The Top 7 Popup Forms to Skyrocket Your Conversions


The ultimate end goal for every single visitor to your website is to turn them into a customer or a recurring visitor. The problem is that turning visitors into regulars can be tricky. Really tricky. There is, however, an easier way to convert visitors without wasting your time or theirs—and it comes in an unexpected form. Pop-up form, to be exact. Simply by using well placed popup forms, you can boost your email subscription rate by 317% or more. With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at our top seven pop-up recommendations and discover how they’ll help…

The post The Top 7 Popup Forms to Skyrocket Your Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The Top 7 Popup Forms to Skyrocket Your Conversions


Sunshine All Day Every Day (August 2018 Wallpapers Edition)

Sunshine All Day Every Day (August 2018 Wallpapers Edition)

Cosima Mielke

Everybody loves a beautiful wallpaper to freshen up their desktops. So to cater for new and unique artworks on a regular basis, we embarked on our monthly wallpapers adventure nine years ago, and since then, countless artists and designers from all over the world have accepted the challenge and submitted their designs to it. It wasn’t any different this time around, of course.

This post features wallpapers created for August 2018. Each of them comes in versions with and without a calendar and can be downloaded for free. A big thank-you to everyone who participated!

Finally, as a little bonus, we also collected some “oldies but goodies” from previous August editions in this collection. Please note, that they only come in a non-calendar version. Which one will make it to your desktop this month?

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • We respect and carefully consider the ideas and motivation behind each and every artist’s work. This is why we give all artists the full freedom to explore their creativity and express emotions and experience throughout their works. This is also why the themes of the wallpapers weren’t anyhow influenced by us, but rather designed from scratch by the artists themselves.

Submit your wallpaper

We are always looking for creative designers and artists to be featured in our wallpapers posts. So if you have an idea for a wallpaper, please don’t hesitate to submit your design. We’d love to see what you’ll come up with. Join in! →

Purple Haze

“Meet Lucy: she lives in California, loves summer and sunbathing at the beach. This is our Jimi Hendrix Experience tribute. Have a lovely summer!” — Designed by PopArt Web Design from Serbia.

Purple Haze

Coffee Break Time

Designed by Ricardo Gimenes from Sweden.

Coffee Break Time

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Inspired by William Shakespeare.” — Designed by Sofie Lee from South Korea.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This August, Be The Best!

“Here is the August monthly calendar to remind you of your as well as your team’s success in the previous months. Congratulations, you guys deserved all the success that came your way. Hope you continue this success this month and in the coming months.” — Designed by Webandcrafts from India.

This August, Be The Best!

No Drama LLama

“Llamas are showing up everywhere around us, so why not on our desktops too?” — Designed by Melissa Bogemans from Belgium.

No Drama LLama

The Colors Of Life

“The countenance of the clown is a reflection of our own feelings and emotions of life in the most colorful way portrayed with a deeper and stronger expression whether it is a happy clown or a sad clown. The actions of the clown signify your uninhibited nature — the faces of life in its crudest form — larger, louder, and in an undiluted way.” — Designed by Acowebs from India.

The Colors Of Life

Hello August

“August brings me to summer, and summer brings me to fruit. In the hot weather there is nothing better than a fresh piece of fruit.” — Designed by Bram Wieringa from Belgium.

Hello August

Exploring Thoughts

“Thoughts, planning, daydreams are simply what minds do. It’s following the human impulse to explore the unexplored, question what doesn’t ring true, dig beneath the surface of what you think you know to formulate your own reality, and embrace the inherent ‘now’ of life. The main character here has been created blending texture and composition. Thoughts will never have an end.” — Designed by Sweans from London.

Exploring Thoughts

Chilling At The Beach

“In August it’s Relaxation Day on the 15th so that’s why I decided to make a wallpaper in which I showcase my perspective of relaxing. It’s a wallpaper where you’re just chilling at the beach with a nice cocktail and just looking at the sea and looking how the waves move. That is what I find relaxing! I might even dip my feet in the water and go for a swim if I’m feeling adventurous!” — Designed by Senne Mommens from Belgium.

Chilling At The Beach

Let Peace Reign

“The freedom and independence sprouts from unbiased and educated individuals that build the nation for peace, prosperity and happiness to reign in the country for healthy growth.” — Designed by Admission Zone from India.

Let Peace Reign

On The Ricefields Of Batad

“Somebody once told me that I should make the most out of vacation. So there I was, carefully walking on a stone ridge in the ricefields of Batad. This place is hidden high up in the mountains. Also August is harvesting season.” — Designed by Miguel Lammens from Belgium.

On The Ricefields Of Batad


Designed by Ilse van den Boogaart from The Netherlands.


Oldies But Goodies

The past nine years have brought forth lots of inspiring wallpapers, and, well, it’d be a pity to let them gather dust somewhere down in the archives. That’s why we once again dug out some goodies from past August editions that are bound to make a great fit on your desktop still today. Please note that these wallpapers, thus, don’t come with a calendar.

Happiness Happens In August

“Many people find August one of the happiest months of the year because of holidays. You can spend days sunbathing, swimming, birdwatching, listening to their joyful chirping, and indulging in sheer summer bliss. August 8th is also known as the Happiness Happens Day, so make it worthwhile.” — Designed by PopArt Studio from Serbia.

Happiness Happens In August

Psst, It’s Camping Time…

“August is one of my favorite months, when the nights are long and deep and crackling fire makes you think of many things at once and nothing at all at the same time. It’s about these heat and cold which allow you to touch the eternity for a few moments.” — Designed by Igor Izhik from Canada.

Psst, It’s Camping Time...

Bee Happy!

“August means that fall is just around the corner, so I designed this wallpaper to remind everyone to ‘bee happy’ even though summer is almost over. Sweeter things are ahead!” — Designed by Emily Haines from the United States.

Bee Happy!

Hello Again

“In Melbourne it is the last month of quite a cool winter so we are looking forward to some warmer days to come.” — Designed by Tazi from Australia.

Hello Again

A Bloom Of Jellyfish

“I love going to aquariums – the colours, patterns and array of blue hues attract the nature lover in me while still appeasing my design eye. One of the highlights is always the jellyfish tanks. They usually have some kind of light show in them, which makes the jellyfish fade from an intense magenta to a deep purple – and it literally tickles me pink. On a recent trip to uShaka Marine World, we discovered that the collective noun for jellyfish is a bloom and, well, it was love-at-first-collective-noun all over again. I’ve used some intense colours to warm up your desktop and hopefully transport you into the depths of your own aquarium.” — Designed by Wonderland Collective from South Africa.

A Bloom Of Jellyfish

Let Us Save The Tigers

“Let us take a pledge to save these endangered species and create a world that is safe for them to live and perish just like all creatures.” — Designed by Acodez IT Solutions from India.

Let Us Save The Tigers


“It’s sunny outside (at least in the Northern Hemisphere!), so don’t forget your shades!” — Designed by James Mitchell from the United Kingdom.



Designed by Webshift 2.0 from South Africa.

Monthly Quality Desktop Wallpaper - August 2012

About Everything

“I know what you’ll do this August. :) Because August is about holiday. It’s about exploring, hiking, biking, swimming, partying, feeling and laughing. August is about making awesome memories and enjoying the summer. August is about everything. An amazing August to all of you!” — Designed by Ioana Bitin from Bucharest, Romania.

About Everything

Shrimp Party

“A nice summer shrimp party!” — Designed by Pedro Rolo from Portugal.

Shrimp Party

The Ocean Is Waiting

“In August, make sure you swim a lot. Be cautious though.” — Designed by Igor Izhik from Canada.

The Ocean Is Waiting

Oh La La… Paris Night

“I like the Paris night! All is very bright!” — Designed by Verónica Valenzuela from Spain.

Oh la la.... Paris night

World Alpinism Day

“International Day of Alpinism and Climbing.” Designed by from Russia.

