Using Data Access Object to Store Information

We often need to store the information received from the network to retrieve that later. Although we can store and read data directly but by using data access object to store information enables us to do data operations without exposing details of the database. Using data access object is also a best practice in software engineering. Recently I modified Connfa app to store the data received in Open Event format. In this blog, I describe how to use data access object.

The goal is to abstract and encapsulate all access to the data and provide an interface. This is called Data Access Object pattern. In a nutshell, the DAO “knows” which data source (that could be a database, a flat file or even a WebService) to connect to and is specific for this data source. It makes no difference in applications when it accesses a relational database or parses xml files (using a DAO). The DAO is usually able to create an instance of a data object (“to read data”) and also to persist data (“to save data”) to the datasource.

Consider the example from Connfa app in which get the tracks from API and store them in SQL database. We use DAO to create a layer between model and database. Where AbstractEntityDAO is an abstract class which have the functions to perform CRUD operation. We extend it to implement them in our DAO model. Here is TrackDAO structure,

public class TrackDao extends AbstractEntityDAO<Track, Long> {

    public static final String TABLE_NAME = "table_track";

    @Override
    protected String getSearchCondition() {
        return "_id=?";
    }
    
    ...
}

Find the complete class to see the detailed methods to implement search conditions, get key columns, create instance etc.  here.

Here is a general method to get the data from the database. Where getFacade() for the given layer element, this method returns the requested facade object to represent the passed in layer element.

public List<ClassToSave> getAllSafe() {
   ILAPIDBFacade facade = getFacade();
   try {
       facade.open();
       return getAll();

   } finally {
       facade.close();
   }
}

Now we can create an instance to use these methods instead of directly using SQL operations. This functions gets the data and sort it accordingly.

private TrackDao mTrackDao;
 public List<Track> getTracks() {
   List<Track> tracks = mTrackDao.getAllSafe();
   Collections.sort(tracks, new Comparator<Track>() {
       @Override
       public int compare(Track track, Track track2) {
           return Double.compare(track.getOrder(), track2.getOrder());
       }
   });
   return tracks;
}

References:

 

Receiving Data From the Network Asynchronously

We often need to receive information from networks in Android apps. Although it is a simple process but the problem arises when it is done through the main user interaction thread. To understand this problem better consider using an app which shows some text downloaded from the online database. As the user clicks a button to display a text it may take some time to get the HTTP response. So what does an activity do in that time? It creates a lag in the user interface and makes the app to stop responding. Recently I implemented this in Connfa App to download data in Open Event Format.

To solve that problem we use concurrent thread to download the data and send the result back to be processed separating it from main user interaction thread. AsyncTask allows you to perform background operations and publish results on the UI thread without having to manipulate threads and/or handlers.

AsyncTask is designed to be a helper class around Thread and Handler and does not constitute a generic threading framework. AsyncTasks should ideally be used for short operations (a few seconds at the most). If you need to keep threads running for long periods of time, it is highly recommended you use the various APIs provided by the java.util.concurrent package such as Executor, ThreadPoolExecutor and FutureTask.

An asynchronous task is defined by a computation that runs on a background thread and whose result is published on the UI thread. An asynchronous task is defined by 3 generic types, called Params, Progress and Result, and 4 steps, called onPreExecute, doInBackground, onProgressUpdate and onPostExecute.

In this blog, I describe how to download data in an android app with AsyncTask using OkHttp library.

First, you need to add dependency for OkHttp Library,

compile 'com.squareup.okhttp:okhttp:2.4.0' 


Extend AsyncTask class and implement all the functions in the class by overriding them to modify them accordingly. Here I declare a class named AsyncDownloader extending AsyncTask. We took the string parameter, integer type progress and string type result to return instead which will be our JSON data and param is our URL. Instead of using get the function of AsyncTask we implement an interface to receive data so the main user interaction thread does not have to wait for the return of the result.

public class AsyncDownloader extends AsyncTask<String, Integer, String> {
    private String jsonData = null;

    public interface JsonDataSetter {
        void setJsonData(String str);
    }


    JsonDataSetter jsonDataSetterListener;

    public AsyncDownloader(JsonDataSetter context) {

        this.jsonDataSetterListener = context;
    }

    @Override
    protected void onPreExecute() {
        super.onPreExecute();
    }

    @Override
    protected String doInBackground(String... params) {

        String url = params[0];

        OkHttpClient client = new OkHttpClient();
        Request request = new Request.Builder()
                .url(url)
                .build();
        Call call = client.newCall(request);

        Response response = null;

        try {
            response = call.execute();

            if (response.isSuccessful()) {
                jsonData = response.body().string();

            } else {
                jsonData = null;
            }

        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }


        return jsonData;
    }

    @Override
    protected void onPostExecute(String jsonData) {
        super.onPostExecute(jsonData);
        jsonDataSetterListener.setJsonData(jsonData);
    }
}


We download the data in doInBackground making a request using OkHttp library and send the result back in onPostExecute method using our interface method. See above to check out the complete class implementation.

You can make an instance to AsyncDownloader in an activity. Implement interface to receive that data.

Tip: Always close AsyncTask after using to avoid many concurrent tasks at one time.

Find the complete code here.

References:

Advantage of Open Event Format over xCal, pentabarf/frab XML and iCal

Event apps like Giggity and Giraffe use event formats like xCal, pentabarf/frab XML, iCal etc. In this blog, I present some of the advantages of using FOSSASIA’s Open Event data format over other formats. I added support for Open Event format in these two apps so I describe the advantages and improvements that were made with respect to them.

  • The main problem that is faced in Giggity app is that all the data like social links, microlocations, the link for the logo file etc., can not be fetched from a single file, so a separate raw file is being added to provide this data. Our Open Event format provides all this information from the single URL that could be received from the server so no need to use any separate file.
  • Here is the pentabarf format data for FOSSASIA 2016 conference excluding sessions. Although it provides all the necessary information it leaves the information for logo URL, details for longitude and latitude for microlocations (rooms) and links to social media and website. While the open event format provides all the missing details including some extra information like language, comments etc. See FOSSASIA 2016 Open Event format sample.
<conference>
<title>FOSSASIA 2016</title>
<subtitle/>
<venue>Science Centre Road</venue>
<city>Singapore</city>
<start>2016-03-18</start>
<end>2016-03-20</end>
<days>3</days>
<day_change>09:00:00</day_change>
<timeslot_duration>00:00:00</timeslot_duration>
</conference>
  • The parsing of received file format gets very complicated in case of iCal, xCal etc. as tags needs to be matched to get the data. Howsoever there are various libraries available for parsing JSON data. So we can create simply an array list of the received data to send it to the adapter. See this example for more information of working code. You can also see the parser for iCal to compare the complexity of the code.
  • The other more common problem is the structure of the formats received is sometimes it becomes complicated to define the sub parts of a single element. For example for the location we define latitude and longitude separately while in iCal format it is just separated by a comma. For example for

iCal

GEO:1.333194;103.736132

JSON

{
           "id": 1,
           "name": "Stage 1",
           "floor": 0,
           "latitude": 37.425420,
           "longitude": -122.080291,
           "room": null
}

And the information provided is more detailed.

  • Open Event format is well documented and it makes it easier for other developers to work on it. Find the documentation here.

References:

 

Basics behind BJT and FET experiments in PSLab

A high school student in his curriculum; will come across certain electronics and electrical experiments. One of them related to semiconductor devices such as Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) and Field Effect Transistors (FETs). PSLab device is capable of function as a waveform generator, voltage and current source, oscilloscope and multimeter. Using these functionalities one can design an experiment. This blog post brings out the basics one should know about the experiment and the PSLab device to program an experiment in the saved experiments section.

Channels and Sources in the PSLab Device

The PSLab device has three pins dedicated to function as programmable voltage sources (PVS) and one pin for programmable current source (PCS).

Programmable Voltage Sources can generate voltages as follows;

  • PV1 →  -5V ~ +5V
  • PV2 → -3.3V ~ +3.3V
  • PV3 → 0 ~ +3.3V

Programmable Current Source (PCS) can generate current as follows;

  • PCS → 0 ~ 3.3mA

The device has 4 channel oscilloscope out of those CH1, CH2 and CH3 pins are useful in experiments of the current context type.

