SeriesFinale for Harmattan (N9/N950)

As promised before, here is the first release of SeriesFinale for MeeGo Harmattan.

This summer Micke Prag, a fellow programmer from Sweden contacted me because he was starting a port of SF for Harmattan. By then I still didn’t have an N950 because of having missed the deadline for the first developers program. Later, when the second developers program was launched I managed to finally get one. At that point, even though I already had my Samsung Galaxy S (yes, with Android) I still wanted to have a port of SeriesFinale as I had received many emails asking for this port so I started from Micke’s code and finally here it is!

The Harmattan port

SF first version for MeeGo

Maybe it is something obvious but this version is not written in PyGTK/PyMaemo. It uses part of the “old” Python backend that was changed to play well with the new UI code written inย QML.

This port’s code is a bit dirty by now and I’m sure there are bugs in this first version but at least it can be used and I didn’t want to make people wait much more. The support and feedback that SeriesFinale’s users have given me is amazing (some people even saying they still use the N900 only for SF!), thank you all for it.
My heart is still filled with GNOME/GTK+ love but QML is really impressive; there are some things I still need to spend some time with to figure out but I like how quick and flexible one can do stuff in QML.

The OVI Store

It was also the first time I published something on Nokia’s Ovi Store and the process took around 2 weeks before it finally got approved (it was rejected twice before due to weird stuff like “they” thinking bugs.maemo.org was not a good place to report issues or the fact that an application that says it works only with English US is eligible only for the USA, not for all the countries…).

The future

I really like the N9/N950. The user experience is something awesome and I believe this was the phone that could really compete with the iPhone and Android. Unfortunately someone at Nokia disagrees and the future of this incredible phone is doomed even though Nokia’s alternative is not better. Due to this mainly, I’m not using the N950 as my main phone. This and the fact that my personal time, in which I develop SF, is very limited, means that unless things change, I don’t know how much more releases I will do but I still wanted to add some cool features. It will probably depend again on the feedback and support.

Anyway here it is at an Ovi Store a few taps/swipes away and for free, as always (although I appreciate when someone buys me a beer ๐Ÿ™‚ ):

Get SeriesFinale from Ovi Store

SeriesFinale 0.6.9

Yup, after some months, here is a new version of SeriesFinale.

This new version doesn’t have many new features but brings an important one related to my previous blog post: the context menu.
When long-pressing a show or a season, a dialog will be shown with some actions. On the show’s context menu (or context dialog?), the user can update it, delete it, view its info or, more importantly, mark the next episode to watch as watched. On the season’s context menu, it can be deleted or, as many users have requested, mark all episodes.

Here are a couple of screenshots:

SF Context Menus Screenshots

SF Context Menus Screenshots

Of course that by only seeing the screenshots you don’t get the same feeling has when you quickly open the dialog and mark the next episode to watch so give it a try.
It it already in Extras Testing and if it works well for you, please vote for it to get into Extras.

The Future

This summer I bought myself an Android phone. That’s right, because of pure curiosity and with the help of Nokia’s decisions regarding MeeGo, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S.
I’ve been using it ever since as my main phone but I didn’t want to leave SF unattended yet. There are a couple of things more that I want to do and I’ll keep an eye on the download statistics to try to guess how many people is still interested in this app.

I haven’t yet found a full replacement for it on Android. I’ve installed a few apps that either don’t work well, require login or are bloated with features making it harder to use so I don’t know if I’ll end up contributing to some FOSS one or developing an official port of SF. Do you think that developing an official version for Android makes sense?
Also, people have asked me for a Symbian and Blackberry versions of it but I just don’t own any phone with these systems.

As for SF on the N9/N950, a release could be out there soon so stay tuned.

SeriesFinale 0.6.8 and the revenge of the clones

Finally I could get a little time to finish SF 0.6.8 release.

In this release one thing I wanted to improve was the startup time. With the number of TV shows I have in my SF, it was taking around 25 seconds before showing me the list of shows. Part of this is due to the deserialization from the DB (no, it’s not using SQLite and I have no time to make the switch) which takes its time but also because it was attempting to sort the list of shows every time a show was added and it also took some time loading the shows’ covers from disk.
This fix was basically loading of the covers asynchronously and sorting the shows only after they are added to the tree view. It improved from 25 seconds to 12 seconds more or less.

