Askk | Android Social Questions/Answers Application

Introduction

Please carefully read this guide in order to fully configure this template, and remember to test it on a Real Device – the Emulator may fail.

An internet connection is required.

IMPORTANT: The backend of this template is the XServer API.

If you own a VPS server (on GoDaddy or other providers), you can purchase the XServer API, upload it to your own VPS server, and configure it (see the Installation and Configurations chapters of the XServer API).

In case you don’t own a VPS server (or don’t want to buy it), you can create a Free account on XServer.app, create a Database and configure it to work with this app – read the Official Documentation
In this case, you don’t need to download the SDK, it’s already included in the package of this template.


Quick Start

BEFORE running this app on your own device via Anroid Studio and test it, you can either do the following:

a) Create a FREE account on XServer.app and a Database, then replace the string of the DATABASE_PATH variable with your Database path in the XServerSDK.java file:

public static String DATABASE_PATH = "https://xserver.app/__apps/grocery/";

Your app is now connected to your own database on XServer.app!


b) If you have bought the XServer API, you need to copy the path (URL) where you’ve hosted the files of the xserver folder in your VPS server (ex: https://mydomain.com/xserver) and replace the string of the DATABASE_PATH variable in the XServerSDK.java file with your XServer’s path:

public static String DATABASE_PATH = "https://xserver.app/__apps/grocery/";

Then enter the _Tables folder on your server and:
1. Delete the Users.json and Posts.json files
2. Upload the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package

Your app is now connected to your own server!


General

Android Studio

This template has native Android Java/XML code so you can edit it only with Android Studio. If you don’t have it, download it for free.

PLEASE NOTE that you’ll need the latest official version of Android StudioNO BETAS, because Betas are always buggy and never work properly.

Please also make sure you have installed the following SDK Tools:

Change App Name

Enter the string.xml file – it’s into the res folder in Android Studio – and replace the App name with your new one in this line:

<string> string name="app_name"> Askk </string>

Change the Package Name

Follow these steps:

In the Project panel on the left side, click on the little gear icon.

Uncheck the Compact Empty Middle Packages option.

Your package directory will get broken up into single directories, you will have to select each directory you want to rename and do these steps for each one:
• Right-click on it
• Select Refactor
• Click Rename
• In the pop-up dialog, click on Rename Package – DO NOT click Rename Directory!
• Enter a new name and click Refactor
• Android Studio will update the changes, it may take up to 30 seconds, usually less, just wait for AS to be done.

When renaming a com directory, Android Studio might show a warning. In this case, select Rename All.

In case you have integrated Firebase in your project (for Firebase Cloud Messaging or other services), you must also change the "package_name" string into the google-services.json file accordingly to the new package name you’ve just set in Android Studio, as shown the the picture below.
NOTE: The google-services.json file is usually located in the app folder of your project folder.

Open build.gradle in Android Studio and rename the applicationId string into your new full package name, then click Sync Now on the top-right corner, it’s usually highlighted by a yellow bar.

Wait for the build.gradle sync to be done. if it doesn’t print any error in the Android Studio console, then you’ve successfully renamed your package name.

Reskin the UI design of the app

This project has .xml files – stored into the res/layout folder – where you can edit all Views, Buttons texts, TextView’s strings, and all Views attributes – position, font color, size, etc.

Alert messages are located in the code, they can be edited only in the .java files.

All images are stored in the drawable folders, where the app icons are stored into the mipmap folders.

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Open the tou.html file form the left-side panel’s list in Android Studio and edit it accordingly to your own Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Also, replace the APP_NAME words with the new name you assigned to your App.

Please also pay attention to this line:

"mailto:support@yourdomain.com">support@yourdomain.com

There are a few identical lines like that in the tou.html file, so you must replace support@yourdomain.com with a valid email address where people can contact you for any question, feedback or in case they want to delete their account.

Delete a User’s account upon request

Accordingly to GDPR Terms, you have 24 hours to delete an account after receiving a deletion request. In order for you to delete an account, you first need to identify the user’s row in the Users table of your Database, keep a note of its ID_id value, select that row and click the Delete Row(s) button.
Then, just search for that ID_id value you’ve previously noted in all the other Tables of your database, check out all the rows until you’ll find that ID_id and delete it – this is in case it appears into some Array type columns.

You can use the Query function to find an ID_id in your database:

Reported content

People are allowed to report inappropriate/offensive Users, Questions or Amswers.
So you should daily check your Database in order to see the columns called AR_reportedBy in the User, Questions, and Answers tables, and take action for it asap. See if they contain some ID_id of Users (which means those users have reported the data of that row). You may delete the abusive User or Video rows from your database forever by selecting a cell and click Delete Row(s), but please note that before deleting a user from the User table you must note its ID_id and search for it in the other tables, and remove such ID if you’ll find it in some cell.


Configurations

The strings-xml file

You can find this file into the res/values folder in Android Studio. Open this file and keep reading this guide, you’ll have to perform some edits in this file in order to get your template ready to run.

App Name

Replace the following name with the new one you want to give to this app in this line:

<string> string name="app_name"> Askk </string>

AdMob Ads

Replace the values of these variables with your own Interstitial Unit ID and App ID strings.

<string>name="ADMOB_INTERSTITIAL_UNIT_ID">ca-app-pub-3940256099942544/1033173712</string>
<string>name="ADMOB_APP_ID">ca-app-pub-3940256099942544~3347511713</string>

You have to create your Unit ID at apps.admob.com.
Follow the instructions on the AdMob’s website in case you don’t know how to generate an AdMob Unit ID.

The XServerSDK.java file

Open this file in Android Studio and keep reading this guide, you’ll have to perform some edits in this file in order to get your template ready to run:

XServer Database Path

As explained in the QuickStart paragraph, you must replace the DATABASE_PATH string with your own database URL, either from your own XServer API or from the xserver.app website.

• Using the XServer API hosted on your own VPS server:

To install and configure the XServer API  into your VPS server, please follow the Installation and Configurations chapters of its Documentation.

Once you’ll have the XServer API files ready in your own server, enter the _Tables folder and:
1. Delete the Users.json and Posts.json files
2. Upload the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package

In this way, you’ll get all the necessary Tables and columns for this app to work, without having to manually create them in the XServer’s Dashboard.
Data will be empty, so after you’ll get this app’s configurations done, you’ll be able to sign up with test Users, post items, and all the other features.

• Using the XServer.app BaaS

1. Create a Database, click the Settings button and click Copy Database path.

2. Paste the copied Database Path to this variable:

public static String DATABASE_PATH = "https://xserver.app/__apps/askk/";

3. Import the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package in your Database:

4. Read the Dashboard -> Database Settings chapter to learn how to perform a few more settings for your Database.


Custom Colors

You can edit the HEX values of the following variables as you wish, change the numbers before # symbol. The main color of the app and some UI will be affected by your change:

   public static String MAIN_COLOR =  "#8344af";
   public static String BLACK_COLOR =  "#252525";
   public static String GRAY = "#bababa";

PLEASE NOTE that not all views will be affected by changing the HEX values above, you may still need to go through some XML file and adjust the colors on your own with the right-side Attributes panel.

Custom fonts

This App uses some custom fonts for Buttons, TextViews and EditTexts. The font files are stored into the app/src/main/assets/font folder and are declared in this line:

public static Typeface popBlack, popBlackItalic, popBold, popBoldItalic, 
    popExtraBold, popExtraBoldItalic, popExtraLight, popExtraLightItalic, popItalic, 
    popLight, popLightItalic, popMedium, popMediumItalic, popRegular, popSemibold, popSemiboldItalic, 
    popThin, popThinItalic;

Such fonts are initialized into the onCreate() function as follows:

        popBlack = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Black.ttf");
        popBlackItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-BlackItalic.ttf");
        popBold = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Bold.ttf");
        popBoldItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-BoldItalic.ttf");
        popExtraBold = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-ExtraBold.ttf");
        popExtraBoldItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-ExtraBoldItalic.ttf");
        popExtraLight = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-ExtraLight.ttf");
        popExtraLightItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-ExtraLightItalic.ttf");
        popItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Italic.ttf");
        popLight = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Light.ttf");
        popLightItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-LightItalic.ttf");
        popMedium = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Medium.ttf");
        popMediumItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-MediumItalic.ttf");
        popRegular = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Regular.ttf");
        popSemibold = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-SemiBold.ttf");
        popSemiboldItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-SemiBoldItalic.ttf");
        popThin = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-Thin.ttf");
        popThinItalic = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/Poppins-ThinItalic.ttf");

