Implementing Direct URL in loklak Media Wall

Direct URL is a web address which redirects the user to the preset customized media wall so that the media wall can directly be used to be displayed on the screen. Loklak media wall provides direct URL which has information related to customizations set by the user included in the web address. These customizations, as the query parameters are detected when the page is initialized and actions are dispatched to make changes in the state properties, and hence, the UI properties and the expected behaviour of media wall.

In this blog, I would be explaining how I implemented direct URL in loklak media wall and how customizations are detected to build on initialization of component, a customized media wall.

Flow Chart

Working

Media Wall Direct URL effect

This effect detects when the WALL_GENERATE_DIRECT_URL action is dispatched and creates a direct URL string from all the customization state properties and dispatches a side action WallShortenDirectUrlAction() and stores direct URL string as a state property. For this, we need to get individual wall customization state properties and create an object for it and supply it as a parameter to the generateDirectUrl() function. Direct URL string is returned from the function and now, the action is dispatched to store this string as a state property.

@Effect()
generateDirectUrl$: Observable<Action>
= this.actions$
.ofType(mediaWallDirectUrlAction.ActionTypes.WALL_GENERATE_DIRECT_URL)
.withLatestFrom(this.store$)
.map(([action, state]) => {
return {
query: state.mediaWallQuery.query,
.
.
.
wallBackground: state.mediaWallCustom.wallBackground
};
})
.map(queryObject => {
const configSet = {
queryString: queryObject.query.displayString,
.
.
.
wallBackgroundColor: queryObject.wallBackground.backgroundColor
}
const shortenedUrl = generateDirectUrl(configSet);
return new mediaWallDirectUrlAction.WallShortenDirectUrlAction(shortenedUrl);
});

Generate Direct URL function

This function generates Direct URL string from all the current customization options value. Now,  keys of the object are separated out and for each element of the object, it checks if there is some current value for the elements and it then first parses the value of the element into URI format and then, adds it to the direct URL string. In such a way, we are creating a direct URL string with these customizations provided as the query parameters.

export function generateDirectUrl(customization: any): string {
const shortenedUrl = ;const activeFilterArray: string[] = new Array<string>();
let qs = ;
Object.keys(customization).forEach(config => {
if (customization[config] !== undefined && customization[config] !== null) {
if (config !== ‘blockedUser’ && config !== ‘hiddenFeedId’) {
qs += `${config}=${encodeURIComponent(customization[config])}&`;
}
else {
if (customization[config].length > 0) {
qs += `${config}= ${encodeURIComponent(customization[config].join(‘,’))}&`;
}
}
}
});
qs += `ref=share`;
return qs;
}

Creating a customized media wall

Whenever the user searches for the URL link on the web, a customized media wall must be created on initialization. The media wall component detects and subscribes to the URL query parameters using the queryParams API of the ActivatedRoute. Now, the values are parsed to a required format of payload and the respective actions are dispatched according to the value of the parameters. Now, when all the actions are dispatched, state properties changes accordingly. This creates a unidirectional flow of the state properties from the URL parameters to the template. Now, the state properties that are supplied to the template are detected and a customized media wall is created.

private queryFromURL(): void {
this.__subscriptions__.push(
this.route.queryParams
.subscribe((params: Params) => {
const config = {
queryString: params[‘queryString’] || ,
imageFilter: params[‘imageFilter’] || ,
profanityCheck: params[‘profanityCheck’] || ,
removeDuplicate: params[‘removeDuplicate’] || ,
wallHeaderBackgroundColor: params[‘wallHeaderBackgroundColor’] || ,
wallCardBackgroundColor: params[‘wallCardBackgroundColor’] || ,
wallBackgroundColor: params[‘wallBackgroundColor’] ||
}
this.setConfig(config);
})
);
}public setConfig(configSet: any) {
if (configSet[‘displayHeader’]) {
const isTrueSet = (configSet[‘displayHeader’] === ‘true’);
this.store.dispatch(new mediaWallDesignAction.WallDisplayHeaderAction(isTrueSet));
}
.
.
if (configSet[‘queryString’] || configSet[‘imageFilter’] || configSet[‘location’]) {
if (configSet[‘location’] === ‘null’) {
configSet[‘location’] = null;
}
const isTrueSet = (configSet[‘imageFilter’] === ‘true’);
const query = {
displayString: configSet[‘queryString’],
queryString: ,
routerString: configSet[‘queryString’],
filter: {
video: false,
image: isTrueSet
},
location: configSet[‘location’],
timeBound: {
since: null,
until: null
},
from: false
}
this.store.dispatch(new mediaWallAction.WallQueryChangeAction(query));
}
}

Now, the state properties are rendered accordingly and a customized media wall is created. This saves a lot of effort by the user to change the customization options whenever uses the loklak media wall.

