We will break the talking to the server bit into two pieces. First we will send / set some data on the server and then in the next article we will retrieve data form the server.

We need to understand is that server requests are asynchronous. And as we will see in the next article, batched Ajax is the only way. Since widgets are tiny and they will be on lots of screens, for performance reasons and decent user experience, proper use of batch asynchronous requests are essential.

We will use code snippets throughout the next few articles so you might want the entire files right away. Understand that these are the complete files and will have the complete solution in them that will be explained in the next few articles.

In this exercise, we add a new server-side service to Shindig to be accessed using the osapi feature.

package org.apache.shindig.social.opensocial.service;

import org.apache.shindig.protocol.Service;
import org.apache.shindig.protocol.Operation;

@Service(name = "learning")
public class LearningHandler {

  @Operation(httpMethods = "GET")
  public void setOutcome(SocialRequestItem request) {
    System.out.println("Param = "+request.getParameter("outcome","default"));
    // Do something clever here like call a Learning SPI to store the data...

Now of course, we would do something more clever than just printing out out parameter – but that detail is up to the container. But this short bit of code is enough to see the round-trip to the server.

Then modify this file:

import org.apache.shindig.social.opensocial.service.PersonHandler;
import org.apache.shindig.social.opensocial.service.LearningHandler;

   protected Set<Class<?>> getHandlers() {
     return ImmutableSet.<Class<?>>of(ActivityHandler.class, AppDataHandler.class,
       PersonHandler.class, MessageHandler.class, LearningHandler.class);

This makes sure our service and methods are included in osapi as osapi.learning.setOutcome.

A more elegant way to implement this would be to build your own file such as LearningGuiceModule.java and extend SocialApiGuiceModule overriding the getHandlers method and then changing your web.xml to reference LearningGuiceModule) instead if SocialApiGuiceModule.

Just because we are in a hurry, we will take the quick path and see if our server call works before we alter our learning feature. So compile and start Jetty:

mvn -Prun

And navigate to http://localhost:8080/samplecontainer/samplecontainer.html

You should see the “Social Hello World” gadget. Now lets edit this file:


   gadgets.window.setTitle('Social Hello World');
   osapi.learning.setOutcome({'outcome' : '123456'}).execute(function (result) {
         if (result.error) {
             alert('Error, unable to send outcome to server.');
     } ) ;
     var hellos = new Array('Hello World', 'Hallo Welt', 'Ciao a tutti',

Actually you will note that to do this we do not need the learning feature because we have fully provisioned the server-side learning service into the osapi helper. When the gadget starts up, osapi pulls down all its services from the server and registers them. This is independent of gadget features which is what the Require accomplishes.

When you press refresh (or whatever you need to to force a full reload) on the container and watch the log on the server, you will see a cute little line scroll by in your server log:

Param = 123456

Very simple – but very cool.

Now lets alter our learning feature to call the service on our behalf in the setOutcome method. We will give the user the option to provide a handler or let the learning feature do the handling.

We edit the setOutcome method in learning_client.js from the as follows:

        setOutcome : function(data, handler) {
            if ( handler === 'silent' ) handler = (function (result) { } );
            if ( handler === undefined ) handler = (function (result) {
                if (result.error) {
                    alert('Error, unable to send outcome to server.');
            } ) ;
            osapi.learning.setOutcome({'outcome' : data}).execute(handler);

It is pretty simple stuff, the user can give us the handler, or we provide a simple alert on error, or we can provide a completely silent handler at the user’s request.

We also need indicate that we want access to the osapi service:

var tamings___ = tamings___ || [];
tamings___.push(function(imports) {
  ___.grantRead(gadgets.learning, 'getContextLabel');
  ___.grantRead(gadgets.learning, 'getContextName');
  ___.grantRead(gadgets.learning, 'setOutcome');
     [osapi.learning, 'setOutcome']

This makes sure that we have access to our service call when running through Caja.

Once we have done this and recompiled Shindig, started Jetty and started the container, we make the following changes to the “Social Hello World” gadget. Now lets edit this file:

   <Require feature="osapi"></Require>
   <Require feature="learning"></Require>
   <Require feature="settitle"/></Require>

   gadgets.window.setTitle('Social Hello World');
     var hellos = new Array('Hello World', 'Hallo Welt', 'Ciao a tutti',

We are just using the method from the learning feature to send the outcome to the server. By omitting the second parameter, the learning feature will give us a little alert if it has trouble sending data to the server.

Again, we press refresh and in the log we see:

Param = 0.97

So that completes our look at a simple call to the server-side service to send some data.

Up Next: Understanding Batch/Asynchronous Loading in a Gadget

  • No labels