Creating an Infobox for Mobile View Using Angular in Susper

In Susper, the Information and Analytics boxes disappeared for widths smaller than 1100px, since they were too big to fit in the existing page layout.
In Laptop view:

In Mobile view:

Hence we decided to design a new Info-cum-Analytics box for mobile devices, where the Analytics are displayed only if the ‘Show Analytics’ button is clicked and they are hidden on clicking the ‘Hide Analytics’ button.

The following is the html code for the Infobox:

<div class=“combo-box”>
<appinfobox></app-infobox>
<button class=“btn” id=“toggle-button” (click)=“BoxToggle()” type=“button” datatoggle=“collapse” datatarget=“#statbox” ariaexpanded=“false” ariacontrols=“collapseExample”>
{{boxMessage}} Analytics
</button>
<appstatsbox class=“collapse” id=“statbox”></app-statsbox>
</div>

We can make the following observations:

  • The combo box has both the Info and the Stats box, in addition to a button, which toggles the display status of the Analytics box.
  • To display the appropriate message on the button, we have a special function called BoxToggle() which sets the value of boxMessage()
  • The data-toggle attribute of the button has been set to collapse and the data-target is statbox
  • The statsbox has the class collapse, so that it collapses on clicking on the Toggle button.

The typescript code is as follows:

BoxToggle() {
if (this.boxMessage === ‘Show’) {
this.boxMessage = ‘Hide’;
} else {
this.boxMessage = ‘Show’;
}
}

This code thus effectively toggles between the messages Show and Hide, if the button is clicked when the message says Show, it changes to Hide and vice-versa

The CSS code:

@media screen and (min-width:768px) {
div.combo-box {
display: none;
}
}

The css code ensures that this combo-box is displayed only for widths less than 768px (only mobile and tablet screens).

To view the entire code you can check results.component.html and results.component.css in the Susper repository.

References

  1. W3 Schools for Collapsible buttons and their implementation: https://www.w3schools.com/bootstrap/bootstrap_collapse.asp
  2. Official Bootstrap documentation for collapsible buttons: https://v4-alpha.getbootstrap.com/components/collapse/

Writing Browser Specific CSS for Susper in Angular

In Susper, we were facing a unique problem for Information box and Analytics box alignment.
At a width of around 1290 px, the boxes fit perfectly in Firefox as shown:

However, they were slipping to the next line in Google Chrome browsers for the same dimension(1290 px)

The solution to this issue was to write browser-specific CSS.
The two most commonly used browser specific tags are

  1. @-moz-document url-prefix() { }: This tag is used to target the Mozilla Firefox browser in particular. Anything written within the curly braces will not apply to any other browser.
  2. @media screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio:0) { }: This tag is used to target all browsers that support webkit such as Chrome, Safari etc.

For our problem, we need to use @media screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio:0) { }
This was how the code was written for both the components (Information box and Analytics box). Please refer to infobox.component.css and statsbox.component.css for the entire code.

@media screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio:0) {
@media screen and (max-width: 1300px) {
.card {
width: 366px;
}
}
}
@media screen and (max-width: 1280px) {
.card {
width: 366px;
}

As a result of this snippet of code, we see the following effects:

  • In Chrome, the boxes change to a smaller width at 1300px itself, thus preventing it from slipping to the next line
  • In Firefox, the boxes change to a smaller width only at 1280px, and not at 1300px, thus achieving the exact design we envisioned.

This is how the display finally looks in Chrome:

References:

  1. Stack overflow on specific CSS tags for Chrome: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9328832/how-to-apply-specific-css-rules-to-chrome-only
  2. Stack overflow on specific CSS tags for Firefox: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/952861/targeting-only-firefox-with-css

Making a Sticky Top Navigation bar for Susper using Angular

A lot of websites, require a top navigation bar that sticks to the top, irrespective of the screen dimension size. This blog deals with how the top navigation bar was made sticky in Susper.

  1. Using the correct Bootstrap classes. Notice the code enveloping the navigation bar.

<nav class=“top-nav navbar navbar-static-top navbar-default”>

class=“container-fluid”>

class=“navbar-header” id=“navcontainer”>

</div>
</div>
</nav>

Points to note:

  • Using navbar and navbar-default creates a standard gray navigation bar.
  • Using navbar-static-top makes the navbar stick only to the top of the page and disappear on scrolling down.
  • Using container-fluid creates a container for the contents of the navbar with wide margins
  1.  Now we also need to write some personalized CSS code. Notice the classes navcontainer and  top-nav. This is the CSS code for these classes:

.top-nav{
margin-bottom: 0;
}
#navcontainer {
height: 65px;
width: 100vw;
}#navcontainer ul {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
list-style-type: none;
}

Points to note:

  • Margin and padding can be set according to how the navbar should look. Click here to know the difference between margins and padding.
  • The height has been customized to 65px in Susper, with a width of 100vw(entire viewpost width).
  1. Lastly, if your navigation bar is inside the body tag, remember that by default, body has a top margin of 57 px. As a result you may see an extra white space on top of your navigation bar. To remove this:
  • Move the navigation bar code out of the body tag. If you can’t then,
  • Place your navigation bar in a container ( resultContainer on the Susper result page) and write this in your CSS file.