Reference

Implementing Predefined Color Themes in loklak Media Wall

Loklak media wall provides predefined color theme buttons which can be used to directly switch to day or night mode. It is important that the colors of the components are updated instantly with a click of a button. To implement pre-defined color options, we should, first, choose a set of color combinations which should be updated on the concerned divisions of the templates. These set of colors should be stored as an object (same interface) and the current state should be updated with this object when another theme is requested.

In this blog, I will explain how to implement predefined theme options and how to add a new theme in media wall.

Working

Media Wall can provide plenty of themes to help the user to choose a theme of their choice. Loklak media wall currently provides two themes, i.e.,  dark and light themes to provide a contrasting variety of themes at first. Ngrx structure makes it easy to add a predefined themes to the media wall. Let’s see how to add a theme to media wall and see it in action.

Adding ngrx structure

The first task is to create actions which will be dispatched from the Angular components to update the media wall. Depending on the action dispatched, state properties will change and when passed to the template, will update the media wall with the requested theme. There is no need of payload since the color options for all the themes are stored already as a reducer variable which will be updated directly to the media wall state.

export class WallLightThemeChangeAction implements Action {
type = ActionTypes.WALL_LIGHT_THEME_CHANGE;constructor(public payload: ) { }
}export class WallDarkThemeChangeAction implements Action {
type = ActionTypes.WALL_DARK_THEME_CHANGE;constructor(public payload: ) { }
}

Next, we have to update reducer functions for the corresponding actions so that the state properties change according to the actions and wall is updated. For color options, we have an interface defined for color options. For a particular type of theme, we have to adjust interface and just have to update state with the personalised theme state. As the default theme is set to light theme, we have to update state to the initial state when user requests for  light theme

case mediaWallCustomAction.ActionTypes.WALL_DARK_THEME_CHANGE: {
state = {
wallHeader: {
backgroundColor: ‘#243447’,
fontColor: ‘#FFFFFF’
},
wallBackground: {
backgroundColor: ‘#2C4158’
},
wallCard: {
fontColor: ‘#FFFFFF’,
backgroundColor: ‘#1B2836’,
accentColor: ‘#1c94e0’
}
}
return state;
}case mediaWallCustomAction.ActionTypes.WALL_LIGHT_THEME_CHANGE: {
state = initialState;return state;
}

Component and Template

Component

Now, we need to define an array of the string value of colors corresponding to a particular theme. These corresponding theme colors will be displayed in a form of color picker to the user through looping in the template. Whenever user requests for a particular theme, at first, the variable currentTheme is updated with the theme color. Next, the action is dispatched according to the selected theme from the method installTheme().

export class MediaWallMenuComponent implements OnInit, OnDestroy {
.
.
public currentTheme: string;
public themes = [ ‘#FFFFFF’, ‘#333’ ];public installTheme() {
if (this.currentTheme === this.themes[0]) {
this.store.dispatch( new mediaWallCustomAction.WallLightThemeChangeAction());
this.store.dispatch(new mediaWallDirectUrlAction.WallGenerateDirectUrlAction());
}
else if (this.currentTheme === this.themes[1]) {
this.store.dispatch( new mediaWallCustomAction.WallDarkThemeChangeAction());
this.store.dispatch(new mediaWallDirectUrlAction.WallGenerateDirectUrlAction());
}
}
.
.
}

Template

Now, we have to provide a menu for color themes in media wall template to make it easier for user to select the theme. Any interaction with the menu buttons will update the current chosen color and calls a method installTheme() and the corresponding action is dispatched and theme will be updated. Also, the check should show the updated theme for the media wall. For this, a check icon is put up based on condition *ngIf=”currentTheme === theme”.

<mdmenu class=“docs-theme-picker-menu” overlapTrigger=“false” #themeMenu=“mdMenu” yposition=“above”>
<mdgridlist cols=“2”>
<mdgridtile *ngFor=“let theme of themes”>
<div mdmenuitem (click)=“currentTheme = theme; installTheme();”>
<div class=“docs-theme-picker-swatch”>
<mdicon class=“docs-theme-chosen-icon” *ngIf=“currentTheme === theme”>check_circle</md-icon>
<div class=”docs-theme-picker-primary” [style.background]=”theme”></div>
</div>
</div>
</md-grid-tile>
</mdgridlist>
</mdmenu>

Now, The swatch menu looks like this and user can select any predefined theme from the menu and now, the wall is updated with the selected color option.

Reference

Feeds Moderation in loklak Media Wall

Loklak Media Wall provides client side filters for entities received from loklak status.json API like blocking feeds from a particular user, removing duplicate feeds, hiding a particular feed post for moderating feeds. To implement it, we need pure functions which remove the requested type of feeds and returns a new array of feeds. Moreover, the original set of data must also be stored in an array so that if filters are removed, the requested data is provided to the user

In this blog, I would be explaining how I implemented client side filters to filter out a particular type of feeds and provide the user with a cleaner data as requested.

