Making Custom Change Listeners in PSLab Android

In this post we are going to learn how to make custom change listeners. There are many use cases for custom change listeners like if you want to initiate some action when some variable’s value is changed. In PSLab android app, this was required during initialisation of PSLab hardware device, it takes about 3-4 seconds to initialise the device which includes reading calibration data from device and process it. So before starting the initialisation process, app notifies user with the message, “Initialising Wait …” and after initialisation is done, user is notified with the message “Initialisation Completed”.

There might be other ways to accomplish this but I found making a custom change listener for boolean and trigger notifying user action on change of boolean value to be most organised way to do it.

Another way I can think of is to pass the fragment reference to the class  constructor for which the object is to be made. And Views need to be made public for access from that object to change status after some work is done.

Let’s look at an example, we would change status in a fragment after some task in object instantiation is completed.

Implementation

Class with variable on which custom change listener is required:
Create a class and declare a variable for which you want to listen the value change to trigger some action. In this example we have created a InitializationVariable class and defined a boolean variable named initialised.

Define an interface inside the class and that’s where the trick lies. When you set/change the value of the variable through a function setVariable(boolean value) in this case, note that we are triggering the interface method too.

public class InitializationVariable {

   public boolean initialised = false;
   private onValueChangeListener valueChangeListener;

   public boolean isInitialised() {
       return initialised;
   }

   public void setVariable(boolean value) {
       initialised = value;
       if (valueChangeListener != null) valueChangeListener.onChange();
   }

   public onValueChangeListener getValueChangeListener() {
       return valueChangeListener;
   }

   public void setValueChangeListener(onValueChangeListener valueChangeListener) {
       this.valueChangeListener = valueChangeListener;
   }

   public interface onValueChangeListener {
       void onChange();
   }

}

Create an object of above class in activity/fragment:
Create an object to the class we just made and attach onValueChangeListener to it. This example shows how it’s used in PSLab Android, you can use it anywhere but remember to access view elements from a valid context.

public static InitializationVariable booleanVariable;
public class HomeFragment extends Fragment {

   @BindView(R.id.tv_initialisation_status)
   TextView tvInitializationStatus;

   public static InitializationVariable booleanVariable;// object whose value change is noted

   public static HomeFragment newInstance() {
       HomeFragment homeFragment = new HomeFragment();
       return homeFragment;
   }

   @Nullable
   @Override
   public View onCreateView(LayoutInflater inflater, @Nullable ViewGroup container, @Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState) {
       View view = inflater.inflate(R.layout.home_fragment, container, false);
       unbinder = ButterKnife.bind(this, view);
       return view;
   }

   @Override
   public void onViewCreated(View view, @Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState) {
       super.onViewCreated(view, savedInstanceState);

       booleanVariable.setValueChangeListener(new InitializationVariable.onValueChangeListener() {
           @Override
           public void onChange() {
               if (booleanVariable.isInitialised())
                   tvInitializationStatus.setText("Initialsation Completed");
               else
                   tvInitializationStatus.setText("Initialising Wait ...");
           }
       });
  }
}

Now whenever booleanVariable.setVariable(value) is called, it triggers the onValueChangeListener where you can manage the action you wanted to do on value change.
This is similar to how other listeners are implemented .You implement an interface and call those interface methods on some value change and classes which implement those interface have overridden methods which handle the action after change.

Hopefully this post gives you an insight about how change listeners are implemented.

Note: This post was specific to PSLab Android App, you can create custom change listener on any variable in any class and perform action on value of the variable getting changed.

Resources

Opening Local HTML Files in PSLab Android App

The PSLab Android App allows users to perform experiments using the PSLab device. The experience to perform an experiment should resemble the generic way to perform the experiment. So we associated an Experiment Doc file which the user can refer to while performing experiment. Just like a regular lab manual, the experiment doc contains the AIM, THEORY & FORMULAS, SCHEMATIC, OUTPUT, etc. In the PSLab Desktop App, since there was already a provision for using HTML docs and so I  avoided reinventing the wheel and used those html files as it is.

