Monday, August 30, 2010

SmartFM Android Study Dictionary v1.1 released

So I even managed to find time for a few performance fixes and have released version 1.1 of the SmartFM Android Study Dictionary to the Android Market.

The main difference is pretty much on the back end with the app using a separate Java client to consume JSON (instead of XML) from the new "unofficial" SmartFM API. This necessitated a performance fix on the main item list view since checking whether there was a sound for an item required a separate HTTP request. This creates the main noticeable different, that you'll briefly see progress indicators for the sound icons when you first get a set of results back.

I was pleased that using ProgressBar, AsyncTask and a cache of my own design was effective in making the list scroll smoothly and I went on to use the same approach for image loading in the sentence list that is part of each individual item view. That's something that was always a performance issue in earlier versions, but only came up for items with more than 3 or 4 sentences.

I'm disappointed not to have been able to add more functionality or fix other minor gripes, but the old version one XML SmartFM API is being discontinued today or tomorrow, so I thought it better to kick out a version that works with the new API, and leave everything else for subsequent releases. "Release Early, Release Often".

Anyhow, I am moving house and starting a new job, so will probably be restricted to bugfixes for the next couple of months, but hope to release some new features and fixes by Christmas. I think my main goals are making the voice search go straight to results without requiring a second click, and pre-loading lots of content so users don't have to wait to download sounds. I think the multiple HTTP requests associated with each individual items could be put into AsyncTasks, to make the item display more responsive ...

The two most frequently requested features are support for some study, and OpenID. I do hope to include a study feature soon. As for OpenID, we'll see ... :-)

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