Link Preview Holder on SUSI.AI Android Chat

SUSI Android contains several view holders which binds a view based on its type, and one of them is LinkPreviewHolder. As the name suggests it is used for previewing links in the chat window. As soon as it receives an input as of link it inflates a link preview layout. The problem which exists was that whenever a user inputs a link as an input to app, it crashed. It crashed because it tries to inflate component that doesn’t exists in the view that is given to ViewHolder. So it gave a Null pointer Exception, due to which the app crashed. The work around for fixing this bug was that based on the type of user it will inflate the layout and its components. Let’s see how all functionalities were implemented in the LinkPreviewHolder class.

Components of LinkPreviewHolder

@BindView(R.id.text)
public TextView text;
@BindView(R.id.background_layout)
public LinearLayout backgroundLayout;
@BindView(R.id.link_preview_image)
public ImageView previewImageView;
@BindView(R.id.link_preview_title)
public TextView titleTextView;
@BindView(R.id.link_preview_description)
public TextView descriptionTextView;
@BindView(R.id.timestamp)
public TextView timestampTextView;
@BindView(R.id.preview_layout)
public LinearLayout previewLayout;
@Nullable @BindView(R.id.received_tick)
public ImageView receivedTick;
@Nullable
@BindView(R.id.thumbs_up)
protected ImageView thumbsUp;
@Nullable
@BindView(R.id.thumbs_down)
protected ImageView thumbsDown;

Currently in this it binds the view components with the associated id using declarator @BindView(id)

Instantiates the class with a constructor

public LinkPreviewViewHolder(View itemView , ClickListener listener) {
   super(itemView, listener);
   realm = Realm.getDefaultInstance();
   ButterKnife.bind(this,itemView);
}

Here it binds the current class with the view passed in the constructor using ButterKnife and initiates the ClickListener.

Now it is to set the components described above in the setView function:

Spanned answerText;
text.setLinksClickable(true);
text.setMovementMethod(LinkMovementMethod.getInstance());
if (android.os.Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= Build.VERSION_CODES.N) {
answerText = Html.fromHtml(model.getContent(), Html.FROM_HTML_MODE_COMPACT);
} else {
answerText = Html.fromHtml(model.getContent());
}

Sets the textView inside the view with a clickable link. Version checking also has been put for checking the version of Android (Above Nougat or not) and implement the function accordingly.

This ViewHolder will inflate different components based on the thing that who has requested the output. If the query wants to inflate the LinkPreviewHolder them some extra set of components will get inflated which need not be inflated for the response apart from the basic layout.

if (viewType == USER_WITHLINK) {
   if (model.getIsDelivered())
       receivedTick.setImageResource(R.drawable.ic_check);
   else
       receivedTick.setImageResource(R.drawable.ic_clock);
}

In the above code  received tick image resource is set according to the attribute of message is delivered or not for the Query sent by the user. These components will only get initialised when the user has sent some links.

Now comes the configuration for the result obtained from the query.  Every skill has some rating associated to it. To mark the ratings there needs to be a counter set for rating the skills, positive or negative. This code should only execute for the response and not for the query part. This is the reason for crashing of the app because the logic tries to inflate the contents of the part of response but the view that is passed belongs to query. So it gives NullPointerException there, so there is a need to separate the logic of Response from the Query.

if (viewType != USER_WITHLINK) {
   if(model.getSkillLocation().isEmpty()){
       thumbsUp.setVisibility(View.GONE);
       thumbsDown.setVisibility(View.GONE);
   } else {
       thumbsUp.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
       thumbsDown.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
   }

   if(model.isPositiveRated()){
       thumbsUp.setImageResource(R.drawable.thumbs_up_solid);
   } else {
       thumbsUp.setImageResource(R.drawable.thumbs_up_outline);
   }

   if(model.isNegativeRated()){
       thumbsDown.setImageResource(R.drawable.thumbs_down_solid);
   } else {
       thumbsDown.setImageResource(R.drawable.thumbs_down_outline);
   }

   thumbsUp.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
       @Override
       public void onClick(View view) { . . . }
   });



   thumbsDown.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
       @Override
       public void onClick(View view) { . . . }
   });

}

As you can see in the above code  it inflates the rating components (thumbsUp and thumbsDown) for the view of the SUSI.AI response and set on the clickListeners for the rating buttons. Them in the below code it previews the link and commit the data using Realm in the database through WebLink class.

