Adding Offline Mode Support to Your Android Screenlet

Offline mode lets Screenlets function without a network connection. For offline mode to work with your Screenlet, you must manually add support for it. Fortunately, Liferay Screens 2.0 introduced a simpler way of implementing offline mode support in Android Screenlets:

  • Update your Screenlet’s classes to leverage the offline mode cache
  • Create an event class (if your Screenlet doesn’t already have one)

Implementing these steps, however, differs somewhat depending on how your Screenlet communicates with the server:

  • A write Screenlet: writes data to a server. The Add Bookmark Screenlet created in the basic Screenlet creation tutorial is a good example of a simple write Screenlet. It asks the user to enter a URL and a title, which it then sends to the Bookmarks portlet in Liferay DXP to create a bookmark.
  • A read Screenlet: reads data from a server. The Web Content Display Screenlet included with Liferay Screens is a good example of a read Screenlet. It retrieves web content from Liferay DXP for display in an Android app. Click here to see Web Content Display Screenlet’s documentation.

This tutorial shows you how to add offline mode support to both kinds of Screenlets. You’ll start with write Screenlets, using Add Bookmark Screenlet as an example. Before getting started, be sure to read the basic Screenlet creation tutorial to familiarize yourself with Add Bookmark Screenlet’s code. You’ll conclude by learning how offline mode implementation in read Screenlets differs from that of write Screenlets.

Adding Offline Mode Support to Write Screenlets

To add offline mode support to write Screenlets, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. Create or update the event class.
  2. Update the listener interface.
  3. Update the Interactor class.
  4. Update the Screenlet class.
  5. Sync the cache with the server.

Each of the sections that follow detail one of these steps. You’ll begin by creating or updating the event class.

Create or Update the Event Class

Recall from the basic Screenlet creation tutorial that an event class is required to handle communication between Screenlet components. Also recall that many Screenlets can use the event class included with Screens, BasicEvent, as their event class. For offline mode to work, however, you must create an event class that extends CacheEvent (click here to see CacheEvent). Your event class has one primary responsibility: store and provide access to the arguments passed to the Interactor. To accomplish this, your event class should do these things:

  • Extend CacheEvent. For the arguments, define variables and public getter methods.
  • Define a no-argument constructor that only calls the corresponding superclass constructor.
  • Define a constructor that sets the Interactor’s arguments.

In the case of Add Bookmark Screenlet, the arguments are the bookmark’s URL, folder ID, and title. For example, here’s the full code for this Screenlet’s event class, BookmarkEvent:

public class BookmarkEvent extends CacheEvent {

    private String url; 
    private String title; 
    private long folderId; 

    public BookmarkEvent() { 

    public BookmarkEvent(String url, String title, long folderId) {

        this.url = url; 
        this.title = title; 
        this.folderId = folderId; 

    public String getURL() { 
        return url; 

    public String getTitle() { 
        return title; 

    public long getFolderId() { 
        return folderId; 

Next, you’ll update the listener.

Update the Listener

Recall from the basic Screenlet creation tutorial that the listener interface defines a success method and a failure method. This lets implementing classes respond to the server call’s success or failure. Listeners that support offline mode offer the same functionality, although differently. Offline mode listeners must extend BaseCacheListener, which defines only this error method:

void error(Exception e, String userAction);

By extending BaseCacheListener, your listener no longer needs an explicit failure method because it inherits the error method instead. This error method also includes an argument for the user action that triggered the exception.

You can therefore update your listener to support offline mode by extending BaseCacheListener and deleting the failure method. For example, here’s Add Bookmark Screenlet’s listener, AddBookmarkListener, after being updated to support offline mode:

public interface AddBookmarkListener extends BaseCacheListener {


Note that you must also remove any failure method implementations (such as in an activity or fragment that implements the listener), and replace any failure method calls with error method calls. You’ll do the latter next when updating the Interactor class.

Update the Interactor Class

Recall from the basic Screenlet creation tutorial that Interactor classes extend BaseRemoteInteractor with the listener and event as type arguments. To support offline mode, your Interactor class must instead extend one of the following classes. Which one depends on whether your Interactor writes data to or reads data from a server:

  • BaseCacheWriteInteractor: writes data to a server. Extend this class if your Screenlet is a write Screenlet. Click here to see this class.
  • BaseCacheReadInteractor: reads data from a server. Extend this class if your Screenlet is a read Screenlet. Click here to see this class.

In either case, the type arguments are the same: the listener and the event. Note, however, that the event must extend CacheEvent as described above. For example, since Add Bookmark Screenlet is a write Screenlet, to support offline mode its Interactor class must extend BaseCacheWriteInteractor with AddBookmarkListener and AddBookmarkEvent as type arguments:

public class AddBookmarkInteractor extends
    BaseCacheWriteInteractor<AddBookmarkListener, BookmarkEvent> {...

