Pleco for Android Beta 1+2 Feedback Thread

milhouse

Member
Re: Pleco for Android Beta 1 Feedback Thread

UI suggestions! (These are actually for Beta 2 but I didn't see a feedback thread for it.)

When I do HWR on my Nexus S, there is only room for about four guessed characters at the bottom of the screen. These characters seem to me to be much bigger than necessary - I would personally love for them to be smaller so that I could see >4 at a time. The "<--" and "Done" buttons could be much smaller too (both vertically and horizontally).

Also in Beta 2, the search button on my phone doesn't seem to work reliably. For example if I'm viewing a definition (or doing anything else for that matter), I would expect pressing the search button to bring me back to the search page but it doesn't.
 

Pelleas

秀才
Re: Pleco for Android Beta 1 Feedback Thread

Running 2.3b2 here.

I find the use of the 'back' (hardware) key somewhat strange.

Always makes Pleco close and returns to the homescreen.
Thought that is what 'home' is for.

Should it not bring me back to the previous screen within Pleco?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
haraldalbrecht said:
Oh, another one: the self-contained wiki underlying the manual was developped first for the iPhone. That stuff is still in there, so you may even use the same mechanism on both iOS and Android for authoring, but with different chrome/framing depending on platform.

You could even use the same manual content
Thanks - we'll investigate this. I'm not sure if we'll want to keep the content the same since the designs will differ significantly in some places (no menu/back buttons on iOS), though I suppose with some clever CSS we could get them to share the same files...

Sarevok said:
Hell, I want to go and get me a Samsung Galaxy S II right now Originally, I promised myself to resist and wait until Samsung releases 2.3.4 which should iron out some bugs reported by early adopters. Now I am finding that promise quite difficult to keep
Well if you wait a few months the prices will probably drop this fall; things usually get cheaper once the early adopters stop buying them.

llraper said:
Last night I successfully installed the free version of Pleco on my Nook as well. I'll probably put the Basic Bundle on it for now, but this is pretty exciting. The document reader feature is tremendously useful for me. For now I can get by with the clipboard implementation, but I'll be looking forward to the full implementation.

I've been using your products since Oxford™ Concise English & Chinese Dictionary 2.0 for Palm OS - every version along the way on Palm, then iPod. For my particular use, everything else falls far short. With HWR and "mini-reader" you're close enough that I may decide to retire my iPod - gotta work with it a bit more and be sure I'm not shooting myself in the foot by moving prematurely.
Thanks! Glad to hear it's working well on the Nook, that's not one we tested on (though I suppose we probably should).

The document reader in the current version honestly doesn't add that much over the clipboard reader - you're not really much better off than copying-and-pasting the entire text of the file from somewhere else. The finished version should include a proper text file reading engine that'll load faster / scroll more smoothly / etc (along with supporting bookmarks and other nice things), but for now I'd only buy it as part of a bundle or if you're very certain you'll want the finished version.

kun4 said:
I've tried Pleco on various Android systems: an HTC phone and a few tablets. Nice. OK, still buggy in places but that's to be expected for a beta release.
One minor gripe: an option to switch to "macro" camera focus would be nice for OCR. (FOCUS_MODE_MACRO).
Added in b2 - let me know if it works well. (seems to be OK on our test Galaxy I anyway)

horseclass said:
Also, being able to dock the definition window at the bottom of the screen like in the iOS version would be good too.
I think the code is already in there for that, actually, we just have to add the appropriate setting...

milhouse said:
When I do HWR on my Nexus S, there is only room for about four guessed characters at the bottom of the screen. These characters seem to me to be much bigger than necessary - I would personally love for them to be smaller so that I could see >4 at a time. The "<--" and "Done" buttons could be much smaller too (both vertically and horizontally).
Makes sense - this is actually a very tricky thing to deal with because as far as the OS is concerned the Nexus S and the Nexus One have the same size screen (same resolution + density) but the S' is actually a good bit bigger; making those buttons big enough to make them comfortable on the One makes them too big on the S. Though we might be able to make them a bit smaller, particularly since the S' screen size is getting a lot more popular, or perhaps extend them to two rows (plenty of room...)

milhouse said:
Also in Beta 2, the search button on my phone doesn't seem to work reliably. For example if I'm viewing a definition (or doing anything else for that matter), I would expect pressing the search button to bring me back to the search page but it doesn't.
Quite right, we need to do a better job on consistent button behavior.

