Friday, April 29, 2011

I had a gut feeling...

...and it turned out to be true. now has a great iPhone client, for free on the app store. This is part of the reason I've held off on heavy development here.

At first glance it looks to be very well done. Go have a look. Thanks for all your hard work!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cache Page

Well the cache detail page has proven to be somewhat annoying.  Not that it's hard -- I've already gotten the information.  It's been difficult to get things to where I feel they are useful without being just a bunch of information thrown at you.  It's still a little bit that way, but it's vaguely presentable in it's current form, so I'll post a couple of pictures.

I don't love the details at the top, I'd like to do some kind of variation on the OpenCaching circle. For some reason the circle isn't doing it for me, but that may be user learning curve... so I'm going to play around some here. For now this will stay text but expect it to change. I should also note that this scrolling section is actually a number of custom views strung together, so I can, say, change the description completely if I want and still have all of the other details stay the same and flow along with that. Kind of a pain to set up but it should make tweaking this page to be much more reasonable.

There are a number of other cache details that may change here (for example, do I make the description go full length, limit it to a specific length that's scrollable, reduce the text size, etc) especially the details at the bottom. I'm liking the way that the logs look. I haven't filled in the date yet, but there's a field for it above each log on the right, across from the logged user's name. These may move into a "more" button along with some other misc cache details in the space you see set aside for it.

The buttons aren't quite perfect but they are functional. I'd like to play with the look of these some as well.

It's a bit generic but getting reasonably functional, and starting to look vaguely decent. There's plenty of work to go here, and most of it (unfortunately for me) is aesthetic with a few functional pieces. I'll do what I can here to make it not suck.

I should mention that along with the revamp here I also received my oAuth credentials today from I will start in on making oAuth support work here soon. That's some exciting stuff because I will be able to do things like log caches (or edit logs) and possibly even edit cache details (or place caches) all in-app. Lots of possibilities here that will help make things really shine.

A Note on GPX files... I haven't done much here. I am (still) in the place where they are being parsed, but the uploaded GPX file portion isn't complete yet. I do have it listing all of the individual files, but I need to finish the view that lists the individual caches inside these files and sends them to the regular cache page.

Comments would be appreciated. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slowly but surely...

I've not done a lot of visual changes recently with the open-caching project, so I haven't been posting here.  I have worked a number of hours on GPX file support and I believe I am at the point of parsing's generated GPX files correctly -- I'm just not (yet) doing anything useful with them.  I had hoped to do some development today on the app, but I may be hung up by waiting on a reply from Garmin on the oAuth login stuff.  I may still spend some time on the cache details page as that's the biggest missing feature so far, followed by GPX importing.  If I get something acceptable for public consumption done here today I'll add some pictures to this post.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Settings are in!

Well, at least a couple settings are done, and I can add more as we need them.

Currently you can choose to turn on and off metric measurements as well as choosing how many search results you find.  There are a number of other possible settings but I'll add them as I go.  For now these two settings work and are saved properly.  Once the OpenCaching team opens up authentication to the 3rd party API users then I'll pursue turning on and off individual finds as well as other settings for logged in users.

I've done a bunch of playing around with icons in the tab bar and other colors.  After looking at solid colors in the background of the search results and settings I haven't been impressed.  I've decided to try out the compass background on all of the screens.  It's very workable so far, we'll see how things go as I move forward.  I'm not yet convinced I'm done here, but this does look reasonable.  I've also changed the icon (which I don't think I've shown off) to be a reasonably distinct icon based on the OpenCaching logo.

I think next up I'll tackle the individual cache screen.  I've been putting this off for a while as I'm still not sure how I want to proceed.  However it needs doing, and once it is done I'll have most of the fundamentals done that I'm able to accomplish so far.

I should mention I won't release this until I can at least allow logging in the field, though I would be ok with beta testers to use it.  Hopefully the OpenCaching API opens up for logging here soon.

Thanks for dropping by, more later.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, not as much of a dev day as planned yesterday

Lots happened that I hadn't planned, and most of it wasn't programming.