You must also make a few changes to the Interactor class’s code. The main change is that the execute method now takes the event instead of var args. You can then retrieve the data you need from the event. For example, to support offline mode, the execute method in AddBookmarkInteractor takes BookmarkEvent as an argument. The bookmark’s URL, title, and folder ID are then retrieved from the event for use in the getJSONObject method that makes the server call. The execute method finishes by setting the resulting JSONObject to the event, and then returning the event:

public BookmarkEvent execute(BookmarkEvent bookmarkEvent) throws Exception {

    validate(bookmarkEvent.getUrl(), bookmarkEvent.getFolderId());

    JSONObject jsonObject = getJSONObject(bookmarkEvent.getUrl(), bookmarkEvent.getTitle(), 
    return bookmarkEvent; 

You should also change the onSuccess method to take an instance of your event class instead of BasicEvent. This is the only change you need to make to this method. For example, the onSuccess method in AddBookmarkInteractor supports offline mode by taking a BookmarkEvent instead of a BasicEvent:

public void onSuccess(BookmarkEvent event) {

Now make the same change to the onFailure method, but replace the listener’s failure method call with a call to the error method inherited from BaseCacheListener (see the listener section above for an explanation of this method). For the error method’s arguments, you can retrieve the exception from the event and define a string to use as the user action. For example, to support offline mode the onFailure method in AddBookmarkInteractor takes a BookmarkEvent instead of a BasicEvent. Also, the method’s error call defines the “ADD_BOOKMARK” string to indicate that the error occurred while trying to add a bookmark to the server:

@Override public void onFailure(BookmarkEvent event) {
    getListener().error(event.getException(), "ADD_BOOKMARK"); 

Update the Screenlet Class

Updating the Screenlet class for offline mode is straightforward. In the Screenlet class’s onUserAction method, you’ll change the call to the Interactor’s start method so that it takes only an event as an argument. Before doing this, however, you should create an event instance and set its cache key. A cache key is a value that identifies an entity in the local cache. This lets you retrieve the entity from the cache for later synchronization with the server.

In Add Bookmark Screenlet, for example, a bookmark’s URL makes a good cache key. To support offline mode, the onUserAction method in AddBookmarkScreenlet creates a new BookmarkEvent instance with a bookmark’s data and then uses the setCacheKey method to set the bookmark’s URL as the event’s cache key. The Interactor’s start method takes this event as its argument:

BookmarkEvent event = new BookmarkEvent(url, title, folderId);

Note that you don’t have to set a cache key to use offline mode. Instead, you can pass the event to the start method without calling setCacheKey. However, this means that you’ll only be able to access the most recent entity in the cache.

That’s it! Your write Screenlet now supports offline mode. There’s one more detail to keep in mind, however, when using the Screenlet: syncing the cache with the server. You’ll learn about this next.

Sync the Cache with the Server

When using a write Screenlet that supports offline mode, new data written to the cache must also be synced with the server. The write Screenlets included with Liferay Screens do this for you. However, you must do this manually when using a custom write Screenlet. You should do this in the activity or fragment that uses the Screenlet–exactly where in this activity or fragment is up to you though.

To sync a write Screenlet’s data with the server manually, follow these steps:

  1. Retrieve the event that needs to be synced with the server. To do this, you must first get the cache key associated with the event. Then use the key as an argument to the Cache.getObject method.
  2. Call the Interactor with the event. This syncs the data with the server.

For example, the following code uses the Cache.findKeys method to retrieve all BookmarkEvent keys in the cache. The loop that follows then retrieves the event that corresponds to each key, and syncs it to the server by calling the Interactor:

String[] keys = Cache.findKeys(BookmarkEvent.class, groupId, userId, locale, 0, 
for (String key : keys) {

    BookmarkEvent event = Cache.getObject(BookmarkEvent.class, groupId, userId, key); 
    new AddBookmarkInteractor().execute(event); 

Note that if you opted not to set a cache key in your Screenlet class, you can pass null in place of a key.

Also note that you can use Android’s SharedPreferences APIs as an alternative way to store and retrieve cache keys. For example, the following code stores cache keys in shared preferences:

SharedPreferences sharedPreferences = getSharedPreferences("MY_PREFERENCES", Context.MODE_PRIVATE); 
HashSet<String> values = new HashSet<>();
sharedPreferences.edit().putStringSet("keysToSync", values).apply();

You can then retrieve the keys as you would retrieve any other key-value set from shared preferences:

SharedPreferences sharedPreferences = getSharedPreferences("MY_PREFERENCES", Context.MODE_PRIVATE); 
HashSet<String> keysToSync = sharedPreferences.getStringSet("keysToSync", new HashSet<>());

Next, you’ll learn how to add offline mode support to read Screenlets.

Adding Offline Mode Support to Read Screenlets

Implementing offline mode support in a read Screenlet is almost identical to doing so in a write Screenlet. There are two small differences, though:

  1. You can still pass arguments to the Interactor with var args instead of an event.

  2. The Interactor class must extend BaseCacheReadInteractor, which forces you to implement the getIdFromArgs method. This method takes the var args passed to the Interactor so you can return the argument that identifies your entity. Note that because this method requires you to return a String, you’ll often use String.valueOf to return non-string arguments as a string. For example, the getIdFromArgs implementation in Comment Display Screenlet’s CommentLoadInteractor retrieves the comment ID (a long) from the first argument and then returns it as a String:

     protected String getIdFromArgs(Object... args) { 
         long commentId = (long) args[0]; 
         return String.valueOf(commentId); 

That’s it! Next, you’ll learn about list Screenlets and offline mode support.

Adding Offline Mode Support to List Screenlets

A list Screenlet is a special type of read Screenlet that displays entities in a list. Recall from the list Screenlet creation tutorial that list Screenlets have a model class that encapsulates entities retrieved from the server. To support offline mode, a list Screenlet’s event class must extend ListEvent with the model class as a type argument. This event class also needs three things:

  1. A default constructor
  2. A getListKey method that returns a unique ID to store the entity with
  3. A getModel method that returns the model instance

The list Screenlet creation tutorial contains example model and event classes that support offline mode for Bookmark List Screenlet. Click the following links to see the sections in the tutorial that show you how to create these classes:

And that’s all! Now you know how to support offline mode in your Screenlets.

Using Offline Mode in Android

Architecture of Offline Mode in Liferay Screens

Creating Android Screenlets

Creating Android List Screenlets

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