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tim1mw


Guest
Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 15.14hrs on Tue 17 Feb 15
I've been secretly working on a Winterhighland Android App (with Alan's co-operation) for a while now. The App is now available for purchase on the Google Play store, you'll find the listing here:

[play.google.com]

Or just search for Winterhighland in the Google Play store. Part of the fee goes to support Winterhighland.

The app has been designed to minimise bandwidth usage, so you should still get speedy report downloads even if you have a very slow data connection. Excluding the transmission overhead a typical full report for all areas compresses down to about 4kb.

The basic features are:

- All resorts overview.
- Resort summary.
- Resort weather and snow conditions report.
- Lift status.
- Direct access to webcams (requires additional bandwidth).
- Resort meta-data updates (eg new Webcam URLs, Lifts etc) can be delivered instantly as part of the report data.

The App should work on most Android devices from 2.3.3 upwards. Don't expect fancy graphics or page swipe animations etc, the emphasis for the time being is on functionality and speed.

Feel free to post feature requests (and bugs) on this thread. My primary focus for the next month or so will be making sure that the current release is stable for all users, so it may be a while before new features actually get added. Before you ask, some kind of zoom function for the Webcams is already on my to do list.

Please note: The Android App is a separate development from the iPhone app, so please don't ask me about the iPhone version. The chances are that when the iPhone app is launched it will look different to the Android App. That said, any features present in the iPhone app which are missing from my Android version will be replicated where possible.



Edited 4 times. Last edit at 17.42hrs Tue 17 Feb 15 by tim1mw.

tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 15.19hrs on Tue 17 Feb 15






Edited 1 times. Last edit at 15.20hrs Tue 17 Feb 15 by tim1mw.

Attachments: 1.png (30kB)   2.png (55kB)   3.png (32kB)  
muzza


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 17.18hrs on Tue 17 Feb 15
Good stuff, downloaded and look forward to using it, when I have signal!

growwild


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 18.21hrs on Tue 17 Feb 15
Well done!

What does "maximum report cache age' mean ?

Sack that request, found the help page smiling smiley



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18.23hrs Tue 17 Feb 15 by growwild.

tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 18.58hrs on Wed 18 Feb 15
A big thank you to everybody who has been purchasing since the App launch yesterday afternoon. Thanks to your efforts, I can now report that Winterhighland is ranked #308 in the Top New Paid apps in the Netherlands. I gleaned this fascinating fact from an automatic email which just dropped into my inbox.



It should be noted that Winterhighland is currently only available for purchase in UK & Ireland. Unless something is going badly wrong, nobody in the Netherlands should even see it listed.

Explain if you can...



Edited 3 times. Last edit at 19.00hrs Wed 18 Feb 15 by tim1mw.

Attachments: nederlands.jpg (49kB)  
remote_patrol


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 19.07hrs on Wed 18 Feb 15
dutch phone roaming on UK network? or vice-versa. my uk netflix account (on a UK device) doesn't work abroad, or didn't last time i tried, which should be similar, but no idea how the play store manages locations.



tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 19.49hrs on Wed 18 Feb 15
remote_patrol Wrote:
dutch phone roaming on UK network? or vice-versa.


That must be the answer. Which I'm guessing means that a sales rank of #308 equates to one sale in the Netherlands since it seems unlikely that we have a large number of Dutch users. Although that does beg the question as to why a sale to a Dutch user in the UK of a UK/Ireland only app is counted against sales rankings in the Netherlands.

remote_patrol Wrote:
my uk netflix account (on a UK device) doesn't work abroad, or didn't last time i tried, which should be similar, but no idea how the play store manages locations.


Netflix will work abroad if the country you are in has Netflix (my account works in the US), but you will only get the content which is available for the country you are in, not the country where you are subscribed. Netflix only launched in Continental Europe a few months ago, so it would only have started working there very recently. It would make sense for Google Play to do the same thing. When I set this up I figured that any foreign user who really wanted Scottish snow reports was probably already here, so I didn't bother to set up worldwide sales.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 19.52hrs Wed 18 Feb 15 by tim1mw.

naefearjustbeer


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 01.13hrs on Thu 19 Feb 15
just downloading it now


swavis


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 12.25hrs on Thu 19 Feb 15
I've just dowloaded it, fantastic app. All the info you could want is there and it's easy to find and read.

*applauds*

naefearjustbeer


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 14.20hrs on Thu 19 Feb 15
I am impressed nice and easy to use, Just wish the wind would play the game for the days I could go snowboarding.


WeeSam


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 16.49hrs on Thu 19 Feb 15
good job!

How about a retro Ceefax mode for the next version winking smiley


The terse, repetitive descriptions, although generally useless, were lovely, a bit like the Shipping forecast.
[al.robotfuzz.com]



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.54hrs Thu 19 Feb 15 by WeeSam.

tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 19.39hrs on Thu 19 Feb 15
Thanks for the positive feed back, it's nice to know that the effort to get this done has been appreciated!

WeeSam Wrote:
How about a retro Ceefax mode for the next version

The terse, repetitive descriptions, although generally useless, were lovely, a bit like the Shipping forecast.


I remember those! If only the service were still running, I could have delivered screenshots of the pages as a "Webcam" with minimal effort.

That said, I have wondered if an "Automatic" mode, with the report data automatically updating and the pages cycling through the local resort report would be of interest to snow sport businesses who want to set up a cheap "Snow conditions" information display on their premises. You could probably get an Android Set Top Box + large monitor for ~200 (If anybody is seriously interested in the idea, please PM me).

That said the two most likely enhancements for the near future are the previously mentioned zoom for the webcams and a tie in with the resort Twitter feeds.

mang_out


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 00.15hrs on Sun 22 Feb 15
Have been using the app, so far so good, one annoyance. there is no exit, close app function, normally when you press the back button from the 1st screen it will close it down but not on this app.

I dont need the app running all the time i will run it when I neeed to. This is just common application practice. please fix

tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 12.46hrs on Sun 22 Feb 15
mang_out Wrote:
Have been using the app, so far so good, one annoyance. there is no exit, close app function, normally when you press the back button from the 1st screen it will close it down but not on this app.

I dont need the app running all the time i will run it when I neeed to. This is just common application practice. please fix


Better behaviour for the back button is on my task list. Working this out properly got dropped in order to try and get the App out in time for half term.

It's worth noting that most Android Aps don't actually quit when you tap the back button (regardless of the message they might pop up), all they do is stop any processing tasks which relate to the on screen activity, which isn't the same thing, the app will still be in memory. Even if an App has an "exit" or "quit" function, this may not be "quitting" the app in the sense that people who are used to desktop applications would expect, the chances are it's still in memory but not actively processing anything.

There are some apps that do seem to perform a genuine quit when you tap back. However, this practice is against the programming guidelines for Android, so it's not something that I intend to do. There is a simple explanation here:

[android.nextapp.com]

I'm more than happy to put in something which makes the back button cause the typical Android behaviour of hiding the app and suspending to memory. This is certainly more intuitive since users expect this button to do something! However, in practice, this won't be doing anything different to pressing the home button, since there are no continuous foreground tasks in the Winterhighland app to stop, which is why I didn't worry too much about getting this fixed for the first release.

I did consider making the "back" button act like the history button in the browser, stepping back through the sequence of screens which have been viewed. There is quite a lot of effort involved since you have to maintain a history of every page view, so it's not going to happen soon. To what extent would people find this useful? I've not personally felt the need for it in the Winterhighland app, but that could just be me. Either way immediate fix here will be a simple app suspend when "back" is tapped regardless of how many pages you have viewed. I'll probably put up a "Are you sure you want to exit" dialogue so that people don't accidentally exit expecting "back" to step through the page view history.

tim1mw


Guest
Re: Winterhighland Android App Launched
Date Posted: 13.15hrs on Sun 22 Feb 15
The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed that Twitter feeds are now being included on the Resort "Report" page. This is now being grabbed by the server, no update to the app itself is necessary for this, so if you have the app installed, it should be immediately available to you.

Right now, the web links in Twitter message can't be tapped and opened, this requires an app update which is currently being tested and will hopefully be out in a few days time. The same applies to the resort website link which has now been added to the resort "Overview" page.

If you are not seeing the Twitter feeds, just hit the refresh button and they should pop up after a few seconds. If it still doesn't work, please go to the "Config & Status" and check the "Ski Resort Data Version". It should be version 7 for twitter feeds to work. The resort data will normally update automatically when you tap refresh if an update is available from the server. If this hasn't happened, please send me a message.

For anybody who is interested in how this works, the "Ski Resort Data" is a file which is cached on you phone that describes to the app what data is available to download from the report server and how to display it within the app. Whenever there is a change in the nature of the report data, the app will download an update to this file which allows it to interpret the new data from the server. This enables me to update webcam links and add new elements to the report without having to issue an update to the app via the Play store. eg, The links for the Glenshee webcam have changed several times since the start of January (including on the day the app was released), so this mechanism has already proved it's worth.

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