Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

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seidler2547
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Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby seidler2547 » 10 Apr 2013, 14:07

Hi,

copying my post from the G+ community for extended discussion:

I've played around with the Android Client a bit, here are some thoughts:

- Would it be sensible to change the LayoutAlgorithm to LayoutAlgorithm.NARROW_COLUMNS? I find the current (SINGLE_COLUMN) breaks too many feeds, and while the other one may introduce some horizontal scrolling, this is just unavoidable with some feeds, and is no real deal breaker, swiping to the next article still works fine at the edges of the content.

- could the dark theme have a real black background at least for the article view? I changed the CSS to "background:black" in the ArticleFragment (and also set the background color of the webview to android.R.color.black), and it looks much nicer (but there's a small border around it that I don't know how to get rid of). Plus, it saves energy on AMOLED displays.

- I also found the "small" font option to big, I changed the CSS to "font-size : 12px; line-height: 125%;" which saves some space and on top of it is easier to read, at least IMHO.

- I would love to have the articles opened inside the app, this is no problem using this technique (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9986788), but ideally there should be an option for it (even more ideally an option per feed?).

- one thing I have not yet implemented, but I would love to see is an easier access to the "mark unread" feature inside the article. On top there are already two icons (star, publish), would it be possible/easy to add another one for read/unread? I often find that I don't want to read this article now, so I mark it unread so it'll keep showing up in the unread list. I know that starring is probably the "workaround", but I use starring differently.

I could publish an inofficial APK if someone would like to test these changes (and if there's no objection to it).

Stefan

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 14:45

>Would it be sensible to change the LayoutAlgorithm to LayoutAlgorithm.NARROW_COLUMNS?

I have no idea, this might need some looking into. RSS summaries are usually blurbs with simple layout, it makes sense to optimize for it, thus single column.

>- I would love to have the articles opened inside the app, this is no problem using this technique (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9986788), but ideally there should be an option for it (even more ideally an option per feed?).

You have a perfectly good internet browser on your device. Why replicate functionality?

>one thing I have not yet implemented, but I would love to see is an easier access to the "mark unread" feature inside the article

Yes, it's so very hard to select a menu item. It's a lot better if the UI is overflowing with icons.

Also, if you mark articles as unread all the time, you are using it wrong. There are better options available to save stuff for later other than using this kludge.

>I know that starring is probably the "workaround", but I use starring differently.

"I use unread as published, published as starred, and starred as unread. Can you please change this because I use it this way? Also, make it per-feed. Added flexibility never hurt anyone and having options is great, isn't it. Who cares if the UX becomes the stuff of madness that is titanium backup and its terrible brethren."

>could the dark theme have a real black background at least for the article view?

Well, it uses the holo background like the rest of the UI. I don't really care either way, but I would like to see better arguments than "I like it better this way" before I change anything. I'm sure there are people who like it the current way and come crying if I remove the gradient.

>Plus, it saves energy on AMOLED displays.

Yes, I'm sure the difference is totally noticeable.

>I could publish an inofficial APK if someone would like to test these changes (and if there's no objection to it).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby seidler2547 » 10 Apr 2013, 15:11

fox wrote:>Would it be sensible to change the LayoutAlgorithm to LayoutAlgorithm.NARROW_COLUMNS?

I have no idea, this might need some looking into. RSS summaries are usually blurbs with simple layout, it makes sense to optimize for it, thus single column.

Well, for simple blurbs this doesn't change anything. For more complex stuff (I like full feeds and I'm not afraid to make them myself), SINGLE_COLUMN is often just plain unusable. I think the only addition that could be useful is to add "img { max-width: 99% }" to the CSS in the NARROW_COLUMNS case.


fox wrote:>- I would love to have the articles opened inside the app, this is no problem using this technique (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9986788), but ideally there should be an option for it (even more ideally an option per feed?).

You have a perfectly good internet browser on your device. Why replicate functionality?

I just find it outright annoying to open up Firefox to read an article. The UX is terrible, tons of animations going on, I have to press the back button to return to the TT-RSS app. With this embedded view, I can just continue reading the article and swipe or press the volume button to get to the next article.

fox wrote:>one thing I have not yet implemented, but I would love to see is an easier access to the "mark unread" feature inside the article

Yes, it's so very hard to select a menu item. It's a lot better if the UI is overflowing with icons.

Well, how about at least following Android design guidelines then and putting the '...' (menu) into the action bar? Also, do you have statistics if "publish" or "mark as unread" is used more often? Because if not, why choose to put "publish" in the action bar and but "unread" in the menu?

fox wrote:Also, if you mark articles as unread all the time, you are using it wrong. There are better options available to save stuff for later other than using this kludge.

What is the better option? Starring? What do I have to do to display unread+starred items in a single list?

fox wrote:>could the dark theme have a real black background at least for the article view?

Well, it uses the holo background like the rest of the UI. I don't really care either way, but I would like to see better arguments than "I like it better this way" before I change anything. I'm sure there are people who like it the current way and come crying if I remove the gradient.

I see it this way: why is the "Dark grey" background dark grey, but the "Dark" background a gradient from black to grey and not "dark aka black"?

What's your official policy for including stuff in the master repo? I suspect it's "you have to like it", which is fine, but it's helpful to know what thing I can suggest with what kind of arguments.

Stefan

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:23

>I just find it outright annoying to open up Firefox to read an article. The UX is terrible, tons of animations going on, I have to press the back button to return to the TT-RSS app.

So you want to implement a browser in an RSS browser app because the browser you are using is shitty and you hate animations. Okay.