Pelleas said:
I find the use of the 'back' (hardware) key somewhat strange.

Always makes Pleco close and returns to the homescreen.
Thought that is what 'home' is for.

Should it not bring me back to the previous screen within Pleco?
Even from within the definition? It's supposed to do that in the main screen but not anywhere else.
 

Pelleas

秀才
mikelove said:
Even from within the definition? It's supposed to do that in the main screen but not anywhere else.
In OCR it returns to main screen.

Pick a definition in the dictionary list, hit back then -> exit pleco.
 
mikelove said:
haraldalbrecht said:
Oh, another one: the self-contained wiki underlying the manual was developped first for the iPhone. That stuff is still in there, so you may even use the same mechanism on both iOS and Android for authoring, but with different chrome/framing depending on platform.

You could even use the same manual content
Thanks - we'll investigate this. I'm not sure if we'll want to keep the content the same since the designs will differ significantly in some places (no menu/back buttons on iOS), though I suppose with some clever CSS we could get them to share the same files...
Actually, my last sentence was actually not 100% seriously. But instead of using CSS the TiddlyWikis are easier to use with transclusion (kind of simple tiddler include) and/or a simple plugin (just another tiddler which is just tagged as system). I am basically using this to remove some web page chrome when the manual runs inside the App compared to when viewed in an ordinary browser. The TiddlyWiki system is quite extensible and imho worth a look into. They are no silver bullets though, as always.
 

neilperks

进士
mikelove said:
kun4 said:
I've tried Pleco on various Android systems: an HTC phone and a few tablets. Nice. OK, still buggy in places but that's to be expected for a beta release.
One minor gripe: an option to switch to "macro" camera focus would be nice for OCR. (FOCUS_MODE_MACRO).
Added in b2 - let me know if it works well. (seems to be OK on our test Galaxy I anyway)
Macro works great on LG Optimus 2x and makes a big difference when reading small font sizes. Makes it much more useful (makes a great feature even better).
 

Erguotou!

Member
Hi Mike,
great timing - I just got my new Android phone (actually and to be honest, I was waiting for the beta release before confirming the order for my phone..) ;-)
However, looks and feels quite different to every Pleco I know from Palm and Windows Mobile :-O
Well, as soon as I'm getting used to it I will post detailed experience on HTC Desire S.
Tobias
 

Sarevok

进士
Well if you wait a few months the prices will probably drop this fall; things usually get cheaper once the early adopters stop buying them.
Price is not that much of an issue (although a price-drop would certainly be welcome), it's all those problems and bugs (reported by people on XDA and other forums) that worry me, namely the battery drain, overheating and that yellowish display on the majority of units - not what one would expect from a flagship product with this price-tag. Well, I'll also be getting an Asus Transformer as soon as it hits the shelves here (expected next week), so I can contribute with some testing on that. A new toy like that will keep me busy for some time and Samsung will probably roll out an update in the meantime, hopefully addressing most of those issues...
 

russell359

Member
neilperks said:
mikelove said:
kun4 said:
I've tried Pleco on various Android systems: an HTC phone and a few tablets. Nice. OK, still buggy in places but that's to be expected for a beta release.
One minor gripe: an option to switch to "macro" camera focus would be nice for OCR. (FOCUS_MODE_MACRO).
Added in b2 - let me know if it works well. (seems to be OK on our test Galaxy I anyway)
Macro works great on LG Optimus 2x and makes a big difference when reading small font sizes. Makes it much more useful (makes a great feature even better).
Macro button doesn't make any difference on DEFY, but I think that's a limitation of the hardware. Still OCR works great on more normal sized characters and even sometimes with slightly dodgy handwriting!
 

XQ9

Member
Samsung galaxy S2 android 2.3.3 using pleco beta2 now - HWR works, lines stay visible (were not visible in beta1), OCR works good (beta1 had to leave pleco and access with task manager again to use the focus), still waiting for the flashcards, thx for the nice product!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
haraldalbrecht said:
Actually, my last sentence was actually not 100% seriously. But instead of using CSS the TiddlyWikis are easier to use with transclusion (kind of simple tiddler include) and/or a simple plugin (just another tiddler which is just tagged as system). I am basically using this to remove some web page chrome when the manual runs inside the App compared to when viewed in an ordinary browser. The TiddlyWiki system is quite extensible and imho worth a look into. They are no silver bullets though, as always.
Quite right, though we could also look at doing some of this with post-processing - for example, automatically convert the manual files into flat text which we then pop up when you tap on an (i) button next to a preference.

neilperks said:
Macro works great on LG Optimus 2x and makes a big difference when reading small font sizes. Makes it much more useful (makes a great feature even better).
Great! Though I don't know that it's such a good idea API-wise for Android require a separate macro focus command - I suppose some autofocusing algorithms might make it difficult / impossible to figure out when something is close enough to require macro mode, but most of the time, anything that the system can automate for the user, it should.

Erguotou! said:
great timing - I just got my new Android phone (actually and to be honest, I was waiting for the beta release before confirming the order for my phone..)
However, looks and feels quite different to every Pleco I know from Palm and Windows Mobile :-O
Consequence of capacitive-screen phones, I'm afraid - UI designs that work with a stylus don't work so well when you're relying on a finger instead.

Sarevok said:
Price is not that much of an issue (although a price-drop would certainly be welcome), it's all those problems and bugs (reported by people on XDA and other forums) that worry me, namely the battery drain, overheating and that yellowish display on the majority of units - not what one would expect from a flagship product with this price-tag. Well, I'll also be getting an Asus Transformer as soon as it hits the shelves here (expected next week), so I can contribute with some testing on that. A new toy like that will keep me busy for some time and Samsung will probably roll out an update in the meantime, hopefully addressing most of those issues...
Seems like it's rare to find any mobile release these days that doesn't come with a wave of those sorts of problems... sign of an industry that's moving too fast, I think; at some point smartphone development is going to settle into a less aggressive release schedule a la PCs and we'll start being able to buy new-fangled devices without dealing with waves of bugs, but for now it's a choice between having the latest and greatest or waiting 3 months for them to release some non-beta firmware.

russell359 said:
Macro button doesn't make any difference on DEFY, but I think that's a limitation of the hardware. Still OCR works great on more normal sized characters and even sometimes with slightly dodgy handwriting!
Great!

XQ9 said:
Samsung galaxy S2 android 2.3.3 using pleco beta2 now - HWR works, lines stay visible (were not visible in beta1), OCR works good (beta1 had to leave pleco and access with task manager again to use the focus), still waiting for the flashcards, thx for the nice product!
Interesting about that OCR bug, we really didn't change that code much in Beta 2... so you'd open up the OCR screen and tap the focus button and nothing would happen?
 
overall super happy with Pleco on my old HD2 now running CyanogenMod7!
i'm using TyphooN's CM7 build which seems to be the most popular/stable according to android.hd2roms.com

However - and this is probably why developers hate Android - since Typhoon's 3.3.4 build, which incorporated CM's cm_bravo_91 base, Chinese fonts are sometimes messed up - i've noticed it Pleco and also in AnkiDroid flashcard app. I attached a screenshots with more details and also posted this in the xda forum - thread-no: 14803813. The Leo dictionary (German-Chinese) app for some reason isn't effected and typing with Google Pinyin is also fine...

I'm posting this in the Feedback thread as this is clearly an Android issue that I resolved by downgrading to TyphooN's CM7 v3.3.3 build.

Hope this is helpful anyway... Cheers and big thumbs up to Pleco!
 

