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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Greed: More incremental stuff

Another Sunday, another group of Greed updates. I had plans to change a couple of other things, like YouTube link support and a Widget in preparation for Cupcake, but there were a couple of annoyances I wanted to take care of first.

The first one was the issue of performance. Greed sometimes seems kind of sluggish, especially when navigating through a list of large articles. The reason for this is that up until this update, Greed has been loading up all of the articles in the article list, along with their content. As you scroll down through the list, more and more articles get loaded into memory. If the articles are long, that takes a lot of memory, which makes the whole device slow down. So what I do now is separate the content from the articles as they're downloaded, and only load the content when it's needed. I think it makes it a lot snappier. I'd be interested to know if you see the same results. A side benefit is that Greed should now be more stable and less apt to die for lack of memory.

By the way, you might want to clear your cache if you notice Greed acting weird.

The second issue was the "read/unread items" radio buttons at the top of the feeds and folders lists, and the article list. These were taking up screen space, so I did the "animated panel" trick with them. They display for a few seconds when the screen is first displayed, then they fade out of view. To get them back, just touch the area where you expect to see them, and they'll reappear.

One last thing that I put up earlier this week, but didn't bother posting about: Greed's annoying tendency to follow every link in the article viewer. Man, I hated that. In an article with a lot of links in it, navigating through an article was like walking through a small (and admittedly totally non-lethal) minefield. I had developed a habit of always looking for a "safe" place to touch the screen. Then I remembered it was possible to suppress that behaviour in the WebView component, so I did that. Duh. If you prefer to have this "feature" enabled, you can do so in the preferences screen with the "Follow Links" option. I worked on the idea of putting a context-menu handler in the view to turn this feature on and off on the fly, but didn't like the way that turned out. It's on my list...

That's about it for this week's updates. Stay tuned for YouTube link support and a Widget!

Also, thanks to everyone sending feedback on Greed. The criticism is always constructive, and the compliments have been appreciated too.

Finally: My apologies to the German user community for the translations. I built a GWT application for translating Android resources to different languages, and tested it on Greed. I've been notified by a couple of users that the translations leave a little bit to be desired. I believe the exact words were "Simply Horrible", which I assume is German for "sub-optimal." In any case, one of them kindly offered to translate them for me. On that subject, if any of you reading this know of other languages you'd like to see Greed translated to, there's a free copy of Greed and a big strings.xml file in it for you. :-)

14 Comments:

  • At 2:16 AM , Blogger Klondike said...

    Awesome, thanks for the continued updates! Looking forward to the widget.

     
  • At 7:29 AM , Blogger Klondike said...

    Actuall...I'm getting errors while navigating my fees now. The error says something about how a cache file's parent folder isn't there. I tried clearing the cache, and I even uninstalled and reinstalled the whole app, to no avail.

     
  • At 9:19 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

    Klondike,

    I was getting the same message Saturday and thought it was a bug in Greed, but noticed I was also getting a strange "Please insert an SD card before using the camera" message when I tried to take pictures. It turned out my SD card had gotten messed up, and no apps could create files or directories on the SD card. I had to format the SD card, then everything came back to normal.

    The error message you're getting from Greed is coming from the fact that it's unable to create the directory where the article cache files are supposed to go. I can say for certain that it's definitely trying to create those directories.

    I know it's kind of bothersome, but if you have a spare SD card lying around, you might try inserting that, and seeing if you get different results.

     
  • At 9:30 AM , Blogger Klondike said...

    So, I actually deduced the same thing this morning, when I tried to delete greed's cache and started getting crazy corrupted filesystem errors. I'm planning on formatting the card imminently.

    I had the exact same message in my camera app, too. Why do you think we both got hit with the same SD card issue at the same time...?

     
  • At 9:45 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

    Good question. I first noticed the error a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to take a picture of something. I Googled "G1 SD Card error" and noticed a lot of people have the issue from time to time. I used gparted on Linux to reformat it, and it lasted for about 1 week before it gave me more trouble. I formatted it again yesterday, and I'm keeping an eye on it. If it happens again, I'm going to try a new card!

     
  • At 9:49 AM , Blogger Klondike said...

    Wow, that sucks. It just happened to me yesterday for the first time. I'm thinking about investing in a 16gb microsd card (they do exist):

    http://www.amazon.com/Sandisk-microSDHC-MobileMate-SDSDQY-016G-S11M-Package/dp/B001QSZ4W4/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1242658079&sr=8-6

    From what I understand, you want a "class 4" or "class 6" card, which are more expensive than the "class 2" ones. A lot more...

     
  • At 10:11 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

    I'll bet they are... I'd also be willing to bet that the $18 4GB card I got from the local Wal-Mart is something like a "class 0" or the equivalent. The fact that it's a cheap card is most likely the problem. That said, it seems like $18 is about the right amount to pay for something the size of an infant's thumbnail. :-)

     
  • At 11:03 AM , Blogger schwiz said...

    Awesome, thanks for the updates :)

     
  • At 8:05 AM , Blogger grabiarz said...

    Is it possible to have greed resize images just like the web based google reader does on android so that we don't have to scroll sideways and images fit on the screen? Thanks for the app it's been getting better and better

     
  • At 3:55 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

    schwiz, no problem at all. I haven't forgotten about the embedded media player. :-) I think I would get more done if I didn't have a full-time job.

     
  • At 5:21 PM , Blogger Dan Fabulich said...

    Hi, thanks for the hard work on Greed. I had a few requests:

    1) When I'm looking at a feed and I select "Mark all as read", Greed shows me a blank page with the message "No unread items found."

    I know that, I just marked them all as read! Just move me on to the next unread feed/folder, or at the very least put a "Next" button on the page instead of just a blank screen. (As is I have to push the back button and then choose another feed; too much clicking!)

    2) When I click on an update notification in the notification bar, I find myself in an "Updated Feeds" activity. But I can't see any way to get back to the Updated Feeds activity if/when I navigate to the main menu.

    I would very much like that to just be a standard mode of the Feeds/Folders activities. I'm an avid user of offline mode, but I don't sync down all of my feeds. I basically never want to see the other non-synced feeds in Greed, even if they have new unread content. If there were an option to "show downloaded content only" I would cheerfully use it.

    3) Clearing the cache doesn't appear to work correctly, especially when you're offline. I've got a bunch of feeds in the "Feeds" list that say "X unread items", but they're not downloaded. When I'm in airplane mode, and click on them, I get a blank page with a message "No unread items were downloaded for X." So I navigate out to the main menu, press menu, and Clear Cache. When I navigate back to the Feeds menu, it still says the feeds have unread items.

     
  • At 10:23 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

    grabiarz,

    Scaled images are coming in the next update. I made it an optional setting, and I'm already hooked on it. :-)

     
  • At 7:10 AM , Blogger davidcastro said...

    Hi,
    I can help you translate to Spanish.
    Let me know if you are interested.

    davidcastro at gmail dot com

     
  • At 1:19 PM , Blogger halr9000 said...

    I'm glad to see you continue to work on the memory / perf issues. Greed dies all the time for me (multiple times daily) so this is a big concern for me.

    A few suggestions:

    1. In the 'what's new' window when starting the app after an upgrade, can you put dates? If you just add to the list items it can get confusing what was what.
    2. You mention clearing the cache would help fix weird issues. Maybe you should trigger one of these on upgrades?

     

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