About BJTs and FETs

Every semiconductor device is made of Silicon(Si). Some are made of Germanium(Ge) but they are not widely used. Silicon material has a potential barrier of 0.7 V among P type and N type sections of a semiconductor device. This voltage value is really important in an experiment as in some practicals such as “BJT Amplifier”, there is no use of a voltage value setting below this value. So the experiment needs to be programmed to have 0.7V as the minimum voltage for Base terminal.

Basic BJT experiments

BJTs have three pins. Collector, Emitter and Base. Current to the Base pin will control the flow of electrons from Emitter to Collector creating a voltage difference between Collector and Emitter pins. This scenario can be taken down to three types as;

  • Input Characteristics → Relationship between Emitter current to VBE(Base to Emitter)
  • Output Characteristics → Relationship between IC(Collector) to VCB(Collector to Base)
  • Transfer Characteristics → Relationship between IC(Collector) to IE(Emitter)

Input Characteristics

Output Characteristics

Transfer Characteristics

     

Basic FET experiments

FETs have three pins. Drain, Source and Gate. Voltage to Gate terminal will control the electron flow from either direction from or to Source and Drain. This scenario results in two types of experiments;

  • Output Characteristics → Drain current to Drain to Source voltage difference
  • Transfer Characteristics → Gate to Source voltage to Drain current
Output Characteristics Transfer Characteristics

Using existing methods in PSLab android repository

Current implementation of the android application consists of all the methods required to read voltages and currents from the relevant pins and fetch waveforms from the channel pins and output voltages from PVS pins.

ScienceLab.java class – This class implements all the methods required for any kind of an experiment. The methods that will be useful in designing BJT and FET related experiments are;

Set Voltages

public void setPV1(float value);

public void setPV2(float value);

public void setPV3(float value);

Set Currents

public void setPCS(float value);

Read Voltages

public double getVoltage(String channelName, Integer sample);

Read Currents

To read current there is no direct way implemented. The current flow between two nodes can be calculated using the PVS pin value and the voltage value read from the channel pins. It uses Ohm’s law to calculate the value using the known resistance between two nodes.

In the following schematic; the collector current can be calculated using known PV1 value and the measured CH1 value as follows;

IC = (PV1 – CH1) / 1000

This is how it is actually implemented in the existing experiments.

If one needs to implement a new experiment of any kind, these are the basics need to know. There can be so many new experiments implemented using these basics. Some of them could be;

  • Effect of Temperature coefficient in Collector current
  • The influence in β factor in Collector current

Resources:

Automatic handling of view/data interactions in Open Event Orga App

During the development of Open Event Orga Application (Github Repo), we have strived to minimize duplicate code wherever possible and make the wrappers and containers around data and views intelligent and generic. When it comes to loading the data into views, there are several common interactions and behaviours that need to be replicated in each controller (or presenter in case of MVP architecture as used in our project). These interactions involve common ceremony around data loading and setting patterns and should be considered as boilerplate code. Let’s look at some of the common interactions on views:

Loading Data

While loading data, there are 3 scenarios to be considered:

  • Data loading succeeded – Pass the data to view
  • Data loading failed – Show appropriate error message
  • Show progress bar on starting of the data loading and hide when completed

If instead of loading a single object, we load a list of them, then the view may be emptiable, meaning you’ll have to show the empty view if there are no items.

Additionally, there may be a success message too, and if we are refreshing the data, there will be a refresh complete message as well.

These use cases present in each of the presenter cause a lot of duplication and can be easily handled by using Transformers from RxJava to compose common scenarios on views. Let’s see how we achieved it.

Generify the Views

The first step in reducing repetition in code is to use Generic classes. And as the views used in Presenters can be any class such as Activity or Fragment, we need to create some interfaces which will be implemented by these classes so that the functionality can be implementation agnostic. We broke these scenarios into common uses and created disjoint interfaces such that there is little to no dependency between each one of these contracts. This ensures that they can be extended to more contracts in future and can be used in any View without the need to break them down further. When designing contracts, we should always try to achieve fundamental blocks of building an API rather than making a big complete contract to be filled by classes. The latter pattern makes it hard for this contract to be generally used in all classes as people will refrain from implementing all its methods for a small functionality and just write their own function for it. If there is a need for a class to make use of a huge contract, we can still break it into components and require their composition using Java Generics, which we have done in our Transformers.