In case you want to add a new font, you have to first drag your .ttf or .otf font file into the app/src/main/assets/font folder, then you have to instantiate it at the end of the public static Typeface line that’s into the onCreate() function – let’s pretend you have a font file called Helvetica-Bold.ttf, you may add an instance called hBold (it’s just an example, name it as you wish since it’s a variable):

public static Typeface popBold, popSemibold, ... hBold;

Lastly, import its path into the onCreate() function like the existing ones. Based on the font example above, your new line of code may look like this:

hBold = Typeface.createFromAsset(getAssets(),"font/helvetica-Bold.ttf");

Admin email

Replace the email address of this variable into the one you want users to get in touch to:

public static String ADMIN_EMAIL = "your@email.com";

List of Categories and Colors

The following array contains a list of Categories which are being used in this app.
You can edit them as you wish since they are just strings, but please note that every time you’ll change a name of a Category in this array, you must also change the name of its relative icon in the drawable folder in Android Studio accordingly:

public static String[] categoriesArray = {
    // First fixed Categories (NOTE: these 3 items must alwasy be at the first index position)
          "latest",
          "trending",
          "answer",

          //--------------------
          // Categories:
          "photography",
          "health",
          "tech",
          "movies",
          "politics",
          "music",
          "psychology",
          "books",
          "sport",
          "science",
          "education",

          // YOU CAN ADD NEW CATEGORIES HERE, ALL LOWERCASED...
};

As you can see by the above array, the first 3 items are separated from the other ones, this is because they are fixed categories that won’t be loaded once you are about to post a question, and those 3 categories are for the Home screen to filter questions by Trending (the first 100 questions that have 2 or more answers), Latest (the 100 newest posted questions) and Answer (those questions that don’t have an answer yet).

So if you want to add a new Category, just add it below this comment:

// YOU CAN ADD NEW CATEGORIES HERE, ALL LOWERCASED...

and DO NOT EDIT the first 3 items of the categoriesArray, which are:

    "latest",
    "trending",
    "answer",

PLEASE ALSO NOTE the following array of colors:

    public static String[] colorsArray = {
       "#000000",   // latest
       "#444444",   // trending
       "#777777",  // answer

       //-------------------------------
       "#8344af",   // photography
       "#ed5564",   // health
       "#fc6d52",   // tech
       "#d870ad",   // movies
       "#8cc051",   // politics
       "#5d9bec",   // music
       "#48cfae",   // psycology
       "#39bf68",   // books
       "#8344af",   // sport
       "#ed5564",   // science
       "#fc6d52",   // education

       // YOU CAN ADD COLORS HERE...
    };

Similarly to the categoriesArray, this array stores the HEX color values of each Category, based on their position (see the comments with category names next to each colorsArray‘s item).

If you want to add a new category, let’s say Lifestyle for instance, just follow these simple steps as an example:

Add the category name in the categoriesArrayALL LOWERCASE CHARACTERS, like this:

"lifestyle",

Add its HEX color value in the colorsArray, right below the last item, like this: 

"#ed5564",

Lastly, create your own icon for your new category and save it in the drawable folder in Android Studio, and give it the LOWERCASE name of your new category (so lifestyle)

Done. Just repeat the steps above to add new categories.

Utility Functions

Unless you are familiar with iOS programming, you should leave the code below this comment as it is:

// MARK: - TABLES & COLUMNS NAMES

XServer backend

The backend of this template is XServer, and you can either buy the XServer REST API an install it on your own VPS server, or create an account on xserver.app and a Database for this app.
After performing the configurations mentioned below, you will run the app and see no content, so Sign Up with a test user in order to create a test account and start testing the app.

The FREE account on XServer.app offers 10 MB of storage and 1 Database. This allows you to create demo data and fully test this app on your side.
PLEASE NOTE that once the amount of data grows, you’ll need to subscribe to a Paid Plan, check the Pricing table on the XServer.app website.
I suggest you to start with a Basic Plan – it’ only $5/month – so you will get more Database Storage and Databases. Then, you’ll still be able to upgrade your Plan in the Pricing section in case you’ll need more Storage.

If you own a VPS server (on GoDaddy or other providers), you can purchase the XServer API, upload it to your own VPS server, and configure it (see the Installation and Configurations chapters of the XServer API).

In case you don’t own a VPS server (or don’t want to buy it), you can create a Free account on XServer.app, create a Database and configure it to work with this app – read the Official Documentation
In this case, you don’t need to download the SDK, it’s already included in the package of this template.

PLEASE NOTE: If you already bought the iOS version of this template, you don’t need to create a new database.
Just set the DATABASE_PATH into the XServerSDK.java file.


Google Sign In

Go to https://console.cloud.google.com/apis/credentials on your browser.
Create a Project (unless you already have one).
Click the + CREATE CREDENTIALS button.
Select the OAuth client ID option.

On the next page, select Android, choose a name for your Client ID.
Paste the SHA-1 key – follow this tutorial to get it on your Terminal: Getting SHA1 Fingerprint for Google API Console
Paste the package name of your project.
Lastly, click the Create button:

Once your Client ID has been created, just click the OK button on the popup ans you’ll be set.

You can now test the Google Sign In in your app in Development mode.

Once you’ll publish your app on the Play Store, you may need to get the Live SHA1 key and replace the existing one with your new one.
You can obtain the Live SHA1 key in this way:
– Place the Signed .apk file of your app in your Desktop
– Open the Terminal and navigate to the Desktop folder with the cd command
– Use this command:
keytool -printcert -jarfile YourApkName.apk
[Replace YourApkName with the name of your .apk file]
– Hit return
You should get the new SHA1 key, like this example:

Replace the existing key you have set in your Google Developer Console with the new one, so the Google Sign In will work on your Live app.

You may also find alternative ways to get the SHA1 key in this thread: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/15727912/sha-1-fingerprint-of-keystore-certificate


Push Notifications

Follow these steps to create a Firebase project and grab the GCM Sender ID and Server Key strings, in order for the app to send/receive Push Notifications:

Login to your Firebase account and click on + Add project

In the popup window that will show up, enter your app name.
Select the country where you live in.
Check the Use the default settings for sharing Google Analytics for Firebase data option.
Check the I accept the controller-controller terms option as well.
Then click Create project

When Firebase has created your project, click Continue.
On the top-left corner of the page, next to Project Overview, click the gear icon and select Project settings from the menu.

In the Settings page, click the Cloud Messaging tab, here’s where you can copy the Server Key.

Depending on what version of XServer you’re using, paste the Server Key either into your Database Settings of the XServer.app BaaS, or the _config.php file of the self-hosted XServer API you bought and installed on your VPS server.


 Useful stuff

F.A.Q.

Should I buy the XServer API or create an account on XServer.app to make this template work?

The code of this app template is written using the XServer SDK for Android – this is included in the project – so you must either buy the XServer API or create an account on XServer.app to make it work the way it is.

But, if you’re an experienced developer and want to implement a different backend in the code, you can still buy this app and do your own job, since the UI is already built, as you can see by the Screenshots section.

If I buy this app template, can I use for multiple projects?

No: in case you want to publish more than 1 application using this template, you must purchase a License/project you want to publish on the App Store.

Instead, if I buy the XServer REST API or subscribe for a paid Plan on XServer.app, can I use the XServer backend for different projects/apps than this one?

Yes, that’s an API and you can use it in any other application or project.

What kind of support is offered?

Free support is offered in case of bugs encountered in the original template, either in the code or the UI design.
In case you have edited the code – and so created bugs because of your editing – I may apply some fee to fix your bugs by a remote connection through AnyDesk, or by you sending me your source code for verification.

Should I use Android Studio to edit this template?

Yes, you must always use the latest stable official version of Android Studio to edit this application – NO Betas, they don’t work properly!
Download Android Studio

I’ve performed all configurations mentioned in this Guide, but something is wrong. What should I do?

• Double-check all your configurations, probably you have missed something.
• Always check the Logcat in Android Studio if the app crashes, usually the error messages are shown in red color.
The Logcat helps to debug your app, it’s really important

How do I remove AdMob ads?

It’s super easy, just open the Find in Path tool in Android Studio by clicking Edit -> Find -> Find in Path, and search for:

fireInterstitialAd

The Find in Path window will show you a list of files where that string is located.
Just comment out (or delete) the following line of code in each file and the app will not show AdMob ads on next run:

fireInterstitialAd(ctx);

Commenting a line of code simply means that you have to put // in front of it, like this:

// fireInterstitialAd(ctx);

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