World Alpinism Day

Estonian Summer Sun

“This is a moment from Southern Estonia that shows amazing summer nights.” Designed by Erkki Pung / Sviiter from Estonia.

Estonian Summer Sun

Aunt Toula At The Beach

“A memory from my childhood summer vacations.” — Designed by Poppie Papanastasiou from Greece.

Aunt Toula At The Beach

Flowing Creativity

Designed by Creacill, Carole Meyer from Luxembourg.

Flowing creativity

Searching for Higgs Boson

Designed by Vlad Gerasimov from Russia.

Monthly Quality Desktop Wallpaper - August 2012

Unforgettable Summer Night

Designed by BootstrapDash from India.

Unforgettable Summer Night

Join In Next Month!

Thank you to all designers for their participation. Join in next month!

Taken from:  

Sunshine All Day Every Day (August 2018 Wallpapers Edition)


What Do You Need To Know When Converting A Flash Game Into HTML5?

What Do You Need To Know When Converting A Flash Game Into HTML5?

Tomasz Grajewski

With the rise of HTML5 usage, many companies start redoing their most popular titles to get rid of outdated Flash and match their products to the latest industry standards. This change is especially visible in the Gambling/Casino & Entertainment industries and has been happening for several years now, so a decent selection of titles has already been converted.

Unfortunately, when browsing the Internet, you can quite often stumble upon examples of a seemingly hasty job, which results in the lover quality of the final product. That’s why it’s a good idea for game developers to dedicate some of their time for getting familiar with the subject of Flash to HTML5 conversion and learning which mistakes to avoid before getting down to work.

Among the reasons for choosing JavaScript instead of Flash, apart from the obvious technical issues, is also the fact that changing your game design from SWF to JavaScript can yield a better user experience, which in turn give it a modern look. But how to do it? Do you need a dedicated JavaScript game converter to get rid of this outdated technology? Well, Flash to HTML5 conversion can be a piece of cake — here’s how to take care of it.

How To Improve HTML5 Game Experience

Converting a game to another platform is an excellent opportunity to improve it, fix its issues, and increase the audience. Below are few things that can be easily done and are worth considering:

  • Supporting mobile devices
    Converting from Flash to JavaScript allows reaching a broader audience (users of mobile devices); support for touchscreen controls usually needs to be implemented into the game, too. Luckily, both Android and iOS devices now also support WebGL, so 30 or 60 FPS rendering usually can be easily achieved. In many cases, 60 FPS won’t cause any problems, which will only improve with time, as mobile devices become more and more performant.

  • Improving performance
    When it comes to comparing ActionScript and JavaScript, the latter is faster than the first one. Other than that, converting a game is a good occasion to revisit algorithms used in game code. With JavaScript game development you can optimize them or completely strip unused code that’s left by original developers.
  • Fixing bugs and making improvements to the gameplay
    Having new developers looking into game’s source code can help to fix known bugs or discover new and very rare ones. This would make playing the game less irritating for the players, which would make them spend more time on your site and encourage to try your other games.
  • Adding web analytics
    In addition to tracking the traffic, web analytics can also be used to gather knowledge on how players behave in a game and where they get stuck during gameplay.
  • Adding localization
    This would increase the audience and is important for kids from other countries playing your game. Or maybe your game is not in English and you want to support that language?

Why Skipping HTML And CSS For In-Game UI Will Improve Game Performance

When it comes to JavaScript game development, it may be tempting to leverage HTML and CSS for in-game buttons, widgets, and other GUI elements. My advice is to be careful here. It’s counterintuitive, but actually leveraging DOM elements is less performant on complex games and this gains more significance on mobile. If you want to achieve constant 60 FPS on all platforms, then resigning from HTML and CSS may be required.

Non-interactive GUI elements, such as health bars, ammo bars, or score counters can be easily implemented in Phaser by using regular images (the Phaser.Image class), leveraging the .crop property for trimming and the Phaser.Text class for simple text labels.

Such interactive elements as buttons and checkboxes can be implemented by using the built-in Phaser.Button class. Other, more complex elements can be composed of different simple types, like groups, images, buttons and text labels.

Note: Each time you instantiate a Phaser.Text or PIXI.Text object, a new texture is created to render text onto. This additional texture breaks vertex batching, so be careful not to have too many of them.

How To Ensure That Custom Fonts Have Loaded

If you want to render text with a custom vector font (e.g. TTF or OTF), then you need to ensure that the font has already been loaded by the browser before rendering any text. Phaser v2 doesn’t provide a solution for this purpose, but another library can be used: Web Font Loader.

Assuming that you have a font file and include the Web Font Loader in your page, then below is a simple example of how to load a font:

Make a simple CSS file that will be loaded by Web Font Loader (you don’t need to include it in your HTML):

    // This name you will use in JS
    font-family: 'Gunplay';
    // URL to the font file, can be relative or absolute
    src: url('../fonts/gunplay.ttf') format('truetype');
    font-weight: 400;

Now define a global variable named WebFontConfig. Something as simple as this will usually suffice:

var WebFontConfig = 
   'classes': false,
   'timeout': 0,
   'active': function() 
       // The font has successfully loaded...
       'families': ['Gunplay'],
       // URL to the previously mentioned CSS
       'urls': ['styles/fonts.css']

It the end, remember to put your code in the ‘active’ callback shown above. And that’s it!

How To Make It Easier For Users To Save The Game

To persistently store local data in ActionScript you would use the SharedObject class. In JavaScript, the simple replacement is localStorage API, which allows storing strings for later retrieval, surviving page reloads.

Saving data is very simple:

var progress = 15;
localStorage.setItem('myGame.progress', progress);

Note that in the above example the progress variable, which is a number, will be converted to a string.

Loading is simple too, but remember that retrieved values will be strings or null if they don’t exists.

var progress = parseInt(localStorage.getItem('myGame.progress')) || 0;

Here we’re ensuring that the return value is a number. If it doesn’t exist, then 0 will be assigned to the progress variable.

You can also store and retrieve more complex structures, for example, JSON:

var stats = 'goals': 13, 'wins': 7, 'losses': 3, 'draws': 1;
localStorage.setItem('myGame.stats', JSON.stringify(stats));
var stats = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem('myGame.stats')) || {};

There are some cases when the localStorage object won’t be available. For example, when using the file:// protocol or when a page is loaded in a private window. You can use the try and catch statement to ensure your code will both continue working and use default values, what is shown in the example below:

    var progress = localStorage.getItem('myGame.progress');
 catch (exception) 
    // localStorage not available, use default values

Another thing to remember is that the stored data is saved per domain, not per URL. So if there is a risk that many games are hosted on a single domain, then it’s better to use a prefix (namespace) when saving. In the example above 'myGame.' is such a prefix and you usually want to replace it with the name of the game.

Note: If your game is embedded in an iframe, then localStorage won’t persist on iOS. In this case, you would need to store data in the parent iframe instead.

How To Leverage Replacing Default Fragment Shader

When Phaser and PixiJS render your sprites, they use a simple internal fragment shader. It doesn’t have many features because it’s tailored for a speed. However, you can replace that shader for your purposes. For example, you can leverage it to inspect overdraw or support more features for rendering.

Below is an example of how to supply your own default fragment shader to Phaser v2:

function preload() 
    this.load.shader('filename.frag', 'shaders/filename.frag');

function create() 
    var renderer = this.renderer;
    var batch = renderer.spriteBatch;
    batch.defaultShader = 
        new PIXI.AbstractFilter(this.cache.getShader('filename.frag'));

Note: It’s important to remember that the default shader is used for ALL sprites as well as when rendering to a texture. Also, keep in mind that using complex shaders for all in-game sprites will greatly reduce rendering performance.

How To Change Tinting Method With A Default Shader

Custom default shader can be used to replace default tinting method in Phaser and PixiJS.

Tinting in Phaser and PixiJS works by multiplying texture pixels by a given color. Multiplication always darkens colors, which obviously is not a problem; it’s simply different from the Flash tinting. For one of our games, we needed to implement tinting similar to Flash and decided that a custom default shader could be used. Below is an example of such fragment shader:

// Specific tint variant, similar to the Flash tinting that adds
// to the color and does not multiply. A negative of a color
// must be supplied for this shader to work properly, i.e. set
// sprite.tint to 0 to turn whole sprite to white.
precision lowp float;

varying vec2 vTextureCoord;
varying vec4 vColor;

uniform sampler2D uSampler;

void main(void) 
    vec4 f = texture2D(uSampler, vTextureCoord);
    float a = clamp(vColor.a, 0.00001, 1.0);
    gl_FragColor.rgb = f.rgb * vColor.a + clamp(1.0 - vColor.rgb/a, 0.0, 1.0) * vColor.a * f.a;
    gl_FragColor.a = f.a * vColor.a;

This shader lightens pixels by adding a base color to the tint one. For this to work, you need to supply negative of the color you want. Therefore, in order to get white, you need to set:

sprite.tint = 0x000000;  // This colors the sprite to white
Sprite.tint = 0x00ffff;  // This gives red

The result in our game looks like this (notice how tanks flash white when hit):

Example of the custom default shader in game development
Custom default shader (tanks flashing white).

How To Inspect Overdraw To Detect Fill Rate Issues

Replacing default shader can also be leveraged to help with debugging. Below I’ve explained how overdraw can be detected with such a shader.

Overdrawing happens when many or all pixels on the screen are rendered multiple times. For example, many objects taking the same place and being rendered one over another. How many pixels a GPU can render per second is described as fill rate. Modern desktop GPUs have excessive fill rate for usual 2D purposes, but mobile ones are a lot slower.

There is a simple method of finding out how many times each pixel on the screen is written by replacing the default global fragment shader in PixiJS and Phaser with this one:

void main(void) 
    gl_FragColor.rgb += 1.0 / 7.0;

This shader lightens pixels that are being processed. The number 7.0 indicates how many writes are needed to turn pixel white; you can tune this number to your liking. In other words, lighter pixels on screen were written several times, and white pixels were written at least 7 times.

This shader also helps to find both “invisible” objects that for some reason are still rendered and sprites that have excessive transparent areas around that need to be stripped (GPU still needs to process transparent pixels in your textures).

Example of the Overdraw shader in action in game development

Overdraw shader in action. (Large preview)

The picture on the left shows how a player sees the game, while the one on the right displays the effect of applying the overdraw shader to the same scene.

Why Physics Engines Are Your Friends

A physics engine is a middleware that’s responsible for simulating physics bodies (usually rigid body dynamics) and their collisions. Physics engines simulate 2D or 3D spaces, but not both. A typical physics engine will provide:

  • object movement by setting velocities, accelerations, joints, and motors;
  • detecting collisions between various shape types;
  • calculating collision responses, i.e. how two objects should react when they collide.

At Merixstudio, we’re big fans of the Box2D physics engine and used it on a few occasions. There is a Phaser plugin that works well for this purpose. Box2D is also used in the Unity game engine and GameMaker Studio 2.

While a physics engine will speed-up your development, there is a price you’ll have to pay: reduced runtime performance. Detecting collisions and calculating responses is a CPU-intensive task. You may be limited to several dozen dynamic objects in a scene on mobile phones or face degraded performance, as well as reduced frame rate deep below 60 FPS.

Example of the difference in the scene of a game with and withour Phaser physics debug overlay displayed on top

Phaser’s physics debug overlay. (Large preview)

The left part of the image is a scene from a game, while the right side shows the same scene with Phaser physics debug overlay displayed on top.

How To Export Sounds From A .fla File

If you have a Flash game sound effects inside of a .fla file, then exporting them from GUI is not possible (at least not in Adobe Animate CC 2017) due to the lack of menu option serving this purpose. But there is another solution — a dedicated script that does just that:

function normalizeFilename(name) 
   // Converts a camelCase name to snake_case name
   return name.replace(/([A-Z])/g, '_$1').replace(/^_/, '').toLowerCase();

function displayPath(path) 
   // Makes the file path more readable
   return unescape(path).replace('file:///', '').replace('


if (fl.getDocumentDOM().library.getSelectedItems().length > 0)
   // Get only selected items
   var library = fl.getDocumentDOM().library.getSelectedItems();
   // Get all items
   var library = fl.getDocumentDOM().library.items;

// Ask user for the export destination directory
var root = fl.browseForFolderURL('Select a folder.');
var errors = 0;

for (var i = 0; i < library.length; i++) 
   var item = library[i];
   if (item.itemType !== 'sound')

   var path = root + '/';

   if (item.originalCompressionType === 'RAW')
       path += normalizeFilename('.')[0]) + '.wav';
       path += normalizeFilename(;

   var success = item.exportToFile(path);
   if (!success)
       errors += 1;
   fl.trace(displayPath(path) + ': ' + (success ? 'OK' : 'Error'));

fl.trace(errors + ' error(s)');

How to use the script to export sound files:

  1. Save the code above as a .jsfl file on your computer;
  2. Open a .fla file with Adobe Animate;
  3. Select ‘Commands’ → ‘Run Command’ from the top menu and select the script in the dialogue that opens;
  4. Now another dialogue file pops up for selecting export destination directory.

And done! You should now have WAV files in the specified directory. What’s left to do is convert them to, for example, MP3’s, OGG, or AAC.

How To Use MP3s In Flash To HTML5 Convertions

The good old MP3 format is back, as some patents have expired and now every browser can decode and play MP3’s. This makes development a bit easier since finally there's no need to prepare two separate audio formats. Previously you needed, for instance, OGG and AAC files, while now MP3 will suffice.

Nonetheless, there are two important things you need to remember about MP3:

  • MP3’s need to decode after loading, what can be time-consuming, especially on mobile devices. If you see a pause after all your assets have loaded, then it probably means that MP3’s being decoded;
  • gaplessly playing looped MP3’s is a little problematic. The solution is to use mp3loop, about which you can read in the article posted by Compu Phase.

So, Why Should You Convert Flash To JavaScript?

As you can see, Flash to JavaScript conversion is not impossible if you know what to do. With knowledge and skill, you can stop struggling with Flash and enjoy the smooth, entertaining games created in JavaScript. Don't try to fix Flash — get rid of it before everyone is forced to do so!

Want To Learn More?

In this article, I was focused mainly on Phaser v2. However, a newer version of Phaser is now available, and I strongly encourage you to check it out, as it introduced a plethora of fresh, cool features, such as multiple cameras, scenes, tilemaps, or Matter.js physics engine.

If you are brave enough and want to create truly remarkable things in browsers, then WebGL is the right thing to learn from the ground up. It’s a lower level of abstraction than various game-building frameworks or tools but allows to achieve greater performance and quality even if you work on 2D games or demos. Among many websites which you may find useful when learning the basics of WebGL would be WebGL Fundamentals (uses interactive demos). In addition to that, to find out more about WebGL feature adoption rates, check WebGL Stats.

Always remember that there's no such thing as too much knowledge — especially when it comes to game development!

Smashing Editorial
(rb, ra, yk, il)

Continue at source: 

What Do You Need To Know When Converting A Flash Game Into HTML5?


What Is the Best Heatmap Tool and How to Use It to Get Better Results


A heatmap tool allows you to unlock the secrets behind your website users’ behavior. You’ve heard your friends and associates talking about using a heatmap tool to improve their website conversions and sales. Maybe you’ve even done a little research on the subject. But why exactly do you need a heatmap tool? And what does it do? You have questions. I have answers. Here’s the thing: User behavior reports like heatmaps give you information about your target audience that you can’t get anywhere else. Therein lies the value. Without heatmaps, you’re in the dark. So how do you see the…

The post What Is the Best Heatmap Tool and How to Use It to Get Better Results appeared first on The Daily Egg.

This article – 

What Is the Best Heatmap Tool and How to Use It to Get Better Results


Logging Activity With The Web Beacon API

Logging Activity With The Web Beacon API

Drew McLellan

The Beacon API is a JavaScript-based Web API for sending small amounts of data from the browser to the web server without waiting for a response. In this article, we’ll look at what that can be useful for, what makes it different from familiar techniques like XMLHTTPRequest (‘Ajax’), and how you can get started using it.

If you know why you want to use Beacon already, feel free to jump directly to the Getting Started section.

What Is The Beacon API For?

The Beacon API is used for sending small amounts of data to a server without waiting for a response. That last part is critical and is the key to why Beacon is so useful — our code never even gets to see a response, even if the server sends one. Beacons are specifically for sending data and then forgetting about it. We don’t expect a response and we don’t get a response.

Think of it like a postcard sent home when on vacation. You put a small amount of data on it (a bit of “Wish you were here” and “The weather’s been lovely”), put it in the mailbox, and you don’t expect a response. No one sends a return postcard saying “Yes, I do wish I was there actually, thank you very much!”

For modern websites and applications, there’s a number of use cases that fall very neatly into this pattern of send-and-forget.

Tracking Stats And Analytics Data

The first use case that comes to mind for most people is analytics. Big solutions like Google Analytics might give a good overview of things like page visits, but what if we wanted something more customized? We could write some JavaScript to track what’s happening in a page (maybe how a user interacts with a component, how far they’ve scrolled to, or which articles have been displayed before they follow a CTA) but we then need to send that data to the server when the user leaves the page. Beacon is perfect for this, as we’re just logging the data and don’t need a response.

There’s no reason we couldn’t also cover the sort of mundane tasks often handled by Google Analytics, reporting on the user themselves and the capability of their device and browser. If the user has a logged in session, you could even tie those stats back to a known individual. Whatever data you gather, you can send it back to the server with Beacon.

Debugging And Logging

Another useful application for this behavior is logging information from your JavaScript code. Imagine you have a complex interactive component on your page that works perfectly for all your tests, but occasionally fails in production. You know it’s failing, but you can’t see the error in order to begin debugging it. If you can detect a failure in the code itself, you could then gather up diagnostics and use Beacon to send it all back for logging.

In fact, any logging task can usefully be performed using Beacon, be that creating save-points in a game, collecting information on feature use, or recording results from a multivariate test. If it’s something that happens in the browser that you want the server to know about, then Beacon is likely a contender.

Can’t We Already Do This?

I know what you’re thinking. None of this is new, is it? We’ve been able to communicate from the browser to the server using XMLHTTPRequest for more than a decade. More recently we also have the Fetch API which does much the same thing with a more modern promise-based interface. Given that, why do we need the Beacon API at all?

The key here is that because we don’t get a response, the browser can queue up the request and send it without blocking execution of any other code. As far as the browser is concerned, it doesn’t matter if our code is still running or not, or where the script execution has got to, as there’s nothing to return it can just background the sending of the HTTP request until it’s convenient to send it.

That might mean waiting until CPU load is lower, or until the network is free, or even just sending it right away if it can. The important thing is that the browser queues the beacon and returns control immediately. It does not hold things up while the beacon sends.

To understand why this is a big deal, we need to look at how and when these sorts of requests are issued from our code. Take our example of an analytics logging script. Our code may be timing how long the users spend on a page, so it becomes critical that the data is sent back to the server at the last possible moment. When the user goes to leave a page, we want to stop timing and send the data back home.

Typically, you’d use either the unload or beforeunload event to execute the logging. These are fired when the user does something like following a link on the page to navigate away. The trouble here is that code running on one of the unload events can block execution and delay the unloading of the page. If unloading of the page is delayed, then the loading next page is also delayed, and so the experience feels really sluggish.

Keep in mind how slow HTTP requests can be. If you’re thinking about performance, typically one of the main factors you try to cut down on is extra HTTP requests because going out to the network and getting a response can be super slow. The very last thing you want to do is put that slowness between the activation of a link and the start of the request for the next page.

Beacon gets around this by queuing the request without blocking, returning control immediately back to your script. The browser then takes care of sending that request in the background without blocking. This makes everything much faster, which makes users happier and lets us all keep our jobs.

Getting Started

So we understand what Beacon is, and why we might use it, so let’s get started with some code. The basics couldn’t be simpler:

let result = navigator.sendBeacon(url, data);

The result is boolean, true if the browser accepted and queued the request, and false if there was a problem in doing so.

Using navigator.sendBeacon()

navigator.sendBeacon takes two parameters. The first is the URL to make the request to. The request is performed as an HTTP POST, sending any data provided in the second parameter.

The data parameter can be in one of several formats, all if which are taken directly from the Fetch API. This can be a Blob, a BufferSource, FormData or URLSearchParams — basically any of the body types used when making a request with Fetch.

I like using FormData for basic key-value data as it’s uncomplicated and easy to read back.

// URL to send the data to
let url = '/api/my-endpoint';
// Create a new FormData and add a key/value pair
let data = new FormData();
data.append('hello', 'world');
let result = navigator.sendBeacon(url, data);
if (result)  
  console.log('Successfully queued!');

Browser Support

Support in browsers for Beacon is very good, with the only notable exceptions being Internet Explorer (works in Edge) and Opera Mini. For most uses, that should be fine, but it’s worth testing for support before trying to use navigator.sendBeacon.

That’s easy to do:

if (navigator.sendBeacon) 
  // Beacon code
  // No Beacon. Maybe fall back to XHR?

If Beacon isn’t available and your request is important, you could fall back to a blocking method such as XHR. Depending on your audience and purpose, you might equally choose to not bother.

An Example: Logging Time On A Page

To see this in practice, let’s create a basic system to time how long a user stays on a page. When the page loads we’ll note the time, and when the user leaves the page we’ll send the start time and current time to the server.

As we only care about time spent (not the actual time of day) we can use to get a basic timestamp as the page loads:

let startTime =;

If we wrap up our logging into a function, we can call it when the page unloads.

let logVisit = function() 
  // Test that we have support
  if (!navigator.sendBeacon) return true;
  // URL to send the data to, e.g.
  let url = '/api/log-visit';
  // Data to send
  let data = new FormData();
  data.append('start', startTime);
  data.append('url', document.URL);
  // Let's go!
  navigator.sendBeacon(url, data);

Finally, we need to call this function when the user leaves the page. My first instinct was to use the unload event, but Safari on a Mac seems to block the request with a security warning, so beforeunload works just fine for us here.

window.addEventListener('beforeunload', logVisit);

When the page unloads (or, just before it does) our logVisit() function will be called and provided the browser supports the Beacon API our beacon will be sent.

(Note that if there is no Beacon support, we return true and pretend it all worked great. Returning false would cancel the event and stop the page unloading. That would be unfortunate.)

Considerations When Tracking

As so many of the potential uses for Beacon revolve around tracking of activity, I think it would be remiss not to mention the social and legal responsibilities we have as developers when logging and tracking activity that could be tied back to users.


We may think of the recent European GDPR laws as they related to email, but of course, the legislation relates to storing any type of personal data. If you know who your users are and can identify their sessions, then you should check what activity you are logging and how it relates to your stated policies.

Often we don’t need to track as much data as our instincts as developers tell us we should. It can be better to deliberately not store information that would identify a user, and then you reduce your likelihood of getting things wrong.

DNT: Do Not Track

In addition to legal requirements, most browsers have a setting to enable the user to express a desire not to be tracked. Do Not Track sends an HTTP header with the request that looks like this:

DNT: 1

If you’re logging data that can track a specific user and the user sends a positive DNT header, then it would be best to follow the user’s wishes and anonymize that data or not track it at all.

In PHP, for example, you can very easily test for this header like so:

if (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_DNT']))  
  // User does not wish to be tracked ... 