First, let’s see our contracts. Remember that the names of these Contracts are opinionated and up to the developer. There is no rule in naming interfaces, although adjectives are preferred as they clearly denote that it is an interface describing a particular behavior and not a concrete class:

Emptiable

A view which contains a list of items and thus can be empty

public interface Emptiable<T> {
   void showResults(List<T> items);
   void showEmptyView(boolean show);
}

Erroneous

A view that can show an error message on failure of loading data

public interface Erroneous {
   void showError(String error);
}

ItemResult

A view that contains a single object as data

public interface ItemResult<T> {
   void showResult(T item);
}

Progressive

A view that can show and hide a progress bar while loading data

public interface Progressive {
   void showProgress(boolean show);
}

Note that even though Progressive view can only be the one which is either ItemResult or Emptiable as they are the ones containing any data, but we have decoupled it, making it possible for a view to load data without progress or show progress for any other implementation other than loading data.

Refreshable

A view that can be refreshed and show the refresh complete message

public interface Refreshable {
   void onRefreshComplete();
}

There should also be a method for refresh failure, but the app is under development and will be added soon

Successful

A view that can show a success message

public interface Successful {
   void onSuccess(String message);
}

Implementation

Now, we will implement the Observable Transformers for these contracts

Erroneous

public static <T, V extends Erroneous> ObservableTransformer<T, T> erroneous(V view) {
   return observable ->  observable
             .doOnError(throwable -> view.showError(throwable.getMessage()));
}

We simply call showError on a view implementing Erroneous on the call of doOnError of the Observable

Progressive

private static <T, V extends Progressive> ObservableTransformer<T, T> progressive(V view) {
   return observable -> observable
           .doOnSubscribe(disposable -> view.showProgress(true))
           .doFinally(() -> view.showProgress(false));
}

Here we show the progress when the observable is subscribed and finally, we hide it whether it succeeded or failed

ItemResult

public static <T, V extends ItemResult<T>> ObservableTransformer<T, T> result(V view) {
   return observable -> observable.doOnNext(view::showResult);
}

We call showResult on call of onNext

 

Refreshable

private static <T, V extends Refreshable> ObservableTransformer<T, T> refreshable(V view, boolean forceReload) {
   return observable ->
       observable.doFinally(() -> {
           if (forceReload) view.onRefreshComplete();
       });
}

As we only refresh a view if it is a forceReload, so we check it before calling onRefreshComplete

 

Emptiable

public static <T, V extends Emptiable<T>> SingleTransformer<List<T>, List<T>> emptiable(V view, List<T> items) {
   return observable -> observable
       .doOnSubscribe(disposable -> view.showEmptyView(false))
       .doOnSuccess(list -> {
           items.clear();
           items.addAll(list);
           view.showResults(items);
       })
       .doFinally(() -> view.showEmptyView(items.isEmpty()));
}

Here we hide the empty view on start of the loading of data and finally we show it if the items are empty. Also, since we keep only one copy of a final list variable which is also used in view along with the presenter, we clear and add all items in that variable and call showResults on the view

Bonus: You can also merge the functions for composite usage as mentioned above like this

public static <T, V extends Progressive & Erroneous> ObservableTransformer<T, T> progressiveErroneous(V view) {
   return observable -> observable
       .compose(progressive(view))
       .compose(erroneous(view));
}

public static <T, V extends Progressive & Erroneous & ItemResult<T>> ObservableTransformer<T, T> progressiveErroneousResult(V view) {
   return observable -> observable
       .compose(progressiveErroneous(view))
       .compose(result(view));
}

Usage

Finally we use the above transformers

eventsDataRepository
   .getEvents(forceReload)
   .compose(dispose(getDisposable()))
   .compose(progressiveErroneousRefresh(getView(), forceReload))
   .toSortedList()
   .compose(emptiable(getView(), events))
   .subscribe(Logger::logSuccess, Logger::logError);