    

The problem we faced was how to open a bunch of HTML files with their corresponding CSS, JS files in Android’s webView.

There are two ways it can be done:

  • Host the experiment docs on a server and make a request from the android app for the specific experiment doc like Diode I-V, Zener I-V, etc.
  • Put the folder containing all html, CSS, js files in assets folder and request for the HTML doc files locally.

The PSLab developer team went with the second option as the availability of  Internet  is necessary for the performing experiment if we follow the first option and so to avoid this dependence on the Internet, we went with the second option and stored HTML docs locally in assets folder.

Implementation

  • Put the folder containing all the HTML, CSS, JS files in the assets folder in your android project. In this case the folder is DOC_HTML.

  • Define the WebView in xml and take the webView’s reference in your activity/fragment
    In xml
<WebView
   android:id="@+id/perform_experiment_wv"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent" />

In activity/fragment

webView = (WebView) view.findViewById(R.id.perform_experiment_wv);
  • Load the url in webView in the format as shown below
webView.loadUrl("file:///android_asset/DOC_HTML/apps/" + htmlFile);

“file:///” acts as resource identifier, so file:///android_asset/ actually points to “pslab-android/app/src/main/assets/”.
From the assets directory, we can a provide route to any HTML file. Here I put all HTML files in apps folder and used the string variable “htmlFile” to point to the specific html file.

Similarly html files stored in the external storage can also be accessed but there are some cases you need to handle. For example,if external storage is mounted, you can’t request the html file from external storage.

To request html files from external storage, make sure that you have the following permission in your AndroidManifest.xml

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
String baseDir = Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory().getAbsolutePath();

Relative to baseDir you can specify the path from your html files, like

baseDir + “DOC_HTML/apps” + htmlFile

Conclusion

Putting HTML files in the assets folder and requesting it by webView’s loadURL() method is the best but there are various drawbacks of using this method like the increase in size of the apk. In our case, the normal apk size was 3MB but after adding the html doc folder it increased to 7MB. It increased by almost an additional size of the html folder added in assets. As it’s written, in the android’s project overview guide, the assets folder contains files that should be compiled into an .apk file as-is.

Resources

Getting Response Feedback In SUSI.AI Web Chat

The SUSI.AI Web Chat provides responses for various queries, but the quality of responses it not always the best possible. Machine learning and deep learning algorithms will help us to solve this step by step. In order to implement machine learning, we need feedback mechanisms. The first step in this direction is to provide users with a way to give feedback to responses with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. In this blog, I explain how we fetch the feedback of responses from the server.

On asking a query like tell me a quote, Susi responses with following message:

Now the user can rate the response by pressing thumbs up or thumbs down button. We store this response on the server. For getting this count of feedback we use the following endpoint:

BASE_URL+'/cms/getSkillRating.json?'+'model='+model+'&group='+group+'&skill='+skill;

Here:

  • BASE_URL: Base URL of our server: http://api.susi.ai/
  • model: Model of the skill from which response is fetched. For example “general”.
  • group: The group of the skill from which response is fetched. For example “entertainment”.
  • skill: name of the skill from which response is fetched. For example “quotes”.

We make an ajax call to the server to fetch the data:

$.ajax({
          url: getFeedbackEndPoint,
          dataType: 'jsonp',
          crossDomain: true,
          timeout: 3000,
          async: false,
          success: function (data) {
            console.log(getFeedbackEndPoint)
            console.log(data);
            if(data.accepted) {
              let positiveCount = data.skill_rating.positive;
              let negativeCount = data.skill_rating.negative;
              receivedMessage.positiveFeedback = positiveCount;
              receivedMessage.negativeFeedback = negativeCount;
            }

}

In the success function, we receive the data, which is in jsonp format. We parse this to get the desired result and store it in variable positiveCount and negativeCount. An example of data response is :

In the client, we can get value corresponding to positive and negative key as follows :

let positiveCount = data.skill_rating.positive;
let negativeCount = data.skill_rating.negative;

This way we can fetch the positive and negative counts corresponding to a particular response. This data can be used in many ways, for example:

  • It can be used to display the number of positive and negative count next to the thumbs:

  • It can be used in machine learning algorithms to improve the response that SUSI.AI provides.

