Monday, November 28, 2011

Desk Clock Plus Version 1.0 Released

I am very happy to announce that I have published the changes for Desk Clock Plus that I've been working on for the past 6 months or so (remember, I'm only a lunch time developer so things take time).  So what's new?  That's a very big question....

The big thing is the addition of 'Application Extensions'.  The basic features of Desk Clock Plus (ie the features from the versions prior to this and what the 'Stock' clock app does) will always remain free.  I don't feel it's right for me (or legal) to charge for that*.  However I understand that there are some users who what more from this application that others don't need.  I think the dock configuration is a good example of that.  Some users have asked for this and I would image that others wouldn't care if they could do that or not.  So for one US dollar (or your approximate equivalent) you can purchase this extension for your devices.  As I said before, I don't see myself getting rich off of this application, but with the holidays coming up and more importantly the office holiday beer exchange I could use a couple extra bucks.

One more thing to note about this... I am a little sketchy about how the code for this works.  I'm pretty sure that I have it implemented correctly (the Pay-Pal system was much easier to work with and debug).  If you have a problem please contact me (or leave a comment) I don't want to leave someone who has paid for this (or is trying to pay) high and dry.  There are a couple of bonuses with this.

  1. When you purchase this extension, it should work across all your devices that are connected to your account.
  2. If you get a new phone or second device, you should just need to go in to the 'Purchase Extensions' screen for things to be reset internally, so you will not have to 'repurchase' this extension.
Now, on to the changes for this version:
  • Scrolling Dock Button Extension - More documentation to follow, but the quick over view is that you can go into the settings --> Scrolling Dock Configuration to set the number of docks and to configure the docks.  Swipe the dock left and right to change docks.  Additionally you can long press a button change a button's:
    • Action - internal to Desk Clock Plus
    • Application - Launch a 3rd party app
    • Clear - Clear action or application
    • Add Dock -  Add a new empty Dock.
    • Delete Dock - Delete the current Dock.
  • Scrolling time / Weather - As a bonus for anyone who purchases an extension I also enable the feature of swiping the time or weather to change it to Digital Time, Analog Time or Weather (I'll add more 'windows' as I add more paid extensions.

  • Reorganized Settings Screen - I grouped everything into sub-properties instead of the sub groups, this way you have smaller pieces to deal with at one time.  Everything is still grouped the same way, just organized a little different.
  • Redesigned GUI - This should be pretty much be transparent to everyone, however some people should notice that fixes issues with 3 digit temperatures and long city state names.
  • Translation - I changed how I translate this application into other languages.  I originally sang the praises of Androlate.  There was some problems with it.  First, it was pretty slow.  Second, it didn't handle multiple string files very well.  Third, it doesn't work anymore (it was only a beta anyhow).  For this go around, I used a Chrome Extension Android Multilingual translation tool.  I was very happy with it as it fixed the 3 issues above, however it doesn't handle string arrays, so those are still in English for the time being.  I also don't know if translations are any better (I'm going to check with other users)
  • Background Images - I made a major change to how background images are handled that should drastically reduce the memory that I'm using and should reduce if not eliminate the out of memory issues you would get when loading images.  This has also worked its way into the slide show.
  • Performance Boost - I think this comes from the changes for the background images, but the application seems to be running much faster which is always good!
Some other things to note, I updated everything on the Android Market page added a new featured graphic, new screen shots and re-wrote all the text.

Stats wise, I'm very happy with what Google is telling me (22k downloads, 5k installed and an average review of 3.7)

As always, what's next?  Probably over the next week or two it's going to be a number of updates for bug fixes as people start using the new version.  I might have some language updates depending on how well the chrome extension did.  I have a couple more ideas for the dock configuration extension that I want to implement.  I have a security issue that I need to resolve and then hopefully some more extensions.

As always, I'm very happy that 5,000 people are using this application, so if you experience any issues or have a suggestion, please email me!

*I am happy to note that everything except for the alarm & alarm screen was written by me.  The alarm code was taken from the Google source.