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mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
pleconowhere said:
However - and this is probably why developers hate Android - since Typhoon's 3.3.4 build, which incorporated CM's cm_bravo_91 base, Chinese fonts are sometimes messed up - i've noticed it Pleco and also in AnkiDroid flashcard app. I attached a screenshots with more details and also posted this in the xda forum - thread-no: 14803813. The Leo dictionary (German-Chinese) app for some reason isn't effected and typing with Google Pinyin is also fine...
Might be that they're embedding their own customized copy of Droid Sans Fallback, perhaps specifically to avoid ROM-specific problems like this... we could easily do the same if this is a common issue with custom ROMs (the font is open-source, so anybody is free to embed it), we already do embed a custom version of the basic Droid Sans font in order to add support for bold Pinyin tone characters. Is there any mention in the description of TyphooN about an alternate / custom font they're using, perhaps a more compact / compressed one to save an extra MB or so of precious internal storage space?
 

Pelleas

秀才
Would it be possibly to switch quickly between two-pane view and definition only?

Say, by double tapping in the definition screen.
 

benzhen

进士
any chance saving document position (when closing and opening different docs) will be ready by next beta? its the only thing i'm missing from iphone! thanks mike!!!!!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Pelleas said:
Would it be possibly to switch quickly between two-pane view and definition only?

Say, by double tapping in the definition screen.
Certainly possible, though you'd basically be a) returning to the search results screen and then b) putting that screen into two-pane mode; were you thinking you'd like something almost more like a web browser where you've got a search bar above a definition area that sometimes includes a list of results? (this is the model we use on Palm/WM, actually)

benzhen said:
any chance saving document position (when closing and opening different docs) will be ready by next beta? its the only thing i'm missing from iphone! thanks mike!!!!!
That may take a few more betas, unfortunately; it actually requires a bit of a redesign, since we no longer have a dedicated file container area like we do on iOS and hence can't store document bookmarks alongside the original documents in hidden .plecobookmark files (as we'd have no way to ensure that the bookmarks would accompany the file if it were moved). We have to store them in a central database instead, which means a lot of new code to match files up to their bookmarks / a new screen to let you manage and delete bookmark sets for documents you're no longer interested in / etc.
 

Pelleas

秀才
mikelove said:
Pelleas said:
Would it be possibly to switch quickly between two-pane view and definition only?

Say, by double tapping in the definition screen.
Certainly possible, though you'd basically be a) returning to the search results screen and then b) putting that screen into two-pane mode; were you thinking you'd like something almost more like a web browser where you've got a search bar above a definition area that sometimes includes a list of results? (this is the model we use on Palm/WM, actually).
Nothing to complicated.
Just switching back and forth quickly between two pane (search) and a 'full screen' definition would be convenient I think.
The long tap in the index -> View Entry is a little awkward.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Pelleas said:
Nothing to complicated.
Just switching back and forth quickly between two pane (search) and a 'full screen' definition would be convenient I think.
The long tap in the index -> View Entry is a little awkward.
So your main interest in this is that you'd sometimes like a larger / more readable version of the definition? What if we simply made that command more accessible somehow (say by putting it in a toolbar)?
 

Pelleas

秀才
mikelove said:
Pelleas said:
Nothing to complicated.
Just switching back and forth quickly between two pane (search) and a 'full screen' definition would be convenient I think.
The long tap in the index -> View Entry is a little awkward.
So your main interest in this is that you'd sometimes like a larger / more readable version of the definition? What if we simply made that command more accessible somehow (say by putting it in a toolbar)?
The same thing you get when selecting 'View entry' (long tap on index entry in 2-p), only quicker ;) No need for a button taking up space in a toolbar I would think.

Suggested a double tap in the definition screen to go from 2pane <> Entry View. Doubletap is not utilized atm there right?
That 'event' does exist in Android I hope. Just like a 'doubleclick'.
Still thinking Win here and disgusted by all the smudges I put on that beautiful screen all day. ;)
 
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