Resources:

Testing Link:

http://chat.susi.ai/

Hiding Intelligence of Susper When a Query is Empty or Erased with Angular

Recently, we have implemented intelligence feature in Susper using SUSI chat API to provide users answer a question without going deeper in search results. When a user types “height of Trump”, it shows answer like this:

Problem which we faced after implementing the feature:

When a user was erasing a query or query field was empty, Susper was still showing the answer of the intelligence component like this:

The answer should not be displayed when a query is empty because the user is not asking any question. The answer was still displayed because it had received a response from SUSI API.

How did we solve the problem?

The problem was solved in two ways.

  1. By using if/else condition: We checked if the statement shown inside the component is similar to the if-and-else condition. If the condition is true, it should hide the component.
  2. Using [hidden] attribute method: The Angular 4 supports [hidden] attribute which acts as { display:none; } . [hidden] attribute generally works as ngShow and ngHide which was earlier supported by Angular 2.

We preferred both the methods to solve the problem. The intelligence component is being loaded inside results component using <app-intelligence> element. Further, we added [hidden] attribute to this element like this :

<appintelligence [hidden]=“hideIntelligence”></app-intelligence>
We created hideIntelligence as variable and assign it as boolean. To check if a query is empty, searchdata variable was used.
searchdata: any = {
  query: ‘ ‘,
  rows: 10,
  start: 0
};
And then checked if a query is empty using if-else condition :
// checks if query is empty or erased
if (this.searchdata.query === ‘ ‘) {// display: none; is true
  this.hideIntelligence = true;

} else {
// display: none; is false
  this.hideIntelligence = false;
}

 

Applying this solution, we succeeded in hiding the intelligence component. We would also had used *ngIf statement but we preferred using [hidden]. [hidden] modifies the display property.  *ngIf is a structural directive which creates or destroys content inside DOM.

The source code for the implementation can be found here: https://github.com/fossasia/susper.com/pull/613

Resources:

 

Customizing Serializers in Open Event Front-end

Open Event Front-end project primarily uses Ember Data for API requests, which handles sending the request to correct endpoint, serializing and deserializing the request/response. The Open Event API project uses JSON API specs for implementation of the API, supported by Ember data.

While sending request we might want to customize the payload using a custom serializer. While implementing the Users API in the project, we faced a similiar problem. Let’s see how we solved it.

Creating a serializer for model

A serializer is created for a model, in this example we will create a user serializer for the user model. One important thing that we must keep in mind while creating a serializer is to use same name as that of model, so that ember can map the model with the serializer. We can create a serializer using ember-cli command:

ember g serializer user

 
Customizing serializer

In Open Event Front-end project every serializer extends the base serializer application.js which defines basic serialization like omitting readOnly attributes from the payload.

The user serializer provides more customization for the user model on top of application model. We override the serialize function, which lets us manipulate the payload of the request. We use `snapshot.id` to differentiate between a create request & an update request. If `snapshot.id` exists then it is an update request else it is a create request.

While manipulation user properties like email, contact etc we do not need to pass ‘password’ in the payload. We make use of ‘adapterOptions’ property associated with the ‘save()’ method. If the adapterOptions are associated and the ‘includePassword’ is set then we add ‘password’ attribute to the payload.

import ApplicationSerializer from 'open-event-frontend/serializers/application';
import { pick, omit } from 'lodash';

export default ApplicationSerializer.extend({
  serialize(snapshot, options) {
    const json = this._super(...arguments);
    if (snapshot.id) {
      let attributesToOmit = [];
      if (!snapshot.adapterOptions || !snapshot.adapterOptions.includePassword) {
        attributesToOmit.push('password');
      }
      json.data.attributes = omit(json.data.attributes, attributesToOmit);
    } else if (options && options.includeId) {
      json.data.attributes = pick(json.data.attributes, ['email', 'password']);
    }
    return json;
  }
});

If we want to add the password in the payload we can simply add ‘includePassword’ property to the ‘adapterOptions’ and pass it in the save method for operations like changing the password of the user.

user.save({
  adapterOptions: {
    includePassword: true
  }
})

Thank you for reading the blog, you can check the source code for the example here.
Resources

Learn more about how to customize serializers in ember data here

Adding Event Overview Route in Open Event Frontend

In Open Event Frontend we have an event overview route which is like a mini dashboard for an event where information regarding event sponsors, general info, roles, tickets, event setup etc. is present. All of the information is present in their corresponding components and this dashboard is made up of those components. To create this dashboard we will first create its components.