To give you an idea of what we have accomplished here, this is how we did the same before adding transformers

eventsView.showProgressBar(true);
eventsView.showEmptyView(false);

getDisposable().add(eventsDataRepository
   .getEvents(forceReload)
   .toSortedList()
   .subscribeOn(Schedulers.computation())
   .subscribe(events -> {
       if(eventsView == null)
           return;
       eventsView.showEvents(events);
       isListEmpty = events.size() == 0;
       hideProgress(forceReload);
   }, throwable -> {
       if(eventsView == null)
           return;

       eventsView.showEventError(throwable.getMessage());
       hideProgress(forceReload);
   }));

Sure looks ugly as compared to the current solution.

Note that if you don’t provide the error handler in subscribe method of the observable, it will throw an onErrorNotImplemented exception even if you have added a doOnError side effect

Here are some resources related to RxJava Transformers:

UI Espresso Test Cases for Phimpme Android

Now we are heading toward a release of Phimpme soon, So we are increasing the code coverage by writing test cases for our app. What is a Test Case? Test cases are the script against which we run our code to test the features implementation. It is basically contains the output, flow and features steps of the app. To release app on multiple platform, it is highly recommended to test the app on test cases.

For example, Let’s consider if we are developing an app which has one button. So first we write a UI test case which checks whether a button displayed on the screen or not? And in response to that it show the pass and fail of a test case.

Steps to add a UI test case using Espresso

Espresso testing framework provides APIs to simulate user interactions. It has a concise API. Even, now in new Version of Android Studio, there is a feature to record Espresso Test cases. I’ll show you how to use Recorder to write test cases in below steps.

  • Setup Project Directory

Android Instrumentation tests must be placed in androidTest directory. If it is not there create a directory in app/src/androidTest/java…

  • Write Test Case

So firstly, I am writing a very simple test case, which checks whether the three Bottom navigation view items are displayed or not?

Espresso Testing framework has basically three components:

ViewMatchers

Which helps to find the correct view on which some actions can be performed E.g. onView(withId(R.id.navigation_accounts). Here I am taking the view of accounts item in Bottom Navigation View.

ViewActions

It allows to perform actions on the view we get earlier. E.g. Very basic operation used is click()

ViewAssertions

It allows to assert the current state of the view E.g. isDisplayed() is an assertion on the view we get. So a basic architecture of an Espresso Test case is

onView(ViewMatcher)       
 .perform(ViewAction)     
   .check(ViewAssertion);

We can also Use Hamcrest framework which provide extra features of checking conditions in the code.

Setup Espresso in Code

Add this in your application level build.gradle

// Android Testing Support Library's runner and rules
androidTestCompile "com.android.support.test:runner:$rootProject.ext.runnerVersion"
androidTestCompile "com.android.support.test:rules:$rootProject.ext.rulesVersion"

// Espresso UI Testing dependencies.
androidTestCompile "com.android.support.test.espresso:espresso-core:$rootProject.ext.espressoVersion"
androidTestCompile "com.android.support.test.espresso:espresso-contrib:$rootProject.ext.espressoVersion"
  • Use recorder to write the Test Case

New recorder feature is great, if you want to set up everything quickly. Go to the Run → Record Espresso Test in Android Studio.

It dumps the current User Interface hierarchy and provide the feature to assert that.

You can edit the assertions by selecting the element and apply the assertion on it.

Save and Run the test cases by right click on Name of the class. Run ‘Test Case name’

Console will show the progress of Test case. Like here it is showing passed, it means it get all the view hierarchy which is required by the Test Case.

Resources

Introduction To Kotlin in SUSI Android App

Lately, we wrote some of the code of SUSI Android App in Kotlin. Kotlin is a very similar language to Java but with much more advantages than Java. It is easy to adapt and learn. There is no doubt that Kotlin is better than Java but with the announcement of Kotlin Support in Google IO’17 for Android development, Kotlin seems a decent way to write code for an Android App.

