Implementing Search Functionality in Phimpme Android Application.

In the Phimpme Android application, users are provided with options to perform various operations on the albums available such as move, creating a zip file of the album, rename an album and many more. However, one another useful functionality that has been added to the Phimpme Android application is the option to search albums. So in this post, I will be discussing the implementation of search functionality.

Step 1

Android framework provides developers with a search widget called SearchView that provides a user interface for the user to search a query and submit the request. So first setting up the widget in the action bar of the activity is required. The searchview widget can be added to the action bar as a menu item by adding the following lines in the XML menu resource file menu_albums.xml.

<item
  android:id=“@+id/search_action”
  android:title=“@string/search_menu”
  android:visible=“true”
  android:icon=“@drawable/ic_search_black_24dp”
  android:tint=“@color/white”
  app:actionViewClass=“android.support.v7.widget.SearchView”
  app:showAsAction=“always” />

Step 2

Now SearchView.OnQueryTextListener interface is used for initiating the search operation and listening to the callbacks for changes to the query text. For the purpose of listening to the querytext, two methods are used here both of which are listed below.

onQueryTextChanged(String Text) – This method is called every time the query text is changed by the user and returns a boolean value, false if SearchView should perform the default action of showing any suggestions and true if the action was handled by the listener.

onQueryTextSubmit(String query) – This method is called when the user submits a query which could be done with a key press on the keyboard or by pressing the submit button. It also returns a boolean value which is true if the query has been handled by the listener, otherwise false.

The code snippet for the implementation of the above mentioned interface is provided below.

searchView.setOnQueryTextListener(new SearchView.OnQueryTextListener() {
  @Override
  public boolean onQueryTextSubmit(String query) {
      return false;
  }

  @Override
  public boolean onQueryTextChange(String newText) {
      return searchTitle(newText);
  }
});

Step 3

In the final step, with the use of the onQueryTextChange method of the SearchView.onQueryTextListener interface the search operation and displaying the search results in the UI can be achieved. The onQueryTextChange method is called every time the search-query text changes. From the onQueryTextChange method, another method named searchTitle is invoked. Inside the searchTitle method the album names matching the search-query are searched from an Arraylist<Albums> containing all the albums displayed in the application. The albums obtained as a result of the search operation are then stored in another Arraylist<Album> which is thereafter passed as a parameter to the swapDataSet method of the AlbumsAdapter class to display the searched albums in the album view. The code snippet used for the above operations is provided below.

public boolean searchTitle(String newText) {
  if (!fromOnClick) {
      String queryText = newText;
      queryText = queryText.toLowerCase();
      final ArrayList<Album> newList = new ArrayList<>();
      for (Album album : albList) {
          String name = album.getName().toLowerCase();
          if (name.contains(queryText)) {
              newList.add(album);
          }
      }
      if(newList.isEmpty()){
          checkNoSearchResults(newText);
      }
      else{
          if(textView.getVisibility() == View.VISIBLE){
              textView.setVisibility(View.INVISIBLE);
          }
      }
      albumsAdapter.swapDataSet(newList);
  } else {
      fromOnClick = false;
  }
  return true;
}

This is how we have implemented the search functionality in the Phimpme Android application. To get the full source code, please refer to the Phimpme Android Github repository.

The screenshot for displaying the search result in album view is provided below.

Resources

1.Android Developer Guide – https://developer.android.com/reference/android/widget/SearchView

2.Github-Phimpme Android Repository – https://github.com/fossasia/phimpme-android/

3.Creating a search interface in Android – https://medium.com/@yugandhardcs21/creating-a-search-interface-in-android-dc1fd6a53b4

Search Functionalities in SUSI Android App Using Android SearchView Widget

Searching is a common feature that is required in most applications. But the problem in implementing searching functionality is that there is no common way to do that. People fight over whose way is best to implement search functionality. In this blog post we’ll be looking at how search functionality works in SUSI Android App and how is it implemented. We have used Android’s SearchView widget to do that. There are many other ways to do so but this one is best suited for our requirements. Let’s see how it works.

UI Components used for Searching

1. Search icon (magnifying glass icon)

In the action bar, you can see a small icon. Clicking on the icon initiates search.

2. Edit text

An Obvious requirement is an edit test to enter search query.

3. Up and Down arrow keys

Required to search through the whole app. Simply use the up and down arrow keys to navigate through the app and find out each occurrence of the word you want to search.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Cross Button

Last but not the least, a close or cross button to close the search action.