To create a component we will use following ember command-

ember -g component <component-name>

This command will give us three files: a template, a component and a test file corresponding to that component. We will use this command to generate all our components.

Now let’s discuss each component separately and see how many of them are combined to form this route-

The event-setup-checklist component contains semantic ui’s steps to maintain checklist of basic-details, sponsors, session & microlocation, call for speakers, session and speakers form customization so that it becomes easy to identify which step is complete and which is not.

Next is general-info component which shows basic information about an event like start-time, end-time, location, number of speakers, number of sponsors etc. It also shows whether the event is live or not.

In manage-roles component, manage the role for a given person, add people and assign different roles to them, edit roles for different people. Also we can see who are invited for a given role and who accepted them.

In event-sponsors component we manage the sponsors for the event, edit an existing sponsor, add a new sponsor with their logo, name, type and level. Also we can delete an existing sponsor.

Next is the ticket component which displays the details of number of orders, number of tickets sold, and total sales. Also it displays the number of types of tickets are sold.

Next is our app-component which has two choices. First is to generate android app for the event and second is to generate webapp of the event.

And finally in our view.index template, we add these components using ui stackable grid layout. Whenever we want to conditionally show or hide a component, we can do that in our event.index template and hence it becomes very easy to manage huge amounts content on a single page.

Resources

File Upload Validations on Open Event Frontend

In Open Event Frontend we have used semantics ui’s form validations to validate different fields of a form. There are certain instances in our app where the user has to upload a file and it is to be validated against the suggested format before uploading it to the server. Here we will discuss how to perform the validation.

Semantics ui allows us to validate by facilitating pass of an object along with rules for its validation. For fields like email and contact number we can pass type as email and number respectively but for validation of file we have to pass a regular expression with allowed extension.The following walks one through the process.

fields : {
  file: {
    identifier : 'file',
    rules      : [
      {
        type   : 'empty',
        prompt : this.l10n.t('Please upload a file')
      },
      {
        type   : 'regExp',
        value  : '/^(.*.((zip|xml|ical|ics|xcal)$))?[^.]*$/i',
        prompt : this.l10n.t('Please upload a file in suggested format')
      }
    ]
  }
}

Here we have passed file element (which is to be validated) inside our fields object identifier, which for this field is ‘file’, and can be identified by its id, name or data-validate property of the field element. After that we have passed an array of rules against which the field element is validated. First rule gives an error message in the prompt field in case of an empty field.

The next rule checks for allowed file extensions for the file. The type of the rule will be regExp as we are passing a regular expression which is as follows-

/^(.*.((zip|xml|ical|ics|xcal)$))?[^.]*$/i

It is little complex to explain it from the beginning so let us breakdown it from end-

 

$ Matches end of the string
[^.]* Negated set. Match any character not in this set. * represents 0 or more preceding token
( … )? Represents if there is something before (the last ?)
.*.((zip|xml|ical|ics|xcal)$) This is first capturing group ,it contains tocken which are combined to create a capture group ( zip|xml|ical|ics|xcal ) to extract a substring
^ the beginning of the string

Above regular expression filters all the files with zip/xml/ical/xcal extensions which are the allowed format for the event source file.

References

  • Ivaylo Gerchev blog on form validation in semantic ui
  • Drmsite blog on semantic ui form validation
  • Semantic ui form validation docs
  • Stackoverflow regex for file extension

Plotting Digital Logic Lines In PSLab Android App

The PSLab device offers the Logic Analyzer functionality. A Logic Analyzer is a laboratory instrument that can capture and display digital signals from a digital system or circuit. It is similar to what an oscilloscope is for analog signals and is used to study timing relationship between different logic lines. It plots the logic lines/timing diagram which tells us the information about the state of the Digital System at any instant of time. For example, in the image below we can study the states of digital signals from channels ID1, ID2, ID3 at different times and find parameters like the propagation delay. It’s also used to find errors in Integrated Circuits (ICs) and debug logic circuits.

How I plotted ideal logic lines using MPAndroid Chart library?

Conventional method of adding data points results in the plot as illustrated in the image below. By conventional method I mean basically adding Y-axis (logic state) values corresponding to X-axis values (timestamp).

Result with normal adding and plotting data-points

In the above plot, logic lines follow non-ideal behaviour i.e they take some time in changing their state from high to low. This non-ideal behaviour of these lines increases when the user zooms in graph to analyse timestamps.

Solution to how we can achieve ideal behaviour of logic lines:

A better solution is to make use of timestamps for generating logic lines i.e time instants at which logic made a transition from HIGH -> LOW or LOW -> HIGH. Lets try to figure out with an example:

Timestamps = { 1, 3, 5, 8, 12 } and initial state is HIGH ( i.e at t = 0, it’s HIGH ). This implies that at t = 1, transition from HIGH to LOW took place so at t = 0, it’s HIGH, t = 1 it’s both HIGH and LOW,  at t = 2 it’s LOW.
Now at t = 0 & t = 2, you can simple put y = 1 and 0 respectively. But how do you add data-point for t = 1. Trick is to see how transition is taking place, if it’s HIGH to LOW then add first 1 for t = 1 and then 0 for t = 1.
So the set of points look something like this:

( Y, X ) ( LOGIC , TIME ) -> ( 1, 0 ) ( 1, 1 ) ( 0, 1) ( 0, 2 ) ( 0, 3 ) ( 1, 3 )  ( 1, 4 ) …

Code snippet for adding coordinates in this fashion:

int[] time = timeStamps.get(j);
for (int i = 0; i < time.length; i++) {
   if (initialState) {
       // Transition from HIGH -> LOW
       tempInput.add(new Entry(time[i], 1));
       tempInput.add(new Entry(time[i], 0));
   } else {
       // Transition from LOW -> HIGH
       tempInput.add(new Entry(time[i], 0));
       tempInput.add(new Entry(time[i], 1));
   }

   // changing state variable
   initialState = !initialState;
}

After adding data-points in above mentioned way, we obtained ideal logic lines successfully as illustrated in the image given below

Resources

Adding JSONAPI Support in Open Event Android App

The Open Event API Server exposes a well documented JSONAPI compliant REST API that can be used in The Open Even App Generator and Frontend to access and manipulate data. So it is also needed to add support of JSONAPI in external services like The Open Even App Generator and Frontend. In this post I explain how to add JSONAPI support in Android.

There are many client libraries to implement JSONAPI support in Android or Java like moshi-jsonapi, morpheus etc. You can find the list here. The main problem is most of the libraries require to inherit attributes from Resource model but in the Open Event Android App we already inherit from a RealmObject class and in Java we can’t inherit from more than one model or class. So we will be using the jsonapi-converter library which uses annotation processing to add JSONAPI support.

1. Add dependency

In order to use jsonapi-converter in your app add following dependencies in your app module’s build.gradle file.

dependencies {
	compile 'com.github.jasminb:jsonapi-converter:0.7'
}

2.  Write model class

Models will be used to represent requests and responses. To support JSONAPI we need to take care of followings when writing the models.

  • Each model class must be annotated with com.github.jasminb.jsonapi.annotations.Type annotation
  • Each class must contain a String attribute annotated with com.github.jasminb.jsonapi.annotations.Id annotation
  • All relationships must be annotated with com.github.jasminb.jsonapi.annotations.Relationship annotation

In the Open Event Android we have so many models like event, session, track, microlocation, speaker etc. Here I am only defining track model because of its simplicity and less complexity.