Types of filters

There are four client-side filters currently provided by Loklak media wall:

    • Profanity Filter: Checks for the feeds that might be offensive and removes it.
    • Remove Duplicate: Removes duplicate feeds and the retweets from the original feeds
    • Hide Feed: Removes a particular feed from the feeds
    • Block User: Blocks a User and removes all the feeds from the particular user

It is also important to ensure that on pagination, new feeds are filtered out based on the previous user requested moderation.

Flow Chart

The flow chart explains how different entities received from the server is filtered and how original set of entities is maintained so that if the user removes the filter, the original filtered entities are recovered.

Working

Profanity Filter

To avoid any obscene language used in the feed status to be shown up on media wall and providing a rather clean data, profanity filter can be used. For this filter, loklak search.json APIs provide a field classifier_profanity which states if there is some swear word is used in the status. We can check for the value of this field and filter out the feed accordingly.

export function profanityFilter(feeds: ApiResponseResult[]): ApiResponseResult[] {
const filteredFeeds: ApiResponseResult[] = [];
feeds.forEach((feed) => {
if ( feed.classifier_language !== null && feed.classifier_profanity !== undefined ) {
if (feed.classifier_profanity !== ‘sex’ &&  feed.classifier_profanity !== ‘swear’) {
filteredFeeds.push(feed);
}
}
else {
filteredFeeds.push(feed);
}
});
return filteredFeeds || feeds;
}

Here, we check if the classifier_profanity field is either not ‘swear’ or ‘sex’ which clearly classifies the feeds and we can push the status accordingly. Moreover, if no classifier_profanity field is provided for a particular field, we can push the feed in the filtered feeds.

Remove Duplicate

Remove duplicate filter removes the tweets that are either retweets or even copy of some feed and return just one original feed. We need to compare field id_str which is the status id of the feed and remove the duplicate feeds. For this filter, we need to create a map and compare feeds on map object and remove the duplicate feeds iteratively and return the array of feeds with unique elements.

export function removeDuplicateCheck(feeds: ApiResponseResult[]): ApiResponseResult[] {
const map = { };
const filteredFeeds: ApiResponseResult[] = [];
const newFeeds: ApiResponseResult[] = feeds;
let v: string;
for (let a = 0; a < feeds.length; a++) {
v = feeds[a].id_str;
if (!map[v]) {
filteredFeeds.push(feeds[a]);
map[v] = true;
}
}
return filteredFeeds;
}

Hide Feed

Hide Feed filter can be used to hide a particular feed from showing up on media wall. It can be a great option for the user to hide some particular feed that user might not want to see. Basically, when the user selects a particular feed, an action is dispatched with payload being the status id i.e. id_str. Now, we pass feeds and status id through a function which returns the particular feed. All the feeds with the same id_str are also removed from the feeds array.

export function hideFeed(feeds: ApiResponseResult[], statusId: string ): ApiResponseResult[] {
const filteredFeeds: ApiResponseResult[] = [];
feeds.forEach((feed) => {
if (feed.id_str !== statusId) {
filteredFeeds.push(feed);
}
});
return filteredFeeds || feeds;
}

User can undo the action and let the filtered feed again show up on media wall. Now, for implementing this, we need to pass original entities, filtered entities and the id_str of the particular entity through a function which checks for the particular entity with the same id_str and add it in the filtered entities and return the new array of filtered entities.

export function showFeed(originalFeeds: ApiResponseResult[], feeds: ApiResponseResult[], statusId: string ): ApiResponseResult[] {
const newFeeds = […feeds];
originalFeeds.forEach((feed) => {
if (feed.id_str === statusId) {
newFeeds.push(feed);
}
});
return newFeeds;
}

Block User

Block User filter can be used blocking feeds from a particular user/account from showing up on media wall. To implement this, we need to check for the User ID field user_id of the user and remove all the feeds from the same User ID. The function accountExclusion takes feeds and user_id (of the accounts) as a parameter and returns an array of filtered feeds removing all the feeds of the requested users/accounts.

export function accountExclusion(feeds: ApiResponseResult[], userId: string[] ): ApiResponseResult[] {
const filteredFeeds: ApiResponseResult[] = [];
let flag: boolean;
feeds.forEach((feed) => {
flag = false;
userId.forEach((user) => {
if (feed.user.user_id === user) {
flag = true;
}
});
if (!flag) {
filteredFeeds.push(feed);
}
});return filteredFeeds || feeds;
}

Key points

It is important to ensure that the new feeds (received on pagination or on a new query) must also be filtered according to the user requested filter. Therefore, before storing feeds in a state and supplying to templates after pagination, it must be ensured that new entities are also filtered out. For this, we need to keep boolean variables as a state property which checks if a particular filter is requested by a user and applies the filter to the new feeds accordingly and store filtered feeds in the filteredFeeds accordingly.

