Using Two-Way Data Binding in Open Event Organizer Android App:

Data Binding is the simple approach which relieves developers of repeated findViewById() calls. It is something that every developer must use if not using ButterKnife.

The Open Event Organizer Android App provides options to fill in an extensive set of details while creating an event, or any other entities. The problem at hand is that many of these options are common to many of these entities. For instance, currently the element date-time-picker and text fields are common to elements of different forms, as each one of them requires date-time checkboxes.

We need to be able to <include> a separate smaller and reusable layout file and bind event data to make the code shorter. This would help decreasing unnecessary code base and improving code readability.

We will see how using 2 way data binding and <include> tags in the small PR #929 reduced the code of 112 lines to just 9 lines:

Step 1: Configuration:

The very first step is to configure your project to enable data bindings in your
build.gradle (Module:app) file.

dataBinding should be included as follows:

android {
   // Rest of gradle file…
   dataBinding {
   enabled true
   }    // Rest of gradle file…
}

Step 2: Import and variable tags:

Data Binding uses the tag <data> to signify the data which will be referred to in lambda expressions inside the XML.

We also need to import any class, whose methods we need to use. This can be done using the <import> tag.

Finally, the <variable> tag is used to define any variables that will be referenced in the XML.

 

<data>
  <import type=”android.view.View” />
  <variable
      name=“date”
      type=”String” />
  <variable
      name=“label”
      type=”String“/>
</data>

Step 3: Binding the declared variables:

Data binding recognizes methods of the type set<variable>, where <variable> is event in our case.

We need to use  executePendingBindings();  so that any pending bindings are done and the UI of our app responds correctly as soon as the view data is updated.

@Override
public void showResult(Event event) {
  binding.setEvent(event);
  binding.executePendingBindings();
}

Step 4: Using the declared variables:

Making use of the declared variables is a very simple task and is as simple as a java statement. You can do almost everything that’s possible in the java file, the only constraint being that the used variables are declared in the xml and binded appropriately.

Most of the data binding expressions use data binding to condense the expression to its smallest possible form.

<LinearLayout
  android:layout_width=“match_parent”
  android:layout_height=“wrap_content”
  android:padding=“@dimen/spacing_extra_small”
  android:orientation=“horizontal”
  android:visibility=“@{ picker.checked ? View.VISIBLE : View.GONE }”>

2 Way Data Binding

In case of the Organizer App, we are using 2 way data binding.

Data Binding allows us to do much more than just set text in TextView or create listener in Button. If we want to use EditText and automatically update text variable in java code, we need to use observable fields and two way binding.

Thus, most variables like date, event that we are binding, are Observable fields.

* Sometimes there’s a use case of using a variable declared in another layout file.

For example, in:

<org.fossasia.openevent.app.ui.views.DatePicker
  style=“?attr/borderlessButtonStyle”
  android:layout_width=“wrap_content”
  android:layout_height=“wrap_content”
  android:textColor=“@color/purple_500”
  app:value=“@={ date }” />

The variable date isn’t binded in the java file but the xml files which include the layout time_picker.xml

Using the <include> tag:

The include tag is very simple to use, and we can simply bind the date and label element. The event_create_form.xml binds the variable using the bind attribute like this:

<include
  layout=“@layout/time_picker”
  bind:date=“@={ event.startsAt }”
  bind:label=“@{ @string/starts_at }”/>

The most common error you will face:

Often, when there’s something wrong with the XML, the most common error you will face is:

“Cannot resolve Data Binding class…”

This error is because Android Studio couldn’t generate the Data Binding class for your XML file because of some error. Presently, it doesn’t give much details about what’s wrong, so you’ll have to look for the errors yourselves.

The most common mistake newbie developers make is forgetting to bind the variables appropriately.

References:

Android Developer Guide:

https://developer.android.com/topic/libraries/data-binding/

Continue Reading

Implementation of Sponsors API in Open Event Organizer Android App

New contributors to this project are sometimes not experienced with the set of libraries and MVP pattern which this app uses. This blog post is an attempt to walk a new contributor through some parts of the code of the app by implementing an operation for an endpoint of the API. We’ll be implementing the sponsor endpoint.

Open Event Organizer Android app uses a robust architecture. It is presently using the MVP (Model-View-Presenter) architecture. Therefore, this blog post aims at giving some brief insights to the app architecture through the implementation Sponsor endpoint. This blog post will focus only on one operation of the endpoint – the list operation – so as to make the post short enough.

