Reader Widget Pro on the Android Market

I have uploaded the Reader Widget Pro to market. It costs the princely sum of 50 pence. Unfortunately, the special feature I talked about didn’t make it into version 1.0. This is because I was co-ordinating with another app developer and I am dependent on them updating their app in the market. However, the feature should be in a future version.

I’ll be updating the Google Reader Widget Page with full details of what’s in the Pro version soon.


Hero has arrived

Just got my shiny new HTC Hero today. First impressions are good. Both PubCrawler and the Reader Widgets are working fine. If I’m not too busy later I will post a mini review.

Reader Widget Pro should be ready this weekend.


Reader Widget Pro soon

Testing has gone well and I’ve only had to make a couple of tweaks. However, I’m adding a feature that I think will be worthwhile having in version 1.0. Once this final piece has been tested fully it will be ready and all will be revealed!


Reader Widget Pro: The pop-up

Remember that mysterious button on the large widget? Well here’s what it does:


In fact all three sizes of the widget pop-up this dialog when clicked on. It’s a scrolling, collapsible list of tags with the feed names underneath. Each tag and feed has its unread count next to it. When clicking on the feed name a new browser window is launched that goes to the feed in the Google Reader site. More click actions maybe configurable in the future.

The buttons along the bottom of the pop-up do pretty much what they say:

  • Greed – this is only shown if you have Greed Full or Lite installed. It launches the Greed main screen.
  • Refresh – reloads data from the Google Reader API across all the active Reader widgets
  • Settings – reconfigures the widget.</li

It would have been great to be able to do a scrolling list of unread tags or feeds in the medium sized widget itself but that’s not allowed in the framework yet. I think this is a good compromise though. Its faster to launch and close than a full app (and I’m not about to write a complete Google Reader client because there’s a good one on the market already).

I’m testing the widgets at the moment and once that’s done I’ll upload the package to the market.


Reader Widget Pro Large Preview

The large widget is nearing completion:

large widget

It displays headlines configurable by tag or feed and changes the headline every 5 seconds (which I might make configurable). Clicking on the headline takes you straight to the page the story is for. I might make it an option to click and open the feed in the Google Reader site as well. Like the medium version it also has a useful refresh button but it also has a new button on the right, the function of which is a secret ;-).

It took a while to decide on the final widget set and what each of them should do. I think I have made all three sizes (small, medium and large) unique and useful. Its possible to add all of them several times over to the home screen and have them all show different data. One background service keeps all of the data refreshed. It has been a fun challenge writing this widget package. I have learnt a lot about Android and its current limitations (see my previous post for more on that).


HTC Hero: pre-ordered

I’ve pre-ordered a HTC Hero. Its the white unlocked version. I went for this over the Samsung Galaxy (i7500) because of several reasons:

  • 512Mb ROM in the Hero should be enough for my apps
  • Flash in the browser to show off to all my iPhone owning friends
  • The Hero has mini USB/Ext USB so I can charge it from any PC easily. Galaxy has micro USB which I don’t have anywhere.
  • Taking photos with my phone is not something I do much. I have decent digital cameras for that.
  • Although it might be possible to run a hacked Hero ROM on the Galaxy it probably won’t run very well due to the lack of RAM. The Galaxy is supposed to have either 128Mb or 192Mb of RAM depending on who you believe. The Hero has 288Mb.
  • Being a HTC handset, the Hero is sure to have lots of support from the xda-developers community

I intend to keep the Hero unmodified except for rooting (if that’s possible). I’ll probably keep my G1 for dev and general messing about with.

One thing that occurred to me whilst developing my pro reader widget is why HTC have developed their own widget framework over the top of Android. Here’s what I think : with vanilla Cupcake developers are very restricted in what they can put into a widget. For example, having a scrolling list or animation is not possible. Its not even possible to use a TableView! Look at the various Hero demo videos and its obvious that HTC’s widgets don’t have such limitations.
It makes me wonder if the widget framework will be expanded for Android 2.0 (Donut) and whether all of HTCs work might be eventually duplicated by Google. Also I wonder what HTC will do with Hero when Donut comes out.


Google Reader Widget: The First Month

Its been a month since I uploaded my Reader Widget Small to the Android Market so I thought this was a good arbritrary point to post an update. Since then there have been over 2000 downloads and 48 ratings at an average of about 4 stars which I’m very pleased with.

There are some minor updates I need to make to this version and work is progressing on the “Pro” widget. I also have some ideas for non-Google Reader widgets but it will probably be a while before I get to those!


New WordPress Theme

As you may have noticed I have changed the WordPress theme of the blog. I was getting bored of the default one. This new one is called StudioPress.


PubCrawler and Firefox 3.5

I’m using Firefox 3.5 at home and its great. It adds HTML5 support so it should work with PubCrawler. However, whilst the geolocation functionality works well the local storage does not, so crawls cannot be saved. This is due to the local storage support being of a different type to the WebKit browsers like Safari in iPhone OS 3.x. The Google Gears Add-on is not supported by Firefox 3.5 yet so that’s not an option either. PubCrawler is primarily a mobile web app so this is not high on my list to fix.