Also, the original feeds must be stored separately so that on removing filters the original feeds are regained. Here, entities stores the original entities received from the server.

case apiAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH_COMPLETE_SUCCESS: {
const apiResponse = action.payload;
let newFeeds = accountExclusion(apiResponse.statuses, state.blockedUser);
if (state.profanityCheck) {
newFeeds = profanityFilter(newFeeds);
}
if (state.removeDuplicate) {
newFeeds = removeDuplicateCheck(newFeeds);
}return Object.assign({}, state, {
entities: apiResponse.statuses,
filteredEntities: newFeeds,
lastResponseLength: apiResponse.statuses.length
});
}

case wallPaginationAction.ActionTypes.WALL_PAGINATION_COMPLETE_SUCCESS: {
const apiResponse = action.payload;
let newFeeds = accountExclusion(apiResponse.statuses, state.blockedUser);
if (state.profanityCheck) {
newFeeds = profanityFilter(apiResponse.statuses);
}
let filteredEntities = […newFeeds, state.filteredEntities];
if (state.removeDuplicate) {
filteredEntities = removeDuplicateCheck(filteredEntities);
}

return Object.assign({}, state, {
entities: [ apiResponse.statuses, state.entities ],
filteredEntities
});
}

Reference

Live Feeds in loklak Media wall using ‘source=twitter’

Loklak Server provides pagination to provide tweets from Loklak search.json API in divisions so as to improve response time from the server. We will be taking advantage of this pagination using parameter `source=twitter` of the search.json API on loklak media wall. Basically, using parameter ‘source=twitter’ in the API does real time scraping and provides live feeds. To improve response time, it returns feeds as specified in the count (default is 100).

In the blog, I am explaining how implemented real time pagination using ‘source = twitter’ in loklak media wall to get live feeds from twitter.

Working

First API Call on Initialization

The first API call needs to have high count (i.e. maximumRecords = 20) so as to get a higher number of feeds and provide a sufficient amount of feeds to fill up the media wall. ‘source=twitter’ must be specified so that real time feeds are scraped and provided from twitter.

http://api.loklak.org/api/search.json?q=fossasia&callback=__ng_jsonp__.__req0.finished&minified=true&source=twitter&maximumRecords=20&timezoneOffset=-330&startRecord=1

 

If feeds are received from the server, then the next API request must be sent after 10 seconds so that server gets sufficient time to scrap the data and store it in the database. This can be done by an effect which dispatches WallNextPageAction(‘’) keeping debounceTime equal to 10000 so that next request is sent 10 seconds after WallSearchCompleteSuccessAction().

@Effect()
nextWallSearchAction$
= this.actions$
.ofType(apiAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH_COMPLETE_SUCCESS)
.debounceTime(10000)
.withLatestFrom(this.store$)
.map(([action, state]) => {
return new wallPaginationAction.WallNextPageAction();
});

Consecutive Calls

To implement pagination, next consecutive API call must be made to add new live feeds to the media wall. For the new feeds, count must be kept low so that no heavy pagination takes place and feeds are added one by one to get more focus on new tweets. For this purpose, count must be kept to one.

this.searchServiceConfig.count = queryObject.count;
this.searchServiceConfig.maximumRecords = queryObject.count;return this.apiSearchService.fetchQuery(queryObject.query.queryString, this.searchServiceConfig)
.takeUntil(nextSearch$)
.map(response => {
return new wallPaginationAction.WallPaginationCompleteSuccessAction(response);
})
.catch(() => of(new wallPaginationAction.WallPaginationCompleteFailAction()));
});

 

Here, count and maximumRecords is updated from queryObject.count which varies between 1 to 5 (default being 1). This can be updated by user from the customization menu.

Next API request is as follows:

http://api.loklak.org/api/search.json?q=fossasia&callback=__ng_jsonp__.__req2.finished&minified=true&source=twitter&maximumRecords=1&timezoneOffset=-330&startRecord=1

 

Now, as done above, if some response is received from media wall, next request is sent after 10 seconds after WallPaginationCompleteSuccess() from an effect by keeping debounceTime equal to 10000.

In the similar way, new consecutive calls can be made by keeping ‘source = twitter’ and keeping count low for getting a proper focus on new feed.

Reference

Adding Color Options in loklak Media Wall

Color options in loklak media wall gives user the ability to set colors for different elements of the media wall. Taking advantage of Angular two-way data binding property and ngrx/store, we can link up the CSS properties of the elements with concerned state properties which stores the user-selected color. This makes color customization fast and reactive for media walls.

In this blog here, I am explaining the unidirectional workflow using ngrx for updating various colors and working of color customization.