.resultContainer{
margin-top: -57px;
}

References:

Making Customized and Mobile Responsive Drop-down Menus in Susper using Angular

In  Susper, the drop-down menu is customized with colorful search icons and we wanted to maintain the same menu for mobile screens too, however the drop-down menu disappeared for all screens with width less than 767px. This blog can be used to learn how to create css classes for such drop-down menus without using any bootstrap.
This is how the issue was solved.

  1. Replacing standard bootstrap classes : The drop-down menu blocks had a source code as follows:

class=“dropdown-menu”>

class=“row”>

class=“col-sm-4”>

class=“block”>

</div>
</div>

Using col-sm-4 will do the following

  • For widths greater than 767px: Divide each row into four equally sized columns.
  • For widths smaller than 767px: Stack all the columns on top of each other.

Since the drop-down menu’s design was to remain intact, I made the following changes:

  • Replace row with menu-row
  • Replace col-sm-4 with menu-item

Now I wrote personalized css for these classes.

.menu-row{
width: 267px;
gridtemplatecolumns: 1fr 1fr 1fr;
background-color: white;
}
.menu-item{
display: inlineblock;
width: 86px;
}
  • Width: It is used to set the width of the div class, each row now has a width of 267px, with each column in it having a width of 86px.
  • Grid-template-columns: It is used to layout the structure of the template, here 1fr 1fr 1fr represents that there will be three columns in a row.
  • Display: The display is set to inline block to overwrite the default property of the div element to start in a new line.
  1. Custom css for small screens : In standard bootstrap, for screen sizes less than 767px, dropdown class has properties like transparent background, no border etc. that need to be over written. So we add a new id for the div tag as shown:

<div id=“small-drop” class=“dropdown-menu”>

/** Now we add css for it, as shown: **/
@media screen and (max-width: 767px) {
#small-drop{
position: absolute;
background-color: white;
border: 1px solid #cccccc;
right: -38px;
left: auto;
}

  • Position : absolute is used to make sure all our values are absolute and not relative to the higher div hierarchically
  • Border: The values for the border represent the following respectively: Thickness, Style and Color.
  • Auto: Here the value auto for left signifies that there is no fixed value for the left margin, it can take the default value

References:

  1. For working of grids in Bootstrap: https://www.w3schools.com/bootstrap/bootstrap_grid_examples.asp
  2. A useful article for difference between id and class: https://css-tricks.com/the-difference-between-id-and-class

 

Making Autocomplete Box Compatible with the Search Bar using Angular in Susper

A major problem in Susper was that we were using the same components on different pages, with different styling properties. A major issue was that the Autocomplete box was not properly aligned in the index page and looked like this:

This was happening because the autocomplete box width was set for 634 px, a width perfect for the search bar in the results page. The index page had a search bar of width 534 px, and the autocomplete box was too large for that.
Here is how the issue was solved:

  1. Changing the suggestion box html code:

id=“sug-box” class=“suggestion-box” *ngIf=”results.length0”>

</div>

The code uses *ngIf which is why setting the autocomplete box width using the typescript files becomes impossible. *ngIf does not load the component into the DOM until there are results, hence we didnot have the autocomplete box in the DOM until after the query was typed in the search bar. That was why we could not set its width, hence it was decided to remove this attribute. Using the ‘hidecomponent emitter’ is a better option here (used in the typescript file).

@Output() hidecomponent: EventEmitter<any> = new EventEmitter<any>();
if (this.results.length === 0) {
this.hidecomponent.emit(1);
} else {
this.hidecomponent.emit(0);
}

See autocomplete.component.ts for the complete code.

  1. It is now required to dynamically change the id of the suggestion-box depending on the page it is on, and apply the correct CSS.

Here is the html code:

<div [id]=”getID()” class=“suggestion-box” *ngIf=“results”>

The id of the suggestion box will now depend on the value returned from the function getID(), defined as follows:

getID() {
if ( this.route.url.toString() === ‘/’) {
  return ‘index-sug-box’;
} else {
  return ‘sug-box’
}
}
  • We first check if the route url is simply ‘/’ (which implies it is in the index page).
  • If yes the id is set to index-sug-box otherwise to sug-box.

