All Things R&D
This blog presents a summary of user interface for current OI WebIntents. Now the app supports both tablets and handsets.
This is the main page with an introduction section, a service registration section, a service invocation section and a link to home page of webintents.org.
There are five action items in the action bar: backward, forward, reload, goHome and applicaiton management.
When a new application is found, a notification message is shown. The user can enter into application management interface by click on the notification or the menu item.
There are three tabs in the Web application management interface: New Found, My App and Trash, each with its own menu items. The sign “+” here means add the checked Web apps in New Found tab to My App, while “-” means removing them to trash. Since in current version, the agent no longer marked visited applications and ignore them in future visits, I put a trash tab here for recycling instead of deleting unused applications forever.
When entering the simple share web page on webintents.org and click on the share button, a chooser dialog appears (with or without web apps).
Now you can use Web application like Twitter or Android application like Gmail to complete your action.
When running the share sample app now, the chooser dialog appears in its own context now.
The interface for handsets is similar.
The biggest difference is displaying Web applications and their web intents. Still, in the intents detail interface, a user can make same menu operations as its parent. Since back button shows different results from in tablets, I added a navigation up support for the application icon to return to the home page.
This is the last report for GSoC 2012.
Now OI WebIntents can do three major tasks as specified in the application proposal:
Now OI WebIntents can work well on both handsets and tablets with different screen design.
Another blog post describe the user guidelines to use OI WebIntents Agent with screenshots.
Data Structure and Class Implementation
1. Main activities
There are two activity classes which are important for this part:
WebIntentsAgentActivity is the main activity for this application and launched when the app takes off. It creates the navigation menu items and if necessary starts off the WebAppManagementActivity for Web application management.
2. Data Storage and Content Provider
Two classes are important for this part:
Each database table is represented by an internal class of WebIntentsProvider with its column fields and CONTENT_URI. For example, the database table ‘web_intents’ is represented by WebIntentsProvider.WebIntents.
3. Web page parsing, revising and loading
4. Web application Registration
Since most available Web applications for Web Intents are implemented as Chrome Extensions. I modified four sample applications and included them in this application. They are:
As a result, a procedure (FileReaderThread) for registering and loading local applications was also developed. However, this application also support online app registration. webintents.org now supports some online applications. Our project is applicable for the following online application:
They can be discovered by browsing the following Web pages:
5. Web application management
The following classes are important for this part:
WebAppListFragment is for displaying a list of Web application and WebIntentsByAppListFragment shows web intents for a specific web application. For a tablet, both WebAppListFragment and WebIntentsByAppListFragment will be added into WebAppManagementActivity. However, for a handset, WebAppListFragment is contained in WebAppManagementActivity while WebIntentsByAppListFragment is loaded into WebIntentsByAppActivity. The purpose is for supporting multiple screens.
6. Invoke Web applications from external Android apps
A helper class named WebIntentsHelper is for this requirement. Any external Android application can invoke Web applications by the following step:
Install OI WebIntents Agent -> Import webintents-helper.jar into libs -> Create a application chooser by invoke WebIntentsHelper.createChooserWithWebActivities()
This method will create a chooser dialog in the context of the calling application now.
Failure method to report
Last week I designed a new logo for OI WebIntents Agent together with Friedger, as in Fig 1.
It will appear in the following versions.
In the former versions, the external Android application which calls the createChooserWithWebActivities method will let the system start an empty Activity which creates a dialog for application selection. Now the dialog will be created in the context of the activity which calls the method, as in Fig 2.
The dialog layout is created from Java code and I tried to use Android internal layout resources, so now the invoking methods is still the same as the former version.
Now when new applications are found, a notification message on the status bar will appear. It may refer the user to the application management UI directly, like in Fig 3.
For the application management UI, the selection mode is enabled when the user enters the activity. I also added checkboxes for item selection instead of the former long click action, as in Fig 4.
Last week, I also added handset supports. Now the application management UI also looks better on small screen devices, like in Fig 5 and 6.
This week is the last week before hard ‘pencil down’. A lot of document work and revisions are waiting for me so it will be very busy.
Any feedback is welcome.
Happy Civic Day!
This week I added some comments to the code. Hope that they are helpful. If any part of the code is obscure to you, please leave a message and I will add more comments specific for you.
It’s a pleasure that webintent.org made some online services available besides those in Chrome. Now when you use our app to browse some online pages you can find new applications from them. Those applications include Kinlan’s Image Share, Kinlan’s Link Share and Kinlan’s Link Shortener. Up to now, our app is totally compatible with these apps except a small flaw for image sharing. But this problem also exists when you use Android’s default browser so I think it might be generic to Android Webkit.
Now the app is working better on tablet with large screens. Next step I will test it on normal devices like phones and add necessary revisions.
Since the pencil down date is approaching, I have many small function revisions to make in the next few days and I think it must be very busy.
Work done last week
Now I’ve done roughly with the major functions of application management. The new update has been published. Here I am gonna present some instructions.
I added a registration page for the “Share Link to Twitter” service, so it won’t be added automatically when you install the new app.
When you click the “Application management” menu item, you should see the initially empty page of MY APP as in Fig 1.
Now you can go back and visit any of the pages for service registration, then the application management item show new apps are found, as in Fig 2.
When enter the menu item of application management, you will get a similar page like in Fig 3.
Click any entry, the web intents attached to it will display in the right pane. Long click on any entry will trigger the CAB mode like in Fig 4.
Click the top-right plus sign will add the two apps to your “MY APP” registry, as in Fig 5.
Long click on any entry and you can trigger the CAB mode to delete them. Now when you go back and visit the pages of Intents Invocation, you can find new Web Apps in the suggested list, as in Fig 6.
The new “Web Intents Debugger” can show what your intents are for debugging purpose, as in Fig 7.
This is a modified version with some simplifications of the one in Chrome Web Store.
Other work I did last week:
I didn’t think the function of “Web Application Management” involves so much work like UI designs and implementation which was my weakness. Anyhow, I still need some days for this work. Now I mainly focus on developing the main functionality to let you get a basic experience of what we are working on, so if you find the code up to now is not good enough please be patient because we will add more improvements and bug-fixes in the future.
I will present some instructions on how to get a tour of some new features here:
Fig 1 illustrates the first page you will meet while running our agent. The two links in the first section refer you to currently two working pages located on webintents.org. The Web Intents Debugger application is a modified version of the one at http://www.tomgibara.com/webintents/debug/ by Tom Gibara. I think it is very useful for our app, but the original one seems only to be working on Chrome so I made some revisions and simplifications to let it become applicable to our agent.
When you open the link of Web Intents Debugger, you should get a page like in Fig 2. See what’s the difference? Yes the menu item for application management has changed because some <intent> tag with new web intents being discovered in this page. The tasks of discovery and notification are run asynchronously under some worker threads so that they will not affect the user’s common browsing activities.
Fig 3 presents some design ideas of the application management function when you click on its menu item in Fig 2. Two tabs are located in the action bar, one is for the new web apps which await decision making from the user, the other is about the registered apps. This work is still in progress.
Other work I did last week
The plan for this week