Monday, July 20, 2015

app-free miniatures for mobiles?

Earlier this year, the radio aporee app was blocked on iTunes because I've missed to pay the developer fee, and on Google Play, because I've missed to confirm some longish changes in some terms of service. I'm not a fan of apps anyway, I tend to think web, networking and open standards... But this accidents made me angry. I'd love to escape both of these app-ecosystems, and leave app-stores etc. behind.

So, after this experience I've started to look into HTML5, whether it could replace the aporee app at all. The answer is yes and no... Web apps cannot access local storage beyond some (low) limits, which is bad since cost-saving WiFi syncronisation of sounds before a walk is not possible. Further, IOS safari does not autoplay sounds unless you install the URL as desktop app (didn't know before). IOS also prohibits volume control from programs. But has great HTML5 performance. On Android, all that works, but it sucks performance-wise, at least on older phones, older Androids, and whatever.

So I decided to find the lowest common denominator:
  • pure online mode, i.e. all sounds will be loaded over the net
  • no fade-in, fade-out, or crossfade, as implemented within the app, only off/on
  • stripped down user interface with very few functions
This works, but fails when the network is slow, your phone is old, and for some unclear reasons. But I've made some walks in front of my door, which where promising, sounds loaded quickly over 3G, a few little delays didn't stop the show, GPS worked fine most of the time. After all, I'll decided to continue with the app-store-free web app for the miniatures.

Try it out at aporee.org/mfm/mobile and let me know if it works for you.

SELECT nearby miniatures

PLAY selected miniature while walking

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