Saturday, February 28, 2009

NewsRob 1.5

Please remove any shortcuts you may still have that were created before V1.2.

Also after the upgrade change the schedule interval or capacity in the settings once to trigger the background synchronization schedule to be setup.

Changes since last week:

  • Automatic upload of article state changes

    Consider the following scenario. You ride on the bus to work (that would mean you're European I guess) and you read a couple of articles. Five minutes after you hoped off of the bus you arrive at the desk and fire up the web interface of Google Reader. There you see some of the articles that you just read on the bus are still marked as unread.

    The reason for that is that the next scheduled background synchronization has not happened yet.

    From this release on a countdown of 5 minutes is started every time you change the state of an article, i.e. you mark an article as unread, or you read an article, or share it or star it etc.

    When the countdown gets to zero all the changed article states are uploaded to Google Reader. This is not a full-sync though and should only take a couple of seconds as no new articles are fetched, no old articles are deleted and no web pages are downloaded.

    The countdown is reset every time that you change the state of an article so that in effect the countdown only runs down to zero when you are finished with the last article (or you're reading very slowly or a long article).

  • Lots of performance improvements

    Scrolling through lists as well as opening of lists (Dashboard and Articles List) is much faster for larger amounts of articles, e.g. 500.

    Also the speed of "Clear Cache" and the "Deleting Articles Over Capacity" phase during the synchronization is much faster now.

    I am not totally happy with the current performance though and will keep an eye on it. The list layouts are not optimal for example and will get an overhaul during one of the next releases.
  • Bug fixed that under some circumstances caused the synchronization to finish pre-mature

    The symptom was that even though the schedule interval was set to for example 1h, the status bar on the dashboard showed that the last sync was longer ago than that.

    It was a strange bug that isn't easily reproducible, but I have a little bit of confidence that it is fixed now and I have total confidence, that the current version does better in this respect than the last version.

    Let me know if you still see the above mentioned behavior. Please make sure though that you setup the background synchronization first though (see above).

    The same phenomenon was likely responsible for the hung NewsRob-In-Sync notification. I will keep any eye on that this week and if this is the case, I will re-enable this notification again in the next release.
  • An empty Articles List is auto-skipped

    When clicking on a label with only one article, instead of showing the Article List the article itself is directly shown.

    From this release on this is also true for the other direction.

    If you started from a Articles List with a couple of entries that are all read after you looked through them the back button will directly return you the Dashboard instead of to the empty Articles List.
    This, of course, only happens when you are in the "Hide read articles" modus.

  • Ads are not changing so frequently anymore

    In v1.4 from last week I forgot to change a development setting of a new ad each 15 seconds back to the usual 60 seconds. In v1.5 the schedule is 60 seconds again.

  • Downloading of web pages is more robust now

    Web Pages that cause some problems during downloads, e.g. parsing errors or sites are temporarily unavailable because the server is not there, or more likely unreachable as the connection is gone, are now handled more gracefully.

    On the other hand there are still some problems left that I cannot fix without getting rid of the current RegExp-based parsing and implement my own web site parsing.
    I will get around to that eventually, but as this takes a serious amount of time to implement other functionality will not be implemented during that time ;-( and therefore this is not a top priority at the moment.

  • Lots of typos fixed in this release

    ... and probably lots of typos left. Let me know if you find any.

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