As of this post we are back to our normal weekly app updates. We skipped about 6 weeks doing serious work behind the scenes. Details of what we've done follow below.
We started looking ahead at apps (and websites) that we will be putting online in the future. The longer that list gets the more important it is to share resources across all the apps. If we don't work to share everything we will swamp ourselves in busy work.
So, we looked at everything that could be shared across apps. This includes code, style sheets and stock bits of html. We remodeled our build environment to make sharing these bits as easy as possible and then set out to get all of our existing apps so they share as much as possible. This so we are ready to grow the list of apps in months to come.
Perhaps the biggest and most disorganized area in our world has been the options system. These are all the popups that change settings in apps, like covers or font sizes or the day/night lighting.
Each app, under each option, had custom code, custom styles and custom html to make these work. No more. All of these internal bits are now shared across all the apps.
This means, though, that the internal option names are now normalized and you may see options that reset to default values because stored values had different names. The most obvious of these is the cover colors on the various scripture apps. Not a problem, just set the options again, like cover colors, to whatever value you like.
We have also put considerable attention into the style system. We have reworked the overall look with minor changes everywhere. All apps now have light and dark themes which impacts things like shadows.
In addition to sharing as much as possible across apps we have also put care into what are called 'corner cases.' In particular we've tried to handle very small and very large screens.
Small screens are found on very small phones, like the Apple SE. To make these small screens work the navigation arrows used for tapping are automatically hidden. Use swipe instead, as you naturally would on such a small screen. The About popups are formatted slightly differently to handle these smaller screens.
Large screens, that have been hard to handle, are screens on devices where the system's sense of the font size causes all lettering to become quite large. This is typical for vision impaired users. In these scenarios it is important for everything in our apps to properly scroll because large lettering does not fit the screen the same way. We had many problems with this which are now fixed.
We've audited the sizes of icons that our apps supply. We now pass standard validations. We have been working this for longer than this past 6 weeks, but the effect is properly sized icons on android phones and larger icons in some app launch scenarios.
All of our apps now have a contact form that is listed just above the About choice in the right-top menu. This should make it easy to send us feedback from any of our apps.
Big changes like this sometimes introduce bugs. When regressions are serious we will update impacted apps as soon as possible. We have already done some of that this past week. We will be watching for more, use the feedback form if you find something. We will also likely be making minor tweaks as we go forward.
Sorry for the disruption, but it was important to get this done while our user base is measured in dozens instead of some day future when it is measured in thousands.
Still To Come
We are not completely done with keyboard handling. The goal is to get complete control of all apps from the keyboard only. This for touch typists and handicapped users. When time allows we will finish this last missing bit.
We are traveling and away from our desks. Blog posts will be irregular for awhile.