Monday, November 29, 2010

gPodder 2.10 for Maemo 4 and Maemo 5 released

As promised last week, a new release of gPodder is out. The package for Maemo 5 is already in Extras-Testing, so test it and vote for it. The package for Maemo 4 has already been uploaded to the autobuilder and should be available shortly.

This new release brings yet another round of UI improvements, and it also incorporates the feedback that I got at the MeeGo Conference:

  • Expose "Pause subscription" in UI
  • Multi-delete in episode lists (Maemo bug 5182)
  • Setting for episode auto-delete on startup
  • Custom episode list model (faster loading)

You can find a detailed ChangeLog at

If you are not yet a user of gPodder, why not take the opportunity to try it out? You could subscribe to the MeeGo Conference 2010 Video Podcast (Yahoo Pipe) and (re-)watch the sessions on your device. Of course, audio and video podcasts are supported as well, as are YouTube user channels and Soundcloud users.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Maemo 5 app UIs: {The,A} big picture

Sooner or later it will be necessary to create a QML UI for gPodder if it is to integrate nicely with devices on which Qt is the "native" toolkit for third party apps. At the moment, the reusable UI elements that can be used with QML (Qt Components) have not yet been officially released (the Git repository is available on Gitorious, though), and there are no UI style guidelines for Harmattan out (yet?). I'm also not able to locate UI style guidelines for QML apps on Symbian^3, and there are only a few small sample QML apps out right now.

Let's look at what we have on Maemo 5 right now. Here's a simplified overview of the current Maemo 5 UI of gPodder:

You can also check out the full-size image (~ 3.5 MB).

The UI follows the Maemo 5 Style Guide where it makes sense and tries to come up with better solutions where the Style Guide does not have a definitive answer. I'd like to hear your opinion about the current UX of gPodder and how these concepts can be translated into a QML app that integrates nicely with "future" UIs (Harmattan, S^3). The new-style episode list that can be seen in this picture will be made available with the next release that will be out Really Soon Now™.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Please test: MaePad 1.9, MaePadWeb 2.1, Trophae 6

Version 1.9 of MaePad is out, with a new translation into Catalan, updated Finnish (thanks to Marko Vertainen) and German translations, a "No items" indicator in empty checklists and full auto-rotation support (detailed changelog).

The File Transfers application seemingly does some weird things to "Open file" dialogs in other apps (not only MaePad, but reportedly also Xournal), so MaePad now conflicts with it until the problem is fixed (this means you can't have both "File Transfers" and "MaePad" installed at the same time). Test and vote for MaePad 1.9 in Extras-Testing!

Also new is MaePadWeb 2.1, which adds a missing dependency on python-simplejson. The app worked fine for me since the initial release, so I'm also promoting it to Testing now. Test and vote for MaePadWeb 2.1 in Extras-Testing!

And as a third release this week, I noticed that Trophae, the PS3 Trophy Viewer app, didn't get its newest release (6) uploaded to Fremantle Extras-Devel for two months, so I've re-uploaded it, and also put it up for testing. And even though the code is lame, it's now published in a Git repository if you want to hack on it. Test and vote for Trophae 6 in Extras-Testing!

A new release of your favourite podcatcher is coming in the next few days. There is still time to submit updated translations :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MeeGoConf 2010: Fun, QML, gPodder, Python

I've attended the MeeGo Conference 2010 in Dublin this week. Meeting people, playing werewolf or table tennis and discussing MeeGo Python are just some of the great things about this conference.

One of my burning questions for third-party app development ("QWidget? MeeGo Touch? QML? Which one of those?") was answered with "QML". I've played with QML before, and it's great, but right now, one has to work on a very low level (as in "design your own buttons") and without any UI style guidelines. Let's hope the Qt Components provide reusable UI parts there and that the style guidelines are published as soon as possible.

I've also got some gPodder feedback: Niels suggested subscription pausing and auto-deletion of episodes (both are already implemented and just need exposure as UI elements). Murray suggested a custom TreeModel implementation for the episode list, which I've started working on now. Mike suggested the often-requested multi-episode deletion feature, which is also something I plan for the next release.

On Wednesday, we had a Python BoF to discuss the state and future of MeeGo Python. I'm looking forward to using PySide for the QML UI of gPodder. A PySide/QML workshop is planned for the next PyUGAT meeting, so join in if you are in Vienna in early December.

Oh, and the IdeaPad that we got from Intel is great. Thanks a lot for that. Will come in handy for prototyping and testing Touch UI interfaces!

Hope to see you again in a future MeeGo event :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MaePadWeb 2.0: Take your MaePad anywhere (even on a N8)

The companion app to MaePad that has been announced some days ago is now available in Extras-Devel for your N900, with some nifty features:

  • Fully edit the checklists in your database
  • Native Maemo 5 look and feel in the browser (title bar, toolbar, lists, ...)
  • Dynamic themeing based on current Maemo theme
  • Per-session password for some security (inspired by MAD Developer)
MaePadWeb in a web browser

This means that if you are using the NSeries theme, it looks like this, but if you are using Digital Nature, this is how it looks (and that should work for all themes). On your device, you will see a simple info window. Now, that's bringing the Maemo 5 UI to your Desktop computer's web browser. But does it work on mobile devices as well? Of course! Let me present you MaePadWeb running in the Symbian web browser on a N8-00:

MaePadWeb on a N8-00

If you think that this looks shopped, check out the video for further proof and to see the checklist editor view in action :)

This project brings together some great technologies: Python (for the backend) and HTML/CSS and JavaScript (using JQuery for convenience) for the frontend. Apart from the artwork, it does not depend on anything from Maemo 5/Hildon that isn't available in MeeGo already. In fact, Python with SQLite3 support is the only real dependency of this app on the backend side. With all the confusion on what to use for MeeGo Handset UIs (MeeGo Touch Framework, QWidget-based Qt, QWidget inside QGraphicsView, QML, Qt Components, ...), the HTML/CSS/JavaScript combo seems like a good cross-platform alternative (you still have to run the backend somewhere, but it can run on the same device, of course). All you need is a good browser/JS engine/rendering engine combo (Fennec/QtWebKit on MeeGo Handset, MicroB on Maemo). This also works on the N8x0 with MicroB :)