This blog post relates to Pull Request #901 of Open Event Organizer App.

Project structure:

These are the parts of the project structure where major updates will be made for the implementation of Sponsor endpoint:

core

data

Setting up elements in the data module for the respective endpoint

Sponsor.java

@Data
@Builder
@Type(“sponsor”)
@AllArgsConstructor
@JsonNaming(PropertyNamingStrategy.KebabCaseStrategy.class)
@EqualsAndHashCode(callSuper = false, exclude = { “sponsorDelegate”, “checking” })
@Table(database = OrgaDatabase.class)
public class Sponsor extends AbstractItem<Sponsor, SponsorsViewHolder> implements Comparable<Sponsor>, HeaderProvider {

   @Delegate(types = SponsorDelegate.class)
   private final SponsorDelegateImpl sponsorDelegate = new         SponsorDelegateImpl(this);

This class uses Lombok, Jackson, RaizLabs-DbFlow, extends AbstractItem class (from Fast Adapter) and implements Comparable and HeaderProvider.

All the annotations processor help us reduce boilerplate code.

From the Lombok plugin, we are using:

Lombok has annotations to generate Getters, Setters, Constructors, toString(), Equal() and hashCode() methods. Thus, it is very efficient in reducing boilerplate code

@Getter,  @Setter, @ToString, @EqualsAndHashCode

@Data is a shortcut annotation that bundles the features of @Getter, @Setter, @ToString and @EqualsAndHashCode

The @Delegate is used for direct calls to the methods that are annotated with it, to the specified delegate. It basically separates the model class from other methods which do not pertain to data.

Jackson

@JsonNaming – used to choose the naming strategies for properties in serialization, overriding the default. For eg:  KEBAB_CASE, LOWER_CASE, SNAKE_CASE, UPPER_CAMEL_CASE

@JsonNaming(PropertyNamingStrategy.KebabCaseStrategy.class)

@JsonProperty – used to store the variable from JSON schema as the given variable name. So, “type” from JSON will be stored as sponsorType.

@JsonProperty(“type”)
public String sponsorType;

RaizLabs-DbFlow

DbFlow uses model classes which must be annotated using the annotations provided by the library. The basic annotations are – @Table, @PrimaryKey, @Column, @ForeignKey etc.

These will create a table named attendee with the columns and the relationships annotated.

SponsorDelegate.java and SponsorDelegateImpl.java

The above are required only for method declarations of the classes and interfaces that Sponsor.java extends or implements. These basically separate the required method overrides from the base item class.

public class SponsorDelegateImpl extends AbstractItem<Sponsor, SponsorsViewHolder> implements SponsorDelegate {

SponsorRepository.java and SponsorRepositoryImpl.java

A Repository mediates between the domain and data mapping layers, acting like an in-memory domain object collection. Client objects construct query specifications declaratively and submit them to Repository for satisfaction. Objects can be added to and removed from the Repository, as they can from a simple collection of objects, and the mapping code encapsulated by the Repository will carry out the appropriate operations behind the scenes.

public interface SponsorRepository {
  @NonNull
  Observable<Sponsor> getSponsors(long eventId, boolean reload);
}

Presently the app uses MVP architecture and the core package contains respective Views and their Presenters, whereas the data package contains the Model implementation.

To understand Observable, one will need to dive in RxJava. This video of a presentation by Jake Wharton can be a great start.

So, basically Observables represent sources of data, and whenever there is a change in our observable, i.e. our data, it fires an event and we get to know about it only if we have subscribed to it.

Setting up elements in core module (views and presenters)

Presently the app uses MVP architecture and the core package contains respective Views and Presenters for different properties of an event.

SponsorView.java

public interface SponsorsView extends Progressive, Erroneous, Refreshable, Emptiable<Sponsor> {
}

SponsorsFragment.java

This is a simple Fragment that extends BaseFragment (a generic fragment class predefined in the project) and implements SponsorView interface.

SponsorsListAdapter.java

A simple adapter for a RecyclerView.

SponsorsPresenter.java

The presenter is the middle-man between model and view. All your presentation logic belongs to it. A Presenter in a MVP architecture is responsible for querying the model and updating the view, reacting to user interactions and updating the model.

