I’ve been doing some experiments with finding ways to bring more interactive features into Wikipedia and other wikis. Articles can be spruced up nicely in many ways — interactive maps that let you zoom or change time, graphs that allow you to change the parameters, diagrams showing moving parts…
Will try to set up a publicly-usable sandbox page on Wikimedia Labs next week and play with it some more; maybe a gadget to do live-wiki testing with an opt-in. :)
My Galaxy Nexus arrived in the mail on Friday; I’ve been fiddling with it intermittently since. (You’ll go blind!)
Some first & second impressions:
- It’s huge. It feels like being a little kid trying to use some giant remote control… it’s just big enough to feel awkward in my hand, and to make one-handed usage difficult with some thumb stretching. We’ll see if I get used to it…
- The screen feels slightly smaller than it “really” is thanks to the use of the bottom edge for software buttons replacing the classic Android hardware buttons — so it’s not *as* big as you’d think from ‘4.65″ screen’. But that space is now reclaimable, and it turns out to be useful when watching full-screen video.
- The extra high-density screen is beautiful! At regular viewing distance, text is almost as sharp as on my iPod Touch’s Retina display. The hex tile layout of the OLED pixels is much less visible than on my older Nexus One.
- Having decent internal storage and ditching the awful SD card has made storage management much easier — my Nexus One was constantly whinging that it was out of internal storage space despite having gigs free on the SD card.
- Interactive performance is MUCH snappier than previous devices I’ve used, and comes closer to what iOS usually manages.
- Sometimes the Google folks are going overboard on icons; it took me a while to figure out what the hell all the buttons in their Gmail app did since they switched them all from nice obvious buttons like “Archive” to mysterious icons.
- Our Wikipedia Android app is totally broken on Android 4; we knew that on the emulator, but it’s muuuuch easier to test it on the real device. Some things are being fixed upstream in PhoneGap, others we’ll still have to work out…
- Transferring devices on Android isn’t quite as easy as iOS. With iOS, I can restore a complete backup of all my application data and preferences from one devices to another via iTunes: my new iPod Touch was restored from my old iPhone 3Gs which I can’t even find anymore (it’s in the apartment *somewhere*) and updated pretty smoothly. The Galaxy Nexus was able to restore some settings and applications from the ‘backup to Google’, but not everything. Many apps needed to be manually reinstalled and/or reconfigured for accounts; games have lost high scores and achievements etc. Arranging my apps on my home screen again was a painstaking task, and very annoying.
- I remember it being a big deal that you can get to the Camera app directly from the lock screen in Android 4 — but apparently this only goes for if you don’t have a …. lock … on the lock screen. Add pattern lock, and that feature’s gone. Camera is not in fact locked down so that you can activate it and take photos without going through your unlock code. D’oh!
- I CAN TAKE SCREENSHOTS! FINALLY! THIS IS GOOD!!!!!!! Press power and volume-down and hold for a moment; it’ll do a cute visual transition showing your screenshot and give you a notification that lets you call it back up to view or share it.
- Did I mention it’s really huge? It feels like it’ll fall out of my pocket at any moment. :P
- Haven’t had much chance to test 3G/4G reception yet, though the rumor is Verizon will do better in the subway than AT&T. We’ll see on Monday!
What I kinda want is the same phone, but with a 4″ diagonal screen at 1024×640. Make it fit the hand better, rather than going for that hugeness. I don’t watch a lot of movies on my phones, but I do hold it in one hand and read/write news & messages every day.
Mostly been tearing things up on the mobile app last couple days; we should have a first release candidate for Android this weekend or early next week!
Also some patch reviews on bugzilla today, nice change of pace. :)
We launched an early developer demo of the editing surface for our upcoming Visual Editor project yesterday — lots of great feedback! I filed some bugs myself testing it on mobile devices, which haven’t got a lot of testing yet. :)
- the extra data sections are hidden by default except for the image, so they don’t get in the way
- link bar at top is reformatted and links are used to show/hide each section instead of jumping around
- the image itself is sized down to fit the screen, but using the same medium-resolution version that we started with
I also changed the viewport settings to allow zooming in, which we’ve been thinking about doing anyway.
- by default there’s less clutter on screen
- Â by default the image fits
- auto-scales to fit when changing orientation
- on high-resolution screens (iOS with Retina display, Android with 240dpi or 320dpi display) the picture appears much sharper
- can zoom in for more detail with standard pinch-to-zoom
Confirmed that it works in at least iOS 5 Safari and Android 2.3.6 Browser, haven’t tested all other things.
Checked in with Phil & Patrick — we think this is a good direction to start with and should be easy to include in MobileFrontend extension (it’s a conservative change that doesn’t alter any HTML of the page itself, and just adds some CSS/JS that will be easy to keep and port in future).
Any comments, ideas? For instance the initial view could be made more ‘image viewer’-y by centering things, removing some extra links or reformatting them, etc
Queued up work from last week:
- sent hopefully helpful links to inquiry about updating an extension to use ajax for state updates
- sent some comments/updates on potential changes to image metadata storage
- various mailing list updates
- trying to get de.planet.wikimedia.org updating bug sorted out — can’t get into RT to file an internal bug, trying to get ops to install the password reset extension for it or something. Mutante is doing some tests on the planet server to see if we can resolve… we think we got it, at least as a workaround.
- thinking about replacing Planet with own aggregator. :P
- lunch w/ features & community teams
- commented on need for user self-deletion on bug report
Can now post comments on bugs! Auth prompt at post time. No offline queuing yet.
Bug list defaults to showing recently filed bugs. Various search and sort options, incomplete but a start. Doesn’t handle huge return lists well; server gives chronic order oldest first, we want the opposite.
Initial appcache for offline usage. Limited as there’s no persistent data cache yet, but you can load the page when offline.
Restructured bug view to put comments first.
More details in bug list items.