Flow Chart

The flowchart below explains how the color as a string is taken as an input from the user and how actions, reducers and component observables link up to change the current CSS property of the font color.

Working

Designing Models: It is important at first to design model which must contain every CSS color property that can be customized. A single interface for a particular HTML element of media wall can be added so that color customization for a particular element can take at once with faster rendering. Here we have three interfaces:

  • WallHeader
  • WallBackground
  • WallCard

These three interfaces are the models for the three core components of the media wall that can be customized.

export interface WallHeader {
backgroundColor: string;
fontColor: string;
}
export interface WallBackground {
backgroundColor: string;
}
export interface WallCard {
fontColor: string;
backgroundColor: string;
accentColor: string;
}

 

Creating Actions: Next step is to design actions for customization. Here we need to pass the respective interface model as a payload with updated color properties. These actions when dispatched causes reducer to change the respective state property, and hence, the linked CSS color property.

export class WallHeaderPropertiesChangeAction implements Action {
type = ActionTypes.WALL_HEADER_PROPERTIES_CHANGE;constructor(public payload: WallHeader) { }
}
export class WallBackgroundPropertiesChangeAction implements Action {
type = ActionTypes.WALL_BACKGROUND_PROPERTIES_CHANGE;constructor(public payload: WallBackground) { }
}
export class WallCardPropertiesChangeAction implements Action {
type = ActionTypes.WALL_CARD_PROPERTIES_CHANGE;constructor(public payload: WallCard) { }
}

 

Creating reducers: Now, we can proceed to create reducer functions so as to change the current state property. Moreover, we need to define an initial state which is the default state for uncustomized media wall. Actions can now be linked to update state property using this reducer when dispatched. These state properties serve two purposes:

  • Updating Query params for Direct URL.
  • Updating Media wall Colors

case mediaWallCustomAction.ActionTypes.WALL_HEADER_PROPERTIES_CHANGE: {
const wallHeader = action.payload;return Object.assign({}, state, {
wallHeader
});
}case mediaWallCustomAction.ActionTypes.WALL_BACKGROUND_PROPERTIES_CHANGE: {
const wallBackground = action.payload;return Object.assign({}, state, {
wallBackground
});
}case mediaWallCustomAction.ActionTypes.WALL_CARD_PROPERTIES_CHANGE: {
const wallCard = action.payload;return Object.assign({}, state, {
wallCard
});
}

 

Extracting Data to the component from the store: In ngrx, the central container for states is the store. Store is itself an observable and returns observable related to state properties. We have already defined various states for media wall color options and now we can use selectors to return state observables from the store. These observables can now easily be linked to the CSS of the elements which changes according to customization.

private getDataFromStore(): void {
this.wallCustomHeader$ = this.store.select(fromRoot.getMediaWallCustomHeader);
this.wallCustomCard$ = this.store.select(fromRoot.getMediaWallCustomCard);
this.wallCustomBackground$ = this.store.select(fromRoot.getMediaWallCustomBackground);
}

 

Linking state observables to the CSS properties: At first, it is important to remove all the CSS color properties from the elements that need to be customized. Now, we will instead use style directive provided by Angular in the template which can be used to update CSS properties directly from the component variables. Since the customized color received from the central store are observables, we need to use the async pipe to extract string color data from it.

Here, we are updating background color of the wall.

<span class=“wrapper”
[style.background-color]=“(wallCustomBackground$ | async).backgroundColor”>
</span>

 

For other child components, we need to use @Input Decorator to send color data as an input to it and use the style directive as used above.

Here, we are interacting with the child component i.e. media wall card component using @Input Decorator.

Template:

<media-wall-card
[feedItem]=“item”
[wallCustomCard$]=“wallCustomCard$”></media-wall-card>

 

Component:

export class MediaWallCardComponent implements OnInit {
..
@Input() feedItem: ApiResponseResult;
@Input() wallCustomCard$: Observable<WallCard>;
..
}

 

This creates a perfect binding of CSS properties in the template with the state properties of color actions. Now, we can dispatch different actions to update the state and hence, the colors of media wall.

Reference

Auto-Refreshing Mode in loklak Media Wall

Auto-refreshing wall means that the request to the loklak server for the feeds must be sent after every few seconds and adding up new feeds in the media wall as soon as the response is received for a single session. For a nice implementation, it is also necessary to check if the new feeds are being received from the server and consequently, close the connection as soon as no feeds are received as to maintain session singularity.

In this blog post, I am explaining how I implemented the auto-refreshing mode for media wall using tools like ngrx/store and ngrx/effects.

Flow Chart

The flowchart below explains the workflow of how the actions, effects and service are linked to create a cycle of events for auto-refreshing mode. It also shows up how the response is handled as a dependency for the next request. Since effects play a major role for this behaviour, we can say it as the “Game of Effects”.

Working

  • Effect wallSearchAction$: Assuming the Query for media wall has changed and ACTION: WALL_SEARCH has been dispatched, we will start from this point of time. Looking into the flowchart, we can see as soon the action WALL_SEARCH is dispatched, a effect needs to be created to detect the action dispatched.This effect customizes the query and sets up various configurations for search service and calls the service. Depending on whether the response is received or not, it either dispatches WallSearchCompleteSuccessAction or WallSearchCompleteFailAction respectively. Moreover, this effect is responsible for changing the route/location of the application.

@Effect()
wallSearchAction$: Observable<Action>
= this.actions$
.ofType(wallAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH)
.debounceTime(400)
.map((action: wallAction.WallSearchAction) => action.payload)
.switchMap(query => {
const nextSearch$ = this.actions$.ofType(wallAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH).skip(1);
const searchServiceConfig: SearchServiceConfig = new SearchServiceConfig();if (query.filter.image) {
searchServiceConfig.addFilters([‘image’]);
} else {
searchServiceConfig.removeFilters([‘image’]);
}
if (query.filter.video) {
searchServiceConfig.addFilters([‘video’]);
} else {
searchServiceConfig.removeFilters([‘video’]);
}return this.apiSearchService.fetchQuery(query.queryString, searchServiceConfig)
.takeUntil(nextSearch$)
.map(response => {
const URIquery = encodeURIComponent(query.queryString);
this.location.go(`/wall?query=${URIquery}`);
return new apiAction.WallSearchCompleteSuccessAction(response);
})
.catch(() => of(new apiAction.WallSearchCompleteFailAction()));
  • Property lastResponseLength: Looking into the flow chart, we can see that after WallSearchCompleteSuccessAction is dispatched, we need to check for the number of feeds in the response. If the number of feeds in the response is more than 0, we can continue to make a new request to the server. On the other hand, if no feeds are received, we need to close the connection and stop requesting for more feeds. This check is implemented using lastResponseLength state property of the reducer which maintains the length of the entities for the last response received.

case apiAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH_COMPLETE_SUCCESS: {
const apiResponse = action.payload;return Object.assign({}, state, {
entities: apiResponse.statuses,
lastResponseLength: apiResponse.statuses.length
});
}

 

  • Effect nextWallSearchAction$: Now, we have all the information regarding if we should dispatch WALL_NEXT_PAGE_ACTION depending on the last response received. We need to implement an effect that detects WALL_SEARCH_COMPLETE_SUCCESS  keeping in mind that the next request should be made 10 seconds after the previous response is received. For this behaviour, we need to use debounceTime() which emits a value only after certain specified time period has passed. Here, debounce is set to 10000ms which is equal to 10 seconds. The effect also needs to dispatch the next action depending on the lastResponseLength state property of the reducer. It should dispatch WallNextPageAction if the entities length of the response is more than 0, otherwise, it should dispatch StopWallPaginationAction.

@Effect()
nextWallSearchAction$
= this.actions$
.ofType(apiAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH_COMPLETE_SUCCESS)
.debounceTime(10000)
.withLatestFrom(this.store$)
.map(([action, state]) => {
if (state.mediaWallResponse.lastResponseLength > 0) {
return new wallPaginationAction.WallNextPageAction();
}
else {
return new wallPaginationAction.StopWallPaginationAction();
}
});

 

  • Effect wallPagination$: Now, we need to have an effect that should detect WALL_NEXT_PAGE_ACTION and call the SearchService similar to wallSearchAction$ Effect. However, we need to keep a check on the last record of the entities from the previous response received. This can be done using lastRecord state property which maintains the last record of the entities.

@Effect()
wallPagination$: Observable<Action>
= this.actions$
.ofType(wallPaginationAction.ActionTypes.WALL_NEXT_PAGE)
.map((action: wallPaginationAction.WallNextPageAction) => action.payload)
.withLatestFrom(this.store$)
.map(([action, state]) => {
return {
query: state.mediaWallQuery.query,
lastRecord: state.mediaWallResponse.entities.length
};
})
.switchMap(queryObject => {
const nextSearch$ = this.actions$.ofType(wallAction.ActionTypes.WALL_SEARCH);this.searchServiceConfig.startRecord = queryObject.lastRecord + 1;
if (queryObject.query.filter.image) {
this.searchServiceConfig.addFilters([‘image’]);
} else {
this.searchServiceConfig.removeFilters([‘image’]);
}
if (queryObject.query.filter.video) {
this.searchServiceConfig.addFilters([‘video’]);
} else {
this.searchServiceConfig.removeFilters([‘video’]);
}return this.apiSearchService.fetchQuery(queryObject.query.queryString, this.searchServiceConfig)
.takeUntil(nextSearch$)
.map(response => {
return new wallPaginationAction.WallPaginationCompleteSuccessAction(response);
})
.catch(() => of(new wallPaginationAction.WallPaginationCompleteFailAction()));
});

 

  • Effect nextWallPageAction$: Similar to the nextWallSearchAction$ effect, we need to implement an effect that detects WALL_PAGINATION_SUCCESS_ACTION and depending on the lastResponseLength should either dispatch WallNextPageAction or StopWallPaginationAction after a certain specified debounceTime.