@Type("track")
public class Track extends RealmObject {

        	@Id(IntegerIdHandler.class)
        	private int id;
        	private String name;
        	private String description;
        	private String color;
        	private String fontColor;
        	@Relationship("sessions")
        	private RealmList<Session> sessions;

        	//getters and setters
}

Jsonapi-converter uses Jackson for data parsing. To know how to use Jackson for parsing follow my previous blog.

Type annotation is used to instruct the serialization/deserialization library on how to process given model class. Each resource must have the id attribute. Id annotation is used to flag an attribute of a class as an id attribute. In above class the id attribute is int so we need to specify IntegerIdHandler class which is ResourceHandler in the annotation. Relationship annotation is used to designate other resource types as a relationship. The value in the Relationship annotation should be as per JSONAPI specification of the server. In the Open Event Project each track has the sessions so we need to add a Relationship annotation for it.

3.  Setup API service and retrofit

After defining models, define API service interface as you would usually do with standard JSON APIs.

public interface OpenEventAPI {
    @GET("tracks?include=sessions&fields[session]=title")
    Call<List<Track>> getTracks();
}

Now create an ObjectMapper & a retrofit object and initialize them.

ObjectMapper objectMapper = OpenEventApp.getObjectMapper();
Class[] classes = {Track.class, Session.class};

OpenEventAPI openEventAPI = new Retrofit.Builder()
                    .client(okHttpClient)
                    .baseUrl(Urls.BASE_URL)
                    .addConverterFactory(new JSONAPIConverterFactory(objectMapper, classes))
                    .build()
                    .create(OpenEventAPI.class);

 

The classes array instance contains a list of all the model classes which will be supported by this retrofit builder and API service. Here the main task is to add a JSONAPIConverterFactory which will be used to serialize and deserialize data according to JSONAPI specification. The JSONAPIConverterFactory constructor takes two parameters ObjectMapper and list of classes.

4.  Use API service  

Now after setting up all the things according to above steps, you can use the openEventAPI instance to fetch data from the server.

openEventAPI.getTracks();

Conclusion

JSON API is designed to minimize both the number of requests and the amount of data transmitted between clients and servers

Keep updating Build status in Meilix Generator

One of the problems we faced while working Meilix Generator was to provide user with the status of the custom ISO build in the Meilix Generator web app so we came up with the idea of checking the status of the link generated by the web app. If the link is available the status code would be 200 otherwise it would be 404.

We have used python script for checking the status of URL. For generating URL, we use the tag name which will be used as a variable to generate the URL of the unique event user wants the ISO for and the date will help in generation of link rest of the link remains the same.

tag = os.environ["TRAVIS_TAG"]
date = datetime.datetime.now().strftime('%Y%m%d')
url=https://github.com/xeon-zolt/meilix/releases/download/"+tag+"/meilix-zesty-"+date+"-i386.iso"

 

Now we will use urllib for monitoring the status of link.

req = Request(url)
    try:
        response = urlopen(req)
    except HTTPError as e:
        return('Building Your Iso')
    except URLError as e:
        return('We failed to reach the server.')
    else:
        return('Build Sucessful : ' + url)

 

After monitoring the status the next step was to update the status dynamically on the status page.

So we’llll use a status function in the flask app which is used by JavaScript to get status of the link after intervals of time.

Flask :

@app.route('/now')
def status_url():
    return (status())

 

Javascript:

<script type ="text/javascript">
let url ="/now"
function getstatus(url)
{
    fetch(url).then(function(response){
        return response.text()
    }).then(function(text){
        console.log("status",text)
        document.querySelector("div#status")
        .innerHTML = text
    })
    }
window.onload = function(){
    fetch(url).then(function(response){
        return response.text()
    }).then(function(text){
        console.log("status",text)
        document.querySelector("div#status")
        .innerHTML = text
    })
    window.setInterval(getstatus.bind(null,url),30*1000)
}
/*setInterval(function,interval in millsecs)*/
</script>

 

This covers various steps to prompt user whether the build is ready or not.

Resource