In this Presenter we have used the @Inject annotation and some RxJava code:

@Inject
public SponsorsPresenter(SponsorRepository sponsorRepository, DatabaseChangeListener<Sponsor> sponsorChangeListener) {
  this.sponsorRepository = sponsorRepository;
  this.sponsorChangeListener = sponsorChangeListener;
}

The @Inject annotation is used to request dependencies. It can be used on a constructor, a field, or a method. If you annotate a constructor with @Inject, Dagger 2 can also use an instance of this object to fulfill dependencies. Note that we are not instantiating any object here ourselves.

Some RxJava part, which is not in the scope of this blog.

private void listenChanges() {
  sponsorChangeListener.startListening();
  sponsorChangeListener.getNotifier()
      .compose(dispose(getDisposable()))
      .map(DbFlowDatabaseChangeListener.ModelChange::getAction)
      .filter(action -> action.equals(BaseModel.Action.INSERT))
      .subscribeOn(Schedulers.io())
      .subscribe(sponsorModelChange -> loadSponsors(false), Logger::logError);
}

 

public void loadSponsors(boolean forceReload) {
  getSponsorSource(forceReload)
      .compose(dispose(getDisposable()))
      .compose(progressiveErroneousRefresh(getView(), forceReload))
      .toList()
      .compose(emptiable(getView(), sponsors))
      .subscribe(Logger::logSuccess, Logger::logError);
}

Make changes to Dependency Injection modules

We are using Dagger for Dependency Injection, and therefore we need to update the modules that provide endpoint specific objects.

This video and this blog are a great start to learn about dependency injection using dagger.

Dependency injection is a technique whereby one object supplies the dependencies of another object. A dependency is an object that can be used (a service). An injection is the passing of a dependency to a dependent object (a client) that would use it. The service is made part of the client’s state. Passing the service to the client, rather than allowing a client to build or find the service, is the fundamental requirement of the pattern.(source)

Dependency Injection in built upon the concept of Inversion of Control. Which says that a class should get its dependencies from outside. In simple words, no class should instantiate another class but should get the instances from a configuration class.

Dagger 2 analyzes the dependencies for you and generates code to help wire them together.  It relies purely on using Java annotation processors and compile-time checks to analyze and verify dependencies. It is considered to be one of the most efficient dependency injection frameworks built to date.

@Provides is basically required to specify that the annotated method returns an object that should be available for injection to dependencies using @Inject

@Singleton annotation signals to the Dagger compiler that the instance should be created only once in the application.

@Binds annotation is a replacement for @Provides methods that simply returns an injected parameter. Its generated implementation is likely to be more efficient. A method annotated with @Binds must be: abstract.

ApiModule.java

@Provides
@Singleton
SponsorApi providesSponsorApi(Retrofit retrofit) {    return retrofit.create(SponsorApi.class);
}    

ChangeListenerModule.java

@Provides
DatabaseChangeListener<Sponsor> providesSponsorChangeListener() {
   return new DbFlowDatabaseChangeListener<>(Sponsor.class);
}

NetworkModule.java

@Provides
Class[] providesMappedClasses() {
   return new Class[]{Event.class, Attendee.class, Ticket.class, User.class,
   EventStatistics.class, Faq.class, Copyright.class, Feedback.class,           Track.class, Session.class, Sponsor.class};
   }

RepoModule.java

@Binds
@Singleton
abstract SponsorRepository bindsSponsorRepository(SponsorRepositoryImpl sponsorRepositoryImpl);

MainFragmentBuilderModule.java

@ContributesAndroidInjector
abstract SponsorsFragment contributeSponsorsFragment();

Also remember to make this change to FragmentNavigator.java

case R.id.nav_sponsor:
fragment = SponsorsFragment.newInstance(eventId);
break;

XML resources to be added:

  1. sponsors_item.xml
  2. sponsors_fragment.xml
  3. Make changes to activity_main_drawer.xml to include “sponsors” option.

Here’s what the result looks like:

References:

Lombok Plugin: https://blog.fossasia.org/using-lombok-to-reduce-boilerplate-code-in-open-event-android-app/

Jackson: https://blog.fossasia.org/shrinking-model-classes-boilerplate-in-open-event-android-projects/

RaizLabs DbFlow: https://blog.fossasia.org/persistence-layer-in-open-event-organizer-android-app/

Dependency Injection:
https://medium.com/@harivigneshjayapalan/dagger-2-for-android-beginners-di-part-i-f5cc4e5ad878

Continue Reading
  • 1
  • 2
Close Menu