jueves, 28 de noviembre de 2013

Month Calendar Widget 1.5.5 and MCW Lockscreen Extension 1.0.0 are out

Version 1.5.5 of Month Calendar Widget is on Google Play now, and this time it's accompanied by a new app: MCW Lockscreen Extension 1.0.0, the first extension to the widget. The idea of an extension is to provide new features as an option, without bloating the main widget. More on this in a separate blog post, I promise!

MCW version 1.5.5 brings these new features:
  • Compatibility with Android 4.4 KitKat and Google Experience Launcher: The widget was tested and works perfectly under the latest Android version, 4.4 a.k.a. KitKat. For those users that have the new Nexus 5 smartphone which comes with the new Google Experience Launcher (or for those of you that have downloaded GEL separately), MCW works without problems with it too. Take into account that this new Google launcher simplifies the widget installation a bit, and now it works more in the line of versions up to Gingerbread. You start by pressing and holding in an empty space on home. See How to put Month Calendar Widget on your Home screen
  • Extensions support: MCW now has an extensible architecture that allows to download separate apps from Google Play that work together with the main widget, and complement it with new features. The first one is MCW Lockscreen Extension, more will come in the future. Most probably next extension will deal with the long awaited Google Calendar connection
  • Download extensions directly from Settings: From the Settings screen you can now see which extensions you have installed, and if one of them it's not, you can download it from there by just tapping on the name listed
  • Resizing for all launchers: The widget is resizable natively with this version, that means it works with all launchers, provided you are using Android 3.x or later. Please note that this feature works only when the Stretch widget option is activated. If you don't show it stretched, resizing will "lie": the widget will occupy more space in the screen but will look the same. Another note: if you resize the widget too big, dates will probably look too small. A future version will make font sizes adjustable while resizing happens.
MCW Lockscreen Extension version 1.0.0 as I said is the first extension that complements Month Calendar Widget, and once installed it simply allows putting the widget in your lockscreen (Android 4.2 or greater is required). In the Google Play app description you will find how to use MCW in the lockscreen.

By the way, this extension app is the first paid app I'm releasing, hope that it will sell well ;). Future extensions most probably will be paid too.

EDIT Nov 29 - Just one final clarification: the introduction of extensions doesn't mean the basic widget, that is the Android widget that you are using for free, won't be updated anymore. It will. This will be explained more extensively in the blog post I mentioned at the beginning.

As always, I welcome any feedback you may have. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

martes, 8 de octubre de 2013

Month Calendar Widget version 1.5.0 is out

(Old news by now, the app was updated on October 3rd, but this post must see the light :)

A new version of Month Calendar Widget, 1.5.0, is on Google Play now, bringing these features:
  • Layout adjustments for tablets and high resolution devices: The widget looks better on tablets and newer high resolution devices, such as Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. The highest resolution available in Android, xxhdpi, is now supported
  • Compatibility with latest Android version: The app now targets the latest Android version to date (Jelly Bean 4.3) and follows Android design guidelines regarding padding and sizing, i.e. will coexist better with other home screen widgets. Also this prepares the way for new features only available to Android 4.x and greater
  • Simplified instructions screen: The instructions screen is more clear giving a helping hand to users who don't know how an Android home screen widget works. It looks nicer too :)
  • Show days of previous and next month option: This new option toggles the visibility of days from previous and next month. When used they are shown dimmed
  • Stretch widget option: This will stretch the widget boundaries to the edges of its assigned space (3 cells wide by 2 cells tall for the 3x2 version, 4 cells wide by 3 cells tall for the 4x3). Using this option the widget will have a wider layout, opposite to the "classic" square layout of the calendar
  • Settings button on the widget for easy acces to configuration: A little settings button can occupy the lower right corner of the calendar. Tapping it will bring the Settings screen. No need to remove/re-add widget anymore to change something
  • Show/hide settings button option: If you prefer a cleaner look, the new Settings button can be hid. If you need to configure the widget again, you must remove/re-add it as usual
A pair of notes regarding the new Stretch widget option:
  • When using a bigger than "normal" system font size, this option can solve the often reported issue of clipped dates. Not a definitive solution, but acceptable in my opinion. (By the way, I could make the dates font size fixed, but that way I would be overriding the user preference, and choose to do not so)
  • Using this option with some launchers like Nova and Go, you'll get a resizable widget (warning: It won't look very well if you resize it too big). The resizing feature for all launchers will come anyway in a future version, with a more polished aspect

I hope you enjoy this version, it took longer than expected but I'm pretty sure it's worth it.

miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

Month Calendar Widget version 1.4.0 is out

A new version of Month Calendar Widget, 1.4.0, is on Google Play now. At first glance it seems the same old widget, and yes, from a visual and functional point of view it is, but it has two major improvements:
  • As I wrote in the previous post, the widget now adapts itself better "to the myriad of different screen resolutions and sizes in the Android world, while paving the way to future enhancements that will take advantage of new Android features and also will allow more widget customization". Version 1.4.0 introduces a new flexible layout that accomplish these objectives. If you have seen in your widget (for instance) the last row of dates clipped, it should look good now with 1.4.0. Regarding features now made possible thanks to the internal redesign, an example is widget resizing (although this feature brings some tricky issues such as how to make fonts bigger/smaller and what to do with the fixed size graphics arrows)
  • Navigation between months now is faster. The arrows feels more responsive to touch, even in the smaller 3x2 widget
Last news in version 1.4.0 is a removed feature: the Autoadjust column width setting isn't needed anymore because of the mentioned internal redesign. The option was introduced in version 1.3.0 in order to solve misaligned dates in some devices. The layout improvements of 1.4.0 make this setting unnecessary.