Still, I did get a couple hours in yesterday and a small amount today.  Here is what I completed:

- Added an opie splash screen
- Added an internal class that will help me in the future make requests more easily from the OpenCaching site.
- Used the new class to fill the search results (to know that it works).
- Added the direction and bearing on the search results page from your current location.
- Updated the OpenCaching website icon and name to be the actual logo.
- Fixed a few memory leaks
- Added a GPX get function to cache the GPX results for the search list.
- Updated the search list code to be more friendly with user preferences (once I add them).
- Changed the search list to get 15 at a time instead of 100.  More would be nice, but practically unnecessary every time.  This will likely get looked at again later, maybe as a preference.
- Added a target label to the compass screen.

Not a ton of visual changes, but I'll post a screenshot of the changes here for anyone following along at home.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today is a dev day

Today I will be spending some time on the opencaching project.  I'd first like to state what is on my list and what I've gotten done.  This is hopefully informative, and also helps me to stay on track.

I'd better give a quick update on where things are though.  It's been busy with family and work the past week plus, so I've not done a ton.  Visually the most important thing is that there are now icons on the tab bar at the bottom.  The "SavedCaches" is now "Downloads", I still may change that in the future.  I think I also would like to have the target and current coordinates differentiated more than they are on the compass screen.

Okay, on to the list!

What's working:
- Easy searching for nearby caches.  This is done, but I'll still be working on the "easy" pert to make it easier.
- Offline cache support.  The search list gets saved already and works offline.  I still need to save the cache details.  I am thinking I'll auto-save the top ten closest and also any that the user looks at.
- directional compass.  This works similarly to the Geopher Lite compass and should work just fine.
- map support.  The map screen is very usable.  There are things that could be improved here, however it is nearly completed, at least for the first go-around.
- Navigon coordinate sending.  I happened to have navigon already so this was easy to test.  I am considering adding tomtom and the google maps app to this as well, which I expect to also be straightforward.

At this point the app is usable to find a cache.  There is no way to currently log in to the website, so logging etc. will have to come later.  You can use the web view for this by navigating to their site and doing it as if it were a browser.  I may leave that in initially, depending on how far things get.

Things to do:
- Create the cache details screen.  This will have a ways to go, I am not yet decided on a design.
- Add a bearing/direction to the cache list screen.  Right now the results show you caches that are closest to you, so if you have a cache .2 miles and .3 miles, those caches could be .5 miles apart even though they are right next to each other in the list.  I'd like to fix this, so we'll see what happens here.
- GPX parsing.  Ideally I'd like to be able to drag a PQ or large GPX file into the file sharing section of iTunes and have it pulled in and ready to be used by the app.  The prototype is here, we just need to keep going on this.
- oAuth login for the site.  This will allow logging and (later), placing or editing cache details for your own hides.
- Automated cache-to-cache finding.  The idea here is to not really have to look at the list, but have the option of marking a cache as found, then having the app itself choose the next best cache to start finding.  This will likely come later, but I'd like to give it a shot for 1.0.  We'll see what time permits.
- create a settings screen.  There are plenty of things that could be here.

Probably more, but I've got to wrap this up.  More later!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Map tweaks

Just a quick update before Christmas.  (Merry Christmas!)

I took a coding break over the weekend, work has been rough and I needed to take some non-productive relaxation time.  (With 4 kids I don't get a lot, but I take what I can get when I need it!  =) )

I have done the following things since the last update though:
- Added an alert in the map view if there is no network reachability.  More needs done here but this works in a pinch.
- Changed the map zoom to work more as expected when swapping to the map view.  Also tapping the current location arrow twice will do two different things -- first tap will move the map to center on your current location.  An additional tap will zoom you in close to the current location.
- Added the new 4.0+ GPS accuracy.  Geopher Lite used the best accuracy available at the time and while it was a battery drain, I got a number of questions on why Geopher Lite was more accurate than other GPS apps on the iPhone.  I'm thinking that (later on) I'd like to change this so that it's dynamic -- so the update frequency changes depending on how fast you're moving and/or how close to the cache you're looking for you are.  There are some problems with this, but I'm confident that you could have it tone down the battery drainage if you're further away from the target cache.  Then again, that may just be a setting that defaults to the highest setting.  We'll see how things go.

I also heard recently that sending a target to navigon would be possible, so I'll add that to my list of todo items as well.

There have been some nay-sayers on the iPhone's GPS capabilities.  I personally don't think an iPhone is any worse than the cheap handhelds, especially from a few years ago.

Even so, I'm thinking of making an averaging system for cache placement for better coordinate gathering over a minute or so.  Even if it's just superstition

What are your thoughts on cache placement with an iPhone?  Good or bad?  And why?