Now we can write extra CSS properties for the index-sug-box id as follows:

#index-sug-box{
width: 586px;
}

References:

  1. For basic javascript functions: https://www.w3schools.com/js/js_functions.asp
  2. To understand components in Angular: https://angular.io/api/core/Component

 

Hiding Intelligence of Susper When a Query is Empty or Erased with Angular

Recently, we have implemented intelligence feature in Susper using SUSI chat API to provide users answer a question without going deeper in search results. When a user types “height of Trump”, it shows answer like this:

Problem which we faced after implementing the feature:

When a user was erasing a query or query field was empty, Susper was still showing the answer of the intelligence component like this:

The answer should not be displayed when a query is empty because the user is not asking any question. The answer was still displayed because it had received a response from SUSI API.

How did we solve the problem?

The problem was solved in two ways.

  1. By using if/else condition: We checked if the statement shown inside the component is similar to the if-and-else condition. If the condition is true, it should hide the component.
  2. Using [hidden] attribute method: The Angular 4 supports [hidden] attribute which acts as { display:none; } . [hidden] attribute generally works as ngShow and ngHide which was earlier supported by Angular 2.

We preferred both the methods to solve the problem. The intelligence component is being loaded inside results component using <app-intelligence> element. Further, we added [hidden] attribute to this element like this :

<appintelligence [hidden]=“hideIntelligence”></app-intelligence>
We created hideIntelligence as variable and assign it as boolean. To check if a query is empty, searchdata variable was used.
searchdata: any = {
  query: ‘ ‘,
  rows: 10,
  start: 0
};
And then checked if a query is empty using if-else condition :
// checks if query is empty or erased
if (this.searchdata.query === ‘ ‘) {// display: none; is true
  this.hideIntelligence = true;

} else {
// display: none; is false
  this.hideIntelligence = false;
}

 

Applying this solution, we succeeded in hiding the intelligence component. We would also had used *ngIf statement but we preferred using [hidden]. [hidden] modifies the display property.  *ngIf is a structural directive which creates or destroys content inside DOM.

The source code for the implementation can be found here: https://github.com/fossasia/susper.com/pull/613

Resources:

 

Changing Dimensions of Search Box Dynamically in Susper

Earlier the Susper search box had a fixed dimension. When a user types in a query, the dimensions of the search box remained fixed. This approach resulted in several issues like:

  • Matching the dimensions of the search bar following the market leader.
  • When dimensions are dynamically changing, it should not disturb alignment w.r.t tabs in the results page.

What actually happens is, when a user enters a query, the search box quickly changes its dimensions when results appear. I will be discussing below how we achieved this goal.

On the home page, we created the dimensions of a search bar with 584 x 44 pixels.

On the results page, we created the dimensions of search bar 632 x 44 similar to market leader:

How we proceeded?

Susper is built on Angular v4.1.3. It automatically comes with a function ngOnInit() whenever a new component has been created. ngOnInit() is a part of life cycle hook in Angular 4 (in Angular 2 as well). The function is called up or initialized when the component is rendered completely. This was the key for changing dimensions of search bar dynamically as soon as a component is created.

What happens is when a user types a query on the homepage and hits enter then, results component is created. As soon as, it is created – ngOnInit() function is called.

The default dimensions of search bar have been provided as follows:

search-bar.component.css

#navgroup {
  height: 44px;
  width: 584px;
}
When the homepage loads up, dimensions by default are 584 x 44.

search-bar.component.ts

private navbarWidth: any;
ngOnInit() {
  this.navbarWidth = 632px;
}

search-bar.component.html

We used [style.width] attribute to change the dimensions dynamically. Add this attribute inside input element.

<input #input type=“text” name=“query” class=“form-control” id=“nav-input” (ngModelChange)=“onquery($event)” [(ngModel)]=“searchdata.query” autocomplete=“off” (keypress)=“onEnter($event)” [style.width]=“navbarWidth”>
As soon as results component is loaded, the dimensions of search bar change to 632 x 44. In this way, we change the dimensions of search bar dynamically as soon as results are loaded.

Resources

Aligning Images to Same Height Maintaining Ratio in Susper

In this blog, I’ll be sharing the idea how we have perfectly aligned images to the same height in Susper without disturbing their ratio. When it comes to aligning images perfectly, they should have:

  • Same height.
  • A proper ratio to maintain the image quality. Many developers apply same width and height without keeping in mind about image ratio which results in:
    • Blurred image,
    • Image with a lot of pixels,
    • Cropping of an image.

Earlier Susper was having image layout like this:

In the screenshot, images are not properly aligned.  They are also not having the same height. We wanted to improve the layout of images just like market leaders Google and DuckDuckGo.

  • How we implemented a better layout for images?

