Thursday, May 20, 2010

NewsRob 3.9

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NewsRob 3.9

Fit-To-Width for Images

This was one of the top 10 feature requests (link).

Images that are larger than the current width of the screen are now automatically downsized to fit the width.

Play with it, it's simple.

You can skip to the next section now, but here is also some more background info that you can later on refer to when you have more questions.
The functionality works independently from the current orientation, density and zoom level.
The downsizing happens when the content is first loaded however, so if you change any of the aforementioned parameters afterwards the resizing will only take effect for the next article you view (or you need to tap twice on the article header, which also forces a content reload).

This functionality needs to change the content of the actual web page and only works for the feed view, not the web view, as this would mean NewsRob would change the color scheme of a website that it doesn't know. As NewsRob knows what the pages look like that are processed with the Google Wireless Transcoder (option: Simplified Web Page) those pages are processed too when downloaded.

New Theme For Night Time Reading (Pro)

This was the top feature request (link).

The theme was implemented with somebody in mind who woke up in the middle of the night and whose eyes don't expect to look into a flash light right away.
Or with the dad in mind who wants to do some reading when rocking his little one into sleep and who doesn't want to keep the baby awake with the bright screen.
Therefore the new theme uses muted colors and a low contrast.

Hence the theme is not meant to be an alternative look or to be used under direct sunlight.

From an implementation point of view this feature doesn't only change the lists and other UI elements owned by NewsRob but also changes the feed content. Hence the some caveats apply as for the image-autofit-feature above.

Other Enhancements And Bug Fixes

New Swipe-To-Read implementation

The swipe gestures on the article list (left-to-right to mark an article as read, right-to-left to mark an article unread) are implemented differently than before and should work much more reliable.

Not Enough Space Notification

NewsRob doesn't want to surprise you with a full SD card. Therefore NewsRob stops downloading the content of new articles when there are less than 100 MB free on your SD card.
With this version NewsRob now shows a notification that it did so.
You need to make more space on your SD card then or reduce the configured number of articles in Settings/Local Cache/Reading List. Otherwise you'll see this notification after each sync ;-)

"Unread Only" Is The New Sync Type Default

A couple of releases ago "Unread Only" was introduced as an option for "Settings/Sync/Sync Type". When choosing this option during a sync all read articles will be deleted and older unread articles will be fetched to fill up your local database again.

Details: Actually not all read articles are deleted. The most recently read article will not automatically deleted, so that you can change your mind on the read status of this article even after a sync. Also if you have the Pro version your shared articles, starred articles and notes are not deleted if they do not exceed the configured capacities for those entities.

I declared this functionality experimental in the beginning, but it worked great so far and so for all new NewsRob installations this is the default. Old installation will not be force-migrated to this new default, but I would recommend you to consider this option.

No Hovering Zoom Controls On HTC Incredible

Because of a bug with the HTC Incredible the hovering zoom controls are disabled for the time being. I will reconsider this after the next OS upgrade for those devices.

Good Bye Android 2.0

Now that Android 2.0 is on its way out I removed the workaround for an Android 2.0 bug. As a result the NewsRob download is now quite a bit lighter. For people with Android 2.0 devices the icons will look a bit fuzzy now - please upgrade to Android 2.1.

Download Timeout

Some people commented in the Android Market that NewsRob was sucking their battery dry. Fortunately some users came forward and entered a two communication. Looking at their log files I saw that some servers were very sloooooooooooooooow to respond. From this version on, NewsRob will interrupt the downloading of a web page after two minutes. Articles that fall victim to this drastic measure will be marked with a little red dot.

Closing Empty Feed Lists

Returning to an empty feed list will now close it, if it is not the task that launched NewsRob. This is now consistent to the other lists' behaviors and also with auto-skipping empty levels, like feed lists with only one feed etc.

Articles in Bundles / Duplicates

Articles that are in a bundle will now also be below a folder that is called "xyz bundle", where xyz is the bundle's label. As a consequence you won't see any duplicate articles anymore when you have a bundle and label with the same name.

Background Data Setting

Also NewsRob will now obey Android's system-wide background data setting. If this is disabled NewsRob's auto-sync will not fetch new articles, upload changed articles' status or download any pages. However a manual sync – including a trigger from Setting Profiles or Locale – will still work. This is consistent with NewsRob's "WiFi-Only" setting for auto-sync and downloading.
If you start NewsRob afresh and have auto-sync enabled, but background data disabled you'll see a quick toast mentioning that discrepancy.

Froyo / Android 2.2

At least according to my initial testing NewsRob runs well on Android 2.2.

The Tool Action Bar

I am a bit torn here. The Android Market comments were very loud and angry, but despite that and my promotion of the two alternatives to solve it, still less than 20 people have actually voted for either the option to remove the action bar or to optionally move it to the bottom.
Both options will add to the download size of NewsRob, but more importantly take significantly time to implement. Time that I cannot use to implement other features. This lack of actual features will impact all users.

Still, as this topic seems so very close to the heart of some, I will implement one or the other, but only one. Currently there is no clear winner. So if you have voted for both, please retract your vote from the one that is less important to you. If they stay head-to-head I will implement the one that costs less time, but can't tell you off the bat which one this will be.
Or if you haven't voted before, please do so now.
If you have voted, but meanwhile totally love the action bar and can't live without it anymore, you could also remove your vote ;-) If the numbers of the leading one significantly falls I'll skip the whole thing ... one can dream.

Here are the suggestions again:

Update: Check out this suggestion: Add an option to disable fit-to-width.