>What's your official policy for including stuff in the master repo? I suspect it's "you have to like it", which is fine, but it's helpful to know what thing I can suggest with what kind of arguments.

Well, to be fair, if you are using the arguments like the above, what do you really expect.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:26

>Well, how about at least following Android design guidelines then and putting the '...' (menu) into the action bar?

It is there on touchscreen button devices as per android guidelines. You might want to read those. If you have a device with physical menu/etc buttons, overflow menu is not shown in the action bar.

Here's a free link: http://developer.android.com/design/pat ... ility.html

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:29

>I see it this way: why is the "Dark grey" background dark grey, but the "Dark" background a gradient from black to grey and not "dark aka black"?

Would you feel better if I rename it Holo black?

>What is the better option? Starring? What do I have to do to display unread+starred items in a single list?

You never found the view options or the starred virtual feed? Okay.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby seidler2547 » 10 Apr 2013, 15:41

fox wrote:You never found the view options or the starred virtual feed? Okay.


What do I have to do to display unread+starred items in a single list? Also, how do I automatically unstar a starred item when I have read it?
Also, why am I using "mark as unread" wrong if I want to mark articles as "I don't want to read it now, I want to read it later"?

Stefan

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby seidler2547 » 10 Apr 2013, 15:44

fox wrote:>I just find it outright annoying to open up Firefox to read an article. The UX is terrible, tons of animations going on, I have to press the back button to return to the TT-RSS app.

So you want to implement a browser in an RSS browser app because the browser you are using is shitty and you hate animations. Okay.


Well, you have already implemented a browser in the RSS browser app because you have a WebView. What I ask is just a matter of loading the article URL in the same WebView instead of starting an entirely new app just for this.

Stefan

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby blainemono » 10 Apr 2013, 15:48

seidler2547 wrote:how do I automatically unstar a starred item when I have read it?


When you read it, it is read. As such, it should be marked as read.

When you had an invasive brain surgery and forgot that you read it, then and only then you should mark it as unread.

Starred means you really like this article and want to bookmark it for future re-reading.

Automatically unstarring will be implemented when automated mind readers are commercially available, there is no other way to know that you no longer fancy that article.

Your way of using all those flags is often mentioned by ex-google reader crowd. In my mind it proves google reader makes you fucking stupid.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:52

>What do I have to do to display unread+starred items in a single list? Also, how do I automatically unstar a starred item when I have read it? Also, why am I using "mark as unread" wrong if I want to mark articles as

I fail to see how you are solving the actual problem quoted below with the above.

>"I don't want to read it now, I want to read it later"?

It should work like this:

1. You are reading on a smartphone. You flicked onto an interesting article. You have seen it, which is why it marked as read in the database. You might want to read this later, so you set it as starred (or file it into a label or whatever).

2. Later, maybe on a different device, you go to the Starred feed helpfully sorted by recently starred first, find your article in the list somewhere at the top, read it, possibly unstar it by putting in the herculean effort of clicking on a star.

3. If you decided to file it to a label instead, you find it in the appropriate Label feed.

4. And thus, the problem is solved.

I fail to see why would you need to mark anything as unread or read lists of random data (starred and unread? why not starred, unread, and posix regexp matching "cheese" on a second tag?) to do perform 1-4 and how it would make it any easier, other than making the list of actually unread articles less useful because you have stuff you read in it now.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:53

>Well, you have already implemented a browser in the RSS browser app because you have a WebView.

Yes, because displaying a snippet of HTML automatically makes your application an internet browser.

What if you decide to navigate further? Should that be still inside the app? What if you would like to use one of the many features of the stock browser afterwards, should everything be reimplemented in tt-rss because you don't like animations?

>What I ask is just a matter of loading the article URL in the same WebView instead of starting an entirely new app just for this.

I have no trouble understanding what you ask for.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 15:56

blainemono wrote:Your way of using all those flags is often mentioned by ex-google reader crowd. In my mind it proves google reader makes you fucking stupid.


Well, to be fair, maybe it is so functionally primitive that they have no other way to accomplish the actual goal they have in mind, other than resorting to frankly weird and unnecessary kludges.

Imagine if google reader poked them in the eye each time they opened an article. They'd be demanding for me to implement it in tt-rss.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby blainemono » 10 Apr 2013, 15:59

fox wrote:Imagine if google reader poked them in the eye each time they opened an article. They'd be demanding for me to implement it in tt-rss.


To be fair it already as good as shits on your head, the way dojo tree control jumps and scrolls and whatnot. Boo!

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby fox » 10 Apr 2013, 16:01

Indeed, the lack of better frameworks available makes me a sad panda.

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Re: Android app ideas (with partial implementations)

Postby seidler2547 » 10 Apr 2013, 16:06

blainemono wrote:When you read it, it is read. As such, it should be marked as read.

Wrong. When I swipe left and the article appears, it is marked as read. I have not read it yet. I have not even seen it before that moment. When I see that I just came onto a 2000 word post by someone, I usually wait until I have some time and quietness to read it, so I have to mark it unread, because it was automatically marked as read even though I have not read it. I know that there's no way to read my mind if I have read it, so I don't really complain about this behaviour (although there are ways to improve it/adapt it to the different ways different people use it).

It's not a terrible effort to go into the menu and mark it unread, but if I wanted more effort in my life, I'd not use an RSS reader in the first place and just visit all the websites I'm interested in periodically.

Mostly I don't understand why "Publish" is so much more important than "Mark unread" the the one is on the action bar and to other one is not.

Stefan


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