Blog updates

Saturday, 2 October 2010

ChromeMarks - update 2010.10.02

A timely update to Chromemarks today. As usual, the highlights:

  1. A new SyncAdapter. This means that your device can periodically sync for you in the same way as gmail/contacts/etc. Note that this is does not use network tickles, so your device will stick closely to this schedule and won't be real time, unlike gmail who keeps an active network connection and receives changes almost instantly. The default update schedule is 24 hours. In the next release, I'll bring in options to allow customisation of this schedule.
  2. Some UI improvements. Got rid of the old ".." folder entry and we now have an "up" button and a dedicated "home" button, as well as a header showing the name of the folder you are in. the back button can go up a folder or exit the app - you can change that in the settings.
  3. An info dialog showing the number of syncs and the amount of data in/out as well as a count of bookmarks and folders.
  4. The ability to create a desktop/home shortcut to a bookmark of your choice. Once done, this will simply fire up your default browser with the specified url. The icons don't look too pretty as website icons aren't hi-def and are only about 16 pixels in size. Note that if you have uninstalled the default Android Launcher completely then you can't create these shortcuts. Grrr.
  5. The app can now remember the folder you are in, so the next time you fire the app up, it can start in the same place.
  6. The usual mild bugfixes and some extra exception handling - the app now checks for a working network connection before each chunk of code. It also uses some transactionality to help ensure the database integrity.
  7. The ability to enable full debugging to a file on the sdcard. Just go into the settings and enable it, but only for the duration of the current usage - the next time you go into the app, this will be reset. Since the sdcard is public, the debugging file is encrypted as it may contain your bookmarks. Obviously this file is only of use to me to try and help solve and problems users may be having. It can output a large amount of data, so I don't recommend turning this on unless you really need the output.
Lots more changes behind the scenes, though. The main one being an almost full rewrite of the main sync engine. Originally, this was coupled directly to the progress popup. But the progress popup is not useable/active during an automated sync. It took a while, but the sync engine is now a "black box" and sends messages to anyone who wants to hear them - this allowed a behind-the-scenes usage for automated syncing. The core of the logic is the same, but there may be the odd message on the progress popup who isn't accurate or up-to date - I'll keep my eye out in case there are any. Also some tweaks in the sql for performance.

On the horizon, I'd like to make the next release have some form of "update" functionality. I'd like to make all folders and bookmarks in ChromeMarks be updateable and syncable back to the cloud. After that, I'd like to try and make a special folder in your chrome bookmarks that will be a mirror of your device's bookmarks. Then you can create/amend bookmarks in your stock android browser and ChromeMarks will sync them to the cloud and you can change them on your PC in the Chrome Browser. And I also want to make the bookmarks/folders searchable.

ALSO: the next release will include Market Licensing Verification. So if you are using an unlicensed copy, this will be the last update that you can use. Sorry! I may also have to include some usage of analytics so I can find out the average number of bookmarks/folders to see if I need to optimise some of the code.

As usual, hope you all like the udpate. Let me know if any problems or feature suggestions!


  1. It would be nice (if possible, other apps do this) to have a WI-FI only auto sync mode.

    Some of my folders aren't syncing (or going somewhere else). Let me know if there is a log or something I can do to help pinpoint issue. I did force a sync and one of my changed subfolders is there the others are missing from the same base directory.

    It sometimes seems to remember the last opened position, but mostly not.

  2. Thanks for your comments Dennis.

    Nice idea about the wi-fi only. I'll try and get that done later today and part of the next release.

    I'll check the "remember last folders" code - I personally haven't found it going wacky on my phone, but I'll check anyway.

    I'll mail you separately to discuss the issues with folders not appearing there. No-one else has reported that issue so far and I can't detect any missing folders on my phone compared to the 73 folders in my browser. So I'd like to investigate deeper and see if there is something the google is sending you that I've never seen before. Will mail you shortly - thanks.