In Conclusion

The Beacon API is a really useful way to send data from a page back to the server, particularly in a logging context. Browser support is very broad, and it enables you to seamlessly log data without negatively impacting the user’s browsing experience and the performance of your site. The non-blocking nature of the requests means that the performance is much faster than alternatives such as XHR and Fetch.

If you’d like to read more about the Beacon API, the following sites are worth a look.

Smashing Editorial
(ra, il)


Logging Activity With The Web Beacon API


WordPress Notifications Made Easy

WordPress Notifications Made Easy

Jakub Mikita

WordPress doesn’t offer any kind of notification system. All you can use is the wp_mail() function, but all of the settings have to be hardcoded, or else you have to create a separate settings screen to allow the user tweak the options. It takes many hours to write a system that is reliable, configurable and easy to use. But not anymore. I’ll show you how to create your own notification system within minutes with the free Notification plugin. By notification, I mean any kind of notification. Most of the time, it will be email, but with the plugin we’ll be using, you can also send webhooks and other kinds of notifications.

While creating a project for one of my clients, I encountered this problem I’ve described. The requirement was to have multiple custom email alerts with configurable content. Instead of hardcoding each and every alert, I decided to build a system. I wanted it to be very flexible, and the aim was to be able to code new scenarios as quickly as possible.

The code I wrote was the start of a great development journey. It turned out that the system I created was flexible enough that it could work as a separate package. This is how the Notification plugin was born.

Suppose you want to send an email about a user profile being updated by one of your website’s members. WordPress doesn’t provide that functionality, but with the Notification plugin, you can create such an email in minutes. Or suppose you want to synchronize your WooCommerce products with third-party software by sending a webhook to a separate URL every time a new product is published. That’s easy to do with the plugin, too.

Lessons Learned While Developing WordPress Plugins

Good plugin development and support lead to more downloads. More downloads mean more money and a better reputation. Learn how you can develop good-quality products with seven golden rules. Read more →

In this article, you’ll learn how to integrate the plugin in your own application and how to create an advanced WordPress notification system more quickly and easily than ever.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. how to install the plugin,
  2. the idea behind the plugin and its architecture,
  3. creating a custom scenario for notifications,
  4. creating the action (step 1 of the process),
  5. creating the trigger (step 2 of the process),
  6. creating the custom notification type,
  7. how to enable white-label mode and bundle the plugin in your package.

Installing The Plugin

To create your own scenarios, you are going to need the Notification plugin. Just install it from the repository in your WordPress dashboard, or download it from the GitHub repository.

Large preview

Later in the article, you’ll learn how to hide this plugin from your clients and make it work as an integrated part of your plugin or theme.

The Idea Of The Plugin

Before going into your code editor, you’ll need to know what the plugin’s architecture looks like. The plugin contains many various components, but its core is really a few abstract classes.

The main components are:

  • The notification
    This could be an email, webhook, push notification or SMS.
  • The trigger
    This is what sends the notification. It’s effectively the WordPress action.
  • The merge tag
    This is a small portion of the dynamic content, like post_title.

To give you a better idea of how it all plays together, you can watch this short video:

The core of the Notification plugin is really just an API. All of the default triggers, like Post published and User registered are things built on top of that API.

Because the plugin was created for developers, adding your own triggers is very easy. All that’s required is a WordPress action, which is just a single line of code and a class declaration.

Custom Scenario

Let’s devise a simple scenario. We’ll add a text area and button to the bottom of each post, allowing bugs in the article to be reported. Then, we’ll trigger the notification upon submission of the form.

This scenario was covered in another article, “Submitting Forms Without Reloading the Page: AJAX Implementation in WordPress”.

For simplicity, let’s make it a static form, but there’s no problem putting the action in an AJAX handler, instead of in the wp_mail() function.

Let’s create the form.

The Form

add_filter( 'the_content', 'report_a_bug_form' );
function report_a_bug_form( $content ) 

    // Display the form only on posts.
    if ( ! is_single() ) 
        return $content;

    // Add the form to the bottom of the content.
    $content .= '<form action="' . admin_url( 'admin-post.php' ) . '" method="POST">
        <input type="hidden" name="post_id" value="' . get_ID() . '">
        <input type="hidden" name="action" value="report_a_bug">
        <textarea name="message" placeholder="' . __( 'Describe what's wrong...', 'reportabug' ) . '"></textarea>
        <button>' . __( 'Report a bug', 'reportabug' ) . '</button>

    return $content;


Please note that many components are missing, like WordPress nonces, error-handling and display of the action’s result, but these are not the subject of this article. To better understand how to handle these actions, please read the article mentioned above.

Preparing The Action

To trigger the notification, we are going to need just a single action. This doesn’t have to be a custom action like the one below. You can use any of the actions already registered in WordPress core or another plugin.

The Form Handler And Action

add_action( 'admin_post_report_a_bug', 'report_a_bug_handler' );
add_action( 'admin_post_nopriv_report_a_bug', 'report_a_bug_handler' );
function report_a_bug_handler() 

    do_action( 'report_a_bug', $_POST['post_id'], $_POST['message'] );

    // Redirect back to the article.
    wp_safe_redirect( get_permalink( $_POST['post_id'] ) );

You can read more on how to use the admin-post.php file in the WordPress Codex.

This is all we need to create a custom, configurable notification. Let’s create the trigger.

Registering The Custom Trigger

The trigger is just a simple class that extends the abstract trigger. The abstract class does all of the work for you. It puts the trigger in the list, and it handles the notifications and merge tags.

Let’s start with the trigger declaration.

Minimal Trigger Definition

class ReportBug extends BracketSpaceNotificationAbstractsTrigger 

    public function __construct() 

        // Add slug and the title.
            __( 'Bug report sent', 'reportabug' )

        // Hook to the action.
        $this->add_action( 'report_a_bug', 10, 2 );


    public function merge_tags() {}


All you need to do is call the parent constructor and pass the trigger slug and nice name.

Then, we can hook into our custom action. The add_action method is very similar to the add_action() function; so, the second parameter is the priority, and the last one is the number of arguments. Only the callback parameter is missing because the abstract class does that for us.

Having the class, we can register it as our new trigger.

register_trigger( new ReportBug() );

This is now a fully working trigger. You can select it from the list when composing a new notification.

(Large preview)

Although the trigger is working and we can already send the notification we want, it’s not very useful. We don’t have any way to show the recipient which post has a bug and what the message is.

This would be the time, then, to register some merge tags and set up the trigger context with the action parameters we have: the post ID and the message.

To do this, we can add another method to the trigger class. This is the action callback, where we can catch the action arguments.

Handling Action Arguments

public function action( $post_ID, $message ) 

    // If the message is empty, don't send any notifications.
    if ( empty( $message ) ) 
        return false;

    // Set the trigger properties.
    $this->post    = get_post( $post_ID );
    $this->message = $message;


Note the return false; statement. If you return false from this method, the trigger will be stopped, and no notification will be sent. In our case, we don’t want a notification to be submitted with an empty message. In the real world, you’d want to validate that before the form is sent.

Then, we just set the trigger class’ properties, the complete post object and the message. Now, we can use them to add some merge tags to our trigger. We can just fill the content of the merge_tags method we declared earlier.

Defining Merge Tags

public function merge_tags() 

    $this->add_merge_tag( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsMergeTagUrlTag( array(
        'slug'        => 'post_url',
        'name'        => __( 'Post URL', 'reportabug' ),
        'resolver'    => function( $trigger ) 
            return get_permalink( $trigger->post->ID );
    ) ) );

    $this->add_merge_tag( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsMergeTagStringTag( array(
        'slug'        => 'post_title',
        'name'        => __( 'Post title', 'reportabug' ),
        'resolver'    => function( $trigger ) 
            return $trigger->post->post_title;
    ) ) );

    $this->add_merge_tag( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsMergeTagHtmlTag( array(
        'slug'        => 'message',
        'name'        => __( 'Message', 'reportabug' ),
        'resolver'    => function( $trigger ) 
            return nl2br( $trigger->message );
    ) ) );

    $this->add_merge_tag( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsMergeTagEmailTag( array(
        'slug'        => 'post_author_email',
        'name'        => __( 'Post author email', 'reportabug' ),
        'resolver'    => function( $trigger ) 
            $author = get_userdata( $trigger->post->post_author );
            return $author->user_email;
    ) ) );


This will add four merge tags, all ready to use while a notification is being composed.