Advantages of Kotlin over Java

    1. Reduce Boilerplate Code: It helps making development of app faster as it reduces more than 20 percent of boilerplate code. Writing long statements again and again is a headache for developers. Kotlin comes to rescue in that situation.
    2. Removes Null Pointer Exception: Once a large company faced millions of dollars of loss due to null pointer exception. It causes crashes of apps more often than anything else. Thus Kotlin helps in Null checks and makes app free from Null pointer Exceptions.
    3. Interoperable with Java: Kotlin code and Java code are interoperable. Which means you can write half your code in kotlin and half in Java and it will work like a charm. You can call java methods from Kotlin code and vice versa. So, you can simply move your existing Java based app to Kotlin slowly making your app always running.
    4. Lambda and Inline functions: Yes, Kotlin also has functionalities from functional programming languages. Mainly and most widely used feature of those languages is Lambda functions.
    5. Direct Reference of Views by Id: You do not need to write findViewById(R.id.view_name) or use any other library like Butterknife for view binding. You can simply use the view by its id.
    6. No semicolon:  Last but not the least, you do not need to add a semicolon after each statement. In fact, you do not need to add semicolon at all.

Setting up Android Studio to work with Kotlin

If you have latest Android Studio Canary Version, there is already a build support for Kotlin in it. You need not do anything in that case. But if you don’t have the Canary version, you can add Kotlin Plugin in your Android Studio. Follow the below steps to do that.

  1. Install the Kotlin Plugin:

Android Studio → Preferences… →Plugins → Browse Repository → type “Kotlin” in search box → install

  1. Restart your Android Studio and Rebuild the project. Everything else is already set up in SUSI Android App but if you want to do it for your other apps, follow this link.

Implementation in SUSI Android App

So, I am not going to give unnecessary code but will point out specific things where Kotlin helped a lot to reduce unnecessary code and made the code compact.

1. Listeners:

Earlier with Java

Button signup = (Button) findViewById(R.id.sign_up);

signup.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
            @Override
            public void onClick(View v) {
               startActivity(new Intent(LoginActivity.this, SignUpActivity.class));
            }
        });

Now, with Kotlin

fun signUp() {
   sign_up.setOnClickListener { startActivity(Intent(this@LoginActivity, SignUpActivity::class.java)) }
}

2. Models

With Java

public class MapData {

    private double latitude;
    private double longitude;
    private double zoom;

    public MapData(double latitude, double longitude, double zoom) {
        this.latitude = latitude;
        this.longitude = longitude;
        this.zoom = zoom;
    }

    public double getLatitude() {
        return latitude;
    }

    public void setLatitude(double latitude) {
        this.latitude = latitude;
    }

    public double getLongitude() {
        return longitude;
    }

    public void setLongitude(double longitude) {
        this.longitude = longitude;
    }

    public double getZoom() {
        return zoom;
    }

    public void setZoom(double zoom) {
        this.zoom = zoom;
    }
}

With Kotlin

class MapData (var latitude: Double, var longitude: Double, var zoom: Double) 

3. Constructor

With Java

public class LoginPresenter {
    private LoginActivity loginActivity;
    public LoginPresenter(loginActivity: LoginActivity){
        this.loginActivity = loginActivity;
    }
}

With Kotlin

class LoginPresenter(loginActivity: LoginActivity) {
}

Summary

So, this blog was to give you an idea about Kotlin programming language, it’s advantages over java and information how you can set it up on your Android Studio so as to help you a little in understanding the codebase of SUSI Android App a little more.

Resources

  1. Official Kotlin Guide for Syntax Reference and further learning  https://kotlinlang.org/docs/reference/
  2. Blog by Elye on Setting up Kotlin on Android Studio https://android.jlelse.eu/setup-kotlin-for-android-studio-1bffdf1362e8
  3. Youtube Video tutorial by Derek Banas on Kotlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_oGi8uuDpA

API Error Handling in the Open Event Organizer Android App

Open Event Organizer is an Android App for Organizers and Entry Managers. Open Event API server acts as a backend for this App. So basically the App makes data requests to the API and in return, the API performs required actions on the data and sends back the response to the App which is used to display relevant info to the user and to update the App’s local database. The error responses returned by the API need to parse and show the understandable error message to the user.

