Quickly process a JSON string

So this method is so naive that I’m not so proud of it.
But “hey, we have plenty of resources now, and we I’ve paid for it!” they say…
Actually this a homemade/handmade/whatever kind of parser for a JSON string like this:

{“user”:”paraimpu”,”text”:”Hi Twitter buddies”, “created_at”:”Wed, 05 Oct 2011 13:45:03 +0000″}

What I do: I analyze every character of the json string, and look for a first  quotation mark like this ” .
Then I save all of the text until I find another quotation mark.
All the rest is ignored.
I build a string with all the characters inside the two quotation marks, and then add that string to a List.
Then I scan that list in another function, and when I find a field of interest, like ‘text’, I know that the related content of that field is one cell ahead, ready to be used (because the json string is structured that way).
Nothing more, nothing less, no libraries, so naive.
This is what I get if I print the elements of that list

user paraimpu text Hi Twitter buddies created_at Wed, 05 Oct 2011 13:45:03 +0000


Here is the code for processing (Java derived language) but you can quickly understand how to replicate it in other languages.


I’m still messing around with Paraimpu’s functionalities.

Java Installations on Windows 7

As usual, something does not work right away, and you lose those two or three hours to wander the Internet looking for useful solutions.
This time it’s the turn of Java, the java media framework package for Windows.
On Windows 7, I launched the executable, but nothing appears, then rerun several times, but still nothing appears.
I gave up and start doing other things, for ten minutes more or less, and then about 4 or 5 installers of the JMF came up on screen. Nice!

Also I remember that on Windows 7 I recently had problems with Java installations, for Matlab7.0.

The problem shared by this type of installation is a problem of compatibility of the jdk (IMHO) with Windows 7.

0. Right-click the executable installation and select the voice file properties, and then go to the compatibility section
1. tick the box to use the mode compatibility
2. choose the compatibility with Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (the really-working  compatibility option for this kind of things)
3. make sure you launch the executable as an administrator

In the end, installation starts where it didn’t started before (for matlab 7), and starts instantly (instead of waiting tens of minutes ) for JMF.
I hope that this will come in handy in some way.


This ‘trick’ also works for Tomboy notes, typical note-app for linux, also available for windows after installing gtk#

Android, BroadcastReceiver, headset controls

Power to opensource!

Because of it I could personalize an app by adding a few lines of code, without reinventing the wheel.

Goal: improve a mediaplayer app to handle headset controls events, even if the screen is off or I’m using another app (there it goes the broadcast receiver functionality).

First, main activity must implement OnKeyListener

import .........
public class MPlayer extends Activity implements OnKeyListener {...

Second, implement the method OnKeyDown

public ImageButton playButton;
public ImageButton stopButton;
public ImageButton skipButton;
  oncreate method that instantiates those buttons, by findviewbyid for example
public boolean onKey(View arg0, int arg1, KeyEvent arg2) {
// TODO Auto-generated method stub
	return false;

/* media controls */
public boolean onKeyDown(int keyCode, KeyEvent event) {
super.onKeyDown(keyCode, event);
switch (keyCode) {
		return true;
		return true;
		return true;
		return false;

Third, create the receiver

/* creating an intent filter */
private final BroadcastReceiver headsetReceiver = new BroadcastReceiver() {
public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
	String intentAction = intent.getAction();
	if (!Intent.ACTION_MEDIA_BUTTON.equals(intentAction))
	KeyEvent event = (KeyEvent) intent
	int keycode = event.getKeyCode();
	int action = event.getAction();
	Log.i("keycode", String.valueOf(keycode));
	Log.i("action", String.valueOf(action));
                 //onKeyDown(keyCode, event)
	if (keycode == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_MEDIA_PLAY_PAUSE
			|| keycode == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_HEADSETHOOK)
			if (action == KeyEvent.ACTION_DOWN)
	if (keycode == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_MEDIA_NEXT)
			if (action == KeyEvent.ACTION_DOWN)
	if (keycode == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_MEDIA_PREVIOUS)
			if (action == KeyEvent.ACTION_DOWN)



/* unregistering intent receiver */

public void onDestroy() {

Last, registering the intent receiver in onCreate method

/** Called when the activity is first created. */
public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
		/* creating and registering intent receiver */
	IntentFilter mediaFilter = new IntentFilter(Intent.ACTION_MEDIA_BUTTON);
	registerReceiver(headsetReceiver, mediaFilter);

Last but not least, even if you declare and register the intent receiver via code, you can also add a couple of lines of code in your app manifest

<activity android:name=".MPlayer" android:label="@string/app_name">
		<action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
		<category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
	<intent-filter android:priority="1000000000">
		<action android:name="android.intent.action.MEDIA_BUTTON" />

Sources: various( I mean VARIOUS, like ALOT) android articles, android developers docs and google results and my working app. Headset finally plugged in and controls being used!

Experiencing with kSoap 2 and complex objects

As usual, I stumbled upon a problem, but this time during application development for Android.(Jump right into the problem explanation)

Imagine having to develop the application so that it can communicate with a webservice that you have already built some sort of programming language, such as in Java by using Axis2 (maybe in version 1.5.1) and a tomcat server (maybe in version 6).

kSoap 2 is an API designed to enable communication between mobile applications programmed in Java and web services.

I’m not very experienced in the use of this API, but it seemed a common problem of many people who use it, the impossibility of working with a list of objects, or rather with arrays of objects coming back as a result of a method of ur webservice.

Since my problem was a ClassCastException, due to the impossibility of casting the type ‘anyType‘ into something useful, like an object of my creation, or maybe an array of my objects, the solution was found using a method similar to Russian dolls.

Now let me explain better.

In the side of the web service application, you use data types that you created through the classes, but maybe you should call them by their name objects.

These objects are Java Beans suitably designed to be serialized into SOAP messages through the use of Axis2.

Axis2 supports the return lists of objects, so that through the use of SoapUI you can read the SOAP message response from the webservice and note the list of returned items. Even more, in the WSDL file that describes the web service, the return value of this method is marked as ‘sequence‘ object of our type.

The problem is kSoap that fails to convert and manage complex data type as the array of our objects, declaring it as ‘anyType‘.

Fortunately it is possible to decompose the object ‘anyType‘ for extracting fields(actually is a SoapObject, and we can use his methods like .getProperty(index) and .getPropertyCount() ).

The problem is that it does not handle arrays, it only returns the first object instead of the whole list. At this point I had to create an additional class that enclose my array of objects and then I edited the method of the webservice to return this new ‘wrapper‘ object.

kSoap doing so receives a single object that contains within it a sequence of objects that make up the array correctly serialized by Axis2. Here is an explanation of the Russian dolls.A big complex and custom object that include small complex objects.

Is our task in the client side of android, provide to the unwrapping of the object, that is remapped into the corresponding complex-object instances.
This is not a solution but a patch to the problem, a patch that I decided to take as we have upcoming deadlines on the development/deployment of the application.

Here is a picture to express a thousand words I wrote and made you read so far.

Drawing done with Balsamiq Mockups (for Desktop [demo]).

Here is a sample of code that unwraps soapObjects using .getProperty(index) and .getPropertyCount().






first I create my array of AccessoBean objects, then I give it to  the

.setListaAccesso(AccessoBean[] list)

method of my ArrayOfAccessoBean wrapper object.

My object  ‘AccessoBean’


My wrapper object for an array of  ‘AccessoBean’ (how to do a simple wrapper class)


So, instead of returning an array( ‘list’ of objects ), I’m returning a single object that contains my array of objects.

Please let me know if you solved this problem in another and/or more elegant way!

Java Screen Viewer

This evening my friend Mauro asked me if I knew some software that would allow him to have a preview on its main display of what his secondary display was showing, as this secondary display is far from the main display.
I made my classic Google researches without getting many results.
Idea behind the software itself is simple, but all I found was licensed software, not free and not opensource.
I decided to try to implement it by myself, first with no success using C++ and QT 4.6(I’m not yet that good with QT), then switching to an implementation in Java, using multi-purpose class called ‘Robot’.

Here you can find a screenshot of my dual-monitor setup and  a screenshot of what the java app is capturing.

You can choose fps and how big the area that you want to preview has to be.

It loads simple parameters from a configuration file that must be on the same directory of the executable jar.

It also save configurations to that file

Windows has a contiguous area of desktop, also when you have a multi monitor setup: depending on how you’ve placed the monitor in the Screen configuration setting, you can easily find the correct values of configuration parameters that allow you, for example, to fully preview the secondary display.

Given a start position (x,y) and width and heigth of the preview rectangle, it captures only that pixels in that area.

In my example, my secondary monitor start showing pixels from coordinate (1280,0) within a rectangle of 800 by 600 pixels.


Full desktop screenshot

Java App screenshot

Source code and executable

[Be sure to have a java runtime environment installed, then lanch with ‘java – jar <xxxx>’ from your prompt/terminal o double-click gui mode]
[Netbeans project, 6.5.1]