Dienstag, 27. Dezember 2011

Argh Ovi Store and COBS (and stray .debs in Forums)! ..or: I want my Maemo Extras back

Rant mode on (once again). The reason why gPodder 3.0.2, which has been released two weeks ago has not yet made it into Ovi Store is not because I was lazy (in fact, I uploaded the .deb on the same day as the release day, i.e. 2011-12-13) but because it took Ovi Store QA one whole week(!) to realize that the gPodder package isn't optified. Guess what? Optification isn't really needed by Harmattan anymore, and the Ovi Store has passed all previous gPodder releases which have been packaged exactly the same. Apparently they decided it's necessary this time.
Cool, so now I have to modify my packaging, and Marius' maemo-optify isn't in the Madde environment of the Qt SDK (and I'm not even sure if the package would be accepted then).

For some other reason, my gPodder 3.0.2 package hasn't yet been accepted in Apps For MeeGo even though I've submitted two requests already (and one should be enough?). Add to that that the Community OBS is not really easy to understand or use, but then maybe it's just my incompetence and other developers have no problem with it. It might also be overkill now that nobody cares about building against all these dead MeeGo UXes. The only thing I want to build my stuff against is the latest Harmattan release.

Contrast that to the simplicity, ease of use and clarity of Maemo Extras and its fabulous autobuilder. While it had its own problems, it was surely easier to use, and you knew where the packages came out, and the Maemo 5 Extras QA process has been fine-tuned for several months now. Can't we just have the same for Harmattan? :/

Oh, and by the way: I'd much rather trust an Extras repository (or even the OBS if need be) with a Community-driven QA and building on the server (with sources readily available for the interested!) than the Ovi QA - my Calenderr Hack, which modifies .desktop files of Nokia-provided built-in packages was uploaded by somebody else (I still haven't seen the full source of that package, and only found out that it has been uploaded by a post in the forum thread..) to Ovi Store, and it got accepted.

Bonus question: Which is the most comprehensive software directory for Harmattan? Answer: My-MeeGo.com's ad-infested Software Catalog, mixing Ovi Store links with deeplinks to .debs on some random web servers (and doing a very good job at it, they got most of my Ovi apps/games and random .debs listed). They even got lots of user comments that provide good feedback for developers, while apps.formeego.org looks nice and is ad-free, but contains a whopping 10 stable apps in its directory for the N9, with 14 more apps waiting for review. Because apparently it's hard to come up with something like Maemo.org Downloads for Harmattan.

Montag, 26. Dezember 2011

Tedious fragmentation (maemo.org / meego.com)

Rant mode on. It's really tedious to hunt down information about Harmattan. It's not really MeeGo (and MeeGo Is Dead(tm), anyways) and it's not branded as Maemo, even though it's Maemo. Yeah. It's not really Maemo, but it is. And it's not really MeeGo, but it is branded as such.

Wiki. The Wiki pages are split between maemo.org and meego.com. For example, there's the ARM/N950 page on meego.com and the Nokia N950 page on maemo.org. Oh, and if two Wikis are not enough, have a look at the MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan category on Nokia Developer's very own Wiki. Add to that the Qt Developer Network Wiki content for N950 and you have information spread onto 4 different Wikis. So, where are YOU going to add information?

Forums. Next up are the forums. You know the drill. It's called Handset on forum.meego.com and MeeGo/Harmattan on talk.maemo.org. And if you feel more like a Nokia fanboy, discuss on developer.nokia.com. Or troll(tech) your Qt love on Qt's own Mobile and Embedded Forum.

Repositories. Writing apps is supposedly easy. Publishing them is hard. What will it be? Nokia Store Publish to reach the masses? Or the not-so-well-known Apps for MeeGo? And independent of where you publish your packages, if it's an open source package it's hard for users to track down the sources of your package (which you really should make easily accessible).

Hosting. The good old Maemo Garage still provides good service, the MeeGo Garage never materialized, but is still advertised on meego.com. Nokia Developer obviously also has an offering for you: projects.developer.nokia.com allows you to host stuff (but apparently has been down for a few weeks recently). The rest of the projects is spread between private web pages and Gitorious/Github.

Yes, choice is good. But right now, everything is more complicated than it should be. In the Good Old N900 Times(tm), we gathered information on wiki.maemo.org, discussed on TMO (which was Internet Tablet Talk merged into the maemo.org domain - while not without resistance, this was IMHO a good move) and had the Maemo Garage and the awesome Maemo Extras for all our repository/packaging needs. Granted, the OBS might be better suited for building packages than the Extras Autobuilder, but i'm missing a package interface a'la packages.debian.org for Harmattan which is available for Maemo 5.

The other question is: How long will meego.com hosting be funded, and how long will maemo.org hosting be funded? Wouldn't it make sense to deprecate one of them for Harmattan content and try to move content from the deprecated one to the preferred one?

We (as the Harmattan Community, which I would see as the collective of N950 and N9 users and developers) are a small community, so we should focus our energy on one collaboration place/domain instead of splitting everything between maemo.org and meego.com. I don't want to announce new things on two different pages/forums, don't want to check two different places for new content and publish packages to two different repositories.

Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2011

gPodder 3.0.2 for Harmattan

A new version of gPodder (a free podcast, YouTube and Soundcloud downloader) has been released today. It has been uploaded to the Community OBS (Apps For MeeGo) and to Ovi Store, and is waiting in each QA queue for approval. Some new things to look out for:
  • Common Prefix Elimination: A very cool name for a very space-efficient feature. If all episodes in a podcast have the same prefix in their title, the prefix is stripped. This usually gives you more information about the episode on screen without wasting space with repeated information.
  • Audio Player Scrubbing: You probably know the seeking buttons in the media player. These buttons now show their meaning in a text popup when pressed and - and here comes the cool part - allow you to "scrub" through a podcast.
What scrubbing means is that you can touch-and-hold a button and then scrub on the screen up and down (or left and right - it doesn't really matter, just the distance counts) and the action of the button will be carried out multiple times. This lets you quickly navigate through long podcasts or mixes if you are searching for a certain passage.

Some bugs (like the YouTube episode sorting issue) have also been fixed, more on that in the release announcement. gPodder 3.0.2 "Agent 99" will be available in Ovi Store and Apps For Meego shortly.

Sonntag, 4. Dezember 2011

This weekend's releases: Tap Tap N950, qw.py and the IP Address Widget

Over the weekend, I've pushed out some code for your enjoyment: First up is the incomplete but maybe interesting QML source code of the Tap Tap N950 prototype. I probably won't find time to work on this, but it would be sad to let the small piece of code rot - maybe someone wants to pick up the development of it. I'll answer any questions related to the code in the thread :)

Next up is the open source release of the qw prototype "qw.py", which has been developed during the Super GameDev Weekend 2010 at the Metalab Vienna last December (the next one is at the upcoming weekend; stop by if you are in Vienna!) - nearly 1 year ago. This is not the same as qw The Game in Ovi Store, but it's an earlier version, which still contains multi-player support (4 players on one PC keyboard), and it's written in Python, so it should be easily hackable.

And last but maybe not least is the IP Address "Widget" for Harmattan. This small hack (which is inspired by the earlier Calenderr calendar icon hack) makes use of the fact that the Harmattan UX reloads the icon of an application whenever the .desktop file or the icon file itself changes. The details (and a .deb for easy installation) can be found on the website - basically it shows a way to have semi-interactive "widgets" on the app list on Harmattan. I'm sure that creative readers can come up with some cool ideas :)