Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's been awhile...

...since my last post, but I've been busy with development for sure. I've finally gotten around to implementing a widget into my WoW Realm Checker app. It was certainly an adventure. My advice for those looking to make widgets that update automatically with data that also updates automatically...make your alarms distinct! I had two alarms and couldn't figure out why my data updates were going beserk, seemingly randomly. Make the starting intents unique by adding a field to them, like a string, so you can tell them apart when you receive an alarm. Lesson learned!

Also, I've recently released a version of my app for SWTOR. While similar, the data is scraped from HTML since they provide no API. It makes things a bit more memory intensive, but for all intents and purposes the app functions in a very similar manner. Please note that while queue times are a popular request this data is not available. Bioware and EA just don't publically publish this information so as of right now I have no way of displaying it. If a way of gathering this data arises you can be sure that I will update the app.

Also, improved French localization should be coming soon. To my surprise, France and Germany, whose localization was recently improved thanks to Lukren, make up over 50% of my SWTOR app usage. I would have never of guessed! Now I feel really bad for just using Google Translate for languages aside from English :(.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Language Issues

Upon releasing the last update to support Taiwanese servers, a comment left brought an issue to my attention: language issues. The user's comment was that while the app supports Taiwanese servers, there is no way to input (or use the app, for that matter), Chinese characters. This is obviously an issue for those who use the app and do not use English. In trying to solve the issue at hand I ran into a few problems:

1. The app itself isn't localized into any other languages. This is something that I can fix to a certain degree. For example, the label text I use for "Region" and the buttons could be localized easily. However, the realm names, cannot.

2. The data feed that Blizzard gives for the Taiwanese servers is in English. Check it out for yourself if you don't believe me: That link is the API that Blizzard has released for developers to use. As you can see, all the realms are in English.

The only option I see right now is to manually translate all the names. This is an issue because for phones that don't have the Chinese character set would most likely see a bunch of garbage when trying to view the status (albeit people outside of Taiwan probably don't have accounts in Taiwan, but I digress). I'm trying to see if there's a more elegant way to get the realm status from the API pre-translated, but it may take some time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Update (1.07b)

Just popped in to add a quick update. I just release the newest version of the WoW Realm Status app.

- Added support for Taiwanese realms
- Fixed a force close error with notifications

For some reason, even though my developer pane contains the newest version, the marketplace doesn't seem to have updated with the latest version. It's odd because usually the update is instantaneous...but we'll see. It hopefully should be available soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bug reports

I noticed a few new bug reports come in over the last couple of days for the WoW Realm Status Checker app (along with a comment that states that it does not accurately show the realm status). Specifically, there seems to be a force close issue when exiting the app. From what I can tell, this happens when the app is left running for prolonged periods of time. Fortunately, I have the stack traces that users kindly submitted and thus I should have no issue fixing the bug. Unfortunately, I'm on vacation for my senior graduation week right now and will be leaving again for another vacation very shortly thereafter. To compound me being home all of 4 days for the last half of May, I will be moving into a new place after all these vacations are over. In short, because I just moved out of school and I'm kind of in flux until the beginning of June, I probably won't even have the opportunity to fix the issue until then. My computer isn't even unpacked and I don't have an up-to-date version of the source code that I can work on while mobile. Since the issue is occurring when closing the app, I'm guessing the app still gets closed because it force closes, at least that's what I hope.

In short, I will work on a fix as soon as I'm up and running again. I'm sorry to keep people waiting, and I hope you can all understand.

As for the comment saying that the app is not accurately showing the realm status. This could be because Blizzard's feed hasn't updated yet with the fact that your realm is down. Remember, this app gets its data from Blizzard's feed so if it doesn't update when your realm goes down for whatever reason the app won't update either. On the contrary, there always could be something wrong with the app :). I'm new to Android development and I never trust my code (or anyone's, for that matter). I'm a skeptic, so it very well could be an issue I have to fix. If anyone encounters an issue with the app, please be as detailed as possible instead of vaguely telling me the app doesn't work and then giving me a one star rating. It doesn't help me fix anything, all it accomplishes is making me feel like I wrote a terrible app *sadface*.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Notifications incoming!

I have been reading the comments people have been leaving, and believe me I do appreciate your feedback. Things got a bit busy, so I hadn't had much time to work on things until recently. Notifications are on the way! With notifications turned on you won't have to keep the app open to know when your realm(s) go on or offline. A toast will pop up notifying you whenever one of your favorite realms' status changes.

As far as a widget goes, I'm thinking about it. It's something I'd like to do soon, but I want to get notifications done first. Notifications are pretty much done, I just need to do some clean up and then testing before I release it live. Once that is all stable, I will start to fiddle around with a widget. My issue with widgets in general is that some phones tend to have weird issues with widgets, and I want to avoid having major issues with the app on phones that I can't test on. My testbed includes the Android Emulator and the HTC Droid Incredible...and that's it. Thus, testing in different environments isn't a luxury I have. I'll update as I go though.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Starting Off

I'm gearing up to launch my first app for Android: World of Warcraft Realm Checker. The name is a bit of a mouthful, I know. This simple app will allow you to view the current status of realms in the US, Europe, and Korea using the recently released community API from Blizzard. Here's a list of some of the features:

 - See a realm population (Low, Medium, High, etc), type (PvE, PvP, etc), and status
 - Show all realms for a given region.
 - Mark realms as favorites by simply tapping a realm on the screen.
 - Favorite realms can be viewed by pressing "My Realms". Convenient for keeping track of realms you play on.
 - Both the favorites and full realm list can be filtered by a typed keyword.

The app itself is pretty simple right now, but I'd like to expand its features a bit in the future. For example, being able to view recent service status messages from Blizzard. As Blizzard expands it's community API to other regions I'll get those in.

That's it for now!