AppWidget issues

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Tom Gibara

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Apr 20, 2009, 12:31:13 PM4/20/09
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I'm taking a swing at quickly producing a fully fledged AppWidget that will augment my forthcoming Daisy Chase game. I've encountered a couple of issues.

There's one definite bug: AppWidgetProvider fails to handle ACTION_APPWIDGET_DELETED actions properly. Browsing the source I can see that AppWidgetService broadcasts an ACTION_APPWIDGET_DELETED Intent with an EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID, but the AppWidgetProvider is only looking for EXTRA_APPWIDGET_IDS. The result is that you never receive a call to onDeleted().

The workaround is simple: don't use AppWidgetProvider, but the question is which end is wrong? Nothing is specified in the docs as far as I can tell. Do we need to watch out for either extra for both updates and deletions?

Additionally (and I haven't investigated this yet) there appears to be a possible deficiency in the timeliness of ACTION_APPWIDGET_UPDATED broadcast cessation. If my debug output is to be believed, what I am seeing is that the deletion is broadcast but I continue to receive update events for the deleted widget until I add another widget from the same provider; that is, I remove my widget on the home-screen and continue to receive updates for it (indefinitely it seems) until I add another.

The second issue I've encountered probably isn't a bug, but I can't work out the expected behaviour. My widgets contain an ImageView. The image is small (80x80) and updates every hour. I decided that the most efficient approach would be to write a ContentProvider that serves pngs of the widget images from disk via openFile(). My RemoteViews for each widget then queues a setImageURI call with the appropriate content URI.

This works up-to a point. The problem is that when the widget is updated and a new image is generated, how can I kick the ImageView into reloading the image? The obvious solution which I expected to work, was to push another RemoteViews object (new instance - identical layout) to the AppWidgetManager but that doesn't work. The image is not requested again. What is causing this, over-aggressive optimization in the handling of RemoveViews by the widget framework, or something else?

(Again the workaround is simple: decorate the Uri with something distinctive like a timestamp so that the Uri is unique on each request.)

Tom

Jeff Sharkey

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Apr 20, 2009, 4:00:31 PM4/20/09
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> There's one definite bug: AppWidgetProvider fails to
> handle ACTION_APPWIDGET_DELETED actions properly.

Good point, the backend service is sending the wrong extras--fixing that now.

Another simple way to fix would be to override onReceive to handle
this special-case early before passing to AppWidgetProvider through
super.

> Additionally (and I haven't investigated this yet) there appears to be a
> possible deficiency in the timeliness of ACTION_APPWIDGET_UPDATED
> broadcast cessation.

Hmm, that seems odd. It might be related to how updates are
scheduled; what interval are you using? Widget updates are handled
using the new AlarmManager.setInexactRepeating(), which can help save
battery, but can be a little unpredictable.

> The image is not requested again. What is causing
> this, over-aggressive optimization in the handling of RemoveViews by the
> widget framework, or something else?

It might be an optimization in ImageView, since it already has that
Uri loaded. It might be enough to have two RemoteView actions, one to
unset it and another to set it back.

> (Again the workaround is simple: decorate the Uri with something distinctive
> like a timestamp so that the Uri is unique on each request.)

That sounds like a good solution too.


--
Jeff Sharkey
jsha...@google.com

Tom Gibara

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Apr 20, 2009, 5:31:25 PM4/20/09
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Thanks for the clarification on the extras.

WRT the ImageView, I tested it with setting null followed by setting the URI, and that fails with an NPE somewhere during marshalling the RemoteViews into a Parcel. It doesn't like the null URI. Setting the image resource id to zero first is just as good and works. I'm still confused by how the widget service decides which views to recycle and in what way.

When I'm developing the app, I set the update interval for the widget to 30s and the rate at which calls are made to my provider is steady (every 30s within handful of milliseconds each time). When I log out the intents being received by my provider, it is clear that I'm receiving a perpetual string of updates that include the id that should be delete, here's a simple summary, the widget with id 36 has just been added:

(time, action, ids)

04-20 22:01:55.859: APPWIDGET_UPDATE [36]
04-20 22:02:08.709: APPWIDGET_UPDATE [30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36]
04-20 22:02:17.828: APPWIDGET_DELETED [36]
04-20 22:02:38.718: APPWIDGET_UPDATE [30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36]
04-20 22:03:08.720: APPWIDGET_UPDATE [30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36]

There's another odd thing that I've noticed too (don't know if it's my mistake, but I'm starting to think not), when my widget is added, the APPWIDGET_UPDATE broadcast is received _before_ the configuration activity is displayed. If I cancel the activity (ie. return a RESULT_CANCELED as the result) I will continue to receive update events for this new phantom widget - it's not visible anywhere but continues to be included in update requests. Any ideas?

Tom


2009/4/20 Jeff Sharkey <jsha...@android.com>

Jeff Sharkey

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Apr 20, 2009, 5:52:14 PM4/20/09
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> I'm still confused by how the
> widget service decides which views to recycle and in what way.

It recycles entire layouts. If you send a RemoteViews with the same
layout, it just applies the new set of actions over the top of the
existing layout, including any current state. So to be safe you'll
want to cover all cases when pushing an update. For example, if you
hide a view in one special case, you'll want to explicitly set it
visible again for all other cases, because you can't know the current
state you're recycling against. (Or you can just use a different
layout for each case, possibly taking advantage of <include /> as
needed.)


> I'm receiving a perpetual string
> of updates that include the id that should be delete,

Yes, that does look like a bug. It looks like the extras bundle in
that broadcast lagging behind because we're not resetting it on
delete. If you /add/ a widget, it should force a refresh of that
broadcast bundle and remove any deleted IDs.


> when my widget is added,
> the APPWIDGET_UPDATE broadcast is received _before_ the configuration
> activity is displayed.

Yes, that's correct. The configure activity is launched by the
AppWidgetHost (in this case Launcher), instead of by the
AppWidgetService. This allows a custom AppWidgetHost to have
pre-configuration placement on their home screen. Also, it forces
developers to push an explicit update when their configuration is
finished. (This makes sure they are ready for AppWidgetHosts that can
launch configure at any time, not just during first-insert.)


> If I cancel the activity (ie. return a
> RESULT_CANCELED as the result) I will continue to receive update events for
> this new phantom widget - it's not visible anywhere but continues to be
> included in update requests.

Are you passing back the appWidgetId in the result extras bundle when
sending back the RESULT_CANCELED? Launcher should try cleaning up any
"canceled" widgets like that, but only if the EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID is
passed back.


--
Jeff Sharkey
jsha...@google.com

Tom Gibara

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Apr 20, 2009, 6:09:07 PM4/20/09
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Re-use of the RemoteViews is clear to me now.

I wasn't passing back the widget id when configuration is cancelled (the widget example in the SDK  doesn't do this either when the back button is pressed). The APPWIDGET_UPDATE broadcast before configuration doesn't surprise me, but having to pass the widget id back does. It seems like state that my caller should be retaining. Also the result of not passing back the widget id is very surprising: an application performs a misdemeanour (forgetting to include an intent extra) and the consequence is an invisible widget that leaches resources but cannot be removed by the user nor the application.

Thanks for all the help,

Tom.

2009/4/20 Jeff Sharkey <jsha...@android.com>

Tom Gibara

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Apr 20, 2009, 7:09:39 PM4/20/09
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Sadly, supplying the widget id on the intent doesn't fix the problem - the cancellation of widget creation is never broadcast back to the provider. It's actually a pretty obvious bug in Launcher (when you're looking for it that is):

In onActivityResult(), the cancellation is checked for request code REQUEST_PICK_APPWIDGET whereas it should be checking for REQUEST_CREATE_APPWIDGET.

Line 338 in:


I'd judge it to be a fairly significant issue. Do I need to start adding a workaround now (a dead list of widgetIds that my provider ignores?) or will a fix be quick coming? 

Tom.

2009/4/20 Tom Gibara <m...@tomgibara.com>

Jeff Sharkey

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Apr 20, 2009, 7:43:56 PM4/20/09
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> In onActivityResult(), the cancellation is checked for request
> code REQUEST_PICK_APPWIDGET whereas it should be checking
> for REQUEST_CREATE_APPWIDGET.

Oops, you're right, thanks for catching that. For the example widgets
I've been writing that use configuration steps, I've been keeping an
internal CONFIGURED flag which I use to skip updates. Because I was
skipping non-configured widget updates, I never noticed this myself.
(I also used this flag to skip the first update before the
configuration step has been completed.)

Also, a quick update on the fixes: most of them will be delayed until
the next platform release because the device-bound code is already
frozen. We could fix it for the SDK, but it would be bad to have
different behavior between the two. We definitely have bugs filed for
these, and they will be fixed.

Thanks for digging in and finding them. :)


--
Jeff Sharkey
jsha...@google.com

Jeff Sharkey

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Apr 23, 2009, 2:02:02 PM4/23/09
to Android Developers
So just a heads up that we won't be able to fix the onDeleted() bug
for the 1.5 SDK. Here is a quick workaround that you can patch
against your class that extends AppWidgetProvider to correctly catch
and handle the onDeleted() event.

@Override
public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
final String action = intent.getAction();
if (AppWidgetManager.ACTION_APPWIDGET_DELETED.equals(action)) {
final int appWidgetId = extras.getInt
(AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID,
AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID);
if (appWidgetId != AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID) {
this.onDeleted(context, new int[] { appWidgetId });
}
} else {
super.onReceive(context, intent);
}
}


j
> jshar...@google.com

AndroidApp

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May 2, 2009, 9:02:08 PM5/2/09
to Android Developers
'won't be able to fix' for 1.5 SDK, what about on the cupcake update?
Dont really care about whether it's fixed for the SDK.

On Apr 23, 2:02 pm, Jeff Sharkey <Jeffrey.Shar...@gmail.com> wrote:
> So just a heads up that we won't be able to fix the onDeleted() bug
> for the 1.5 SDK.  Here is a quick workaround that you can patch
> against your class that extends AppWidgetProvider to correctly catch
> and handle the onDeleted() event.
>
> @Override
> public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
>     final String action = intent.getAction();
>     if (AppWidgetManager.ACTION_APPWIDGET_DELETED.equals(action)) {
>         final int appWidgetId = extras.getInt
> (AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID,
>                 AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID);
>         if (appWidgetId != AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID) {
>             this.onDeleted(context, new int[] { appWidgetId });
>         }
>     } else {
>         super.onReceive(context, intent);
>     }
>
> }
>
> j
>
> On Apr 20, 4:43 pm, Jeff Sharkey <jshar...@android.com> wrote:
>
> > > In onActivityResult(), the cancellation is checked for request
> > > code REQUEST_PICK_APPWIDGET whereas it should be checking
> > > for REQUEST_CREATE_APPWIDGET.
>
> > Oops, you're right, thanks for catching that.  For the example widgets
> > I've been writing that use configuration steps, I've been keeping an
> > internal CONFIGURED flag which I use to skip updates.  Because I was
> > skipping non-configuredwidgetupdates, I never noticed this myself.

Romain Guy

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May 2, 2009, 9:11:56 PM5/2/09
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Same thing, won't be fixed in the cupcake update.
--
Romain Guy
Android framework engineer
roma...@android.com

Note: please don't send private questions to me, as I don't have time
to provide private support. All such questions should be posted on
public forums, where I and others can see and answer them

AndroidApp

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May 3, 2009, 9:33:03 AM5/3/09
to Android Developers
Cupcake is really coming out :-D~~
> romain...@android.com

Alan Jones

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May 11, 2009, 3:20:56 AM5/11/09
to Android Developers
Hi Jeff (and all),

On Apr 24, 4:02 am, Jeff Sharkey <Jeffrey.Shar...@gmail.com> wrote:
> So just a heads up that we won't be able to fix the onDeleted() bug
> for the 1.5 SDK.  Here is a quick workaround that you can patch
> against your class that extends AppWidgetProvider to correctly catch
> and handle the onDeleted() event.

Sorry to be digging up a somewhat old mail. I just wanted to check
that
this indeed didn't make 1.5 as the docs
http://developer.android.com/reference/android/appwidget/AppWidgetProvider.html#onDeleted(android.content.Context,%20int[])
don't give any indication that onDeleted() will never be called.

Cheers,

Alan.

rahulp

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May 11, 2009, 3:11:04 AM5/11/09
to Android Developers
hi all.
can anyone please help me in this.
i wish to update a view of an application from another.
eg i wish to change the text of a textview in a layout from another
application of mine.. is it possible.??
> > public forums, where I and others can see and answer them- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

guruk

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May 16, 2009, 1:48:12 PM5/16/09
to Android Developers
:) now step by step i come closer.

I can catch when a widget come deleted
but still the phantom widgets are in the appWidgetIds listed

Is there any way to delete this phantom widgets from my list
or get a working list of the active installed widgets?

or is the only way to make my own list of created and deleted
widgets?

thanks
chris

Tom Gibara

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May 16, 2009, 3:17:22 PM5/16/09
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There are basically two ways to end up with phantom widgets being supplied to your WidgetProvider.

In the first instance, its because the user chose to add a widget, but then cancelled its configuration. To partially overcome this problem, you can keep a list of all the widgets you know have been configured and not deleted (or something functionally equivalent), and then ignore updates for widgets not on that list.

In the second instance, widgets that have been removed by the user continue to be supplied until a new widget from the same provider is added. There's no way of detecting that this is occurring - there's no workaround*, mainly because the framework is doing its job and is properly insulating the widget provider from the widget host.

*One utterly evil workaround that just entered my head as I typed that sentence could be to include an ImageView with a source that pointed back to a content provider in your application. Absence of a requests to the content provider while the phone is powered could be used to infer that the widget is phantom. This cure is almost certainly worse than the disease.

Tom.

2009/5/16 guruk <ilove...@gmail.com>
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