Blog updates

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!


Friday, 10 August 2012


So, some big changes to the app today.

Google changed their Play Store Policies recently. One of the changes was that apps must not impersonate other apps or system apps and that users should be not jump to the wrong conclusion and assume an app is officially supported by someone else by virtue of it's name, icon or content. Well, that's what I understand from the policy documents - to someone who isn't a lawyer, they might as well say: "look, just don't do this sort of thing or something that might be a bit like that".

So, vagueness aside, Google sent me a warning saying that my app violates someone's intellectual rights. Not too hard to guess that it's Google.

I'm assuming therefore that the icon and the name as for too "Chrome"y for Google's liking and things need to change.

So "CMarks" is here now. The logo was actually one of the runner-up logos when we had the online vote that found the previous chrome-y logo.

Unfortunately, Bug G doesn't provide any communication, so I can't be sure that the logo and name were the *only* things Big G doesn't like. For all I know, they might not like the idea of something other than their approved software syncing or touching their chromesync service.

So if the app disappears in the next week, it'll be because Big G has suspended the app and my developer account. In which case, it's been a fun ride and thanks for the fish!

Otherwise, if the app is still on the Play Store this time next week, we're probably good to stay! Whcih is good, as I've tons of stuff to add to it!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

ChromeMarks update - 2012.08.05

Time for another update!

Firstly, I completed missed the fact that in the middle of June, ChromeMarks Lite reached 500,000 downloads. That's a phenomenal number and I never dreamed of getting so many downloads for a single app! Especially since that app has only been out there for less than two years. Thank you to everyone who's downloaded the app - still many more new features yet to come!

 The usual release notes are below:
  1. The FolderPicker has been completely revamped. The previous version was a custom built widget. It used a webview, so jquery and a lot of crunching via javascript to generate the content. Unfortunately that expects some quite tight coupling between the webview and my code. Looks like ICS devices seem to have some issues with this and a few users are reporting a blank white screen. The folder picker used to look like this:

    The new version now looks like this:

    The new widget no longer uses a WebView or any of the clunky javascript. Although it's still a custom built widget, it's using more of the "standard" components. Ok, it may not have as much colour to it, but it should be more compatible with all devices. It should also open quicker since it doesn't need the WebView overheads. Another bonus with the rewrite is that the folders are now shown in the same order as they are displayed in the rest of the app - so if you order by Chrome order, last modified or alphabetical - they should show the same in the FolderPicker.
  2. A short while ago, Google made some changes to the way they tag bookmarks in the chromesync service.This meant the tags I'd been using for the 2.x "copy stock bookmarks into a chrome folder" function had changed fundamentally. Previously, they'd been unique and this meant I could sync nicely between both browsers as I had a unique tag. However Google changed the value of the tag to become more of a transaction timestamp which meant that many bookmarks would now have the same tag. This really broke ChromeMarks when syncing as it kept getting the same tag back when it wasn't expecting it. Or actually, ChromeMarks didn't complain, but Google did when the changes were sent to them. And Big G's response - "Error 500".
    So some changes to ChromeMarks to change the tags being used. Unfortunately the bookmarks in the stock browser still have the non-unique tags on them which means that the next sync has to make some tough choices. You might find the first sync will generate some duplicates either in the Stock Browser and/or in the special folder in Chrome. This will be a one-off event as part of the first sync after this upgrade. After that, you can safely delete any duplicates - though obviously delete them from the Stock Browser OR from Chrome but NOT from both at the same time!
    I have already raised a Chrome bug about this. But since Google has made this change on their server and millions of people must already have the changed tags in their desktop already, it's highly unlikely that Google would ever revert it.
  3. Some of the usual bug fixes. The new auto-backup function used a piece of code that unfortunately didn't exist in the Android core on the 2.1 and some 2.2 devices. I've simply copied the code into my app and that should fix it.
That's about it for now.

First thing I've got on the list is some well overdue upgrades - sdk, compatibility library, admob, viewtitlepager. Unfortunately whenever I start making these upgrades, problems always take a while to fix...