@Effect()
nextWallPageAction$
= this.actions$
.ofType(wallPaginationAction.ActionTypes.WALL_PAGINATION_COMPLETE_SUCCESS)
.debounceTime(10000)
.withLatestFrom(this.store$)
.map(([action, state]) => {
if (state.mediaWallResponse.lastResponseLength > 0) {
return new wallPaginationAction.WallNextPageAction();
}
else {
return new wallPaginationAction.StopWallPaginationAction();
}
});

 

Now the cycle is created and requests will be automatically made after every 10 seconds depending on the previous response. This cycle also closes the connection and stops making a pagination request for the particular query as soon as no feeds are received from the server.

Reference

Introducing Customization in Loklak Media Wall

My GSoC Project includes implementing media wall in loklak search . One part of the issue is to include customization options in media wall. I looked around for most important features that can be implemented in a media wall to give the user a more appealing and personalized view. One of the feature that can be implemented is enabling Full Screen Mode.  This feature can help the user to display media wall on the projector or any big display screen without compromising with space available. In one part, I would be explaining how I implemented Full screen Mode in loklak media wall using fullscreen.js library.

Secondly, it is important to include a very reactive and user-friendly setting box. The setting box should be a central container in which all the customization options will be included.In loklak media wall,  setting box is implemented as a dialog box with various classifications in form of tabs. I would also be explaining  how I designed customization menu using Angular Material.

Implementation

Full Screen Mode

Since loklak search is an Angular 2 application and all the code is written in typescript, we can’t simply use the fullscreen.js library. We have to import the library into our application and create a directive that can be applied to the element to use it in the application.

  • Install fullscreen.js library in the application using Node Package Manager.

npm install save screenfull

import {Directive, HostListener, Output, EventEmitter} from ‘@angular/core’;
import * as screenfull from ‘screenfull’;@Directive({
selector: ‘[toggleFullscreen]’
})
export class ToggleFullscreenDirective {constructor() {}@HostListener(‘click’) onClick() {
if (screenfull.enabled) {
screenfull.toggle();
}
}
}
  • Import Directive into the module and add it to declaration. This allows directive to be used anywhere in the template.

import { ToggleFullscreenDirective } from ‘../shared//full-screen.directive’;
.
.
.
@NgModule({
.
.
.
declarations: [
.
.
.
ToggleFullscreenDirective,
.
.
.
]
})
export class MediaWallModule { }
  • Now, the directive is ready to use on the template. We just have to add this attribute directive to an element.

<i toggleFullscreen mdTooltip=“Full Screen” mdTooltipPosition=“below” class=“material-icons md-36”>fullscreen</i>

Customization Menu

Customization Menu is created using the idea of central container for customization. It is created using two components of Angular Material – Dialog Box and Tabs . We will now be looking how customization menu is implemented using these two components.

  • Create a component with the pre-configured position, height and width of the dialog box. This can be done simply using updatePosition and updateSize property of the MdDialogRef class.

export class MediaWallCustomizationComponent implements OnInit {
public query: string;constructor(
private dialogRef: MdDialogRef<MediaWallCustomizationComponent>,
private store: Store<fromRoot.State>,
private location: Location) { }ngOnInit() {
this.dialogRef.updatePosition(’10px’);
this.dialogRef.updateSize(‘80%’, ‘80%’);
}public searchAction() {
if (this.query) {
this.store.dispatch(new mediaWallAction.WallInputValueChangeAction(this.query));
this.location.go(‘/wall’, `query=${this.query}`);
}
}
}
  • Create a template for the Customization menu. We will be using md-tab and md-dialog to create a dialog box with options displayed using tabs. dynamicHeight should be set to true so that dialog box adjust according to the tabs. We can simply add an attribute md-dialog-close to the button which will close the dialog box. All the content should be added in the div with attribute md-dialog-content linked to it. Moreover, to make options look more user-friendly and adjustable on smaller screens, icons must be added with the Tab title.