The merge tag is an instance of a special class. You can see that there are many types of these tags, and we are using them depending on the value that is returned from the resolver. You can see all merge tags in the GitHub repository.

All merge tags are added via the add_merge_tag method, and they require the config array with three keys:

  • slug
    The static value that will be used in the notification (i.e. post_url).
  • name
    The translated label for the merge tag.
  • resolver
    The function that replaces the merge tag with the actual value.

The resolver doesn’t have to be the closure, as in our case, but using it is convenient. You can pass a function name as a string or an array if this is a method in another class.

In the resolver function, only one argument is available: the trigger class instance. Thus, we can access the properties we just set in the action method and return the value we need.

And that’s all! The merge tags are not available to use with our trigger, and we can set up as many notifications of the bug report as we want.

(Large preview)

Creating The Custom Notification Type

The Notification plugin offers not only custom triggers, but also custom notification types. The plugin ships with two types, email and webhook, but it has a simple API to register your own notifications.

It works very similarly to the custom trigger: You also need a class and a call to one simple function to register it.

I’m showing only an example; the implementation will vary according to the system you wish to integrate. You might need to include a third-party library and call its API or operate in WordPress’ file system, but the guide below will set you up with the basic process.

Let’s start with a class declaration:

class CustomNotification extends BracketSpaceNotificationAbstractsNotification 

    public function __construct() 

        // Add slug and the title.
            __( 'Custom Notification', 'textdomain' )


    public function form_fields() {}

    public function send( BracketSpaceNotificationInterfacesTriggerable $trigger ) {}


In the constructor, you must call the parent’s class constructor and pass the slug and nice name of the notification.

The form_fields method is used to create a configuration form for notifications. (For example, the email notification would have a subject, body, etc.)

The send method is called by the trigger, and it’s where you can call the third-party API that you wish to integrate with.

Next, you have to register it with the register_notification function.

register_trigger( new CustomNotification() );

The Notification Form

There might be a case in which you have a notification with no configuration fields. That’s fine, but most likely you’ll want to give the WordPress administrator a way to configure the notification content with the merge tags.

That’s why we’ll register two fields, the title and the message, in the form_fields method. It looks like this:

public function form_fields() 

    $this->add_form_field( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsFieldInputField( array(
        'label'       => __( 'Title', 'textdomain' ),
        'name'        => 'title',
        'resolvable'  => true,
        'description' => __( 'You can use merge tags', 'textdomain' ),
    ) ) );

    $this->add_form_field( new BracketSpaceNotificationDefaultsFieldTextareaField( array(
        'label'       => __( 'Message', 'textdomain' ),
        'name'        => 'message',
        'resolvable'  => true,
        'description' => __( 'You can use merge tags', 'textdomain' ),
    ) ) );

As you can see, each field is an object and is registered with the add_form_field method. For the list of all available field types, please visit the GitHub repository.

Each field has the translatable label, the unique name and a set of other properties. You can define whether the field should be resolved with the merge tags with the resolvable key. This means that when someone uses the post_title merge tag in this field, it will be changed with the post’s actual title. You can also provide the description field for a better user experience.

At this point, your custom notification type can be used in the plugin’s interface with any available trigger type.

(Large preview)

Sending The Custom Notification

In order to make it really work, we have to use the send method in our notification class declaration. This is the place where you can write an API call or use WordPress’ file system or any WordPress API, and do whatever you like with the notification data.

This is how you can access it:

public function send( BracketSpaceNotificationInterfacesTriggerable $trigger ) 

    $title   = $this->data['title'];
    $message = $this->data['message'];

    // @todo Write the integration here.

At this point, all of the fields are resolved with the merge tags, which means the variables are ready to be shipped.

That gives you endless possibilities to integrate WordPress with any service, whether it’s your local SMS provider, another WordPress installation or any external API you wish to communicate with.

White Labeling And Bundling The Plugin

It’s not ideal to create a dependency of a plugin that can be easily deactivated and uninstalled. If you are building a system that really requires the Notification plugin to be always available, you can bundle the plugin in your own code.

If you’ve used the Advanced Custom Fields plugin before, then you are probably familiar with the bundling procedure. Just copy the plugin’s files to your plugin or theme, and invoke the plugin manually.

The Notification plugin works very similarly, but invoking the plugin is much simpler than with Advanced Custom Fields.

Just copy the plugin’s files, and require one file to make it work.

require_once( 'path/to/plugin/notification/load.php' );

The plugin will figure out its location and the URLs.

But bundling the plugin might not be enough. Perhaps you need to completely hide that you are using this third-party solution. This is why the Notification plugin comes with a white-label mode, which you can activate at any time.

It also is enabled as a single call to a function:

notification_whitelabel( array(
    // Admin page hook under which the Notifications will be displayed.
    'page_hook'       => 'edit.php?post_type=page',
    // If display extensions page.
    'extensions'      => false,
    // If display settings page.
    'settings'        => false,
    // Limit settings access to user IDs.
    // This works only if settings are enabled.
    'settings_access' => array( 123, 456 ),
) );

By default, calling this function will hide all of the default triggers.

Using both techniques, white labeling and bundling, will completely hide any references to the plugin’s origin, and the solution will behave as a fully integrated part of your system.


The Notification plugin is an all-in-one solution for any custom WordPress notification system. It’s extremely easy to configure, and it works out of the box. All of the triggers that are registered will work with any notification type, and if you have any advanced requirements, you can save some time by using an existing extension.

If you’d like to learn more details and advanced techniques, go to the documentation website.

I’m always open to new ideas, so if you have any, you can reach out to me here in the comments, via the GitHub issues or on Twitter.

Download the plugin from the repository, and give it a try!

Smashing Editorial
(ra, yk, il)

Excerpt from: 

WordPress Notifications Made Easy


These 3 Simple Website A/B Tests Can Help You Save Millions


Have you ever thought, “If we could increase our traffic by X%, digital marketing would become so much easier”? If so, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Many companies choose to funnel a large percentage of their marketing spend into advertising, hoping to scale their business by attracting large numbers of new customers. Unfortunately, paid customer acquisition has become increasingly competitive and expensive. Steve Dennis writes for Forbes, “As it turns out, many online brands attract their first tranche of customers relatively inexpensively, through word of mouth or other low cost strategies. Where things start to get ugly is when these brands…

The post These 3 Simple Website A/B Tests Can Help You Save Millions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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These 3 Simple Website A/B Tests Can Help You Save Millions


How To Improve Test Coverage For Your Android App Using Mockito And Espresso

How To Improve Test Coverage For Your Android App Using Mockito And Espresso

Vivek Maskara

In app development, a variety of use cases and interactions come up as one iterates the code. The app might need to fetch data from a server, interact with the device’s sensors, access local storage or render complex user interfaces.

The important thing to consider while writing tests is the units of responsibility that emerge as you design the new feature. The unit test should cover all possible interactions with the unit, including standard interactions and exceptional scenarios.

In this article, we will cover the fundamentals of testing and frameworks such as Mockito and Espresso, which developers can use to write unit tests. I will also briefly discuss how to write testable code. I’ll also explain how to get started with local and instrumented tests in Android.

Recommended reading: How To Set Up An Automated Testing System Using Android Phones (A Case Study)

Fundamentals Of Testing

A typical unit test contains three phases.

  1. First, the unit test initializes a small piece of an application it wants to test.
  2. Then, it applies some stimulus to the system under test, usually by calling a method on it.
  3. Finally, it observes the resulting behavior.

If the observed behavior is consistent with the expectations, the unit test passes; otherwise, it fails, indicating that there is a problem somewhere in the system under test. These three unit test phases are also known as arrange, act and assert, or simply AAA. The app should ideally include three categories of tests: small, medium and large.

  • Small tests comprise unit tests that mock every major component and run quickly in isolation.
  • Medium tests are integration tests that integrate several components and run on emulators or real devices.
  • Large tests are integration and UI tests that run by completing a UI workflow and ensure that the key end-user tasks work as expected.

Note: An instrumentation test is a type of integration test. These are tests that run on an Android device or emulator. These tests have access to instrumentation information, such as the context of the app under test. Use this approach to run unit tests that have Android dependencies that mock objects cannot easily satisfy.

Writing small tests allows you to address failures quickly, but it’s difficult to gain confidence that a passing test will allow your app to work. It’s important to have tests from all categories in the app, although the proportion of each category can vary from app to app. A good unit test should be easy to write, readable, reliable and fast.

Here’s a brief introduction to Mockito and Espresso, which make testing Android apps easier.


There are various mocking frameworks, but the most popular of them all is Mockito:

Mockito is a mocking framework that tastes really good. It lets you write beautiful tests with a clean & simple API. Mockito doesn’t give you hangover because the tests are very readable and they produce clean verification errors.

Its fluent API separates pre-test preparation from post-test validation. Should the test fail, Mockito makes it clear to see where our expectations differ from reality! The library has everything you need to write complete tests.


Espresso helps you write concise, beautiful and reliable Android UI tests.

The code snippet below shows an example of an Espresso test. We will take up the same example later in this tutorial when we talk in detail about instrumentation tests.

public void setUserName() 
    onView(withId("Vivek Maskara"));
    onView(withText("Hello Vivek Maskara!")).check(matches(isDisplayed()));

Espresso tests state expectations, interactions and assertions clearly, without the distraction of boilerplate content, custom infrastructure or messy implementation details getting in the way. Whenever your test invokes onView(), Espresso waits to perform the corresponding UI action or assertion until the synchronization conditions are met, meaning:

  • the message queue is empty,
  • no instances of AsyncTask are currently executing a task,
  • the idling resources are idle.

These checks ensure that the test results are reliable.

Writing Testable Code

Unit testing Android apps is difficult and sometimes impossible. A good design, and only a good design, can make unit testing easier. Here are some of the concepts that are important for writing testable code.

Avoid Mixing Object Graph Construction With Application Logic

In a test, you want to instantiate the class under test and apply some stimulus to the class and assert that the expected behavior was observed. Make sure that the class under test doesn’t instantiate other objects and that those objects do not instantiate more objects and so on. In order to have a testable code base, your application should have two kinds of classes:

  • The factories, which are full of the “new” operators and which are responsible for building the object graph of your application;
  • The application logic classes, which are devoid of the “new” operator and which are responsible for doing the work.

Constructors Should Not Do Any Work

The most common operation you will do in tests is the instantiation of object graphs. So, make it easy on yourself, and make the constructors do no work other than assigning all of the dependencies into the fields. Doing work in the constructor not only will affect the direct tests of the class, but will also affect related tests that try to instantiate your class indirectly.

Avoid Static Methods Wherever Possible

The key to testing is the presence of places where you can divert the normal execution flow. Seams are needed so that you can isolate the unit of test. If you build an application with nothing but static methods, you will have a procedural application. How much a static method will hurt from a testing point of view depends on where it is in your application call graph. A leaf method such as Math.abs() is not a problem because the execution call graph ends there. But if you pick a method in a core of your application logic, then everything behind the method will become hard to test, because there is no way to insert test doubles

Avoid Mixing Of Concerns

A class should be responsible for dealing with just one entity. Inside a class, a method should be responsible for doing just one thing. For example, BusinessService should be responsible just for talking to a Business and not BusinessReceipts. Moreover, a method in BusinessService could be getBusinessProfile, but a method such as createAndGetBusinessProfile would not be ideal for testing. SOLID design principles must be followed for good design:

  • S: single-responsibility principle;
  • O: open-closed principle;
  • L: Liskov substitution principle;
  • I: interface segregation principle;
  • D: dependency inversion principle.

In the next few sections, we will be using examples from a really simple application that I built for this tutorial. The app has an EditText that takes a user name as input and displays the name in a TextView upon the click of a button. Feel free to take the complete source code for the project from GitHub. Here’s a screenshot of the app:

Testing example

Large preview

Writing Local Unit Tests

Unit tests can be run locally on your development machine without a device or an emulator. This testing approach is efficient because it avoids the overhead of having to load the target app and unit test code onto a physical device or emulator every time your test is run. In addition to Mockito, you will also need to configure the testing dependencies for your project to use the standard APIs provided by the JUnit 4 framework.

Setting Up The Development Environment

Start by adding a dependency on JUnit4 in your project. The dependency is of the type testImplementation, which means that the dependencies are only required to compile the test source of the project.

testImplementation 'junit:junit:4.12'

We will also need the Mockito library to make interaction with Android dependencies easier.

testImplementation "org.mockito:mockito-core:$MOCKITO_VERSION"

Make sure to sync the project after adding the dependency. Android Studio should have created the folder structure for unit tests by default. If not, make sure the following directory structure exists:

<Project Dir>/app/src/test/java/com/maskaravivek/testingExamples

Creating Your First Unit Test

Suppose you want to test the displayUserName function in the UserService. For the sake of simplicity, the function simply formats the input and returns it back. In a real-world application, it could make a network call to fetch the user profile and return the user’s name.

class UserService @Inject
constructor(private var context: Context) 
    fun displayUserName(name: String): String 
        val userNameFormat = context.getString(R.string.display_user_name)
        return String.format(Locale.ENGLISH, userNameFormat, name)

We will start by creating a UserServiceTest class in our test directory. The UserService class uses Context, which needs to be mocked for the purpose of testing. Mockito provides a @Mock notation for mocking objects, which can be used as follows:

@Mock internal var context: Context? = null

Similarly, you’ll need to mock all dependencies required to construct the instance of the UserService class. Before your test, you’ll need to initialize these mocks and inject them into the UserService class.

  • @InjectMock creates an instance of the class and injects the mocks that are marked with the annotations @Mock into it.
  • MockitoAnnotations.initMocks(this); initializes those fields annotated with Mockito annotations.

Here’s how it can be done:

class UserServiceTest 
    @Mock internal var context: Context? = null
    @InjectMocks internal var userService: UserService? = null
    fun setup() 

Now you are done setting up your test class. Let’s add a test to this class that verifies the functionality of the displayUserName function. Here’s what the test looks like:

fun displayUserName() 
    doReturn("Hello %s!").`when`(context)!!.getString(any(
    val displayUserName = userService!!.displayUserName("Test")
    assertEquals(displayUserName, "Hello Test!")

The test uses a doReturn().when() statement to provide a response when a context.getString() is invoked. For any input integer, it will return the same result, "Hello %s!". We could have been more specific by making it return this response only for a particular string resource ID, but for the sake of simplicity, we are returning the same response to any input.
Finally, here’s what the test class looks like:

class UserServiceTest 
    @Mock internal var context: Context? = null
    @InjectMocks internal var userService: UserService? = null
    fun setup() 
    fun displayUserName() 
        doReturn("Hello %s!").`when`(context)!!.getString(any(
        val displayUserName = userService!!.displayUserName("Test")
        assertEquals(displayUserName, "Hello Test!")

Running Your Unit Tests

In order to run the unit tests, you need to make sure that Gradle is synchronized. In order to run a test, click on the green play icon in the IDE.

making sure that Gradle is synchronized

When the unit tests are run, successfully or otherwise, you should see this in the “Run” menu at the bottom of the screen:

result after unit tests are run
Large preview

You are done with your first unit test!

Writing Instrumentation Tests

Instrumentation tests are most suited for checking values of UI components when an activity is run. For instance, in the example above, we want to make sure that the TextView shows the correct user name after the Button is clicked. They run on physical devices and emulators and can take advantage of the Android framework APIs and supporting APIs, such as the Android Testing Support Library.
We’ll use Espresso to take actions on the main thread, such as button clicks and text changes.

