January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day Two – Calendar and RSS Reader

See also January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day One – Reminders and Music.

Day two of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to Calendar and RSS Reader (a.k.a. ‘Shorts’), but as always we welcome contributions to any app on any day of the week!

device-2014-01-27-101500

device-2014-01-27-101138

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In order to get started we’ve come up with some suggestions for new developers.

First off get your development environment setup as documented at http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ which you can do either natively on Ubuntu 13.10 or 14.04 or in a Virtual Machine if you prefer.
If you have a Nexus device, you could either replace the legacy OS with Ubuntu using either of these guides – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

Next up take a look at some of these suggestions based on your area of interest and skill level.

We welcome translations for all our Core Apps. If that’s if interest you can find everything you need at https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+filebug

You may find some bugs which have yet to be confirmed or triaged, we’d love your help there too.

You’ll find out-standing merge proposals on launchpad at https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+activereviews.

If you’d like to take on a task then we have some work items in the blueprints which you can assign to yourself and get cracking on at https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-calendar-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-rssreader-dev

You can find out more about the Core Apps Hack Days at the links at the top, and you’ll find all of us hanging out on #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode.

January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day One – Reminders and Music

As David blogged yesterday, we’re having another round of Core Apps Hack Days for our Ubuntu Phone Core Apps

Each day we’re focussing on two apps, today that’s Reminders and Music, but as always we welcome contributions to any app on any day of the week!

device-2014-01-24-103051 device-2014-01-24-103257

In order to get started we’ve come up with some suggestions for new developers.

First off get your development environment setup as documented at http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ which you can do either natively on Ubuntu 13.10 or 14.04 or in a Virtual Machine if you prefer.
If you have a Nexus device, you could either replace the legacy OS with Ubuntu using either of these guides – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

Next up take a look at some of these suggestions based on your area of interest and skill level.

We welcome translations for all our Core Apps. If that’s if interest you can find everything you need at https://translations.launchpad.net/reminders-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/music-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/music-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+filebug

You may find some bugs which have yet to be confirmed or triaged, we’d love your help there too.

You’ll find out-standing merge proposals on launchpad at https://code.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/music-app/+activereviews.

If you’d like to take on a task then we have some work items in the blueprints which you can assign to yourself and get cracking on at https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/reminders-app-development and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-music-dev

You can find out more about the Core Apps Hack Days at the links at the top, and you’ll find all of us hanging out on #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode.

Ubuntu Reminders App Progress

During the 13.10 development cycle we worked with the community to create a set of Core Apps for Ubuntu Touch. This resulted in a set of apps delivered in the image we build every single day.

For the 14.04 cycle we’ve got more work to do! During his keynote, Mark Shuttleworth identified some areas of focus for the next 6 to 12 months. For the existing Core Apps we’ll be working on refinement, expansion, ensuring apps work in the sidestage and adapt accordingly when resized. We’ll also look at getting the Core Apps running on the tablet (Unity 8) and desktop (Unity 7).

In addition to those improvements and evolutions we’re also working on new apps for this cycle. David Planella has already blogged about the Reminders App (powered by Evernote), and I just wanted to post an update to that.

There’s been a flurry of activity on Reminders App over the last couple of weeks. We’ve started work on an backend which connects through the Online Accounts API to Evernote.

Evernote online account

Once authenticated to Evernote the app can access notes, notebooks and reminders stored in Evernote, and display them. We worked with the Canonical Design Team to come up with some draft wireframes for the various screens in the Reminders App. Some of the screens will require SDK changes because they introduce new design patterns which are still in progress.

The first of those are Notes & Notebooks views, both of which are still very much in progress, but the basics are working.

Notes view Notebook view

The reminders view is still in progress:-

Reminders view

It’s possible to navigate your notes and display them, and again this is in progress, but it’s exciting to see the basic display of notes working!

Display note

We’ve added Reminders App to our continuous integration setup which automatically builds click packages and Debian packages for the app and the plugins and runs tests before pushing the packages to our PPA.

Next we need to built the other views and start building the rest of the Reminders App. Part of that includes building a small team to create and maintain the Evernote API QML plugin as detailed in David’s blog post. I’ll be reaching out to some core apps developers to gauge interest, but volunteers always welcome, see David’s post for details.

Ad-Hoc Ubuntu Touch App Testing

tl;dr I wrote some bash scripts, scroll down to have a laugh at how bad I am at it.

In summary…

Get them with bzr branch lp:~popey/+junk/phablet-testing

In detail…

Over the past few months we’ve had a lot of fun testing out the Core Apps and more recently new apps submitted for the Ubuntu App Showdown. Frequently someone will drop by #ubuntu-app-devel or the Ubuntu App Developer G+ Community and ask us to test their latest app out.

Many developers are developing their apps on an Ubuntu desktop using the Ubuntu Touch SDK Preview and only run their app on that PC, with no mobile device to test on. Clearly there are constraints when running apps on mobile devices and all the developers are keen to ensure theirs works well on all form factors. With this in mind some of us at Canonical (and some community folks too!) who are fortunate enough to have devices have offered to test the apps out for them.

The Core Apps are in a PPA which gets included in the daily builds, so we can simply apt-get update and apt-get dist-upgrade to get the latest version of those apps, once they’re built and have passed through some automated testing and review. However many apps aren’t in a PPA, especially those apps being created for the App Showdown. They’re mostly just in personal branches on Launchpad. As we get asked to test these a lot, I wanted to try and automate the process, so it’s not too much of an interruption to my day when people request ad-hoc testing.

The requirements were:-

  • Test all the very latest (trunk) code from all the core apps.
    • I want to be able to get the very latest on my device so I can update it and leave the house to play with them in real-world ways
    • Sometimes I want to test what’s in trunk before it gets built in the PPA. Maybe I’m in a hurry, or maybe the build infrastructure is having a bad day
  • Build and run a specific branch from launchpad
    • Developers often ask us to test stuff out before they merge to trunk
    • Some apps aren’t in any PPA, so we just want to test trunk
  • Test Click Packages.
    • The new portal for developers to submit click packages is live and we need to be able to manually test them until the automated testing / validation is in place
  • Take screenshots
    • For attaching to bug reports
    • For marketing :)

So that’s why I made those scripts. Hope they’re useful to someone. Let me know if they do/don’t work or if there are better ways to do it. Note: There almost certainly are better ways to do all of it.

Ubuntu Touch RSS Reader and Stock Ticker Hack Day

On day four of our Ubuntu Touch Hack Days we’re focussing on the RSS Reader and Stock Ticker apps. See also my previous posts about Ubuntu Touch Clock & Calculator, Weather & Calendar and File Manager & Music App Hack Days for more details.

We’ve seen some excellent contributions so far this week, not only to the apps we’ve put the spotlight on each day, but in other areas too. Yesterday the Clock app developers were busy fixing bugs and implementing features to sprint us towards 13.10 with plenty of contributions and testing, it was very much ‘all hands to the pumps’.

In addition we’ve seen a lot of testing of the new Click Packages and the associated back-end infrastructure. We’ve had App Showdown developers submitting their apps, getting reviewed and arriving directly on devices at lightning speed! It’s impressive to see the new infrastructure working end-to-end, especially with community developers discovering the kinks and those getting fixed too!

We also had new developers contributing for the first time. One who was new to Ubuntu Touch arrived in the #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel after having some difficulty with the SDK under Linux Mint. It was gratifying to see suggestions from core apps developers, Canonical platform developers and others all helping to get this developer up and running. It all paid off in the end as their code contribution fixed a rather glaring error in the clock app (stopwatches shouldn’t go backwards after midnight) :). I find it incredibly rewarding to see new people join our community and get up and running, and contributing so fast!

RSS Reader & Stock Ticker

Thursday 5th September 2013 – RSS Reader & Stock Ticker

RSS Reader

RSS Reader

RSS Reader (also known as ‘Shorts’) has evolved from it’s original style thanks to some great design work from Lisette on the Canonical Design Team. We added the RSS Reader to the list of apps getting design input from Lisette part way through the cycle, and it’s really paid off. With regular hangouts involving the developers and design, we’ve been able to collaborate well on what will be the Ubuntu Touch primary news consumption app.

We have some work left to do though. The final grid implementation for ‘Shorts’ needs completing, and once done we need to get our QA ducks in a row by re-enabling our Autopilot tests which were disabled while there was a lot of code churn and design re-work, to allow the developers to focus. As with the other apps we have some bugs which need attention. If there’s time we’d love to get offline cached reading implemented, for those times when you’re reading the news underground!

Stock Ticker

Stock Ticker

Stock Ticker is another app which we adopted into the Core Apps project from a community developer who’d done a sterling job of implementing a really easy to use tool. It came to us pretty much complete, so the only outstanding feature we’d like to see implemented for the hack day is to add Unity actions API support, and as always, fix those outstanding bugs!

If you’d like to help then follow the links above, and drop by #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode IRC to introduce yourself!
The #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel has been a lot busier in general this week than it usually is. There’s been a lot of productive discussion for developers entering the App Showdown, Core Apps developers and others. It’s turned into a very friendly and productive channel. Everyone is welcome!