Implementation

We have used Android’s inbuilt Widget SearchView. According to official android documentation

A widget that provides a user interface for the user to enter a search query and submit a request to a search provider. Shows a list of query suggestions or results, if available, and allows the user to pick a suggestion or result to launch into.

This widget makes searching a lot easier. It provides all methods and listeners which are actually required for searching. Let’s cover them one by one.

  1. Starting the search: searchView.setOnSearchClickListener Listener simply activates when a user clicks on search icon in the toolbar. Do all your work which needs to be done at the starting of the search like, hiding some other UI elements of doing an animation inside the listener
searchView.setOnSearchClickListener({
   chatPresenter.startSearch()
})
  1. Stop the Search: searchView.setOnCloseListener Listener gets activated when a user clicks on the cross icon to close the search. Add all the code snippet you want which is needed to be executed when the search is closed inside this like maybe notify the adapter about data set changes or closing the database etc.
searchView.setOnCloseListener({
   chatPresenter.stopSearch()
   false
})
  1.  Searching a query:  searchView.setOnQueryTextListener Listener overrides 2 methods:

3.1 onQueryTextSubmit: As the name suggests, this method is called when the query to be searched is submitted.

3.2 onQueryTextChange: This method is called when query you are writing changes.

We, basically wanted same thing to happen if user has submitted the query or if he is still typing and that is to take the query at that particular moment, find it in database and highlight it. So, chatPresenter.onSearchQuerySearched(query) this method is called in both onQueryTextSubmit and onQueryTextSubmit  to do that.

 searchView.setOnQueryTextListener(object : SearchView.OnQueryTextListener {
 
      override fun onQueryTextSubmit(query: String): Boolean {
           //Handle Search Query
           chatPresenter.onSearchQuerySearched(query)
           recyclerAdapter.query = query
           return false
       }

       override fun onQueryTextChange(newText: String): Boolean {
           if (TextUtils.isEmpty(newText)) {
               modifyMenu(false)
               recyclerAdapter.highlightMessagePosition = -1
               recyclerAdapter.notifyDataSetChanged()
               if (!editText.isFocused) {
                   editText.requestFocus()
               }
           } else {
               chatPresenter.onSearchQuerySearched(newText)
               recyclerAdapter.query = newText
           }
           return false
       }
   })
   return true
}
  1. Finding query in database: Now we have a query to be searched, we can just use a database operation to do that. The below code snippet finds all the messages which has the query present in it and work on it. If the query is not found, it simply displays a toast saying “Not found”
override fun onSearchQuerySearched(query: String) {
   chatView?.displaySearchElements(true)
   results = databaseRepository.getSearchResults(query)
   offset = 1
   if (results.size > 0) {
       chatView?.modifyMenu(true)
       chatView?.searchMovement(results[results.size - offset].id.toInt())
   } else {
       chatView?.showToast(utilModel.getString(R.string.not_found))
   }
}

This is the database operation.

override fun getSearchResults(query: String): RealmResults<ChatMessage> {
   return realm.where(ChatMessage::class.java).contains(Constant.CONTENT,
           query, Case.INSENSITIVE).findAll()
}

  1. Highlighting the part of message: Now, we know which message has the query, we just want to highlight it with a bright color to display the result. For that, we used SpannableString to highlight a part of complete string.
String text = chatTextView.getText().toString();
SpannableString modify = new SpannableString(text);
Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile(query, Pattern.CASE_INSENSITIVE);
Matcher matcher = pattern.matcher(modify);
while (matcher.find()) {
   int startIndex = matcher.start();
   int endIndex = matcher.end();
   modify.setSpan(new BackgroundColorSpan(Color.parseColor("#ffff00")), startIndex, endIndex, Spannable.SPAN_EXCLUSIVE_EXCLUSIVE);
}
chatTextView.setText(modify);

Summary

The whole point of this blog post was to educate about SearchView widget of android and how it makes it easy to search queries. All the methods you need are already implemented. You just need to call them and add database operation.

Resources

  1. The link to official android documentation explaining about different methods in SearchView Class https://developer.android.com/reference/android/widget/SearchView.html
  2. Another tutorial about SearchView http://www.journaldev.com/12478/android-searchview-example-tutorial

Add Autocomplete SearchView in Open Event Android App

The Open Event Android App has a map for showing all locations of sessions. All the locations have a marker in the map. It is difficult to find a particular location on the map because to know the name of location user has to click on the marker. Adding autocomplete SearchView will improve user experience by providing an ability to search the location by name and by suggesting name according to the search query. In this post I explain how to add autocomplete SearchView in the fragment or activity.

