findAllSortedAsync("name");
      filteredTracks.addChangeListener(tracks -> {

       if(tracks.size()>0){
            results.add("Tracks");
        }
       results.addAll(tracks);
       globalSearchAdapter.notifyDataSetChanged();
       Timber.d("Filtering done total results %d", tracks.size());
       handleVisibility();
});}

We now have a “Global Search” feature in the Open Event Android app. Users had asked for this feature and a learning for us is, that it would have been even better to do more tests with users when we developed the first versions. So, we could have included this feedback and implemented Global Search earlier on.

Resources