The App uses Retrofit+OkHttp for making network requests to the API. Hence the request method returns a Throwable in the case of an error in the action. The Throwable contains a string message which can be get using the method named getMessage. But the message is not understandable by the normal user. Open Event Organizer App uses ErrorUtils class for this work. The class has a method which takes a Throwable as a parameter and returns a good error message which is easier to understand to the user.

Relevant code:

public final class ErrorUtils {

   public static final int BAD_REQUEST = 400;
   public static final int UNAUTHORIZED = 401;
   public static final int FORBIDDEN = 403;
   public static final int NOT_FOUND = 404;
   public static final int METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED = 405;
   public static final int REQUEST_TIMEOUT = 408;

   private ErrorUtils() {
       // Never Called
   }

   public static String getMessage(Throwable throwable) {
       if (throwable instanceof HttpException) {
           switch (((HttpException) throwable).code()) {
               case BAD_REQUEST:
                   return "Something went wrong! Please check any empty field if a form.";
               case UNAUTHORIZED:
                   return "Invalid Credentials! Please check your credentials.";
               case FORBIDDEN:
                   return "Sorry, you are not authorized to make this request.";
               case NOT_FOUND:
                   return "Sorry, we couldn't find what you were looking for.";
               case METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED:
                   return "Sorry, this request is not allowed.";
               case REQUEST_TIMEOUT:
                   return "Sorry, request timeout. Please retry after some time.";
               default:
                   return throwable.getMessage();
           }
       }
       return throwable.getMessage();
   }
}

ErrorUtils.java
app/src/main/java/org/fossasia/openevent/app/common/utils/core/ErrorUtils.java

All the error codes are stored as static final fields. It is always a good practice to follow a making the constructor private for a utility class to make sure the class is never initialized anywhere in the app. The method getMessage takes a Throwable and checks if it is an instance of the HttpException to get an HTTP error code. Actually, there are two exceptions – HttpException and IOException. The prior one is returned from the server. In the method by using the error codes, relevant good error messages are returned which are shown to the user in a snackbar layout.

It is always a good practice to show a more understandable user-friendly error messages than simply the default ones which are not clear to the normal user.

Links:
1. List of the HTTP Client Error Codes – Wikipedia Link
2. Class Throwable javadoc

Updating Settings Activity With MVP Architecture in SUSI Android

SUSI Android app includes settings that allow users to modify app features and behaviours. For example, SUSI Android allows users to specify whether they want voice output i.e text to speech irrespective of input type.

Currently different settings available in SUSI Android are:

Settings                                          Use
Enter As Send It allows users to specify whether they want to use action button of soft keyboard as carriage return or send message
Mic Input It allows users to specify whether they want to use speech for input type or not. User can also use keyboard to provide input.
Speech Always It allows users to specify whether they want speech output i.e text to speech irrespective of input type
Speech Output It allows users to specify whether they want speech output in case of speech input or not.
Select Server It allows user to specify whether they want to use default susi_server or their own server.
Language It allows users to select text to speech engine language.

Android’s standard architecture isn’t always sufficient, especially in the case of complex applications that need to be tested regularly. So we need an architecture that can improve the app’s testability and MVP(Model View Presenter) architecture is one of the best options for that.

Working with MVP architecture to show settings

MVP architecture creates three layers: Model, View and Presenter. Use of each layer is described below

  • Model: The Model holds the business logic of the application. It controls how data can be created, stored, and modified.
  • View: The View is a UI that displays data and routes user actions to the Presenter.
  • Presenter: Presenter is a mediator between View and Model. It retrieves data from the Model and shows it in the View. It also processes user actions forwarded to it by the View.

Steps followed to implement MVP architecture are:

1. I first created three interfaces: ISettingsView, ISettingModel and  ISettingsPresenter. These classes contain all the important functions we needed in model, presenter and view. Presenter’s interaction with model is handled by  ISettingModel and presenter’s interaction with view is handled by ISettingsPresenter and ISettingView.

