I wrote a couple of posts about sending and receiving text messages via the Zipwhip API. Those posts culminated in console output showing you the results of sending or receiving. In this post I’m going to take things further and actually have a slick looking bubble popup on your desktop showing you your text message as it comes in to the Zipwhip Cloud in real-time. The results will look something like below.
Watch the video below to check out how cool the bubble looks as it fades in and out.
We are going to create a new Eclipse project from scratch. Let’s call it ZipwhipBubble. Go into Eclipse and start a new project.
Call the project ZipwhipBubble.
The source tab can be left with the defaults.
On the Libraries tab make sure to add the 3 JARs that we used in the previous posts including Log4j, SLF4j, and of course the most important library—the Zipwhip API JAR. The easiest way to do this is to just download the zip file below of this entire project.
ZipwhipBubble.zip 1.1 MB
The contents of the zip file are as follows:
After having downloaded the above zip file, you can add the libraries from the JARs folder into the Libraries tab. Your tab should look like the screenshot below.
Click Finish. You should now have a new project like the window below.
You need to add your first class to the project.
Give the class the name “Main” and give it a package like “com.yourcompany.zw”. Of course set yourcompany to your company.
You will see a code window that’s mostly empty like below.
Now paste the following code into your window so you get a full class ready to go without you having to do any of the hard work because I did it all for you. You can also download the full Zip file of this project from the top of this posting that contains all of the JARs, source code, and images for the project.
Main.java 4.8 KB
You will see that once you paste this code in you will have one error. You need to get the Bubble class that I created for this project.
The Bubble class takes care of all of the details of displaying a nice looking bubble on your desktop. All you have to do is create a bubble and pass it the mobile number, the text message, and a redirection URL to actually reply to the message. There are numerous web apps on the Internet that use the Zipwhip cloud so it is up to you to pick the URL that is appropriate.
Let’s go ahead and add our Bubble class to the project. Right click on the “com.yourcompany.zw” package name and choose New –> Class from the menu.
Call the class Bubble.
You will get a nice raw class like below.
Go ahead and paste in all of my hard work from my Bubble class. There’s a good deal of code in this class. The code is below. You can also download the file if you want. It’s below or it’s in the main Zip file linked to earlier in this posting.
Bubble.java 29.4 KB
Your Eclipse window package explorer should have two files in it now: Bubble.java and Main.java.
Now, you can go ahead and run your code but you will get errors because you don’t have the pictures required by the Bubble.java class to render out the nice looking bubble. So, you need to go create a resources folder and place the pictures inside it.
Then paste in the 3 pictures into the folder. These pictures are also in the main zip file for the entire project at the start of this posting. Or you can download them here.
resources.zip 23 KB
Ok, now go to your Main.java file and run the program. The best way to do this is to move your cursor into the static void main() method and right-click. Choose Run As –> Java Application. This will execute the static void main() and actually run your app. You will see a lot of output in the console window. This is the Zipwhip API giving you lots of debugging feedback.
Now, here’s the big moment. Go ahead and send yourself a text message to the phone you are logged in as. You will get a slick popup window fading in on your desktop in the upper right corner. You can double-click the bubble to jump to the configured URL to reply to your message. You can also hit the reply button or close the bubble.
The key extra chunk of code for this example vs. the previous posting is that we are now listening to signals and parsing them so we can perform a switch. I created an ENUM of some of the standard signals from the Zipwhip API so that I could perform a switch since Java still does not let you do a switch on strings.
Here is the signal observer code and the switch statement.
You will need to also have the class for the Enum. I got lazy and just placed it into the Main.java file. Technically you should likely place this in its own class file.
This posting is about the Zipwhip API so I don’t want to get into the details of the cool looking bubble being generated from the Bubble() class, but it’s worth noting that we are using some of the features only available in later versions of Java that let you create transparent windows. We are doing some fade in/out tricks. We are manually adding mouse listeners to let you drag the window around. We are doing some sprite tricks with getSubImage() so we can repurpose some web PNGs as well. It was quite a lot of work to get that Bubble class setup, but it was well worth it because you can run this app non-stop and actually start using it to get real-time popups.
If you want to try some tricks with the Bubble to see if there are things you like better than the settings I picked, one of the things I recommend is to allow the window focus to be set. If you do this, you will be able to select the text from the message to copy it to the clipboard. Go into the code and change the this.setFocusableWindowState() line:
Notice that you can now select text, hit Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard, hit tab to choose Reply, hit the spacebar to choose the button, etc. The reason I didn’t pick allowing focus is that if a bubble pops in while you’re doing something like writing an email, I don’t think it’s a good idea to steal the focus. The user could consider that rude. However, it’s up to you how you want to setup your app.
Ok, thanks for reading the tutorial. Enjoy playing with your popup bubbles on your desktop when your friends text you on your phone.
Tutorial: Using the Zipwhip API in Java to Popup Your Text Messages in a Bubble Window
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