Using Multiple Languages in Giggity app

Giggity app is used for conferences around the world. It becomes essential that it provides support for native languages as the users may not understand the terminologies written primarily in English from different countries. In this blog, I describe how to add a resource for another language in your app with the example of Giggity.  I recently worked on the addition of French translation in the app. We look at the addition of German in the app.

You can specify resources tailored to the culture of the people who use your app. You can provide any resource type that is appropriate for the language and culture of your users. For example, the following screenshot shows an app displaying string and drawable resources in the device’s default (en_US) locale and the German (de_DE) locale.

It is good practice to use the Android resource framework to separate the localized aspects of your application as much as possible from the core Java functionality:

  • You can put most or all of the contents of your application’s user interface into resource files, as described in this document and in Providing Resources.
  • The behaviour of the user interface, on the other hand, is driven by your Java code. For example, if users input data that needs to be formatted or sorted differently depending on locale, then you would use Java to handle the data programmatically. This document does not cover how to localize your Java code.

Whenever the application runs in a locale for which you have not provided locale-specific text, Android will load the default strings from res/values/strings.xml. If this default file is absent, or if it is missing a string that your application needs, then your application will not run and will show an error. Here is an example of default strings in the app.

<!-- Menu -->
<string name="settings">Settings</string>
<string name="change_day">Change day</string>
<string name="show_hidden">Show hidden items</string>
<string name="timetable">Timetable</string>
<string name="tracks">Tracks</string>
<string name="now_next">Now and next</string>
<string name="my_events">My events</string>
<string name="search">Search</string>

An application can specify many res/<qualifiers>/ directories, each with different qualifiers. To create an alternative resource for a different locale, you use a qualifier that specifies a language or a language-region combination. (The name of a resource directory must conform to the naming scheme described in Providing Alternative Resources, or else it will not compile.) You can specify resources tailored to the culture of the people who use your app. You can provide any resource type that is appropriate for the language and culture of your users. For example, the following screenshot shows an app displaying string and drawable resources in the device’s default (en_US) locale and the German (de_DE) locale.

<!-- Menu -->
<string name="settings">Einstellungen</string>
<string name="change_day">Tag ändern</string>
<string name="timetable">Zeitplan</string>
<string name="tracks">Tracks</string>
<string name="now_next">Jetzt und gleich</string>
<string name="my_events">Meine Veranstaltungen</string>
<string name="search">Suche</string>

Then you can use it in the app like this anywhere you need to use the string. This is an example of putting the options menu in the toolbar in Giggity app.

@Override
public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
   super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu);

   menu.add(Menu.NONE, 1, 5, R.string.settings)
           .setShortcut('0', 's')
           .setIcon(R.drawable.ic_settings_white_24dp)
           .setShowAsAction(MenuItem.SHOW_AS_ACTION_ALWAYS);
   menu.add(Menu.NONE, 2, 7, R.string.add_dialog)
           .setShortcut('0', 'a')
           .setIcon(R.drawable.ic_add_white_24dp)
           .setShowAsAction(MenuItem.SHOW_AS_ACTION_ALWAYS);

   return true;
}

References:

Introduction To Kotlin in SUSI Android App

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

Advantages of Kotlin over Java

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

Setting up Android Studio to work with Kotlin

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

  1. Install the Kotlin Plugin:

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

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

Implementation in SUSI Android App

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

1. Listeners:

Earlier with Java

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

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

Now, with Kotlin

fun signUp() {
   sign_up.setOnClickListener { startActivity(Intent([email protected]LoginActivity, SignUpActivity::class.java)) }
}

2. Models

With Java

public class MapData {

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

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

    public double getLatitude() {
        return latitude;
    }

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

    public double getLongitude() {
        return longitude;
    }

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

    public double getZoom() {
        return zoom;
    }

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

With Kotlin

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

3. Constructor

With Java

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

With Kotlin

class LoginPresenter(loginActivity: LoginActivity) {
}

Summary

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

Resources

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