<div class=“container”>
  <div class=“grid” *ngIf=“Display(‘images’)”>
    <div class=“cell” *ngFor=“let item of item$ | async”>
      <a class=“image-pointer” href=“{{item.link}}”>
        <img class=“responsive-image” src=“{{item.link}}”></a>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>
I have created a container, in which images will be loaded from yacy server. Then I have created a grid with an equal number of rows and column. I have adjusted the height and width of rows and columns to obtain a grid which contains each division as a cell. The image will load inside the cell. Each cell consists of one image.
.grid {
  paddingleft: 80px;
}
.container {
  width: 100%;
  margin: 0;
  top: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  padding: 0;
}

After implementing it, we were facing issues like cropping of the image inside a cell. So, to avoid cropping and maintain the image ratio we introduced .responsive-image class which will avoid cropping of images inside cell.

.responsiveimage {
  maxwidth: 100%;
  height: 200px;
  paddingtop: 20px;
  padding: 0.6%;
  display: inlineblock;
  float: left;
}

This is how Susper’s image section looks now:

It took some time to align images, but somehow we succeeded in creating a perfect layout for the images.

We are facing some issues regarding images. Some of them don’t appear due to broken link. This issue will be resolved soon on the server.

Resources

Adding tip to drop downs in Susper using CSS in Angular

To create simple drop downs using twitter bootstrap, it is fairly easy for developers. The issue faced in Susper, however, was to add a tip on the top over such dropdowns similar to Google:

This is how it looks finally, in Susper, with a tip over the standard rectangular drop-down:

This is how it was done:

  1. First, make sure you have designed your drop-down according to your requirements, added the desired height, width and padding. These were the specifications used in Susper’s drop-down.

.dropdown-menu{
height: 500px;
width: 327px;
padding: 28px;
}
  1. Next add the following code to your drop-down class css:

.dropdown-menu:before {
position: absolute;
top: -7px;
right: 19px;
display: inlineblock;
border-right: 7px solid transparent;
border-bottom: 7px solid #ccc;
border-left: 7px solid transparent;
border-bottom-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
content: ;
}
.dropdown-menu:after {
position: absolute;
top: -5px;
right: 20px;
display: inlineblock;
border-right: 6px solid transparent;
border-bottom: 6px solid #ffffff;
border-left: 6px solid transparent;
content: ;
}

In css, :before inserts the style before any other html, whereas :after inserts the style after the html is loaded. Some of the parameters are explained here:

  • Top: can be used to change the position of the menu tip vertically, according to the position of your button and menu.
  • Right: can be used to change the position of the menu tip horizontally, so that it can be positioned used below the menu icon.
  • Position : absolute is used to make sure all our values are absolute and not relative to the higher div hierarchically
  • Border: All border attributes are used to specify border thickness, color and transparency before and after, which collectively gives the effect of a tip for the drop down.
  • Content : This value is set to a blank string ‘’, because otherwise none of our changes will be visible, since the divs will have no space allocated to them.

Resources

CSS Styling Tips Used for loklak Apps

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is one of the main factors which is valuable to create beautiful and dynamic websites. So we use CSS for styling our apps in apps.loklak.org.

In this blog post am going to tell you about few rules and tips for using CSS when you style your App:

1.Always try something new – The loklak apps website is very flexible according to the user whomsoever creates an app. The user is always allowed to use any new CSS frameworks to create an app.

2.Strive for Simplicity – As the app grows, we’ll start developing a lot more than we imagine like many CSS rules and elements etc. Some of the rules may also override each other without we noticing it. It’s good practice to always check before adding a new style rule—maybe an existing one could apply.

3.Proper Structured file –

  • Maintain uniform spacing.
  • Always use semantic or “familiar” class/id names.
  • Follow DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) Principle.

CSS file of Compare Twitter Profiles App:

#searchBar {
    width:500px;
}

table {
  border-collapse: collapse;
  width: 70%;
}

th, td {
  padding: 8px;
  text-align: center;
  border-bottom: 1px solid#ddd;
}

 

The output screen of the app:


Do’s and Don’ts while using CSS:

  • Pages must continue to work when style sheets are disabled. In this case this means that the apps which are written in apps.loklak.org should run in any and every case. Let’s say for instance, when a user uses a old browsers or bugs or either because of style conflicts.
  • Do not use the !important attribute to override the user’s settings. Using the !important declaration is often considered bad practice because it has side effects that mess with one of CSS’s core mechanisms: specificity. In many cases, using it could indicate poor CSS architecture.
  • If you have multiple style sheets, then make sure to use the same CLASS names for the same concept in all of the style sheets.
    Do not use more than two fonts. Using a lot of fonts simply because you can will result in a messy look.
  • A firm rule for home page design is more is less : the more buttons and options you put on the home page, the less users are capable of quickly finding the information they need.

Resources: