3.2.56 Beta

Discussion in 'Pleco for Android' started by mikelove, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Up now on Play. (https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.pleco.chinesesystem to sign up)

    This is the first beta of an update that is probably also going to end up including a major OCR revamp (though that will stay in 'beta' for a while in our release app, akin to 'New OCR' on iOS) and possibly even a few other big cool things like EPUB support. However, this first beta doesn't include any of that stuff (not quite ready) but we're releasing it now to get feedback on two big low-level changes it does include:
    • No more 'bundled data files'; everything is in the APK. So Pleco starts instantly on first run + will no longer give you any startup errors about missing files or any prompts to give it file storage access permission. (the same hassle-free all-in-one experience our iOS users have enjoyed for years, and one which we expect will greatly improve the first impression we make to new users, along with saving us a couple hundred dollars a month in bandwidth charges from the many many users who download our app from sketchy third-party app stores that mirror the app but not its expansion data files)
    • New option for 'external' Screen Reader, in anticipation of Google possibly making us stop building it into our Play app. Also, since it's in a separate APK + separate process, it tends to stay alive more reliably + doesn't have to be turned on again every time we update our app. You can download the APK from pleco.com/screenreader - install that on your system and you'll see a new "(External)" version of Screen Reader in your Accessibility settings, enable that one and disable the other one and Pleco will use it automatically.
    Screen Reader specifically is the main reason we're releasing this now, as it's theoretically possible Google might start booting apps that don't meet their accessibility guidelines as early as next week and we'd like to make sure we can respond to that rapidly if it happens. (most of the signs we've seen suggest that nothing is imminent + they merely want an easy excuse to take down blatant abuses of accessibility for user data stealing, but we're not taking any chances)

    EPUB is potentially in the offing because as I've said elsewhere we already did most of the work for that for our e-book releases, and OCR is due to a) further wariness of an accessibility service crackdown (better Screen OCR -> Screen Reader matters less) and b) a convoluted chain of decisions that traces back to the 'bundled data files' change; basically, the only way to make sure that we can revamp OCR without going over Google's 100 MB APK size limit was to actually implement much of that revamp. (we're now at 95 MB with that new OCR, which is tight but workable - 4.0 is going to cut 26 MB off of that thanks to its much much smaller data file format, so we're not in any danger long-term, but we didn't want to be in a situation where we couldn't update OCR until 4.0 is out on Android)

    Also, the second beta of this is probably going to include our new OCR engine, and since we have to pay royalties on that we can't just give it to everyone for free; however, if you'd like to help us test it email or PM me with your Registration ID and we'll add a copy to your account.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    Wan and alex_hk90 like this.
  2. Bvo

    Bvo 进士

    What improvements in the new OCR we should expect in sense of new futures/usability?
     
  3. beirne

    beirne 进士

    I downloaded the external screen reader for my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 running Android 7.0 but it won't install. I get the prompts about allowing an outside installer, and I allow it, then get the mostly white screen with Cancel and Install at the bottom. I hit install a bunch of times and nothing happened. I finally hit cancel and the program exited. The external screen reader does not show up in my Accessibility list.
     
  4. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    @Bvo - not 100% decided yet (core stuff is in but we haven't finished building things on it). The two core things are a) a new recognition engine with much better text region detection (no more random stray characters where they shouldn't be), and b) a much better motion detection algorithm which should eliminate 'stutter' / characters-switching-when-you-don't-want-them-to in live OCR.

    @beirne - hmm... what if you turn on the 'allow unknown sources' option beforehand? (can turn it off again after installing)
     
  5. vadimkantorov

    vadimkantorov Member

  6. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Those should be supported, but 4.0 is not in testing yet - still in development.
     
  7. Bvo

    Bvo 进士

    @mikelove ,
    Great!
    And will be there an option to move (not just resize) the region?
    And skipping pinyin/non-Chinese chars written under Chinese' ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  8. beirne

    beirne 进士

    The screen reader APK does install fine on my Google Pixel XL running Android 8.
    I just tried that and it still doesn't respond when I hit Install.
     
  9. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    We just had an update from Google today and it sounds like they're most likely not going to make us remove our accessibility code from our Play app, and at the very least they've promised to give us another 30 days warning if they do decide to demand changes. Annoying to have wasted the time on it, but we'll probably keep the option around at least (for people who have an unusual amount of difficulty with the current system) - unlikely we'll do much more development on it unless they make us, though.

    @Bvo - not sure; the new algorithm generally does a good enough job at layout analysis that we think that'll be unnecessary since it'll be easier to just leave the entire page selected. Skipping pinyin - I suppose we could add an option to ignore non-Chinese characters entirely, would that help?

    @beirne - hmm, that's an odd one then; was the Pleco beta already installed when you did this?
     
  10. Bvo

    Bvo 进士

    Absolutely!
    In case it will work correctly in all cases :)
    But is it possible? Scanned pages are not always easy to read...
     
  11. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    @Bvo - these would just be characters that the recognizer identified as non-Chinese.
     
  12. crush

    crush 秀才

    Hmm, not sure if it's related or not but Pleco updated to the new beta version last night/early this morning and just now when I went to do my flashcard reviews and had almost five thousand, saying it was over four hundred days overdue. It should just be today's reviews...
     
  13. HW60

    HW60 状元

    I had no problems installing the external screen reader on my Galaxy Tab S2.

    Installing Pleco 3.2.56 of Dec 5 surprisingly led to a new Pleco without my Flashcard db, without my user dictionary and without any Add-on. Not really a problem if it will not regularly happen with future updates.
     
  14. HW60

    HW60 状元

    Recently - maybe shortly before Pleco 3.2.56 Beta - in File Reader/List Recent Files I select a .txt-file (UTF 8) from the list, and Pleco says "Could not open file. Sorry, this file could not be opened." I can open the file with File Reader/Open New File.
     
  15. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    @crush / @HW60 - this sounds like it might be an issue with Pleco picking the wrong data file folder if you have more than one; does your device have an SD card along with internal storage? Can you look around and see if there are separate /Android/data/com.pleco.chinesesystem folders in internal and external storage?

    @HW60 - any chance the file might have moved? (would show up with the old name even if it did)
     
  16. HW60

    HW60 状元

    There is Android/data/com.pleco.chinesesystem both in internal and external (SD card) folders, and I made a copy of the flashcard db in an additional folder of external memory.
     
  17. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Ah, that would explain it. My guess would be that you had your data files in external but that the only thing to tell Pleco it ought to look there was that it had an up-to-date version of Pleco's bundled data files and internal didn't; in the next build I think we'll update it to check for the flashcard database with the more recent modification date in cases of conflicts like this.
     
  18. HW60

    HW60 状元

    I think Pleco 3.2.56 is a little bit slower than the versions before. Reviewing the next flashcard happened immediately before, now it sometimes (!) takes about half a second. Maybe this comes from the user dictionary now being in external memory. I do not know where it was before. I do not know which of my flashcard db is the one I am just using. Can I change it to internal memory if it is not there?
     
  19. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Slower storage could explain it, yes. If you move the com.pleco.chinesesystem folder on your external storage into /Documents or somewhere else it won't look, it should default to the one in internal storage - it's only unsure which one to pick because folders exist in both places.
     
  20. kun4

    kun4 举人

    Android 6.0, with SD card. Upgraded to Pleco 3.2.56 beta. Custom dictionaries and flashcards have disappeared. Please advise.
     

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