<h1 mddialogtitle>Customization Menu</h1>
<button class=“form-close” mddialogclose>x</button>
<span mddialogcontent>
<mdtabgroup color=“accent” dynamicHeight=“true”>
<mdtab>
<ngtemplate mdtablabel>
<mdicon>search</mdicon>
Search For
</ngtemplate>
<h3> Search Customization </h3>
<mdinputcontainer class=“example-full-width” color=“accent”>
<input placeholder=“Search Term” mdInput type =“text” class=“input” name=“search-term” [(ngModel)]=“query”>
</mdinputcontainer>
<span class=“apply-button”>
<button mdraisedbutton color=“accent” mddialogclose (click)=“searchAction()”>Display</button>
</span>
</mdtab>
</mdtabgroup>
</span>

The code currently shows up code for search customization. It basically, records to the input using [(ngModel)] for two-way binding and makes the call the search action whenever user clicks on Display button.

  • Add a button which would open dialog box using open property of MdDialog class. This property would provide an instance for MediaWallCustomizationComponent and the component will show up dynamically.

<i class=“material-icons md-36” (click)=“dialog.open(MediaWallCustomizationComponent)”>settings</i>
  • It is important to add MediaWallCustomizationComponent as an entry component in the module so that AOT compiler can create a ComponentFactory for it during initialization.

import { MediaWallCustomizationComponent } from ‘./media-wall-customization/media-wall-customization.component’;

@NgModule({
entryComponents: [
MediaWallCustomizationComponent
]
})
export class MediaWallModule { }

 

This creates an appealing and user-friendly customization menu which acts a central container for customization options.

References

Adding Masonry Grid Layout to loklak Media Wall

Working on loklak media walls, I wanted to add a responsive self-adjusting grid layout for media walls. Going through the most trending media wall, I concluded that the most commonly used view for media walls is Masonry view. This view is a much similar view to the Pinterest grid layout. In fact, Masonry Desandro states that Masonry view can be one of the most responsive and most pretty ways to present cards. It is also beneficial to use masonry view as it avoids unnecessary gaps and makes full use of the display screen.

In this blog, we are going to see how I added a masonry view to the media walls without any other dependency than CSS using column-count and column-gap. We would also be looking upon how to adjust font-size using rem units to make text readable for all screen-sizes depending on number of columns.

HTML File

<span class=“masonry”>
<span class=“masonry-panel” *ngFor=“let item of (apiResponseResults$ | async)”>
<span class=“masonry-content”>
<mediawallcard [feedItem]=“item”></mediawallcard>
</span>
</span>
</span>
  • The first span with class masonry is like a container in which all the cards will be embedded. This div will provide a container to adjust the number of columns in which cards will be adjusted.
  • The second span with class masonry-panel will be the column division. These panels are like the elements of a matrix. These panels are responsive and will adjust according to the screen size.
  • The third span with class masonry-content are like the content box in which all the content will be embedded. This div will create a space in the panel for the card to be adjusted.
  • The fourth element media-wall-card are the cards in which all the feed items are placed.

CSS File

  • Adjusting columns – The column-count and column-gap property was introduced in CSS3 to divide the element in a specified number of column and to keep the specified number (whole number) of column gap between the elements respectively. For different screen sizes, these are the column count that are kept. We need adjust the number of columns according to various screen sizes so that cards neither look too stretched or too bleak. Media wall is now responsive enough to adjust on smaller screens like mobiles with one column and on larger screens too with five columns.

@media only screen and (max-width: 600px) {
.masonry {
columncount: 1;
columngap: 0;
}
} @media only screen and (min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 900px) {
.masonry {
columncount: 2;
columngap: 0;
}
} @media only screen and (min-width: 1280px) and (max-width: 1500px) {
.masonry {
columncount: 3;
columngap: 0;
}
} @media only screen and (min-width: 1500px) and (max-width: 1920px) {
.masonry {
columncount: 4;
columngap: 0;
}
} @media only screen and (min-width: 1920px) {
.masonry {
columncount: 5;
columngap: 0;
}
}
  • Adjusting Font-Size – For a fixed aspect ratio of various divisions of the media wall card, we need a central unit that can be adjusted to keep this ratio fixed. Using px will rather make the sizes fixed and adjusting these sizes for various screen sizes will make it hectic and would spoil the ratio. We will be instead using rem as a font-unit to adjust the font size for different screen sizes. Firstly, we need to assign a certain font size to all the elements in the media wall card. Now, we can configure the central font-size of the root unit for all the screen sizes using @media tag.

One thing that should be kept in mind is that The root font size should be kept more than 14px always.

@media only screen and (max-width: 600px) {
:root {
font-size: 14px;
}
}@media only screen and (min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 800px) {
:root {
font-size: 16px;
}
}@media only screen and (min-width: 800px) and (max-width: 1200px) {
:root {
font-size: 17px;
}
}@media only screen and (min-width: 1200px) and (max-width: 1500px) {
:root {
font-size: 18px;
}
}@media only screen and (min-width: 1500px) {
:root {
font-size: 20px;
}
}

 

This will create a masonry layout and now, all the cards can be adjusted in this self-adjusting grid and will look readable on all types of screen.

Reference