Add search icon in actionbar

The first step to do is to create a menu xml file and add a search menu item in it. Then inflate this menu xml file in Fragment in onCreateOptionsMenu() method.

1. Create menu.xml file

In this file add search menu element. Inside menu element add search menu item. Define id, title, and icon of search menu item. Add android.support.v7.widget.SearchView” as actionViewClass which will be used as action view when the user clicks on the icon.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools">
    
   <item
        android:id="@+id/action_search"
        android:icon="@drawable/ic_search_white_24dp"
        android:title="@string/search"
        app:actionViewClass="android.support.v7.widget.SearchView"
        app:showAsAction="ifRoom | collapseActionView"/>
</menu>

2. Inflate menu.xml file in Fragment

In the fragment’s onCreateOptionsMenu() method inflate menu.xml file using MenuInflater’s inflate() method. Then find search menu item using menu’s findItem() method by passing id of search menu item as parameter.

public void onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu, MenuInflater inflater) {
        super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu, inflater);
        inflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_map, menu);
        MenuItem item = menu.findItem(R.id.action_search);
}

Add and initialize SearchView  

Now after adding search icon we need to add SearchView and SearchAutoComplete fields in the fragment.

private SearchView searchView;
private SearchView.SearchAutoComplete   mSearchAutoComplete;

Initialize SearchView in onCreateOptionMenu() method by passing search menu item in the getActionView() method of MenuItemCompat.

Here SearchAutoComplete is a child object of SearchView so initialize it using findViewById method of SearchView by passing the id as parameter.

searchView = (SearchView) MenuItemCompat.getActionView(item);
mSearchAutoComplete = (SearchView.SearchAutoComplete) searchView.findViewById(android.support.v7.appcompat.R.id.search_src_text);

Define properties of SearchAutoCompleteView

By default background of drop down menu in SearchAutoComplete is black. You can change background using setDropDownBackgroundResource() method. Here i’m making it white by providing white drawable resource.

mSearchAutoComplete.setDropDownBackgroundResource(R.drawable.background_white);
mSearchAutoComplete.setDropDownAnchor(R.id.action_search);
mSearchAutoComplete.setThreshold(0)

The setDropDownAnchor() method sets the view to which the auto-complete drop down list should anchor. The setThreshold() method specifies the minimum number of characters the user has to type in the edit box before the drop down list is shown.

Create array adapter

Now it’s time to make the ArrayAdapter object which will provide the data set (strings) which will be used to run search queries.

ArrayAdapter<String> adapter = new ArrayAdapter<>(getActivity(), android.R.layout.simple_list_item_1, searchItems);

Here searchItems is List of strings. Now set this adapter to the mSearchAutoComplete object using setAdapter() method.

mSearchAutoComplete.setAdapter(adapter);

Now we are all set to run the app on device or emulator. Here’s demo how it will look

Conclusion

The SearchView with an ability to give suggestions serves the great user experience in the application.

Additional resources:

Global Search in Open Event Android

In the Open Event Android app we only had a single data source for searching in each page that was the content on the page itself. But it turned out that users want to search data across an event and therefore across different screens in the app. Global search solves this problem. We have recently implemented  global search in Open Event Android that enables the user to search data from the different pages i.e Tracks, Speakers, Locations etc all in a single page. This helps the user in obtaining his desired result in less time. In this blog I am describing how we implemented the feature in the app using JAVA and XML.

Implementing the Search

The first step of the work is to to add the search icon on the homescreen. We have done this with an id R.id.action_search_home.

@Override
public void onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu, MenuInflater inflater) {
   super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu, inflater);
   inflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_home, menu);
   // Get the SearchView and set the searchable configuration
   SearchManager searchManager = (SearchManager)getContext().    getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
   searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(R.id.action_search_home).getActionView();
  // Assumes current activity is the searchable activity
 searchView.setSearchableInfo(searchManager.getSearchableInfo(
getActivity().getComponentName()));
searchView.setIconifiedByDefault(true); 
}

What is being done here is that the search icon on the top right of the home screen  is being designated a searchable component which is responsible for the setup of the search widget on the Toolbar of the app.