While the shows’ covers are being loaded on startup or downloaded from the web, it displays something like shown on the following screenshot:

One of the features people like more is the display of the next episode’s air date. To improve this, I’ve added a small tweak to humanize the dates close to today so it displays “Yesterday” instead of “20 Jul”.

The covers retrieval was broken for a while and this is fixed too. What happened was that TheTVDB started redirecting images to a mirror and SF was not following redirected links… It should follow them now, so it is unlikely to happen again.
I’m also including the French translation kindly sent by David Landreau.

Other important improvements and fixes are:
* Fix deleting seasons;
* Add sorting options to the seasons view;
* Fix infinite loop when updating episodes (it happened when there were two shows with the same name);
* Consider next episode to watch only when it has an air date;

There are also some good news from other platforms’ ports. Nacho has created a branch where he is porting the GNOME version to GTK3/PyGI. A user named Micke Prag is porting it to QML which means it will be available on MeeGo one of these days. I wanted to apply for the developer’s N950 program (to port SF) but I was on honey-moon when it was announced and I ended up forgetting about it…

Revenge of the clones

When I first developed SF in 2009, I did it to scratch an itch and I couldn’t find such an app when I googled for it, I even wondered if anyone apart from me would be interested in such an app. Short after, my friend and colleague from the University, Paulo Cabido told me how much he liked the idea and created DroidSeries, a SF’s clone for Android. After a while I also found SeriesWatcher, a clone in Qt that also ran on the Linux desktop, Windows and Mac OSX.
What surprised me was that last week I was browsing the Android Market (out of curiosity, I don’t own an Android phone) and found out that there are:
* Series Droid (notice the name? If my friend Paulo was M$ or Apple, he would sue their asses ๐Ÿ˜€ )
* TV Show Favs
* TV Start
* Episode Calendar (this seems to be the only Open Source one in the list)

Although only DroidSeries and SeriesWatcher say they are based in SF, I like to think the others do as well (maybe indirectly like being based on another clone ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Or maybe those were developed before SF and I didn’t notice… What I’m trying to say is that not only from mainstream platforms come nice end user apps. In the Maemo world, even though we have problems of other nature, we also have good ideas and good applications for end user.

Get SeriesFinale 0.6.8 soon from your N900’s updates or here.

SeriesFinale version 0.6.7

In the last release of SeriesFinale some nice new features were introduced like live search of TV shows but there was a problem: I messed it up. Basically, you could live search but once you pressed on a show, a different would be selected… good job, I know… ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, the live search is fixed in this new version.

It also has some new cool changes by Juan:
* Covers are now kept back when the application is upgraded
* The database is now saved automatically every 5 minutes
* To prevent database corruption, the database is saved in a temporary file and if everything when well it is then moved to the right file name
* It now checks if other instances of SF are running and hangs newer instances until the old ones are finished
* Buttons whose actions depend on the connection are now only visible when the device is online

Since last version, it is possible to navigate to the next and previous episodes when viewing an episode details but one thing that was a real pain was to have to go back to the full list of episodes in order to mark them as watched so I’ve added a menu that lets users check the episode as watched.

The episodes’ titles are now also stroked when they are watched:

If you use the extras-testing repository, be sure to give it a try and vote to promote it.

SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 released

Since last night, SeriesFinale version 0.6.6 should be available for those who have the extras-devel catalog.

This version’s highlights are:

* Live search of shows. Finally it includes a way to quickly filter shows, this is especially useful for those who have a large number of shows in the list.

* Quick access to the next/previous episodes. This was another request from a user, when viewing an episode, add a way to quickly go to the previous or next episode. I have added this by panning/dragging horizontally in the episode view, dragging left or right will bring the next or the previous episode, respectively.

* Switched episodes’ “watched” check-boxes to the right. After adding the portrait mode, it was clear that having the episodes’ check-boxes on the right made more sense for right-handed people. This is now the default position, nevertheless, a new option was included in the settings dialog so users can choose to either have on the right or left.

* Last but not least, Juan has made SF more reliable and fast by saving the database and settings only if they have been changed.

We will keep the list of bugs and feature requests in mind for the SF development (for both Maemo and GNOME) so, you are welcome to submit more.

If you use the extras-testing catalog, be sure to try this new version of SF and vote for it when it appears here.