Sunday, April 13, 2014

Updated BackProp1 Now Available

I have recently updated the back propagation neural network "backprop1."

BackProp1 is a derivative of an image classification project I delivered in 2001.  It has been available on  SourceForge since 2009 (and my own web site prior to that).  BackProp1 consists of a library which can be embedded in your own projects and three demonstration applications:
  1. demo1 is a point classifier which can determine if a point is above or below the line y = -5x + 2
  2. demo2 is the XOR classifier
  3. demo3 features an interactive UI and trains to recognize the digits 0-9.  You can select a pattern and then submit it for classification.  You can also flip the state of individual pixels and discover if the classifier will still recognize the pattern.
Get the latest version of backprop1 on github.

This new offering includes:
  1. Demo3 now should look OK on any platform (was effectively broken on OS X).
  2. Now builds w/gradle.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spring Messaging w/JMS and Nevado

I have recently created some small demonstration applications to illustrate how to use Spring Messaging with ActiveMQ and Nevado/AWS as JMS providers.

Complete sources are available on GitHub.  You will need to obtain a copy of ActiveMQ to exercise SimpleQueueDriver and SimpleTopicDriver.  To use SqsQueueDriver w/AWS requires an AWS account.  Be sure to update with your account information.

Since there is plenty of Spring documentation available, I'll skip the tutorial and directly address the sources on GitHub.

SimpleQueueDriver starts two listeners and then writes a TextMessage.  Even though there are two listeners, only one will receive the text message (property of being a queue).

SimpleTopicDriver also starts two listeners and then writes a TextMessage.  Both listeners will react to the message (property of being a topic).

SqsQueueDriver illustrates using Nevado as a JMS adapter for Amazon Web Services Simple Queue Service(SQS).  Nevado is valuable because SQS does not expose a JMS API, yet many enterprise architectures are hosted on AWS and rely upon JMS.

SqsQueueDriver also starts two listeners and then writes a TextMessage.  Even though there are two listeners, only one will receive the text message (property of being a queue).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

WxTrax: Example Android 4.x Application Using Android Studio/Gradle

For your consideration I offer "WxTrax" which is a complete Android 4.x application that collects weather reports from the U.S. National Weather Service.  WxTrax illustrates the following concepts:
  • Employs Android 4.x constructs (i.e. loaders, fragments, etc)
  • Plays nice w/Android Studio (currently on preview version 0.2.6)
  • Builds using Gradle (currently 1.7)
  • Is decomposed into an application and a library
  • Uses Google Maps V2
  • AppWidget example
  • Weather stations and observations are stored in SqlLite using a ContentProvider
Complete sources are available on GitHub

The US National Weather Service (NWS) makes weather reports available as a XML based web service.  Hourly weather observations are usually performed by automated stations colocated at airports, so the observations use the IATA location code (i.e. KPDX for Portland, KSEA for Seattle, KSFO for San Francisco, etc).  To obtain the current observation for Los Angeles you would use the URL

WxTrax will allow you to specify stations of interest and collect these weather reports for you.  WxTrax can also display a Google Map w/the station location.

There is also the concept of a "favorite" station which always displays the most recent report on the "splash" page.  If you display the associated AppWidget, the favorite station temperature is given.

Now on to the sources...

WxTraxLib contains code I wrote in 2010 for the first version of this application.  There is no user interface code here, but it does contain the network support, weather observation collection, XML parser, ContentProvider, etc.  I like to decompose my applications into modular components like this.  The user interface tends to change quite a depending upon the product team while the supporting components tend to be more stable.  Breaking a project into modules allows for reuse across multiple products and makes for easier testing of the "headless" pieces.

WxTrax2 is new, freshly updated to use Android 4.x components.  All the UI components reside in this module, and depends upon WxTraxLib.

MainActivity exists to host fragments and handle the communication logic between them.  Fragment switching is performed within TabHelper.  You can add a station from the menu and a dialog will accept your command.  StationListFragment will display the known stations.  Selecting a station will show the collected observations (via ObservationListFragment).  A long press on a station row will allow you to delete a station or select it as the "favorite" station.  Selecting the "map" fragment allows Google Maps to display station locations.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Android Fragment Tour - Encore

I have updated FragmentDemo (GitHub) with a new Fragment (Fragment Five) that connects to a custom CursorAdapter.  Fragment Four uses a custom SimpleCursorAdapter.  Both example use Loaders/ContentProviders.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Android Fragment Tour

The time has come to embrace Android fragments, especially since well over half of devices are now on Android 4.x.  There are many tutorial applications available and here is one more on the pile.  This post and supporting example application demonstrate:
  • Use of Android fragments (i.e. Fragment, ListFragment, DialogFragment or PreferenceFragment.
  • Navigation between fragments and activities
  • Use of the ActionBar, TabListener and menu support.
  • Use of Custom ArrayAdapter
  • Use of Custom CursorAdapter
  • Using a ContentProvider/ContentResolver and Loader
  • Use of maven
Complete application sources are available on github, the demonstration application was created on API 16 using Android Studio (thanks, JetBrains) and includes maven support.  This demonstration does not use the compatability libraries so you will need API 14 or later to successfully run.