@Override
 public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
    MenuInflater inflater = getMenuInflater();
    inflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_home, menu);
    SearchManager searchManager =
            (SearchManager) getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
    searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(R.id.action_search_home).getActionView();
    searchView.setSearchableInfo(
            searchManager.getSearchableInfo(getComponentName()));
 
    searchView.setOnQueryTextListener(this);
    if (searchText != null) {
        searchView.setQuery(searchText, true);
    }
    return true; }

We can see that a queryTextListener has been setup in this function which is responsible to trigger a function whenever a query in the SearchView changes.

Example of a Searchable Component

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <searchable xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:hint="@string/global_search_hint"
    android:label="@string/app_name" />

For More Info : https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/search/searchable-config.html

If this searchable component is inserted into the manifest in the required destination activity’s body the destination activity is set and intent filter must be set in this activity to tell whether or not the activity is searchable.

Manifest Code for SearchActivity

<activity
        android:name=".activities.SearchActivity"
        android:launchMode="singleTop"
        android:label="Search App"
        android:parentActivityName=".activities.MainActivity">
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEARCH" />
    </intent-filter>
    <meta-data
        android:name="android.app.searchable"
        android:resource="@xml/searchable" />
 </activity>

And the attribute  android:launchMode=”singleTop is very important as if we want to search multiple times in the SearchActivity all the instances of our SearchActivity would get stored on the call stack which is not needed and would also eat up a lot of memory.

Handling the Intent to the SearchActivity

We basically need to do a standard if check in order to check if the intent is of type ACTION_SEARCH.

if (Intent.ACTION_SEARCH.equals(getIntent().getAction())) {
    handleIntent(getIntent());
 }
@Override
 protected void onNewIntent(Intent intent) {
    super.onNewIntent(intent);
    handleIntent(intent);
 }
 public void handleIntent(Intent intent) {
    final String query = intent.getStringExtra(SearchManager.QUERY);
    searchQuery(query);
 }

The function searchQuery is called within handleIntent in order to search for the text that we received from the Homescreen.

SearchView Trigger Functions

Next we need to add two main functions in order to get the search working:

  • onQueryTextChange
  • onQueryTextSubmit

The function names are self-explanatory. Now we will move on to the code implementation of the given functions.

@Override
 public boolean onQueryTextChange(String query) {
    if(query!=null) {
        searchQuery(query);
        searchText = query;
    }
    else{
        results.clear();
        handleVisibility();
    }
   return true;
 }
 
 @Override
 public boolean onQueryTextSubmit(String query) {
    searchView.clearFocus();
    return true;
 }

The role of the searchView.clearFocus() inside the above code snippet is to remove the keyboard popup from the screen to enable the user to have a clear view of the search result.

Here the main search logic is being handled by the function called searchQuery which I’ll talking about now.

Search Logic

private void searchQuery(String constraint) {
 
    results.clear();
 
    if (!TextUtils.isEmpty(constraint)) {
        String query = constraint.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault());
        addResultsFromTracks(query);
        addResultsFromSpeakers(query);
        addResultsFromLocations(query);
    }
 }
//THESE ARE SOME VARIABLES FOR REFERENCE
//This is the custom recycler view adapter that has been defined for the search
private GlobalSearchAdapter globalSearchAdapter;
 //This stores the results in an Object Array
 private List<Object> result

We are assuming that we have POJO’s(Plain Old Java Objects) for Tracks , Speakers , and Locations and for the Result Type Header.

The code posted below performs the function of getting the required results from the list of tracks. All the results are being fetched asynchronously from Realm and here we have also attached a header for the result type to denote whether the result is of type Track , Speaker or Location. We also see that we have added a changeListener to notify us if any changes have occurred in the set of results.

Similarly this is being done for all the result types that we need i.e Tracks, Locations and Speakers.

public void addResultsFromTracks(String queryString) {

   RealmResults<Track> filteredTracks = realm.where(Track.class)
                                        .like("name", queryString,                     Case.INSENSITIVE).findAllSortedAsync("name");
      filteredTracks.addChangeListener(tracks -> {

       if(tracks.size()>0){
            results.add("Tracks");
        }
       results.addAll(tracks);
       globalSearchAdapter.notifyDataSetChanged();
       Timber.d("Filtering done total results %d", tracks.size());
       handleVisibility();
});}

We now have a “Global Search” feature in the Open Event Android app. Users had asked for this feature and a learning for us is, that it would have been even better to do more tests with users when we developed the first versions. So, we could have included this feedback and implemented Global Search earlier on.

Resources