I’m going to WES 2009 today (with the day job) and will be a very busy bunny for the next week with very limited capacity to reply to questions and comments. Thanks for your understanding!
Posts Tagged ‘laconica’
Following the now-established pattern from previous releases, I’ve had to do a service release to fix something! It seems that the “deleted replies back from the dead” problem wasn’t just restricted to the special case when mention-checking is first enabled. This is the sort of thing that only gets found when others use the software. Big thanks to everyone who has reported this and apologies for having to update again so soon!
Incidentally, sometimes when installing an update your device will report that you are attempting to replace the current version with the same version. This is caused by erroneous reporting of a cached version number and can be safely ignored – you will definitely be installing the latest version.
Just a quick note on something you might notice when you upgrade to the latest version. Some users have reported seeing deleted replies from friends re-appear when they turn on mention checking. Please be aware that if this happens at all it will only happen once, on the first refresh after the feature is enabled for the very first time. It happens because the mention checking logic within Yatca has no previous ‘state’ and seeds itself by downloading the 20 most recent mentions. Once Yatca has this initial state it works incrementally thereafter. If, like me, you never delete any tweets (relying instead on the housekeeping to do that) you won’t see this happen at all.
Top of the list in the new release is support for shortcuts (aka hotkeys). Woo hoo! People have been asking for this since version 1.0.1 and now that I’ve been using it on my own phone for a few days I’m really enjoying the productivity gains. The shortcuts are mostly in the reading panel where conventions established by the Messages app have been followed:
- ‘u’ – next unread tweet (stops when you’re up to date).
- ‘n’ – next tweet.
- ‘p’ – previous tweet.
- ‘r’ – reply.
- ‘f’ – forward.
- ‘del’ – delete.
Shortcuts are also active in the simple yes/no dialogs, enabling you to press ‘y’ for yes and ‘n’ for no.
Another major new feature in this release is support for mentions. A mention is a relatively new Twitter concept. It extends and supercedes the previous notion of replies to include tweets from any user in which your username appears anywhere in the text of the tweet. N.B. This feature is disabled by default and there are two reasons for this. The first is that users who receive a large number of mentions would quickly find their message list swamped if mention checking was enabled by default. Secondly, mention checking requires an additional request to the Twitter servers on each polling cycle. This increases the amount of data transferred by Yatca and also eats your battery life. If you want to enable mention checking simply go to the Yatca Options screen and change the ‘Check for mentions of you’ setting from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’.
Storm users have long complained that the idiosyncrasies of typing on a touchscreen mean that they often accidentally send a tweet before they have finished composing it. So just for them Yatca can now be configured to ask for confirmation before sending a tweet. Just go into the Yatca Options screen and change the ‘Confirm before sending’ setting from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’.
Twitter continues to grow at a mind-blowing rate (the North American user base doubled last month!) and although the engineers at Twitter are doing a fine job we’ve all seen the famous ‘fail whale’ from time to time. The fail whale means that the Twitter servers are too busy and this manifests in Yatca as an occasional cryptic message when trying to refresh the timeline or send a tweet. Yatca now handles the fail whale much better and will automatically retry any operation that fails due to the Twitter servers being too busy.
Finally, I’ve fixed a problem that prevented photo upload when the SD card was missing or disabled (or indeed not pushed in properly…ahem!). In this situation the photo gallery will now only offer whatever images are found on the built-in device memory.
This is discussed on the FAQ page but probably worth an airing here on prime time. All versions of Yatca up to now only receive updates and replies from users you follow. Replies sent to you by other users are not collected. This is very much by design. The rationale was that receiving replies from strangers (?) would require Yatca to make a second request to the Twitter servers on each polling cycle which would adversely affect your data usage and battery life.
The feature is however increasingly supported by other Twitter clients and it has been heavily requested for Yatca. So it will be included in the next release of Yatca as an optional behaviour that is enabled by default. To be completely accurate, what will actually be added is support for receiving mentions from users you don’t follow. A mention is a recently introduced Twitter concept for a tweet that includes your screen name anywhere within its text (and therefore includes all replies).
Version 1.4.2 is a service release (i.e. no new functionality) which addresses one major bug and three minor ones:
- Some people reported that tweets were disappearing from the message list, or that they were being notified of new tweets that they couldn’t see. It turns out that Yatca was being a bit over-zealous with its housekeeping in certain circumstances! Problem now fixed.
- Image upload was running into a 50 KB size limit and anything larger than that was timing out on upload (another popular Twitter client for BlackBerry has the exact same problem!). This new version of Yatca tries progressively higher compression rates until the image is less than 50 KB.
- When a BlackBerry is connected to a computer and in mass storage mode, third party apps such as Yatca cannot access files in the device memory or SD card. This was causing Yatca to display a cryptic error message when opening the image gallery. A more meaningful message is now displayed.
- Twitter has an unconventional way of handling the ‘<’ and ‘>’ characters that Yatca was not taking account of. This is now fixed (and thanks William for pointing it out!).
I am sorry for the second update in 4-5 days. In truth, I probably rushed the last one a small bit in an effort to get it out before the Easter break.
Incidentally, this new version is called 1.4.2 because the last one was supposed to have been 1.4.1 – further evidence of my rush to release late last Thursday night.
A new version of Yatca is now available. You can download it using the link over on the right. Here’s what it contains…
- Photo support has been completely reworked. Yatca no longer attempts to integrate directly with the device camera. Instead it presents a gallery of all photos on your device from which you can choose one to be uploaded. There’s also a button to launch the built-in Camera application and any photos taken will be detected and added to the gallery when you close the Camera application and return to Yatca. N.B. When you open the photo gallery for the very first time it will be very slow. This is because it has to create thumbnails for all the photos. Painful I know but sadly unavoidable because RIM doesn’t share the inner workings of their ‘thumbs.dat’ file so Yatca has had to reinvent the wheel. Please remember too that when it comes to the reliability of uploads, Yatca is completely at the mercy of (a) your carrier and (b) TwitPic.
- When reading a tweet you’ll notice that the ‘Retweet’ button has become the ‘Forward’ button. When you invoke it, you’re asked if you want to forward by retweet, SMS or email. Choosing SMS or email invokes the relevant application.
- Also when reading a tweet you’ll notice that there’s now an indication of when the tweet was sent. I follow the modern convention of displaying a relative description (e.g. 15 minutes ago) for tweets in the recent past and a date for tweets older than one week.
- Previously, Yatca did not correctly identify a reply from somebody you follow unless it was a reply to a specific tweet from you. So if a friend simply tweeted “@username blah blah blah” that was not filed as a reply but rather as an update, causing replies to be missed on occasion. This has now been fixed.
- If a user has been offline for an extended period of time Yatca will now stop playing catch-up once it has downloaded the maxium number of tweets it can store, which is 1,000. Previously it would keep going way back to clear the backlog, which was pointless because the user would never actually get to see tweets beyond the 1,000 most recent.
- The ‘Mark All Items Read’ command on the menu is now the ‘Mark All Yatca Items Read’ command. This is just to avoid confusion about what the consequence of running the command might be!
- There is a new option to hide the display of the @user in the reply dialog. Please note that if you choose to do this Yatca will still prepend @user to the text of your tweet before sending.
- An awful lot of the effort that went into this version was spent in what we programmers like to call “refactoring”. This is just a fancy way of saying that I replaced all the bad code written in a hurry with something that I could stand over. Although much of this work is invisible to the end user, it has resulted in a few significant performance improvements here and there. But perhaps more importantly, the refactoring should make it easier for me to add future enhancements to Yatca.
Yatca is an innovative Twitter client application for BlackBerry (OS 4.6+) that delivers updates and replies directly to your device’s inbox. This enables you to tweet and reply in much the same way that you work with email and SMS. We hope you enjoy using Yatca but it is a work-in-progress so please bear with us until we get it right. Oh and please check the FAQ page before posting a question!
A new version is now available for download with lots of improvements to get your teeth into.
- In addition to good old Twitter, you can now use Yatca with any microblogging service built around a Laconica server. This includes identi.ca, TWiT.tv and many others – including private corporate servers. Simply choose the service you want at the top of the Yatca Options screen. The only issue with non-Twitter services is that TwitPic’s dependence on Twitter for authentication means that you can’t upload photos. But we are working on a solution.
- The filtering introduced in the last version has been reworked. Previously, for a given category of update or reply (e.g. ‘Updates sent by me’) you could only choose between having it merged into your main message list or keeping it in a separate non-merged folder. You can now choose between ‘Merged’, ’Non-merged’ and ‘Discarded’.
- A further improvement in the area of filtering is that instead of a folder for each filter category there are now just two folders. Anything that gets filtered into the ‘Merged Items’ folder will appear in your main message list and anything filtered into the ‘Non-merged Items’ will not. It is easy to associate a shortcut key with a search that will quickly open the ‘Non-merged Items’ folder from within the main message list.
- Paging is now used when downloading updates and replies from the server. This fixes the “request entity too large” problem that occasionally affected users with lots of friends who did not regularly refresh their friends timeline.
- Yatca now has a homescreen icon which gives you something more obvious to look out for when switching applications. It also means that you can open Yatca from the icon to quickly update your status. Lastly, it means that you can uninstall Yatca by just deleting the icon.
- When replying to somebody, the recipient’s @username is now shown before the text. Previously, this was just silently prepended to the text before uploading to Twitter. But it freaked some people out that they couldn’t actually see it so now they can.
- The retweeting function has been improved and it is now possible to review and edit the text of the retweet before sending. Also, if the length exceeds 140 characters, the last three characters are replaced with the ellipsis instead of just truncating.
- A new setting way down at the bottom of the Yatca Options allows you to choose wether you want to see screen names (droozr) or full names (John Smith). We prefer full names so that remains the default
- There are times when you get so far behind that all you want to do is mark all unread tweets as read and get rid of that useful (but occasionally annoying) notification icon at the top of the screen. Well now you can, thanks to the ‘Mark All Items Read’ command.
As ever though, it’s not all good news. We still haven’t been able to sort out the photo upload problems that affect models with a 3 megapixel camera (Storm and 8900). Providing direct support for the camera is surprisingly tricky. And even if all the wrinkles could be ironed out it would still be fairly limited; RIM do not currently provide the means for an application to control things like zoom, flash, etc. So we’ve decided that today’s release of Yatca will actually be the last to include direct support for the camera. We’ll move instead towards providing an image browsing capability to allow you to select a photo taken with the Camera application proper.
One last word of warning before you rush off to install the new version…we’ve had to change the ‘shape’ of some of the objects that we store in the device memory. This means that when you install the new version it will blow away all Yatca updates, replies and settings already stored on your device. This is unfortunate but unavoidable.