Displaying Avatar of Users using Gravatar on SUSI.AI Android App

This blog post shows how the avatar image of the user is displayed in the feedback section using the Gravatar service on SUSI.AI Android app. A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. So, it was decided to integrate the service to SUSI.AI, so that it helps to  identify the user via the avatar image too.

Implementation

  • The aim is to use the user’s email address to get his/her avatar. For this purpose, Gravatar exposes a publicly available avatar of the user, which can be accessed via following steps :
    • Creating the Hash of the email
    • Sending the image request to Gravatar
  • For the purpose of creating the MD5 hash of the email, use the MessageDigest class. The function takes an algorithm such as SHA-1, MD5, etc. as input and returns a MessageDigest object that implements the specified digest algorithm.

Perform a final update on the digest using the specified array of bytes, which then completes the digest computation. That is, this method first calls update(input), passing the input array to the update method, then calls digest().

fun toMd5Hash(email: String?): String? {
   try {
       val md5 = MessageDigest.getInstance("MD5")
       val md5HashBytes: Array<Byte> = md5.digest(email?.toByteArray()).toTypedArray()
       return byteArrayToString(md5HashBytes)
   } catch (e: Exception) {
       return null
   }
}

 

  • Convert the byte array to String, which is the requires MD5 hash of the email string.

fun byteArrayToString(array: Array<Byte>): String {
   val result = StringBuilder(array.size * 2)
   for (byte: Byte in array) {
       val toAppend: String = String.format("%x", byte).replace(" ", "0")
       result.append(toAppend)
   }
   return result.toString()
}

 

  • Now, a URL is generated using the hash. This is the URL that will be used to fetch the avatar.
  • The URL format is https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/HASH, where HASH is the hash of the email of the user. In case, the hash is invalid, Gravatar returns a placeholder avatar.
  • Also, append ‘.jpg’ to the URL to maintain image format consistency in the app.
  • Finally, load this URL using Picasso and set it in the appropriate view holder.

fun setAvatar(context: Context, email: String?, imageView: ImageView) {
   val imageUrl: String = GRAVATAR_URL + toMd5Hash(email) + ".jpg"
   Picasso.with(context)
           .load(imageUrl)
           .fit().centerCrop()
           .error(R.drawable.ic_susi)
           .transform(CircleTransform())
           .into(imageView)
}

 

You can now see the avatar image of the users in the feedback section. 😀

Resources

 

Continue Reading

Displaying Avatar Image of Users using Gravatar on SUSI.AI

This blog discusses how the avatar of the user has been shown at different places in the UI like the app bar, feedback comments, etc using the Gravatar service on SUSI.AI. A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. So, the Gravatar service has been integrated in SUSI.AI, so that it helps identify the user via the avatar too.

Going through the implementation

  • The aim is to get an avatar of the user from the email id. For that purpose, Gravatar exposes a publicly available avatar of the user, which can be accessed via the following steps :
    • Creating the Hash of the email
    • Sending the image request
  • For creating the MD5 hash of the email, use the npm library md5. The function takes a string as input and returns the hash of the string.
  • Now, a URL is generated using this hash.
  • The URL format is https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/HASH, where ‘HASH’ is the hash of the email of the user. In case, the hash is invalid, Gravatar returns a default avatar image.
  • Also, append ‘.jpg’ to the URL to maintain image format consistency on the website. When, the generated URL is used in an <img> tag, it behaves like an image and an avatar is returned when the URL is requested by the browser.
  • It has been displayed on various instances in the UI like app bar , feedback comments section, etc. The implementation in the feedback section has been discussed below.
  • The CircleImage component has been used for displaying the avatar, which takes name as a required property and src as the link of the image, if present. Following function returns props to the CircleImage component.

import md5 from 'md5';
import { urls } from './';

// urls.GRAVATAR_URL = ‘https://www.gravatar.com/avatar’;

let getAvatarProps = emailId => {
  const emailHash = md5(emailId);
  const GRAVATAR_IMAGE_URL = `${urls.GRAVATAR_URL}/${emailHash}.jpg`;
  const avatarProps = {
    name: emailId.toUpperCase(),
    src: GRAVATAR_IMAGE_URL,
  };
  return avatarProps;
};

export default getAvatarProps;

 

  • Then pass the returned props on the CircleImage component and set it as the leftAvatar property of the feedback comments ListItem. Following is the snippet –

….
<ListItem
  key={index}
  leftAvatar={<CircleImage {...avatarProps} size="40" />}
  primaryText={
    <div>
      <div>{`${data.email.slice(
        0,
        data.email.indexOf('@') + 1,
      )}...`}</div>
      <div className="feedback-timestamp">
        {this.formatDate(parseDate(data.timestamp))}
      </div>
    </div>
  }
  secondaryText={<p>{data.feedback}</p>}
/>
….
.
.

 

  • This displays the avatar of the user on the UI. The UI changes have been shown below :

References

Continue Reading

Integrating Gravatar and Anonymizing Email Address in Feedback Section

SUSI skills are having a very nice feedback system that allows the user to rate skills from 1-star to 5-star and showing ratings in skills screens. SUSI also allow the user to post feedback about skills and display them. You can check out how posting feedback implemented here and how displaying feedback feature implemented here. To enhance the user experience, we are adding user gravatar in the feedback section and to respect user privacy, we are anonymizing the user email displayed in the feedback section. In this post, we will see how these features implemented in SUSI iOS.

Integrating Gravatar –

We are showing gravatar of the user before feedback. Gravatar is a service for providing globally-unique avatars. We are using user email address to get the gravatar. The most basic gravatar image request URL looks like this:

https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/HASH

where HASH is replaced with the calculated hash for the specific email address we are requesting. We are using the MD5 hash function to hash the user’s email address.

The MD5 hashing algorithm is a one-way cryptographic function that accepts a message of any length as input and returns as output a fixed-length digest value to be used for authenticating the original message.

In SUSI iOS, we have MD5Digest.swift file that gives the hash value of email string. We are using the following method to set gravatar:

if let userEmail = feedback?.email {
setGravatar(from: userEmail)
}
func setGravatar(from emailString: String) {
let baseGravatarURL = "https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/"
let emailMD5 = emailString.utf8.md5.rawValue
let imageString = baseGravatarURL + emailMD5 + ".jpg"
let imageURL = URL(string: imageString)
gravatarImageView.kf.setImage(with: imageURL)
}

Anonymizing User’s Email Address –

Before the implementation of this feature, the user’s full email address was displayed in the feedback section and see all review screen. To respect the privacy of the user, we are now only showing user email until the `@` sign.

In Feedback object, we have the email address string that we modify to show until `@` sign by following way:

if let userEmail = feedback?.email, let emailIndex = userEmail.range(of: "@")?.upperBound {
userEmailLabel.text = String(userEmail.prefix(upTo: emailIndex)) + "..."
}

 

Final Output –

Resources –

  1. Post feedback for SUSI Skills in SUSI iOS
  2. Displaying Skills Feedback on SUSI iOS
  3. What is MD5?
Continue Reading
Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: