Blog updates

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Preview of next CMarks release - Synced tabs

Hi all,

A quick post to give a sneaky preview from the upcoming release of CMarks. This will incldue the ability to access your Synced Tabs - so on your droid you can see the tabs currently open on your laptop and open the exact same webpages.

Please see the post on the new G+ page for the app - +CMarks

Note also that I'll no longer post things here - the +CMarks page will become the default blog site from now onwards. I'll still share posts across to here, but they will be read only (and only then if I remember to do it!)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

CMarks - Updated 2012.12.20

Hi all,

An emergency bugfix to CMarks today. Only one change.

Starting late on the 17th December, Google enable some new validation on the chromesync servers. This meant that a small proportion of users started getting an "Error 500" message when they sync. It took two days before it started to affect one of my test accounts and I could finally reproduce the error. I started playing and found the field that I thought was affected.

I'd already raised a chrome bug so I commented on it about that field - I wasn't expecting anyone at Google would actually respond. I was happily surprised when a kind person from the sync team updated the bug report and confirmed it was indeed that field and suggested how to fix it.

The tricky part was producing a fixed app. Shortly after the last release I had upgraded my Android development software to the latest version and this required hundreds of small changes to the app before it would compile again (grrr!) Annoyingly, you can't really downgrade the Android dev software, so it was very hacky to force out a new release - I almost resorted to using some of those tools the script kiddies use for hacking apps.

Any-whoo, thanks to some kind users (particularly Robert) for testing the fix and it's now deployed. Hope it works well!

As for the app, I'm currently working on the next release - some major new functionality for the Full app.

Did someone mention synced tabs..?


Sunday, 11 November 2012

CMarks updated - 2012.11.11

Time for an update.

First, a reason for the recent lack of updates. I spent a good few weeks (remember, I only have a couple of hours free time per week anyway) trying to add a new library for communicating with Google. The new library claimed huge performance benefits which I hoped could make each sync even faster. But it took a while to plumb in and I had to contribute several patches to it before it was useable. And then I compared the results with the previous library. No difference - in fact the new one was slightly slower on average. Right click, undo. Grrr.

Back to the updates

  1. I've upgrade the chrome protocols to the latest versions used in the chrome beta version 24. This brings in a couple of new fields which Chrome is starting to use. Note that there are many changes to the sync service coming over the next few months. Many of these rely on changes on the sync servers themselves - so until Google flick the switch, I can't test or prepare for many of these. So if something suddenly stops working, please mail me so I can investigate!
  2. There were a few bugs that were happening under some scenarios when integrating or backing up bookmarks. To be honest, the app had already failed for some reason, but it couldn't return the error message of the failure back to the user.
  3. I completely missed the fact that any Mobile bookmarks (or Synced bookmarks) weren't being integrated into the Stock Browser, Dolphin or any backups. Oops! Thanks to Pierre for nudging me.
  4. If you cancelled the decryption popup, the app would have checked for duplicated bookmarks and since everything still has the name "encrypted", the app would have mentioned you had duplciates. Until the bookmarks are decrypted, the check for duplicates is now deferred.
  5. If there were any problems during the auto-sync feature, the notification shown on your device might have had black text on a black background. Ooops!
  6. Some extra fields added to the Info & Statistics popup, but they might only appear depending on the data Google returns, which might depend on some new features they haven't turned on yet.
  7. A sprinkling of the usual bug fixes - quite a few within the decryption dialog.
Enjoy - see you laters!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

CMarks Update - 2012.09.16

Time for a quick update.

  1. Added the ability to "hide" any of the Root folders i.e. Search Engines, Synced Bookmarks, etc. Also added a new option in the Settings, Application Defaults to allow you to manage this list. Only for the Full app, though!
  2. Fixed a couple of crashes happening during the local sync on 2.x devices when syncing to the special folder in Chrome. 
  3. Some performance improvements when navigating to the root folder.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Cmarks Update - 2012.09.09

A quick CMarks update. This is for the Full app only.

  1. CMarks can now integrate your Chrome bookmarks into Dolphin using the same ordering you've specified in CMarks. Some caveats - though:
    • Dolphin always shows Folders alphabetically and at the top of a list. I can't change the ordering or placement of Folders.
    • Dolphin always removes any bookmark being inserted that has the same url as any existing bookmark. So if Dolphin already has as a bookmark and your Chrome bookmarks also have it, then you won't see it in the bookmarks integrated as Dolphin will simply remove it.
  2. Performance improvements integrating bookmarks to Dolphin. Since Dolphin doesn't accept icons during the integration, I've disabled the code from retrieving them from the database which does make a difference.
  3. Fixed a crash from some devices when clicking on the "About" link the Dolphin CMarks Add-On screen.
  4. Some improvements to the "Sync" widget. Widgets require a lot more effort to make them look pretty and I never had the opportunity to make the widget look really good before. So some changes this release to make it better. Annoyingly the stock homescreen widgets have differing layouts on GB, HC, ICS and JB. So I've had to specify a widget layout for each release of Android otherwise it all goes south. At the very least, it no longer has that boring phat white background.
That's it for now - enjoy!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

2012.09.02 - CMarks update

Time for another update!
  1. Users of the Full app can now integrate their bookmarks into Dolphin browser or Dolphin Beta. This has only been possible due to the recently introduced Garage API for Dolphin - until about three months ago, this was still only possible for apps created and owned by Dolphin. Some points to bear in mind, though:
    • This is currently only one-way. So any changes made in the integrated folders in Dolphin will be overwritten/lost when you sync. As normal, though, to create a new Chrome bookmark just "share" it into CMarks instead of your browser.
    • There are still some restrictions from Dolphin - primarily an integration can only occur from you clicking on a button or doing something inside of Dolphin. I can't start the integration from CMarks as Dolphin doesn't allow it - so no integration each time you perform a CMarks sync. It's annoying, but nothing I can do about it - direct requests to Dolphin developers, please.
    • To integrate your bookmarks, open the Add-Ons pane inside Dolphin (swipe inwards from the right hand edge or use the menus), then simply click on the CMarks Add-On and your bookmarks will be integrated there and then.
    • The access Dolphin allows is still very limited. As such, I have no way of telling apart a bookmark that CMarks has integrated or a bookmark the user has created. So to avoid me deleting *all* the user's bookmarks rather than just the integrated ones, I've chosen to integrate them into a new root folder called "CMarks". Yes, it's an extra folder to click into but it keeps your existing bookmarks safe. But if users would like an option to be able to use the Dolphin root folders ("Bookmark bar", "Other bookmarks") and accept that they will be completely emptied each time you integrate, then let me know!
  2. Prompted by another whingey comment on the Play Store, I've added a new popup to tell you if you have a significant proportion of duplicated bookmarks within the same folder. These sort of duplicates can only be caused by one of the many bugs in Chrome. Annoyingly, users who only have one copy of Chrome on their desktop machine will never see these duplicates until (a) their machine dies and they first sign into Chrome on a new machine or (b) install another Chrome client - of which CMarks is an example. So I still get people complaining that CMarks has duplicated their bookmarks when it clearly hasn't - they've been duplicated for days, weeks, months already! So a new popup might appear after a sync. You can disable it if you genuinely want to ignore it when you first see it. It might introduce a mild delay at the end of each sync, but it provides a quick warning that your Chrome browser has suddenly hit a bug.
  3. Update the Swedish translations - thanks again Kjell! Looks like Swedish is now at almost 100% translated (or it was when Kjell finished - sorry, I've added a couple more since!)
Until next time!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

CMarks Update 19.08.2012

Well, I'm still here, so I guess I'm okay to keep developing this app.

As such, some updates:
  1. Finally managed to get Themes to work 3.x and above devices. Some changes Google made with 3.x caused some issues that I hadn't managed to work around previously. With a smidge of extra effort, I've found enough workarounds to re-enable Themes for all devices now.
  2. Fixed a bug that had been annoying me - if you set the home folder to a folder that was empty, the app would give you the initial "no bookmarks were found" message. This might also have been triggered if the first folder the app opened to was empty as well.
  3. Fixed a bug with the 2.x sync to a Chrome folder if the user had more than 20 bookmarks to send to Google. Since Google only accepts data in batches of 20, there might be entries in a second batch that refer back to entries in the first batch. But the temporary ids sent with the first batch are only temporary and if they are used on the second batch, Google doesn't like it. I found a cunning way around it.
  4. Fixed another couple of bugs with the 2.x sync to a Chrome folder that were coming out with some freaky scenarios.
  5. Fixed another crash with ICS users when they first installed the app. According to android bug 35466, it looks like on ICS there is a tender spot when rendering text that has styling applied to sections of it and that section wraps around the edge of the screen. It's affecting a large number of apps out there, but it's part of the core, so we have to live with it. I've put in a fudge that should gracefully downgrade any styling that ICS dislikes.
What's next on the horizon..?

Well, Dolphin have their Garage API and I've finally managed to get a key to access it. We'll see what can be done - though it's a limited doorway between apps, so it might be a bit clunky and there's nothing I can do about that.

Also thinking about adding password syncing into the app. But there are lots of issues with a potential implementation - if anyone would like to help me thrash out some ideas of how this affects the end user, please contact me by email!