Blog updates

Sunday, 28 August 2011

ChromeMarks - 2011.08.28 release

Another new upgrade today.

Mostly upgrading the internals, but a few new bits.

  1. For the Lite app, I've added an "Upgrade Options" screen to the settings. This will show you what features of the full app are available to you should you choose to upgrade. So for example, can the app specifically integrate to your browser? Screenshot below.
  2. Upgraded the crash reporter (ACRA) from v3.2 to v4.1. Not much difference to the user, but the info reported is a bit more helpful to me. Juicy bits that I really do need include the user's language, the rotation of their device at the time of error and the size of the user's screen. These help me to better work out what resources in the app might have caused a problem. It's also got functionality to save your email address keyed in such that if another error happens, you won't need to key it in again.
  3. For the Lite app. Upgraded the admob ads. Allegedly they should cause less crashes - but talk on the forum is they fixed some stuff but broke some others.. :-) Also taken the opportunity to add in some ads for users that can't receive the ads previously - such as AdFree users. Previously, admob just hid itself away when it couldn't receive an ad. Now, you'll just get my ads instead. Sorry if you got used to no ads but, hey, you are using a free app supported by ad revenue, so please resist the 1 star comments..
  4. Added Turkish translation. Thanks to Saner Apaydin for all his work! Another user who did it in record time - I have to keep asking these translators if they remembered to get some fresh air!
  5. The usual handful of small bug fixes.
A picture of the new Upgrade Options screen in the Lite app:

Hope you enjoy the release - still more stuff yet to come..!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

ChromeMarks update - 2011.08.07

Another new update for ChromeMarks. If a release could have a sub title, this would be the called the  "performance release".

As usual, the list of changes:

  1. Finally taken the plunge and upgraded the the ACL (Android Compatibility Library). The most noticeable thing this brings is an improved way of loading the data for the screen and better management of the memory. For users, they should see folders open quicker and navigate quicker. For Honeycomb users, you (hopefully!) shouldn't get the force close when you return to the app after popping off elsewhere.
  2. As another benefit of the above, if a folder takes less than a second to open, then the next folder will open without the "please wait...opening..." popup. The popup itself takes a moment to appear and then disappear, so removing it will make the results appear quicker generally. But I still need some kind of "progress" widget to let the user know the app received their touch event. I've added the ChromeMarks logo in the top left corner (Honeycomb users had it there already) and the logo will animate when you open a folder. Unfortunately Android can't animate the logo smoothly as it's busy furiously opening your folder! Once the folder is opened, Android now has the free cpu to animate it smoothly, but the op has finished so there is no need! Aarrgh! I might try to improve it if I can - but for now, it at least wiggles to let you know it's working.. :-)
  3. Along the way, I've tweaked and eeked as much more as I can in various places to improve the core functionality and speed as much as I can. I even tried to get the icons to load after the rest of the screen to delay the non-essential stuff. But I had issues with the icons not recycling properly and appearing on the wrong bookmarks after you scrolled. This might appear in a later release, but for now it's commented out.
  4. I've added a new fun stat to the "Info & statistics" screen. You can now see a total of much of Google's cpu you've personally used with each sync operation in ChromeMarks. It's not exactly useful, but anyone for playing top trumps?!
  5. As requested by a user, since I added the "delete item" to the gestures, I've added it to the long click context menu as well.
  6. More issues with Samsung devices. Dear oh dear, Samsung. Why do you have to make your own little changes to core Android and break something that works with *every* other device in the world...? A handful of reports from users experiencing force closes in specific settings screens only when using certain languages, or high cpu in various screens. I have no way of knowing what they broke, but they clearly broke something as no other device has these issues! I also can't reproduce any of it in the emulators (I've tested in 7 different android emulator versions) and can't reproduce on my personal phones. This further proves they've broken something in core android. I've no way of knowing what, but I've closed my eyes, spun round twice, cursed the Samsung deity and changed a handful of lines of code in a vain attempt it might make something work better or worse.
  7. I've also added some extra tracing functionality such that I can explain to certain users how to enable it and send me extremely detailed traces. This might help with the high cpu - especially if I spot something in there that doesn't appear on any other device.
  8. The usual bug fixes along the way. Thanks to all users who send in the automated errors reports - please don't click "cancel" on it - press send otherwise I'll never know about your bug and won't fix it. You don't have to enter an email or even any text, just press send! No personally identifiable info is sent either, so all you naughty pirates still using the 04.16 release can feel safe in sending the reports!
  9. Some translation updates and corrections as well. More languages in the pipeline - Turkish is coming imminently!
Back to Samsung. The reality of it is, I'm actually spending more of my time investigating and trying to fix things that are broken only on Samsung devices, than I spend time making new features for the benefit of *all* my users. I'm afraid if this continues, I'll most likely have no choice but to disable Samsung apps from using this app completely and give up on them. I don't want to, but Samsung won't release the source, they won't answer emails, they won't answer tweets, they won't fix their remote testing developer site, they won't engage with the developer community even on their own website, they constantly make ill advised changes, what choice do I have..?

Enough with my rant... :-)

Next release..? A growing list of issues to fix with the local bookmarks syncing. Want to get an alternate Market integrated and working properly. Several changes to Chrome functionality that I want to pro-actively fix before another "July 12th" happens. A thorough restructuring of the debug messages which should make a noticeable decrease in file size. More gestures (double tap?). And that's just the list of things near the top of the list..

Still many, many  more new features and feedback on the plan for this app, stay tuned.