Setting Up The Development Environment

Add a dependency on Espresso:

androidTestImplementation ''

Instrumentation tests are created in an androidTest folder.

<Project Dir>/app/src/androidTest/java/com/maskaravivek/testingExamples

If you want to test a simple activity, create your test class in the same package as your activity.

Creating Your First Instrumentation Test

Let’s start by creating a simple activity that takes a name as input and, on the click of a button, displays the user name. The code for the activity above is quite simple:

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() 
    var button: Button? = null
    var userNameField: EditText? = null
    var displayUserName: TextView? = null
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) 
    private fun initViews() 
        button = this.findViewById(
        userNameField = this.findViewById(
        displayUserName = this.findViewById(
            displayUserName!!.text = "Hello $userNameField!!.text!"

To create a test for the MainActivity, we will start by creating a MainActivityTest class under the androidTest directory. Add the AndroidJUnit4 annotation to the class to indicate that the tests in this class will use the default Android test runner class.

class MainActivityTest {}

Next, add an ActivityTestRule to the class. This rule provides functional testing of a single activity. For the duration of the test, you will be able to manipulate your activity directly using the reference obtained from getActivity().

@Rule @JvmField var activityActivityTestRule = ActivityTestRule(

Now that you are done setting up the test class, let’s add a test that verifies that the user name is displayed by clicking the “Set User Name” button.

fun setUserName() 
    onView(withId("Vivek Maskara"))
    onView(withText("Hello Vivek Maskara!")).check(matches(isDisplayed()))

The test above is quite simple to follow. It first simulates some text being typed in the EditText, performs the click action on the button, and then checks whether the correct text is displayed in the TextView.

The final test class looks like this:

class MainActivityTest 
    @Rule @JvmField var activityActivityTestRule = ActivityTestRule(
    fun setUserName() 
        onView(withId("Vivek Maskara"))
        onView(withText("Hello Vivek Maskara!")).check(matches(isDisplayed()))

Running Your Instrumentation Tests

Just like for unit tests, click on the green play button in the IDE to run the test.

clicking on the green play button in IDE to run the test

Large preview

Upon a click of the play button, the test version of the app will be installed on the emulator or device, and the test will run automatically on it.

Large preview

Intrumentation Testing Using Dagger, Mockito, And Espresso

Espresso is one of the most popular UI testing frameworks, with good documentation and community support. Mockito ensures that objects perform the actions that are expected of them. Mockito also works well with dependency-injection libraries such as Dagger. Mocking the dependencies allows us to test a scenario in isolation.
Until now, our MainActivity hasn’t used any dependency injection, and, as a result, we were able to write our UI test very easily. To make things a bit more interesting, let’s inject UserService in the MainActivity and use it to get the text to be displayed.

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() 
    var button: Button? = null
    var userNameField: EditText? = null
    var displayUserName: TextView? = null
    @Inject lateinit var userService: UserService
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) 
    private fun initViews() 
        button = this.findViewById(
        userNameField = this.findViewById(
        displayUserName = this.findViewById(
            displayUserName!!.text = userService.displayUserName(userNameField!!.text.toString())

With Dagger in the picture, we will have to set up a few things before we write instrumentation tests.
Imagine that the displayUserName function internally uses some API to fetch the details of the user. There should not be a situation in which a test does not pass due to a server fault. To avoid such a situation, we can use the dependency-injection framework Dagger and, for networking, Retrofit.

Setting Up Dagger In The Application

We will quickly set up the basic modules and components required for Dagger. If you are not
familiar with Dagger, check out Google’s documentation on it. We will start adding dependencies for using Dagger in the build.gradle file.

implementation "$DAGGER_VERSION"
implementation "$DAGGER_VERSION"
implementation "$DAGGER_VERSION"

Create a component in the Application class, and add the necessary modules that will be used in our project. We need to inject dependencies in the MainActivity of our app. We will add a @Module for injecting in the activity.

abstract class ActivityBuilder 
    internal abstract fun bindMainActivity(): MainActivity

The AppModule class will provide the various dependencies required by the application. For our example, it will just provide an instance of Context and UserService.

open class AppModule(val application: Application) 
    internal open fun provideContext(): Context 
        return application
    internal open fun provideUserService(context: Context): UserService 
        return UserService(context)

The AppComponent class lets you build the object graph for the application.

@Component(modules = [(AndroidSupportInjectionModule::class), (AppModule::class), (ActivityBuilder::class)])
interface AppComponent 
    interface Builder 
        fun appModule(appModule: AppModule): Builder
        fun build(): AppComponent
    fun inject(application: ExamplesApplication)

Create a method that returns the already built component, and then inject this component into onCreate().

open class ExamplesApplication : Application(), HasActivityInjector 
    @Inject lateinit var dispatchingActivityInjector: DispatchingAndroidInjector<Activity>
    override fun onCreate() 
    open fun initAppComponent(): AppComponent 
        return DaggerAppComponent
    override fun activityInjector(): DispatchingAndroidInjector<Activity>? 
        return dispatchingActivityInjector

Setting Up Dagger In The Test Application

In order to mock responses from the server, we need to create a new Application class that extends the class above.

class TestExamplesApplication : ExamplesApplication() 
    override fun initAppComponent(): AppComponent 
        return DaggerAppComponent.builder()
    private inner class MockApplicationModule internal constructor(application: Application) : AppModule(application) 
        override fun provideUserService(context: Context): UserService 
            val mock = Mockito.mock(
            `when`(mock!!.displayUserName("Test")).thenReturn("Hello Test!")
            return mock

As you can see in the example above, we’ve used Mockito to mock UserService and assume the results. We still need a new runner that will point to the new application class with the overwritten data.

class MockTestRunner : AndroidJUnitRunner() 
    override fun onCreate(arguments: Bundle) 
    @Throws(InstantiationException::class, IllegalAccessException::class, ClassNotFoundException::class)
    override fun newApplication(cl: ClassLoader, className: String, context: Context): Application 
        return super.newApplication(cl,, context)

Next, you need to update the build.gradle file to use the MockTestRunner.

        testInstrumentationRunner ".MockTestRunner"

Running The Test

All tests with the new TestExamplesApplication and MockTestRunner should be added at androidTest package. This implementation makes the tests fully independent from the server and gives us the ability to manipulate responses.
With the setup above in place, our test class won’t change at all. When the test is run, the app will use TestExamplesApplication instead of ExamplesApplication, and, thus, a mocked instance of UserService will be used.

class MainActivityTest 
    @Rule @JvmField var activityActivityTestRule = ActivityTestRule(
    fun setUserName() 
        onView(withText("Hello Test!")).check(matches(isDisplayed()))

The test will run successfully when you click on the green play button in the IDE.

successfully setting up Dagger and run tests using Espresso and Mockito

Large preview

That’s it! You have successfully set up Dagger and run tests using Espresso and Mockito.


We’ve highlighted that the most important aspect of improving code coverage is to write testable code. Frameworks such as Espresso and Mockito provide easy-to-use APIs that make writing tests for various scenarios easier. Tests should be run in isolation, and mocking the dependencies gives us an opportunity to ensure that objects perform the actions that are expected of them.

A variety of Android testing tools are available, and, as the ecosystem matures, the process of setting up a testable environment and writing tests will become easier.

Writing unit tests requires some discipline, concentration and extra effort. By creating and running unit tests against your code, you can easily verify that the logic of individual units is correct. Running unit tests after every build helps you to quickly catch and fix software regressions introduced by code changes to your app. Google’s testing blog discusses the advantages of unit testing.
The complete source code for the examples used in this article is available on GitHub. Feel free to take a look at it.

Smashing Editorial
(da, lf, ra, al, il)


How To Improve Test Coverage For Your Android App Using Mockito And Espresso


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