  1. I created model, view and presenter class i.e SettingModel, SettingsPresenter and SettingsActivity and implemented ISettingModel, ISettingsPresenter and ISettingsView in SettingModel, SettingPresenter and SettingsActivity respectively so that presenter can communicate with both model and view.
class SettingsPresenter(fragmentActivity: FragmentActivity): ISettingsPresenter, ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener
class SettingsActivity : AppCompatActivity(), ISettingsView
class SettingModel: ISettingModel
  1. After that, I created ChatSettingsFragment class. It is a PreferenceFragment class which resides in SettingsActivity and contains all settings.
class ChatSettingsFragment : PreferenceFragmentCompat() 

How Presenter communicates with Model and View

As already mentioned presenter’s interaction with view is handled by ISettingsView and ISettingsPresenter. So first I created object of ISettingsPresenter in ChatSettingsFragment, which is part of view, as shown below

lateinit var settingsPresenter: ISettingsPresenter
settingsPresenter = SettingsPresenter(activity)

And used it to call method of presenter, SettingsPresenter

settingsPresenter.sendSetting(Constant.ENTER_SEND, newValue.toString())

After that, I created an object of ISettingsView in SettingsPresenter, so that it can communicate with view, SettingsActivity.

Presenter’s interaction with model is handled by ISettingModel. So first I created an object of SettingModel class which implemented ISettingModel and then used it to call methods of SettingModel.

var settingModel: SettingModel = SettingModel()
settingModel.sendSetting(key, value, this)

Here the third parameter in the sendSetting method is ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener which is part of ISettingModel. SettingModel used it to communicate with SettingsPresenter as shown below

override fun sendSetting(key: String, value: String, listener: ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener) {

settingResponseCall.enqueue(object : Callback<ChangeSettingResponse> {

 override fun onResponse(call: Call<ChangeSettingResponse>?, response:

Response<ChangeSettingResponse>) {

          listener.onSuccess(response)

      }

  })

}

onSuccess method present in SettingsPresenter.

Reference

Displaying Multiple Markers on Map

Connfa and Open Event Android app provide the facility to see the locations on Google map by displaying the marker on places where the sessions will be taking place. As there are many sessions in a conference we need to display marker for each location. In this blog, we learn how to display multiple markers on a map using Google map API with the reference of Connfa app.
First, you need to set up the Google map API in your app. Find the detailed tutorial for that here where you can follow to get an API key and you’ll need a Gmail account for that. Then you can define a fragment like this in your XML layout where the map will appear.

<FrameLayout
   android:id="@+id/fragmentHolder"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent"
   android:layout_below="@+id/layoutInfo"
   android:background="@android:color/white" />

Now you can define the in the fragment to make map in this FrameLayout named “fragmentHolder”,

private void replaceMapFragment() {
   CustomMapFragment mapFragment = CustomMapFragment.newInstance(LocationFragment.this);
   LocationFragment
           .this.getChildFragmentManager()
           .beginTransaction()
           .replace(R.id.fragmentHolder, mapFragment)
           .commitAllowingStateLoss();
}

We receive the data about locations in a List containing longitude, latitude, name and room number of the locations. Find the sample result in Open Event format. Here is how we fill in the locations,

for (int i = 0; i < locations.size(); i++) {
   Location location = locations.get(i);
   LatLng position = new LatLng(location.getLat(), location.getLon());
   mGoogleMap.addMarker(new MarkerOptions().position(position));

   if (i == 0) {
       CameraPosition camPos = new CameraPosition(position, ZOOM_LEVEL, TILT_LEVEL, BEARING_LEVEL);
       mGoogleMap.moveCamera(CameraUpdateFactory.newCameraPosition(camPos));
       fillTextViews(location);
   }
}

The CameraPostition defines the properties like Zoom level which can be adjusted by changing the parameters. You can define the like this,

private static final int ZOOM_LEVEL = 15;
private static final int TILT_LEVEL = 0;
private static final int BEARING_LEVEL = 0;

Find the complete implementation here. Here is the screenshot for the final result.

References:

  • Google Map APIs Documentation – https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/android-api/map-with-marker