Swipe to Check In/Out in Open Event Organizer App

Open Event Organizer App didn’t provide any option for the Event Organizer to view the list of Attendees present under an Order and check them in/out the event. Therefore, we designed a system such that the Organizer can just swipe the attendee present under an order to check them in or out. In this blog post, I will discuss how we implemented this functionality in Open Event Organizer App without using any third party libraries.

Specifications

We will create a separate class SwipeController.java which extends ItemTouchHelper.SimpleCallback and provide the swiping functionalities to our plain old recyclerview. We will call the super constructor with ItemTouchHelper.LEFT and ItemTouchHelper.RIGHT as arguments to provide left as well as right movements in each recyclerview list item. The bitmaps and paint object initialized here will be used later in onDraw.

public SwipeController(OrderDetailViewModel orderDetailViewModel, OrderAttendeesAdapter orderAttendeesAdapter, Context context) {
super(0, ItemTouchHelper.LEFT | ItemTouchHelper.RIGHT);
this.orderDetailViewModel = orderDetailViewModel;
this.orderAttendeesAdapter = orderAttendeesAdapter;

closeIcon = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(context.getResources(), R.drawable.close);
doneIcon = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(context.getResources(), R.drawable.done);

paintGreen.setColor(context.getResources().getColor(R.color.light_green_500));
paintRed.setColor(context.getResources().getColor(R.color.red_500));
}

Next, we will override getMovementFlags method. This method decides the allowed movement directions for each recyclerview item. The deciding logic is that, if an attendee is checked in then the allowed movement is left to check out and if an attendee is checked out then the allowed movement is right to check in. If neither of the above case, then both movements are allowed.

@Override
public int getMovementFlags(RecyclerView recyclerView, RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder) {
int dragFlags = 0;

If (orderDetailViewModel.getCheckedInStatus(

viewHolder.getAdapterPosition()) == null)
makeMovementFlags(dragFlags, ItemTouchHelper.LEFT | ItemTouchHelper.RIGHT);

if (orderDetailViewModel.getCheckedInStatus(

viewHolder.getAdapterPosition())) {
return makeMovementFlags(dragFlags, ItemTouchHelper.LEFT);
} else {
return makeMovementFlags(dragFlags, ItemTouchHelper.RIGHT);
}
}

The onChildDraw method involves the code doing actual drawing. The variables used in code are discussed below.

  1. ActionState – Checks the state of the recycler view item. We proceed with the below logic if the item is being swiped.
  2. dX – The distance by which the item is swiped. Positive for left and negative for right.
  3. Background – Background of the viewholder. Rectangular in shape and dimensions changed with change in dX.
  4. IconDest – Calculates the position where the icons (close icon or done icon) is placed in canvas
  5. Canvas – Java Canvas on which the drawing is done. We set the background and draw the bitmaps on their location in canvas.
@Override
public void onChildDraw(Canvas canvas, RecyclerView recyclerView, RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder,
float dX, float dY, int actionState, boolean isCurrentlyActive) {
if (actionState == ItemTouchHelper.ACTION_STATE_SWIPE) {
View itemView = viewHolder.itemView;
float height = (float) itemView.getBottom() – (float) itemView.getTop();
float width = height / 3;
RectF background;
Paint paint;
Bitmap icon;
RectF iconDest;

if (dX > 0) {
background = new RectF((float) itemView.getLeft(), (float) itemView.getTop(), dX,
(float) itemView.getBottom());
paint = paintGreen;
icon = doneIcon;
iconDest = new RectF((float) itemView.getLeft() + width,
(float) itemView.getTop() + width, (float) itemView.getLeft() + 2 * width,
(float) itemView.getBottom() – width);
} else {
background = new RectF((float) itemView.getRight() + dX, (float) itemView.getTop(),
(float) itemView.getRight(), (float) itemView.getBottom());
paint = paintRed;
icon = closeIcon;
iconDest = new RectF((float) itemView.getRight() – 2 * width,
(float) itemView.getTop() + width, (float) itemView.getRight() – width,
(float) itemView.getBottom() – width);
}

canvas.drawRect(background, paint);
canvas.drawBitmap(icon, null, iconDest, paint);
}
super.onChildDraw(canvas, recyclerView, viewHolder, dX, dY, actionState, isCurrentlyActive);
}

Now after the item is swiped out or in, we need to restore its original state again. For this we override the onSwiped method and call notifyItemChanged(). Also, the changes in UI (showing green side strip for checked in and red side strip for checked out) are done by. We call the toggleCheckin() method in ViewModel to toggle the checking status of the attendee in server and local database.

@Override
public void onSwiped(RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder, int direction) {
int position = viewHolder.getAdapterPosition();

orderDetailViewModel.toggleCheckIn(position);
orderAttendeesAdapter.notifyItemChanged(position);
}

Last but not the least, we will override the onMove method to return false. Since we are not supporting drag and drop features therefore this method will never be called.

@Override
public boolean onMove(RecyclerView recyclerView, RecyclerView.ViewHolder viewHolder, RecyclerView.ViewHolder target) {
return false;
}

Resources

  1. Codebase for Open Event Organizer App https://github.com/fossasia/open-event-orga-app
  2. Official documentation for ItemTouchHelper.SimpleCallback https://developer.android.com/reference/android/support/v7/widget/helper/ItemTouchHelper.SimpleCallback

Image Loading in Open Event Organizer Android App using Glide

Open Event Organizer is an Android App for the Event Organizers and Entry Managers. Open Event API Server acts as a backend for this App. The core feature of the App is to scan a QR code from the ticket to validate an attendee’s check in. Other features of the App are to display an overview of sales and ticket management. As per the functionality, the performance of the App is very important. The App should be functional even on a weak network. Talking about the performance, the image loading part in the app should be handled efficiently as it is not an essential part of the functionality of the App. Open Event Organizer uses Glide, a fast and efficient image loading library created by Sam Judd. I will be talking about its implementation in the App in this blog.

First part is the configuration of the glide in the App. The library provides a very easy way to do that. Your app needs to implement a class named AppGlideModule using annotations provided by the library and it generates a glide API which can be used in the app for all the image loading stuff. The AppGlideModule implementation in the Orga App looks like:

@GlideModule
public final class GlideAPI extends AppGlideModule {

   @Override
   public void registerComponents(Context context, Glide glide, Registry registry) {
       registry.replace(GlideUrl.class, InputStream.class, new OkHttpUrlLoader.Factory());
   }

   // TODO: Modify the options here according to the need
   @Override
   public void applyOptions(Context context, GlideBuilder builder) {
       int diskCacheSizeBytes = 1024 * 1024 * 10; // 10mb
       builder.setDiskCache(new InternalCacheDiskCacheFactory(context, diskCacheSizeBytes));
   }

   @Override
   public boolean isManifestParsingEnabled() {
       return false;
   }
}

 

This generates the API named GlideApp by default in the same package which can be used in the whole app. Just make sure to add the annotation @GlideModule to this implementation which is used to find this class in the app. The second part is using the generated API GlideApp in the app to load images using URLs. Orga App uses data binding for layouts. So all the image loading related code is placed at a single place in DataBinding class which is used by the layouts. The class has a method named setGlideImage which takes an image view, an image URL, a placeholder drawable and a transformation. The relevant code is:

private static void setGlideImage(ImageView imageView, String url, Drawable drawable, Transformation<Bitmap> transformation) {
       if (TextUtils.isEmpty(url)) {
           if (drawable != null)
               imageView.setImageDrawable(drawable);
           return;
       }
       GlideRequest<Drawable> request = GlideApp
           .with(imageView.getContext())
           .load(Uri.parse(url));

       if (drawable != null) {
           request
               .placeholder(drawable)
               .error(drawable);
       }
       request
           .centerCrop()
           .transition(withCrossFade())
           .transform(transformation == null ? new CenterCrop() : transformation)
           .into(imageView);
   }

 

The method is very clear. First, the URL is checked for nullability. If null, the drawable is set to the imageview and method returns. Usage of GlideApp is simpler. Pass the URL to the GlideApp using the method with which returns a GlideRequest which has operators to set other required options like transitions, transformations, placeholder etc. Lastly, pass the imageview using into operator. By default, Glide uses HttpURLConnection provided by android to load the image which can be changed to use Okhttp using the extension provided by the library. This is set in the AppGlideModule implementation in the registerComponents method.

Links:
1. Documentation for Glide, an Image Loading Library
2. Documentation for Okhttp, an HTTP client for Android and Java Applications

Receiving Data From the Network Asynchronously

We often need to receive information from networks in Android apps. Although it is a simple process but the problem arises when it is done through the main user interaction thread. To understand this problem better consider using an app which shows some text downloaded from the online database. As the user clicks a button to display a text it may take some time to get the HTTP response. So what does an activity do in that time? It creates a lag in the user interface and makes the app to stop responding. Recently I implemented this in Connfa App to download data in Open Event Format.

To solve that problem we use concurrent thread to download the data and send the result back to be processed separating it from main user interaction thread. AsyncTask allows you to perform background operations and publish results on the UI thread without having to manipulate threads and/or handlers.

AsyncTask is designed to be a helper class around Thread and Handler and does not constitute a generic threading framework. AsyncTasks should ideally be used for short operations (a few seconds at the most). If you need to keep threads running for long periods of time, it is highly recommended you use the various APIs provided by the java.util.concurrent package such as Executor, ThreadPoolExecutor and FutureTask.

An asynchronous task is defined by a computation that runs on a background thread and whose result is published on the UI thread. An asynchronous task is defined by 3 generic types, called Params, Progress and Result, and 4 steps, called onPreExecute, doInBackground, onProgressUpdate and onPostExecute.

In this blog, I describe how to download data in an android app with AsyncTask using OkHttp library.

First, you need to add dependency for OkHttp Library,

compile 'com.squareup.okhttp:okhttp:2.4.0' 


Extend AsyncTask class and implement all the functions in the class by overriding them to modify them accordingly. Here I declare a class named AsyncDownloader extending AsyncTask. We took the string parameter, integer type progress and string type result to return instead which will be our JSON data and param is our URL. Instead of using get the function of AsyncTask we implement an interface to receive data so the main user interaction thread does not have to wait for the return of the result.

public class AsyncDownloader extends AsyncTask<String, Integer, String> {
    private String jsonData = null;

    public interface JsonDataSetter {
        void setJsonData(String str);
    }


    JsonDataSetter jsonDataSetterListener;

    public AsyncDownloader(JsonDataSetter context) {

        this.jsonDataSetterListener = context;
    }

    @Override
    protected void onPreExecute() {
        super.onPreExecute();
    }

    @Override
    protected String doInBackground(String... params) {

        String url = params[0];

        OkHttpClient client = new OkHttpClient();
        Request request = new Request.Builder()
                .url(url)
                .build();
        Call call = client.newCall(request);

        Response response = null;

        try {
            response = call.execute();

            if (response.isSuccessful()) {
                jsonData = response.body().string();

            } else {
                jsonData = null;
            }

        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }


        return jsonData;
    }

    @Override
    protected void onPostExecute(String jsonData) {
        super.onPostExecute(jsonData);
        jsonDataSetterListener.setJsonData(jsonData);
    }
}


We download the data in doInBackground making a request using OkHttp library and send the result back in onPostExecute method using our interface method. See above to check out the complete class implementation.

You can make an instance to AsyncDownloader in an activity. Implement interface to receive that data.

Tip: Always close AsyncTask after using to avoid many concurrent tasks at one time.

Find the complete code here.

References:

Dynamic Base URL Support in the Open Event Organizer App

Open Event API Server acts as a backend for Open Event Organizer Android App. The server has a development instance running on the web for developers. Developers use this instance to try out new feature additions, bug fixings and other such changes in the source code. And when confirmed working, these changes are updated to the main running instance which is kept live throughout for the users. Similarly for Android app developers, to test the app with both the instances, we have implemented the dynamic base URL support in the app. The app has a default base URL set to development instance or main instance dependent on the debug mode. That means the app will use a server on developer instance when used under debug mode and will use a main instance server if used under release mode. The app also provides an option to enter an alternate URL while login in the app which replaces default base URL in the app for the session.

In the organizer app, we are using Retrofit + Okhttp for handling network requests and dagger for dependency injection. The OkhttpClient provider in NetworkModule class looks like:

@Provides
@Singleton
OkHttpClient providesOkHttpClient(HostSelectionInterceptor interceptor) {
   return new OkHttpClient.Builder()
       .addNetworkInterceptor(new StethoInterceptor())
       .build();
}

 

Retrofit had a support for mutable base URL in the earlier versions but the feature is no longer available in the recent versions. We are using Interceptor class for changing base URL. The class has a method named intercept, which gets called at each network request. In this method, base URL is reset to the new URL.

So first you have to extend Interceptor class and reset base URL in the intercept method. The Interceptor class in the app looks like:

public final class HostSelectionInterceptor implements Interceptor {
   private String host;
   private String scheme;

   public HostSelectionInterceptor(){
       //Intentionally left blank
   }

   public void setInterceptor(String url) {
       HttpUrl httpUrl = HttpUrl.parse(url);
       scheme = httpUrl.scheme();
       host = httpUrl.host();
   }

   @Override
   public Response intercept(Chain chain) throws IOException {
       Request original = chain.request();

       // If new Base URL is properly formatted then replace the old one
       if (scheme != null && host != null) {
           HttpUrl newUrl = original.url().newBuilder()
               .scheme(scheme)
               .host(host)
               .build();
           original = original.newBuilder()
               .url(newUrl)
               .build();
       }
       return chain.proceed(original);
   }
}

 

The class has a private string field host to save base URL. The method setInterceptor is used to change the base URL. Once the base URL is changed, thereafter all the network requests use changed URL to call. So now our interceptor is ready which can be used to support dynamic base URL in the app. This interceptor is added to Okhttp builder using its method addInterceptor.

@Provides
@Singleton
HostSelectionInterceptor providesHostSelectionInterceptor() {
   return new HostSelectionInterceptor();
}

@Provides
@Singleton
OkHttpClient providesOkHttpClient(HostSelectionInterceptor interceptor) {
   return new OkHttpClient.Builder()
       .addInterceptor(interceptor)
       .addNetworkInterceptor(new StethoInterceptor())
       .build();
}

 

And now you are able to change base URL just by using the setInterceptor method of Interceptor class from anywhere in the app. And by then all the network calls use the updated base URL.

Application

I will show you here, how exactly this works in the Open Event Organizer app. On the login page, we have provided an option to enter an alternate base URL.

                                

We have kept a default URL checked. The default URL is set as per debug mode. This is done by setting the fields in the build.gradle. The code looks like:

buildTypes {
       release {
           ...
           buildConfigField "String", "DEFAULT_BASE_URL", '"https://www.eventyay.com/api/v1/"'
       }
       debug {
           buildConfigField "String", "DEFAULT_BASE_URL", '"https://open-event-dev.herokuapp.com/api/v1/"'
       }
   }

 

The field is used in the app as:

private final String DEFAULT_BASE_URL = BuildConfig.DEFAULT_BASE_URL;

 

On login, the loginPresenter calls setInterceptor method of the Interceptor to update the URL according to the user’s input. And the base URL is changed in the app for further network requests.

Links:
1. Gist link for Interceptor implementation code – https://gist.github.com/swankjesse/8571a8207a5815cca1fb
2. Google dagger dependency injector Github Repo
3. Retrofit http client Github Repo
4. Okhttp client Github Repo

Implement Caching in the Live Feed of Open Event Android App

In the Open Event Android App, a live feed from the event’s Facebook page was recently implemented. Since it was a live feed, it was decided that it was futile to store it in the Realm database of the app. The data of the live feed didn’t persist anywhere, hence the feed used to be empty when the app ran without the internet connection.

To solve the problem of data persistence, it was decided to store the feed in the cache. Now, there were two paths before us – use retrofit okhttp cache management or use volley. Since retrofit is used to make the API requests in the app, we used the former. To implement caching with retrofit, its API response should include the cache control header. Since it was not a response generated by a personal server, interceptors were needed to force change the request.

Interceptors

Interceptors are a powerful mechanism that can monitor, rewrite, and retry calls. The solution was to use interceptors to rewrite the calls to force use of cache. Two interceptors were added, application interceptor for the request and the network interceptor for the response.

Implementation

Create a cache file to store the response.

private static Cache provideCache() {
   Cache cache = null;
   try {
       cache = new Cache(new File(OpenEventApp.getAppContext().getCacheDir(), "facebook-feed-cache"),
               10 * 1024 * 1024); // 10 MB
   } catch (Exception e) {
       Timber.e(e, "Could not create Cache!");
   }
   return cache;
}

 

Create a network interceptor by chaining the response with the cache control header and removing the pragma header to force use of cache.

private static Interceptor provideCacheInterceptor() {
   return chain -> {
       Response response = chain.proceed(chain.request());

       // re-write response header to force use of cache
       CacheControl cacheControl = new CacheControl.Builder()
               .maxAge(2, TimeUnit.MINUTES)
               .build();

       return response.newBuilder()
               .removeHeader("Pragma")
               .header(CACHE_CONTROL, cacheControl.toString())
               .build();
   };
}

 

Create an application interceptor by chaining the request with the cache control header for stale responses and removing the pragma header to make the feed available for offline usage.

private static Interceptor provideOfflineCacheInterceptor() {
   return chain -> {
       Request request = chain.request();

       if (!NetworkUtils.haveNetworkConnection(OpenEventApp.getAppContext())) {
           CacheControl cacheControl = new CacheControl.Builder()
                   .maxStale(7, TimeUnit.DAYS)
                   .build();

           request = request.newBuilder()
                   .removeHeader("Pragma")
                   .cacheControl(cacheControl)
                   .build();
       }

       return chain.proceed(request);
   };
}

 

Finally add the cache and the two interceptors while building the okhttp client.

OkHttpClient okHttpClient = okHttpClientBuilder.addInterceptor(new HttpLoggingInterceptor()
       .setLevel(HttpLoggingInterceptor.Level.BASIC))
       .addInterceptor(provideOfflineCacheInterceptor())
       .addNetworkInterceptor(provideCacheInterceptor())
       .cache(provideCache())
       .build();

 

Conclusion

Working of apps without the internet connection builds up a strong case for corner cases while testing. It is therefore critical to persist data however small to avoid crashes and bad user experience.

Resources