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Archive for March, 2011

APODViewer7 2.0 Released

21 Mar

Whoa daddy I worked a lot on this update.  I’ve been working on this since mid-February on my free time.  This is a huge leap in features, performance, and stability then any prior release.  This was a major enough update I felt it deserved to be the 2.0 version.  The name was also changed to ‘APODViewer7’ to distinguish it from similar applications on other marketplaces.

The biggest changes was the addition of viewing the full APOD archive.  You can go back, month by month or to a specific month, to June 1995 when APOD posted its first image.  That’s over 5,400 images!   Searching was also added to do complete APOD text search’s of the title and description. Here are some screenshots of the main page from the pro version:

SplashScreenImagePro_Crescent 123

The new splash page is show in the first image. Note in the second image the removed alternating colors compared to previous versions.  It was failing to alternate in some cases in the previous version.  More importantly, this looks more ‘Metro’ and saves power for the AMOLED users.  The date is also shown with the title.  The third shot is the same page but with the settings set to ‘Thumbnails only’.  I personally like this mode, makes picking more interesting images quicker.  The forth shot shows the search pivot.  Viewing the image hasn’t changed much, other then some application bar changes noted below.

Complete changes are as follows:

  • Renamed app from ‘APOD Viewer’ to ‘APODViewer7’ to distinguish it better from other APOD apps on other platforms out there.
  • Removed all feature restrictions from the free/trial modes, other than the Ads.
  • Full archive viewing. Browsing done month by month, either incrementing/decrementing or selecting a specific month/year. Limited to June 1995 to present month.
  • Dropped the usage of the RSS feed. The app will now automatically determine date changes and create the new URL. APOD uses a very obvious pattern on URL links so this works great.
  • Added Search pivot. This allows search of all the titles and description text. It only returns a max of 200 items. It’s a bit sluggish when a lot of returns come back. I plan to make this perform better in the next update.
  • The ‘Random Image Hourly’ Live Tile pulls from separate images on both the free and Pro version of the app.  This way you should never see the same image when using the same Live Tile across both apps.
  • When viewing the detailed images and pressing the Next or Previous buttons it will now go through the appropriate list, be it the currently viewed month, search results, or favorites.  Previously it would only shift through the latest images.
  • Cached all prior months’ data into the app from Feb 2011 to June 1995, except for the thumbnail image data. When viewing previous months all that’s needed to download is the image itself, all other image data is loaded locally.
  • Background downloading of images when viewing your initial image. You should see a progress bar on the first image, but the next selection loads instantly if given enough time (usually 1 or 2 seconds). It downloads the 2 next dates immediately before and after it. This way when hitting the Next/Back button, the image instantly loads.
  • Added Thumbnail only viewing from the main page using a Wrap Panel.
  • Main page now handles landscape viewing. The Thumbnails Wrap Panel views 5 thumbnails from left to right in landscape, 4 in portrait.
  • Removed alternating background colors in list box’s. The reason for this is the way I add new images to the list the alternating colors occasionally do not alternate correctly. Added bonus, AMOLED screens show more black, saving power.
  • Removed the ‘buy astronomy products’ link.  The experiment is over. For the curious, I didn’t sell one item.  It was pretty hard to view and navigate from that web page, it was not setup for mobile viewing.
  • Removed the ‘update’ nag prompt from the free version. The Paid version will still bug you, but only once every month.
  • Added GIF viewing including support for animated GIFs.  You cannot save GIF images to the Picture Hub.  They also do not preload into the cache, they are downloaded every time you go to view it.
  • Added a Waiting animation in the thumbnail area if it’s currently being downloaded.
  • Scaled and fit the thumbnails into 100×100 images.
  • Changed ‘Reload Image’ menu item to two items, ‘Reload Image (std res)’ and ‘Reload Image (high res). This will force the page download to show the specific image resolution regardless of what was loaded before. Makes the ‘Show high res’ in the settings less useful, but I left it there in case some people insist on it especially if they auto save the images on view.
  • Setting to load either the most current month or the last month viewed on application startup.
  • Haptic feedback on all buttons. This can be disabled in the settings.
  • Changed some of the mirror sites. Some of them appeared to not have been updated in quite some time. The only mirrors that made the cut are Russia, United Kingdom, and Italy. I would prefer to have more, but the other sites either are not updating or reformat how the images are stored in way that’s unique.
  • Separate Random Image live tile images for the free and paid/trial version. This way selecting Random on both apps will not duplicate the image.
  • Removed picture hub limit, made obsolete from recent changes.
  • Better thumbnail image downloads and recovery. If using a mirror and it fails, it will reattempt back to the NASA server. If it fails and shows the default thumbnail, it will reattempt the thumbnail download again on the next time that month/year is reloaded.
  • Added a default video thumbnail image for days where a YouTube link is present.