First Screenshots

Written by sven. Posted in preview

uPod on Phone

Today I am proud to present you the first screen­shots of uPod. This was a long way — much longer than I expect­ed. The prob­lem with design­ing is, that it is main­ly tri­al-and-error and a lot of time con­sum­ing pix­el shift­ing. You start with an idea, but it doesn’t look like you expect­ed it and then you try some­thing else. Each time you have to cre­ate new image assets and adjust the code.

But it was def­i­nite­ly worth the effort. The uPod user inter­face brings a fresh new look and feel which mim­ics the hottest most recent designs like for exam­ple Google’s brand new Play Music app. Fur­ther on it uti­lizes some brand new UI pat­terns like the nav­i­ga­tion draw­er on the left which has been intro­duced just two weeks ago on Google IO 2013 and is now used in Google’s lat­est updates like the new Google Mail app and again Play Music.

The nav­i­ga­tion draw­er is the start­ing point of the app and allows you to select what you want to view. The draw­er can be opened on a phone by tap­ping the app icon in the title bar or by swip­ing it in from the left edge of the screen.

As you can also see on the screen­shots, the app has been designed from the ground up to be respon­sive — mean­ing the screen lay­out opti­mizes itself for the screen size it is run­ning on. For exam­ple on the tablet in land­scape mode the nav­i­ga­tion draw­er is always vis­i­ble and the play­back bar is aligned ver­ti­cal­ly on the right edge.

The pod­cast view makes heavy use of your podcast’s cov­er art. This makes using the app a joy as it looks great and helps you to quick­ly find your way to the episodes you want to access.

I hope you like the results as much as I do.

Stay tuned for fur­ther updates.

uPod on Tablet

Pull Synchronization

Written by sven. Posted in preview

This is anoth­er quick sta­tus report to keep you informed about my progress. The pull sync is ful­ly imple­ment­ed and work­ing. The pull sync is respon­si­ble for updat­ing the app’s local data with infor­ma­tion from the serv­er. This includes things like new­ly avail­able episodes, the con­tents of your episode library, your playlist and play­back posi­tions or in short: Every­thing which has to do with pod­cast sub­scrip­tions and cross device syn­chro­niza­tion.

Cur­rent­ly I am already work­ing on the user inter­face and I am mak­ing quite good progress. I am uti­liz­ing some of the hottest new user inter­face best prac­tice which have been intro­duced by Google on the lat­est Google I/O just one week ago (look­out for the appli­ca­tion draw­er). In my next sta­tus report I will pro­vide you the first screen­shots. So stay tuned!

Off Topic: Looking for Java/Scala Developers in Berlin

Written by sven. Posted in off-topic

First of all: This is com­plete­ly off top­ic and has noth­ing to do with Good­News or uPod or even Android at all. This being said I want­ed to let you know that I am look­ing for a few Java/S­cala-Devel­op­ers to join my team at Beta Sys­tems in Berlin. We will devel­op the next gen­er­a­tion Web UI for our enter­prise appli­ca­tions. So if you are a devel­op­er and you are look­ing for a new chal­lenge or if you know some­one how might be inter­est­ed, please read the full job offer and learn how to apply.

The uPod Service

Written by sven. Posted in preview

Though the first release of the uPod app is still far away, I want­ed to use the oppor­tu­ni­ty to let you know about the progress I am mak­ing. As I’ve already have a quite com­plete idea of how the user inter­face will look and work like I’ve decid­ed to devel­op the app bot­tom up — mean­ing I start with the stor­age and syn­chro­niza­tion stuff, so that I can use real data when work­ing on the user inter­face. This also implies, that it will take some time until I can pro­vide you the first screen­shots of the app.

Today I want to tell you a lit­tle bit about the uPod ser­vice. Though you will nev­er see it when using the app, it is a very impor­tant part of uPod. As a for­mer user of Google read­er and an own­er of an Android phone and tablet I want to have full syn­chro­niza­tion across all my devices right from the begin­ning. For exam­ple at home in the evening I want to use the big screen of my Nexus 10 to scan through new pod­cast episodes and add them to my library and playlist and when I am on my way in the morn­ing I want to lis­ten to this playlist on my Galaxy Nexus.

To make this pos­si­ble my sub­scrip­tions, episode library and playlist need to be stored in the cloud and my devices need to syn­chro­nize with this stored infor­ma­tion. And this is where the uPod ser­vice comes on to the scene — it will be run­ning in the cloud and store all the infor­ma­tion required by my devices includ­ing my sub­scrip­tions, my library, playlist (includ­ing episode order­ing) play­back posi­tions and gen­er­al lis­ten pref­er­ences. The ser­vice is also respon­si­ble for check­ing the sub­scrip­tions of all users for new episodes and push­ing them to our uPod inbox­es. Keep­ing this log­ic on the serv­er helps to reduce the syn­chro­niza­tion log­ic and the amount of data to be trans­ferred dur­ing a sync on the mobile device. Final­ly the uPod ser­vice pro­vides a web ser­vice API which is used by the uPod app to access all the required infor­ma­tion and push back changes.

Now you may ask how the authen­ti­ca­tion against the uPod ser­vice works? That’s sim­ple: When start­ing the uPod app for the first time you will get an account pick­er pro­vid­ing you all your google accounts. Sim­ply select one of them and all your uPod infor­ma­tion will be linked to your google account — no need to cre­ate anoth­er account and select anoth­er user­name and pass­word.

The good news is that the imple­men­ta­tion of the ser­vice is near­ly fin­ished and it is work­ing well. For the devel­op­ers among you who are inter­est­ed in the tech­ni­cal details: The uPod ser­vice pro­vides a REST like web ser­vice API and is imple­ment­ed using the pro­gram­ming lan­guage Scala and the Play 2.1 frame­work. Mon­goDB serves as the stor­age back­end for the ser­vice.

Next I will start work­ing on the uPod app, start­ing with it’s stor­age and syn­chro­niza­tion lay­er. I guess it will require a com­pa­ra­ble effort like imple­ment­ing the uPod ser­vice. Stay tuned!

Welcome to the uPod Blog

Written by sven. Posted in website

Welcome to the uPod blog. At this place I will pub­lish all news relat­ed to the progress of the uPod devel­op­ment — my new pod­cast play­er app for android. If you pre­fer, you can fol­low me on Twit­ter or Google+ instead. Please also take a look at the overview to learn which fea­tures are planned for uPod. As soon as the first beta ver­sions is avail­able, I will release a feed­back site, which will allow you to report issues and sub­mit your fea­ture requests.

Want to stay informed? Follow me.