At application start you should see these:
Tab 1
Tab 2
Tab 3
Tab 4
Tab 1 represents a simple form implemented as a Fragment.  (source)

Tab 2 illustrates a simple scrolling list of US states implemented as a ListFragment (source) with a resource (source) for the data source.  A short press on a row brings up a detail view (source) and a long press prompts for delete.  Short/long press interaction requires the use of a custom listener (source) to dispatch a request to MainActivity (source) for service.  The delete is not actually performed, but does provide an opportunity to illustrate the use of a PreferenceFragment (source)

Tab 3 is another ListFragment (source) example, this time w/a custom ArrayAdapter (source) and multiple row types (you can see from the above image there is a simple row w/a hex string and a more complex row w/radio buttons). The data source for Tab 3 comes from a ContentProvider (source) whose values are randomly generated at application startup (source).  One final feature of this example is that it employs a list header (source) and footer (source).  The footer contains a EditText and Button widgets which can be detected within (source)

Tab 4 is yet another ListFragment example (source), this time w/a custom CursorAdapter (source) which employs a Loader fed from the ContentProvider (source).  As shown in the illustration, the row type consists of an image and a string.

All of these Fragments are "owned" by MainActivity (source) which also provides the ActionBar at the top of the display.  The ActionBar provides the tabs which are used for navigation between Fragments.  The tab navigation code resides within TabHelper (source).


Depending upon your phone, you might see three vertical dots at the top right of the display (or you might have a menu key).  There are two menu options, one for an "About" display and the other for "Settings" (user preferences).  Option menu dispatch is provided by MainActivity which invokes MenuActivity to display the menu fragments.

Note that MenuActivity (source) does not have tab navigation, so when a user selects a menu option the only way to return is the "back" button or by pressing the "FragDemo" icon on the ActionBar (top left). 

The "About" Fragment (source) is implemented as a WebView w/the HTML supplied as part of the application.

The "Settings" Fragment (source) is an example of a PreferenceFragment.

FragmentDemo can be built and deployed entirely from the command line using the Android maven plugin.  I created FragmentDemo using the "Android-QuickStart-Archetype as described here which was quite helpful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What to code after "Hello, Android"

This post is for those of you who have decided to join the thundering herd of computer nerds who have decided to code for Android.  "Hello, Android" was easy... what happens next?

How about the "Three Activity" project?  The "Three Activity" application demonstrates
  • Navigation between three separate displays (each backed by a dedicated Activity)
  • How to pass arguments between Activity(s)
  • How to create and use a Button
  • How to create and use an EditText
  • How to use Android log statements
  • Special guest appearance w/AndroidManifest.xml

The "Three Activity" project is a simple application consisting of the three Activity(s) shown below.

Complete source code for this example is contained on GitHub

Monday, December 3, 2012

Google Web Toolkit - First Steps

Here is a short posting about Google Web Toolkit (GWT) w/a simple example application.  Like any other evolving framework, GWT is a moving target.  This posting was created in December, 2012 using GWT 2.5.0 - hopefully fresh enough for your needs.  The key GWT components I wanted to explore include the Place, Activity and UiBinder classes.

The example GWT application is available from GitHub and should easily import into eclipse (and deploy to Google App Engine).

Below is a screenshot of the sample application, which illustrates a common use case: a banner image along the top and footer along the bottom w/a navigation bar on the left.  The remaining (center space) is for content.  Pressing a button within the navigation bar will cause the content panel to update.

Below is a UML class diagram to introduce the components of the sample application.

You can browse the sources at GitHub.  A brief tour of the sources follows.

GwtDemo1 extends EntryPoint, which is the usual entry point for a GWT module.  I create an instance of AppShell and dispatch control via the run() method.

AppShell must persist for the duration of the application since it holds references to EventBus and various mappers that glue the application together.  The run() method binds RootView to the RootLayoutPanel (as discovered from GwtDemo1) which will cause RootView.ui.xml to be displayed.  (The *.ui.xml files are all XML UiBinder files).  

Creating RootView.ui.xml will also create NavigationBar.ui.xml which contains the Hyperlinks necessary to update the content panel.

At this point the application is displayed and waiting for a Hyperlink event.

The sequence diagram below introduces event flow.
Working from left to right on the sequence diagram, start w/the Hyperlink (contained within NavigationBar.ui.xml).  Pressing a Hyperlink will generate a History frame which is delivered to HistoryHandler for distribution to the PlaceController.  PlaceController causes a PlaceChange event to be delivered to the ActivityManager which consults AppPlaceHistoryMapper and ContentActivityMapper to determine which Activity should be employed to update the content panel.

The diagram only shows "Content1" selection but the same process is simply replicated for Content1..Content4 scenarios.

ContentActivityMapper returns Content1Activity to ActivityManager which in turn invokes start().  This action will cause Content1View (and companion UiBinder) to be instantiated and then applied to RootView which causes the content panel to update.

I hope you find some utility w/the example.  Good luck and enjoy GWT.