LinkPreviewCallback linkPreviewCallback = new LinkPreviewCallback() {
   @Override
   public void onPre() { . . . }

   @Override
   public void onPos(final SourceContent sourceContent, boolean b) { . . . }
}

This method calls the api and set the rating of that skill on the server. On successful result it made the thumb Icon change and alter the rating method and commit those changes in the databases using Realm.

private void rateSusiSkill(final String polarity, String locationUrl, final Context context) {..}

References

Creating a Notification in Open Event Android App

It is a good practice to show user a notification for alerts and have their attention for important events they want to remember. Open Event Android app shows notifications for the actions like bookmarks, upcoming events etc. In this blog we learn how to create similar kind of alert notification.

 

Displaying notification after bookmarking a track

NotificationCompat is available as part of the Android Support Library, so the first step is opening your project’s module-level build.gradle file and adding the support library to the dependencies section. First we initialize the notification manager with the context of application so a user can see notification irrespective of where it is in app.

NotificationManager mManager = (NotificationManager) this.getApplicationContext().getSystemService(NOTIFICATION_SERVICE);
int id = intent.getIntExtra(ConstantStrings.SESSION, 0);
String session_date;
Session session = realmRepo.getSessionSync(id);

We then get the info we want to display in the notification from the intent. While adding an action to your notification is optional, the reality is that the vast majority of applications add actions to their notifications. We define a notification action using a PendingIntent. In this instance, we update our basic notification with a PendingIntent.

Intent intent1 = new Intent(this.getApplicationContext(), SessionDetailActivity.class);
intent1.putExtra(ConstantStrings.SESSION, session.getTitle());
intent1.putExtra(ConstantStrings.ID, session.getId());
intent1.putExtra(ConstantStrings.TRACK,session.getTrack().getName());
PendingIntent pendingNotificationIntent = PendingIntent.getActivity(this.getApplicationContext(), 0, intent1, PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
Bitmap largeIcon = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(getResources(), R.mipmap.ic_launcher);

We also test the condition for the OS version to display the marker image, see image 1 for reference. The minimum requirement for a notification are:

  • An icon: Create the image you want to use and then add it to you project’s ‘drawable’ folder. Here notification shows bookmark option
  • Title text. You can set a notification’s title either by referencing a string resource, or by adding the text to your notification directly.
  • Detail text. This is the most important part of your notification, so this text must include everything the user needs to understand exactly what they’re being notified about.
int smallIcon = R.drawable.ic_bookmark_white_24dp;
if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT < Build.VERSION_CODES.LOLLIPOP) smallIcon = R.drawable.ic_noti_bookmark;

String session_timings = String.format("%s - %s",
       DateConverter.formatDateWithDefault(DateConverter.FORMAT_12H, session.getStartsAt()),
       DateConverter.formatDateWithDefault(DateConverter.FORMAT_12H, session.getEndsAt()));
session_date = DateConverter.formatDateWithDefault(DateConverter.FORMAT_DATE_COMPLETE, session.getStartsAt());

Finally we build notification using notification builder having various options to set text style, small icons, big icon etc., see the complete class here,

NotificationCompat.Builder mBuilder = new NotificationCompat.Builder(this)
       .setSmallIcon(smallIcon)
       .setLargeIcon(largeIcon)
       .setContentTitle(session.getTitle())
       .setContentText(session_date + "\n" + session_timings)
       .setAutoCancel(true)
       .setStyle(new NotificationCompat.BigTextStyle().bigText(session_date + "\n" + session_timings))
       .setContentIntent(pendingNotificationIntent);
intent1.addFlags(Intent.FLAG_ACTIVITY_SINGLE_TOP | Intent.FLAG_ACTIVITY_CLEAR_TOP);

mBuilder.setSound(RingtoneManager.getDefaultUri(RingtoneManager.TYPE_NOTIFICATION));
mManager.notify(session.getId(), mBuilder.build());

References

Getting Started Developing on Phimpme Android

Phimpme is an Android app for editing photos and sharing them on social media. To participate in project start by learning how people contribute in open source, learning about the version control system Git and other tools like Codacy and Travis.

Firstly, sign up for GitHub. Secondly, find the open source projects that interest you. Now as for me I started with Phimpme. Then follow these steps:

  1. Go through the project ReadMe.md and read all the technologies and tools they are using.
  2. Now fork that repo in your account.
  3. Open the Android Studio/Other applications that are required for that project and import the project through Git.
  4. For Android Studio sync all the Gradle files and other changes and you are all done and ready for the development process.

Install the app and run it on a phone. Now explore each and every bit use this app as a tester, think about the end cases and boundary condition that will make the app ‘ANR’ (App not responding) dialog appear. Congratulations you are ready to create an issue if that is a verified and original and actually is a bug.

Next,

  • Navigate to the main repo link, you will see an issues section as follows:
  • Create a new issue and report every detail about the issue (logcat, screenshots) For eg. Refer to Issue-1120
  • Now the next step is to work on that issue
  • On your machine, you don’t have to change the code in the development branch as it’s considered to be as a bad practice. Hence checkout as a new branch.
    For eg., I checked out for the above issue as ‘crashfixed’
git checkout -b "Any branch name you want to keep"
  • Make the necessary changes to that branch and test that the code is compiling and the issue is fixed followed by
git add.
git commit -m "Fix #Issue No -Description "
git push origin branch-name
  • Now navigate to the repo and you will an option to create a Pull Request.
    Mention the Issue number and description and changes you done, include screenshots of the fixed app.For eg. Pull Request 1131.

Hence you have done your first contribution in open source while learning with git. The pull request will initiate some checks like Codacy and Travis build and then if everything works it is reviewed and merged by co-developers.

The usual way how this works is, that it should be reviewed by other co-developers. These co-developers do not need merge or write access to the repository. Any developer can review pull requests. This will also help contributors to learn about the project and make the job of core developers easier.

Resources

Creating Settings Screen in SUSI Android Using PreferenceActivity and Kotlin

An Android application often includes settings that allow the user to modify features of the app. For example, SUSI Android app allows users to specify whether they want to use in built mic to give speech input or not. Different settings in SUSI Android app and their purpose are given below

Setting                                        Purpose
Enter As Send It allows users to specify whether they want to use enter key to send message or to add new line.
Mic Input It allows users to specify whether they want to use in built mic to give speech input or not.
Speech Always It allows users to specify whether they want voice output in case of speech input or not.
Speech Output It allows users to specify whether they want speech output irrespective of input type or not.
Language It allows users to set different query language.
Reset Password It allows users to change password.
Select Server It allows users to specify whether they want to use custom server or not.

Android provides a powerful framework, Preference framework, that allows us to define the way we want preferences. In this blog post, I will show you how Settings UI is created using Preference framework and Kotlin in SUSI Android.

Advantages of using Preference are:

  • It has own UI so we don‘t have to develop our own UI for it
  • It stores the string into the SharedPreferences so we don’t need to manage the values in SharedPreference.

First, we will add the dependency in build.gradle(project) file as shown below.

compile ‘com.takisoft.fix:preference-v7:25.4.0.3’

To create the custom style for our Settings Activity screen we can set

android:theme=“@style/PreferencesThemeLight”

as the base theme and can apply various other modifications and colour over this. By default, it has the usual Day and Night theme with NoActionBar extension.

Layout Design

I used PreferenceScreen as the main container to create UI of Settings and filled it with the other components. Different components used are following:

  • SwitchPreferenceCompat: This gives us the Switch Preference which we can use to toggle between two different modes in the setting.
<com.takisoft.fix.support.v7.preference.SwitchPreferenceCompat

android:defaultValue=”true”

  • PreferenceCategory: It is used for grouping the preference. For example, Chat Settings, Mic Settings, Speech Settings etc are different groups in settings.

  • ListPreference: This preference display list of values and help in selecting one. For example in setLanguage option ListPreference is used to show a list of query language. List of query language is provided via xml file array.xml (res/values). Attribute android:entries point to arrays languagentries and android:entryValue holds the corresponding value defined for each of the languages.
<ListPreference

android:title=“@string/Language”
android:key=“Lang_Select”

android:entries=“@array/languagentries”

android:entryValues=“@array/languagentry”

</ListPreference>

Implementation in SUSI Android

All the logic related to Preferences and their action is written in ChatSettingsFragment class. ChatSettingsFragment extends PreferenceFragmentCompat class.

class ChatSettingsFragment : PreferenceFragmentCompat()

Fragment populate the preferences when created. addPreferencesFromResource method is used to inflate view from xml.

addPreferencesFromResource(R.xml.pref_settings)

Reference

Restoring State after Orientation Change in Loklak Wok Android

During orientation change i.e. from portrait to landscape mode in Android, the current activity restarts again. As the activity restarts again, all the defined variables loose their previous value, for example the scroll position of a RecyclerView, or the data in the rows of RecyclerView etc. Just imagine a user searched some tweets in Loklak Wok Android, and as the user’s phone is in “Auto rotation” mode, the orientation changes from portrait to landscape. As a result of this, the user loses the search result and has to do the search again. This leads to a bad UX.

Saving state in onSavedInstanceState

The state of the app can be saved by inserting values in a Bundle object in onSavedInstanceState callback. Inserting values is same as adding elements to a Map in Java. Methods like putDouble, putFloat, putChar etc. are used where the first parameter is a key and the second parameter is the value we want to insert.

@Override
public void onSaveInstanceState(Bundle outState) {
   if (mLatitude != null && mLongitude != null) {
       outState.putDouble(PARCELABLE_LATITUDE, mLatitude);
       outState.putDouble(PARCELABLE_LONGITUDE, mLongitude);
   }
...
}

 

The values can be retrieved back when onCreate or onCreateView of the Activity or Fragment is called. Bundle object in the callback parameter is checked, whether it is null or not, if not the values are retrieved back using the keys provided at the time of inserting. The latitude and longitude of a location in TweetPostingFragment are retrieved in the same fashion

public void onViewCreated(View view, @Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   ...
   if (savedInstanceState != null) { // checking if bundle is null
       // extracting from bundle
       mLatitude = savedInstanceState.getDouble(PARCELABLE_LATITUDE);
       mLongitude = savedInstanceState.getDouble(PARCELABLE_LONGITUDE);
       // use extracted value
   }
}

Restoring Custom Objects, using Parcelable

But what if we want to restore custom object(s). A simple option can be serializing the objects using the native Java Serialization or libraries like Gson. The problem in these cases is performance, they are quite slow. Parcelable can be used, which leads the pack in performance and moreover it is provided by Android SDK, on top of that, it is simple to use.

The objects of class which needs to be restored implements Parcelable interface and the class must provide a static final object called CREATOR which implements Parcelable.Creator interface.

writeToParcel and describeContents method need to be override to implement Parcelable interface. In writeToParcel method the member variables are put inside the parcel, in our case describeContents method is not used, so, simply 0 is returned. Status class which stores the data of a searched tweet implements parcelable.

@Override
public int describeContents() {
   return 0;
}

@Override
public void writeToParcel(Parcel dest, int flags) {
   dest.writeString(mText);
   dest.writeInt(mRetweetCount);
   dest.writeInt(mFavouritesCount);
   dest.writeStringList(mImages);
   dest.writeParcelable(mUser, flags);
}

 

NOTE: The order in which variables are pushed into Parcel needs to be maintained while variables are extracted from the parcel to recreate the object. This is the reason why no “key” is required to push data into a parcel as we do in bundle.

The CREATOR object implements the creation of object from a Parcel. The CREATOR object overrides two methods createFromParcel and newArray. createFromParcel is the method in which we implement the way an object is created from a parcel.

public static final Parcelable.Creator<Status> CREATOR = new Creator<Status>() {
   @Override
   public Status createFromParcel(Parcel source) {
       return new Status(source); // a private constructor to create object from parcel
   }

   @Override
   public Status[] newArray(int size) {
       return new Status[size];
   }
};

 

The private constructor, note that the order in which variables were pushed is maintained while retrieving the values.

private Status(Parcel source) {
   mText = source.readString();
   mRetweetCount = source.readInt();
   mFavouritesCount = source.readInt();
   mImages = source.createStringArrayList();
   mUser = source.readParcelable(User.class.getClassLoader());
}

 

The status objects are restored the same way, latitude and longitude were restored. putParcelableArrayList in onSaveInstaceState and getParcelableArrayList in onCreateView methods are used to push into Bundle object and retrieve from Bundle object respectively.

@Override
public void onSaveInstanceState(Bundle outState) {
   super.onSaveInstanceState(outState);
   ArrayList<Status> searchedTweets = mSearchCategoryAdapter.getStatuses();
   outState.putParcelableArrayList(PARCELABLE_SEARCHED_TWEETS, searchedTweets);
   ...
}


// retrieval of the pushed values in bundle
@Override
public View onCreateView(LayoutInflater inflater, ViewGroup container,
                            Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   ...
   if (savedInstanceState != null) {
       ...
       List<Status> searchedTweets =
               savedInstanceState.getParcelableArrayList(PARCELABLE_SEARCHED_TWEETS);
       mSearchCategoryAdapter.setStatuses(searchedTweets);
   }
   ...
   return view;
}

Resources:

Testing Presenter of MVP in Loklak Wok Android

Imagine working on a large source code, and as a new developer you are not sure whether the available source code works properly or not, you are surrounded by questions like, Are all these methods invoked properly or the number of times they need to be invoked? Being new to source code and checking manually already written code is a pain. For cases like these unit-tests are written. Unit-tests check whether the implemented code works as expected or not. This blog post explains about implementation of unit-tests of Presenter in a Model-View-Presenter (MVP) architecture in Loklak Wok Android.

Adding Dependencies to project

In app/build.gradle file

defaultConfig {
   ...
   testInstrumentationRunner "android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner"
}

dependencies {
   ...
   androidTestCompile 'org.mockito:mockito-android:2.8.47'
   androidTestCompile 'com.android.support:support-annotations:25.3.1'
   androidTestCompile 'com.android.support.test.espresso:espresso-core:2.2.2'
}

Setup for Unit-Tests

The presenter needs a realm database and an implementation of LoklakAPI interface. Along with that a mock of the View is required, so as to check whether the methods of View are called or not.

The LoklakAPI interface can be mocked easily using Mockito, but the realm database can’t be mocked. For this reason an in-memory realm database is created, which will be destroyed once all unit-test are executed. As the presenter is required for each unit-test method we instantiate the in-memory database before all the tests start i.e. by annotating a public static method with @BeforeClass, e.g. setDb method.

@BeforeClass
public static void setDb() {
   Realm.init(InstrumentationRegistry.getContext());
   RealmConfiguration testConfig = new RealmConfiguration.Builder()
           .inMemory()
           .name("test-db")
           .build();
   mDb = Realm.getInstance(testConfig);
}

 

NOTE: The in-memory database should be closed once all unit-tests are executed. So, for closing the databasse we create a public static method annotated with @AfterClass, e.g. closeDb method.

@AfterClass
public static void closeDb() {
   mDb.close();
}

 

Now, before each unit-test is executed we need to do some setup work like instantiating the presenter, a mock instance of API interface generated  by using mock static method and pushing in some sample data into the database. Our presenter uses RxJava and RxAndroid which depend on IO scheduler and MainThread scheduler to perform tasks asynchronously and these schedulers are not present in testing environment. So, we override RxJava and RxAndroid to use trampoline scheduler in place of IO and MainThread so that our test don’t encounter NullPointerException. All this is done in a public method annotated with @Before e.g. setUp.

@Before
public void setUp() throws Exception {
   // mocking view and api
   mMockView = mock(SuggestContract.View.class);
   mApi = mock(LoklakAPI.class);

   mPresenter = new SuggestPresenter(mApi, mDb);
   mPresenter.attachView(mMockView);

   queries = getFakeQueries();
   // overriding rxjava and rxandroid
   RxJavaPlugins.setIoSchedulerHandler(scheduler -> Schedulers.trampoline());
   RxAndroidPlugins.setMainThreadSchedulerHandler(scheduler -> Schedulers.trampoline());

   mDb.beginTransaction();
   mDb.copyToRealm(queries);
   mDb.commitTransaction();
}

 

Some fake suggestion queries are created which will be returned as observable when API interface is mocked. For this, simply two query objects are created and added to a List after their query parameter is set. This is implemented in getFakeQueries method.

private List<Query> getFakeQueries() {
   List<Query> queryList = new ArrayList<>();

   Query linux = new Query();
   linux.setQuery("linux");
   queryList.add(linux);

   Query india = new Query();
   india.setQuery("india");
   queryList.add(india);

   return queryList;
}

 

After that, a method is created which provides the created fake data wrapped inside an Observable as implemented in getFakeSuggestionsMethod method.

private Observable<SuggestData> getFakeSuggestions() {
   SuggestData suggestData = new SuggestData();
   suggestData.setQueries(queries);
   return Observable.just(suggestData);
}

 

Lastly, the mocking part is implemented using Mockito. This is really simple, when and thenReturn static methods of mockito are used for this. The method which would provide the fake data is invoked inside when and the fake data is passed as a parameter to thenReturn. For example, stubSuggestionsFromApi method

private void stubSuggestionsFromApi(Observable observable) {
   when(mApi.getSuggestions(anyString())).thenReturn(observable);
}

Finally, Unit-Tests

All the tests methods must be annotated with @Test.

Firstly, we test for a successful API request i.e. we get some suggestions from the Loklak Server. For this, getSuggestions method of LoklakAPI is mocked using stubSuggestionFromApi method and the observable to be returned is obtained using getFakeSuggestions method. Then, loadSuggestionFromAPI method is called, the one that we need to test. Once loadSuggestionFromAPI method is invoked, we then check whether the method of the View are invoked inside loadSuggestionFromAPI method, this is done using verify static method. The unit-test is implemented in testLoadSuggestionsFromApi method.

@Test
public void testLoadSuggestionsFromApi() {
   stubSuggestionsFromApi(getFakeSuggestions());

   mPresenter.loadSuggestionsFromAPI("", true);

   verify(mMockView).showProgressBar(true);
   verify(mMockView).onSuggestionFetchSuccessful(queries);
   verify(mMockView).showProgressBar(false);
}

 

Similarly, a failed network request for obtaining is suggestions is tested using testLoadSuggestionsFromApiFail method. Here, we pass an IOException throwable – wrapped inside an Observable – as parameter to stubSuggestionsFromApi.

@Test
public void testLoadSuggestionsFromApiFail() {
   Throwable throwable = new IOException();
   stubSuggestionsFromApi(Observable.error(throwable));

   mPresenter.loadSuggestionsFromAPI("", true);
   verify(mMockView).showProgressBar(true);
   verify(mMockView).showProgressBar(false);
   verify(mMockView).onSuggestionFetchError(throwable);
}

 

Lastly, we test if our suggestions are saved in the database by counting the number of saved suggestions and asserting that, in testSaveSuggestions method.

@Test
public void testSaveSuggestions() {
   mPresenter.saveSuggestions(queries);
   int count = mDb.where(Query.class).findAll().size();
  // queries is the List that contains the fake suggestions
   assertEquals(queries.size(), count);
}

Resources:

Handling Data Requests in Open Event Organizer Android App

Open Event Organizer is a client side application of Open Event API Server created for event organizers and entry managers. The app maintains a local database and syncs it with the server when required. I will be talking about handling data requests in the app in this blog.

The app uses ReactiveX for all the background tasks including data accessing. When a user requests any data, there are two possible ways the app can perform. The one where app fetches the data directly from the local database maintained and another where it requests data from the server. The app has to decide one of the ways. In the Organizer app, AbstractObservableBuilder class takes care of this. The relevant code is:

final class AbstractObservableBuilder<T> {

   private final IUtilModel utilModel;
   private boolean reload;
   private Observable<T> diskObservable;
   private Observable<T> networkObservable;

   ...
   ...

   @NonNull
   private Callable<Observable<T>> getReloadCallable() {
       return () -> {
           if (reload)
               return Observable.empty();
           else
               return diskObservable
                   .doOnNext(item -> Timber.d("Loaded %s From Disk on Thread %s",
                       item.getClass(), Thread.currentThread().getName()));
       };
   }

   @NonNull
   private Observable<T> getConnectionObservable() {
       if (utilModel.isConnected())
           return networkObservable
               .doOnNext(item -> Timber.d("Loaded %s From Network on Thread %s",
                   item.getClass(), Thread.currentThread().getName()));
       else
           return Observable.error(new Throwable(Constants.NO_NETWORK));
   }

   @NonNull
   private <V> ObservableTransformer<V, V> applySchedulers() {
       return observable -> observable
           .subscribeOn(Schedulers.io())
           .observeOn(AndroidSchedulers.mainThread());
   }

   @NonNull
   public Observable<T> build() {
       if (diskObservable == null || networkObservable == null)
           throw new IllegalStateException("Network or Disk observable not provided");

       return Observable
               .defer(getReloadCallable())
               .switchIfEmpty(getConnectionObservable())
               .toList()
               .flatMap(items -> diskObservable.toList())
               .flattenAsObservable(items -> items)
               .compose(applySchedulers());
   }
}

 

DiskObservable is a data request to the local database and networkObservable is a data request to the server. The build function decides which one to use and returns a correct observable accordingly. The class object takes a boolean field reload which is used to decide which observable to subscribe. If reload is true, that means the user wants data from the server, hence networkObservable is returned to subscribe. Also switchIfEmpty in the build method checks whether the data fetched using diskObservable is empty, if found empty it switches the observable to the networkObservable to subscribe.

This class object is used for every data access in the app. For example, this is a code snippet of the gettEvents method in EventRepository class.

@Override
public Observable<Event> getEvents(boolean reload) {
   Observable<Event> diskObservable = Observable.defer(() ->
       databaseRepository.getAllItems(Event.class)
   );

   Observable<Event> networkObservable = Observable.defer(() ->
       eventService.getEvents(JWTUtils.getIdentity(getAuthorization()))
           ...
           ...
           .flatMapIterable(events -> events));

   return new AbstractObservableBuilder<Event>(utilModel)
       .reload(reload)
       .withDiskObservable(diskObservable)
       .withNetworkObservable(networkObservable)
       .build();
}

 

Links:
1. Documentation of ReactiveX API
2. Github repository link of RxJava – Reactive Extension for JVM

Implement Internationalization in SUSI Android With Weblate

When you build an Android app, you must consider about users for whom you are building an app. It may be possible that you users are from the different region. To support the most users your app should show text in locale language so that user can use your app easily. Our app SUSI Android is also targeting users from different regions. Internationalization is a way that ensures our app can be adapted to various languages without requiring any change to source code. This also allows projects to collaborate with non-coders more easily and plugin translation tools like Weblate.

Benefits of using Internationalization are:

  • It reduces the time for localization i.e it will localize your app automatically.
  • It helps us to keep and maintain only single source code for different regions.

To achieve Internationalization in Android app you must follow below steps:

  • Move all the required contents of your app’s user interface into the resource file.
  • Create new directories inside res to add support for Internationalization. Each directory’s name should follow rule <resource type>-(language code). For example values-es contains string resource for es language code i.e Spanish.
  • Now add different locale content in the respective folder.

We need to create separate directories for different locale because to show locale specific content, Android check specific folder i.e res/<resource type>-(language code) like res/values-de and show content from that folder. That’s why we need to move all the required content into resource file so that each required content can be shown in the specific locale.

How Internationalization is implemented in SUSI Android

In SUSI Android there is not any locale specific image but only string. So I created only locale specific value resource folder to add locale specific strings. To create locale specific values folder I follow the above-mentioned rule i.e <resource type>-(language code).

After that, I added specific language string in the respective folder.

Instead of hard-coded strings, we used strings from string.xml file so that it will change automatically according to the region.

android:text=“@string/reset”

and

showToast(getString(R.string.wrong_password))

In absence of resource directory for any specific locale, Android use default resource directory.

Integrate Weblate in SUSI Android

Weblate is a web based translation tool. The best part of Weblate is its tight version control integration which makes it easy for translators to contribute because translator does not need to fork your repo and send pull request for each change but Weblate handle this part i.e translator translate strings of the project in Weblate site and Weblate will send pull request for those changes.

Weblate can host your free software projects for free but it depends on them. Here is the link of SUSI Android project hosted on Weblate. If your project is good then they can host your project for free. But for that, you have to apply from this link and select ask for hosting. Now fill up form as shown in below picture.

Once your project is hosted on Weblate, they will email you about it. After that, you have to integrate Weblate in your project so that Weblate can automatically push translated strings to your project and also Weblate get notify about changes in your repository. Here is the link on how to add Weblate service and Weblate user to your project.

If it is not possible to host your project on Weblate for free then you can host it by own. You can follow below steps:

  • First, we deploy Weblate on our localhost using the installation guide given on Weblate site. I install Weblate from git. I cloned latest source code using Git
git clone https://github.com/WeblateOrg/weblate.git
  • Now change directory to where you cloned weblate source code and install all the required dependencies and optional dependencies using code
pip install -r requirements.txt

and

pip install -r requirements-optional.txt
  • After doing that we copy weblate/settings_example.py to weblate/settings.py. Then we configure settings.py and use the following command to migrate the settings.
./manage.py migrate
  • Now create an admin using following command.
./manage.py createadmin
  • After that add a project from your Admin dashboard (Web translations-> Projects-> Add Project) by filling all details.
  • Once the project is added, we add the component (Web translations-> Components-> Add Component) to link our Translation files.
  • To change any translation we make changes and push it to the repository where our SSH key generated from Weblate is added. A full guide to do that is mentioned in this link.

Reference

How to use Realm in SUSI Android to Save Data

Sometimes we need to store information on the device locally so that we can use information offline and also query data faster. Initially, SQLite was only option to store information on the device. But working with SQLite is difficult sometimes and also it makes code difficult to understand. Also, SQL queries take a long time. But now we have realm a better alternative of SQLite. The Realm is a lightweight mobile database and better substitute of SQLite. The Realm has own C++ core and store data in a universal, table-based format by a C++ core. This allows Realm to allow data access from multiple languages as well as a range of queries. In this blog post, I will show you why we used Realm and how we save data in SUSI Android using Realm.

“How about performance? Well, we’re glad you asked 🙂 For all the API goodness & development productivity we give you, we’re still up to 100x faster than some SQLite ORMs and on average ~10x faster than raw SQLite and common ORMs for typical operations.” (compare: https://blog.realm.io/realm-for-android/)

Advantages of Realm over SQLite are following:

  • It is faster than SQLite as explained on the Realm blog. One of the reasons realm is faster than SQLite is, the traditional SQLite + ORM abstraction is leaky because ORM simply converts  Objects and their methods into SQL statements. Realm, on the other hand, is an object database, meaning your objects directly reflect your database.
  • It is easier to use as it uses objects for storing data. When we use SQLite we need boilerplate code to convert values to and from the database, setting up mappings between classes and tables, fields and columns, foreign keys, etc. Whereas in Realm data is directly exposed as objects and can be queried without any conversion.

Prerequisites

To include this library in your project you need

  • Android studio version 1.5.1 or higher.
  • JDK version 7.0 or higher.
  • Android API level 9 or higher.

How to use realm in Android

To use Realm in your project we must add the dependency of the library in build.gradle(project) file 

 dependencies {
       classpath “io.realm:realm-gradle-plugin:3.3.1”
   }

and build.gradle(module) file.

apply plugin: realm-android
dependencies {
compile io.realm:android-adapters:1.3.0
}

Now you have to instantiate Realm in your application class. Setting a default configuration in your Application class, will ensure that it is available in the rest of your code.

RealmConfiguration realmConfiguration = new RealmConfiguration.Builder(this)
                                                              .deleteRealmIfMigrationNeeded().build();
Realm.setDefaultConfiguration(realmConfiguration);

Now we need to create a model class. A model class is use to save data in Realm and retrieve saved data and it must extend RealmObject class. For eg.

public class Person extends RealmObject {
   private String name;
   public String getName() {
       return name;
   }
   public void setName(String name) {
       this.name = name;
   }
}

Field in the model class uses to define columns. For eg. ‘name’ is a column name. Method like setName() use to save data  and getName() use to retrieve saved data.

Now create an instance of the Realm in the activity where you want to use it. It will be used to read data from the Realm and write data to the Realm.

Realm realm = Realm.getInstance(this);

Before you start a new transaction you must call beginTransaction(). It will open database.

realm.beginTransaction();

To write data to the Realm you need to create an instance of the model class. createObject used to create an instance of RealmObject class. Our model class is RealmObject type so we use createObject() to create an instance of the model class.

Person person = realm.createObject(Person.class);

Write data to realm.

person.setName(“MSDHONI”);

And after it you must call commitTransaction(). commitTransaction() use to end transaction.

realm.commitTransaction();

Reading data from Realm is easier than writing data to it. You need to create an instance of the Realm.

Realm realm = Realm.getInstance(this);

To create query use where the method and pass the class of object you want to query. After creating query you can fetch all data using findAll() method.

realm.where(Person.class).findAll();

Reference

Showing only Logged-in Accounts in the Sharing Page of Phimpme Android

In Phimpme Android application, users can edit their pictures and share them to a number of platforms ranging from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc to cloud storage and image hosting sites like Box, Dropbox, Imgur etc.

Desired flow of the application

According to the flow of the application, the user has to add an account first i.e. log in to the particular account that needs to be connected to the application. After that when the user enters the share page for sharing the image, a button corresponding to the connected account is visible in that page which on clicking will share the image to that platform directly.

What was happening previously?

The list of accounts which is present in the account manager of Phimpme Android application is also getting displayed in the share image page. As the list is large, it is difficult for the user to find the connected account from the list. There is not even an indicator whether a particular account is connected or not. On clicking the button corresponding to the non-connected account, an error dialog instructing the user to log in from the account manager first, will get displayed.

How we solved it?

We first thought of just adding an indicator on the buttons in the accounts page to show whether it is connected or not. But this fix solves only a single issue. Find the connected account in that large list will be difficult for the user even then. So we decided to remove the whole list and show only the accounts which are connected previously in account manager. This cleans the flow of the accounts and share in  Phimpme Android application

When a user logins from the account manager, the credentials, tokens and other details corresponding to that accounts gets saved in database. We used realm database for saving the details in our application. As the details are present in this database, the list can be dynamically generated when the user opens share image page. We implemented a function in Utils class for getting the list of logged in accounts. Its implementation is shown below.

public static boolean checkAlreadyExist(AccountDatabase.AccountName s) {

   Realm realm = Realm.getDefaultInstance();

   RealmQuery<AccountDatabase> query = realm.where(AccountDatabase.class);

   query.equalTo("name", s.toString());

   RealmResults<AccountDatabase> result1 = query.findAll();

   return (result1.size() > 0);

}



public static ArrayList<AccountDatabase.AccountName> getLoggedInAccountsList(){

   ArrayList<AccountDatabase.AccountName> list = new ArrayList<>();

   for (AccountDatabase.AccountName account : AccountDatabase.AccountName.values()){

       if (checkAlreadyExist(account))

           list.add(account);

   }

   return list;

}

Additional changes

There are few accounts which don’t need authentication. Those accounts need their respective application to be installed in the user’s device. So for adding those accounts to the list, we added another function which checks whether a particular package is installed in user’s device or not. Using that it adds the account to the list. The implementation for checking whether a package is installed or not is shown below.

public static boolean isAppInstalled(String packageName, PackageManager pm) {

   boolean installed;

   try {

       pm.getPackageInfo(packageName, PackageManager.GET_ACTIVITIES);

       installed = true;

   } catch (PackageManager.NameNotFoundException e) {

       installed = false;

   }

   return installed;

}

                 

Resources: