Archive for June, 2010
The new 0.6.3 version of LauncherPro Beta is now available in the Android Market. It focuses mainly on bugfixes, stability and performance, but also adds a couple of new features.
Here’s what’s new:
- Removed some useless memory usage in the dock. Should improve stability.
- Fixed a bug when scrolling to a dock that had all its shortcuts set to Blank.
- Fixed a force-close issue when installing/updating/uninstalling apps from the Market. I haven’t been able to reproduce this problem so I’m not 100% sure it’s fixed, but it should be.
- Fixed force-close when choosing custom dock icons on certain phones (mainly HTC Sense phones)
- Fixed force-close when scrolling the app drawer before it had finished opening (I think that was only a problem on Android 2.2).
- Added a “Motorola Droid hack” option under General Settings inside the preferences. If you have a Motorola Droid or Milestone, you should check this for improved scrolling performance. If you’re running a custom ROM, you might want to check the performance with this on and off, if there’s no visible difference in scrolling smoothness, disable it.
- Fixed the dockbar sometimes randomly switching to a non-default dock, even if dock scrolling is disabled.
- Fixed the dockbar switching to the default dock on orientation change.
- New option to select the number of docks. You can choose 1, 2, or 3 docks.
- The “Enable dock scrolling” option has been removed. If you want to disable dock scrolling, set the number of docks to 1.
- New option to use your phone’s trackball to switch homescreens. It’s under Homescreen Settings in the preferences.
That’s it for now, look out for more updates this week.
Some people have been reporting force-closes when doing different things in the latest version of LauncherPro.
The thing is, without knowing exactly what caused the problem that made the app crash, there’s very little I can do to fix it. Here’s where error logs come in.
If you’re having force-closes, instead of complaining, giving bad ratings in the market, and calling the app “broken”, please send me a log of the error so that I can potentially fix whatever is causing problems.
Remember this app is still in BETA stage so bugs are to be expected. I cannot fix force-close bugs if I don’t know what caused them in the first place.
Anyway, here’s how to get a log of the error:
- Download “aLogcat” from the Market (it’s free)
- Next time you get a force-close, immediately open aLogCat.
- Inside aLogcat, choose Menu > Level > Error.
- Now choose Menu > More > Save Log. The log will be saved to your SD card.
- Copy the log from your SD card and paste it in this thread on the forum.
Along with the log, it’s also helpful if you write down the following LauncherPro settings:
- Memory usage option
- Keep in memory enabled?
- 3D drawer enabled?
- Scrollable widgets enabled?
- Auto-rotation enabled?
- Number of screens
- 5 homescreen rows enabled?
- Are all the screens full with widgets/icons or do you have plenty of empty spaces?
- Dock scrolling enabled?
That should be enough information to pinpoint what’s causing the problem.
One more note to the users complaining the LauncherPro is (or is becoming) bloated: If what you want is a fast and lightweight launcher without many options, use the earlier versions of LauncherPro. What’s the point in updating to a newer version with more features and then complain that there’s too many features/options? Stick with whatever version works best for you.
I am adding (and will continue to) more features as users request them, while still trying to keep performance and stability at a good level. Some features will inevitably have an impact on performance when they are enabled, but they shouldn’t have any impact when they are disabled (unless there’s bugs, which should be fixed in future updates).
Sorry for the small rant, I’m just getting a bit tired of people moaning and groaning without actually trying to help me solve the problem.
Small bugfix release, I accidentally left some code in 0.6.1 that kept the 3D drawer from scrolling.
Ok, this is going to be a longer post than usual. There’s some important new settings on LauncherPro and I feel like I should give you some background on it.
LauncherPro creates bitmap caches of everything on your homescreens to make scrolling smoother. These caches take up memory. Android limits the amount of memory any app can use to 24mb (16mb on devices with 320×480 resolution). Whenever an app exceeds that limit, it crashes and force closes.
The stock Android launcher rarely runs out of memory because of its 5-screen limit. With LauncherPro you get up to 7 screens, an option to have 5 rows of icons (more icons/widgets per screen), a shortcut dock and more. All that increases the memory usage, making it easier to exceed the memory limit and crash.
Ever since the first few releases of LauncherPro, I’ve been making tweaks to the code to try and reduce the memory usage to reduce the amount of crashes. Some of these tweaks came at the cost of little performance hits. Basically compromised a bit of performance for stability. Now, a lot of people didn’t need these tweaks since their memory usage was not excessive and in the result they lost some performance for nothing.
So I’ve decided to approach this a different way. Instead of trying to make a one-size-fits-all memory management solution, I’m going to let YOU take charge of it according to your needs.
Starting with version 0.6.1, there is a new option in the preferences called “Memory usage”. Right now there are three modes; light, medium, and high.
- Light mode is basically what 0.6.0 uses, and it’s made for users that have 5 or more screens, a lot of widgets/icons (or many full-screen widgets), 3D drawer, etc.
- Medium is the default, it should work best for most users with a moderate-to-high amount of widgets/icons.
- High mode doesn’t try to optimize memory usage. It’s very much like the early versions of LauncherPro, so it should give the best performance. If you don’t have a lot of widgets/icons on your screens, you should try this setting.
With that said, I should also give you some tips so that you can choose what to compromise or not:
- Using a dock background uses more memory than not using one
- 3D drawer uses considerably more memory than 2D drawer
- Using the additional shortcuts on the scrolling dock uses more memory than leaving them blank
More memory usage levels will be added over time, as I find new ways to optimize memory usage.
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get on to the other changes in 0.6.1:
- The preferences screen was getting a bit crowded, so I’ve arranged it into different screens. There will be some more rearranging in the next releases to try and keep it as tidy as possible.
- The new “Keep in Memory” option was giving lots of trouble and force closes, so I’ve disabled it in 0.6.1. If you’d like to use that feature, please re-enable it manually in the preferences.
- New option to enable/disable dock scrolling
- New option to enable/disable loop scrolling on the dock. This means that when you reach the end, you can still scroll to go to the first set of shortcuts.
- The set of dock shortcuts on the far right has been moved to the far left, so now what was the leftmost dock is in the middle (and is still the default dock).
That’s it for now.
The new LauncherPro Beta v0.6.0 is here and it brings the goodies! It includes a few bugfixes and some exciting new features.
Here’s what’s new:
- Fixed the bug where the app drawer’s home button would show for a second after coming back from an application.
- Fixed screen previews when choosing to have 2 homescreens
- Fixed some folder-related bugs when 5-row option is selected.
- New screen indicator (optional). If you’re not using the homescreen dots in your dock, you can choose do display a small indicator at the bottom of the screen to know on which homescreen you are. You can enable it in the preferences
- New: The app drawer button is now a regular dock shortcut. That means you can change its position, change its icon, or remove it entirely.
- New: The dock has grown! Swipe the dock to the left (down in landscape) to reveal 5 additional shortcut spaces. Now swipe it again for 5 more! That makes a total of 15 shortctus. You can add the app drawer button on the new dock spaces by long-pressing on one and choosing “App Drawer”.
- New: Option to keep LauncherPro in memory. When you’re running low on memory, the system usually kills LauncherPro, so next time you open it, it has to reload all widgets and icons which takes a few seconds. This option should keep the system from killing LauncherPro. If you experience any troubles with it, please disable it on the settings.
How about that? I hope you like these new features as much as I do.
Please head over to our forum to post any comments, suggestions and bug reports. It’s much easier for me to keep track of stuff there than in the comments here.
Just a small bugfix update, I left some pre-production code in 0.5.3 that shouldn’t be there and could cause higher memory usage and slower speeds.
Please update to v0.5.4 as soon as possible. Thanks and sorry for the inconvenience.
Some users have reported a drop in smoothness in build v0.5.2. I suspect the new scrollable widget support might be the culprit, so I’ve created a new build (0.5.3) that lets you toggle support for these widgets on or off.
It’s disabled by default, so if you’re using scrollable widgets, please go to Preferences and check “Enable scrollable widgets”.
For those of you not using scrollable widgets, hopefully this will solve the smoothness problem.
Also, please note that the minimum scrolling speed since 0.5.2 is slower than usual, so if you still have it set at 0, you might want to bump it to 30 or higher. I’ve set the new default at 30.
The new version of LauncherPro Beta (0.5.2) is now available in the Android Market.
This one is for the tweakers and widget lovers. Here’s what’s new:
- Support for scrollable widgets like Pure Messenger.
- Option to disable wallpaper scrolling. This will keep your wallpaper centered at all times.
- New icon “glow” highlights. When you press/select an icon on a homescreen or the app drawer, they will show a glow around the icon instead of the usual yellow/orange box. You can disable this in the preferences.
- Option for high quality scrolling. This will keep your icon and widget graphics in high quality while scrolling. Be warned this will reduce scrolling smoothness though.
- Option to set minimum scrolling speed. The homescreen scrolling speed depends on how fast you swipe your finger. This will let you set a minimum speed, so that even if you swipe your finger slowly, LauncherPro will scroll *at least* as fast as your minimum scrolling speed.
- Option to set screen previews opening speed. Lets you tweak the speed of the screen previews opening/closing animation effect.
- Option to have 2 homescreens. You can now choose from 2 to 7.
- Made the background of open folders translucent. Also fixed a small visual glitch in open folders’ header graphic.
- New LauncherPro style icons for Maps, Navigation, Twitter and Facebook.
As always, head over to our discussion forums to post any comments, suggestions and bug reports.
A small bug fix release, v0.5.1 is on the Market and fixes a bug in 0.5.0 that made scrolling to the right slower than to the left.
A new build of LauncherPro Beta has just been uploaded to the Android market. Here’s what’s new:
- Fixed description of “Opening Speed” preference
- Fixed (hopefully) problem when setting the drawer opening speed to 10
- New LauncherPro-style icons for Google Voice and Camera. More coming soon.
- New 3D app drawer. This feature is EXPERIMENTAL. It probably has some bugs and uses more memory than the 2D drawer, so it might cause some instability. Use at your own risk. To enable it, go to Preferences > Advanced settings > Use 3D drawer.
I know the 3D drawer isn’t exactly like the one on the Nexus One. That one uses a private API not available to developers so this is the best I can do until that API is made open to us. Please don’t ask me to make it like the Nexus One drawer.
Watch out for another update in the coming days that will include some more advanced preferences. I know a lot of you like to tweak every little detail and I’m trying my best to accommodate your needs.
As always, head over to our forum to post all your questions, comments, suggestions and bug reports.
See you soon,