Next step: define a clear roadmap for Month Calendar Widget, including the future pro version.

Stay tuned!

martes, 30 de abril de 2013

Month Calendar Widget surpassed 1 million downloads

Great news!

Yesterday Month Calendar Widget surpassed the 1 million download mark!

Thanks to all who downloaded it and gave feedback. Specially to those who sent emails and waited a lot for a response (that times are gone, recently I took the good habit of answering pretty soon).

What's next? Right now I'm finishing details of version 1.4.0 which will bring more adaptability to the myriad of different screen resolutions and sizes in the Android world, while paving the way to future enhancements that will take advantage of new Android features and also will allow more widget customization.

Thanks again!

jueves, 18 de abril de 2013

I can reply reviews in Google Play

Hi Month Calendar Widget users, great news.

Since today I'm allowed to reply your reviews in Google Play. I cannot promise to answer every review, but I always read all of them and will continue to do so in order to improve the app.

Please make sure you read carefully the app's description before posting your review, and also when possible use kind words ;). By the way: Spanish is my mother language, and I know English and Portuguese. I will answer in English when receiving comments in other languages.

Thank you all.

miércoles, 6 de marzo de 2013

Month Calendar Widget Version 1.3.1 is out

Version 1.3.1 is now on Google Play. The widget looks good now for Android 4.x users that saw a clipped widget on version 1.3.0. Also Android reports the correct sizes, 3x2 and 4x3.

Many thanks to N.Ch., d_k and Keving Hastings, the users that helped to diagnose the problem.

Sorry for the inconvenience introduced in the previous version. Stay tuned for more upgrades in the future.

martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

Answering some comments about Month Calendar Widget 1.3.0

Some users have found issues with the recently launched version 1.3.0. Since I have no way to answer Google Play's comments (only selected publishers can) I'm replying in this post.

The problems reported up to now are:
    1. Widget does not display correctly on some ICS/Jelly Bean devices
    Some Android 4.x devices inform incorrect sizes for the 3x2 widget, and in some cases for both 3x2 and 4x3. For example, some users are seeing a 3x3 label for the 3x2 widget in the list of available widgets.
    The fact that the operating system "sees" the widget as n x n size implies it will reserve space for n x n cells in the Home screen, period. Both widget sizes are defined explicitely in the application code as they were on version 1.2.0, but Android 4.x seems to differ and the result is a clipped widget, normally losing some or all of the last row of dates

    2. Icon on applications drawer

    A bunch of users are complaining about the presence of the app icon in the drawer. This is intended. As I say implicitly here, the feature was introduced with two purposes:
    • to give a helping hand to users that get lost after dowloading it
    • to solve an annoyance have a workaround for a feature introduced in Android 3.0 that causes Home screen widgets to not appear among others after installation. The instructions screen shown after downloading the app contributes to solve the issue, making the widget immediately available for Android 3.x/4.x Android users
    There is a way to get rid of the icon in applications drawer, but I found that doing so brings problems when trying to reinstall the application. So I decided to keep it there.

    I'm doing an extensive research right now to solve the first issue. I'll report back here when I fid a solution.

    EDIT March 6th: Version 1.3.1 is now on Google Play. Size issues fixed for Android 4.x users.

    martes, 26 de febrero de 2013

    Month Calendar Widget version 1.3.0 is out

    A new version of Month Calendar Widget, 1.3.0, is on Google Play now. It includes these new features and bug fixes:
    • Saturday as first day of week: For people living in islamic countries where weeks start on Saturday
    • Autoadjust column width option: The widget shows misaligned columns in some configurations. This new option assures columns always align properly
    • Layout adjustment for some tablet models: A minor layout glitch that required navigating through months to be solved (reported for some tablets), is now fixed
    • Names of months in Slavic languages: Languages such as Polish and Russian showed incorrect month names. It's fixed now for Android versions 2.3.x and greater
    • Instructions screen after downloading the app: For those users that need a little help to begin using the widget
    • App not present in list of installed widgets on Honeycomb/ICS/Jelly Bean: Since Android 3.x Home screen widgets don't appear immediately in the list of installed widgets after being downloaded, in most cases a device reboot was needed to get them listed. In this version the widget appears at once.
    If you have installed version 1.2.0 or earlier and want to take advantage of some of the new features/fixes, it's not necessary to uninstall the application. Just update it from Google Play and afterwards delete any widget instances present on the Home screen and add them again. The new options will appear in the Settings screen.

    Please note that the new Instructions screen appearing after downloading the app has some implications:
    • The screen shows the steps needed to put the widget on the Home screen. In no way the app gets installed automatically (Android doesn't provide any mean to do this). You must follow the steps explained there in order to get the widget in place
    • You will find the Month Calendar Widget icon among the apps installed on your device. If you run the app tapping on it, you will see the Instructions screen again, and nothing more
    • On Android 4.x, the app icon in the Apps tab in is not the same as those in the Widgets tab. The former shows the Instructions, the latter are there to be dragged on the Home screen
    For those who waited months for an update and/or still are waiting for an e-mail answer, thanks for your patience. I worked hard to make a better app, now I'll do my best to catch up with support mails.

    How to put Month Calendar Widget on your Home screen

    Many Month Calendar Widget users download the app from Google Play and once it gets installed they get lost, because the app doesn't run immediately as a normal Android app does. Month Calendar Widget is a Home screen widget and doesn't run as normal Android apps do1. You have to put it on your Home screen to make it work.

    Here are instructions to put the widget to use (you must know your device's Android version because there are some differences in the steps depending on it):

    Versions up to Gingerbread (2.3.x)
    1. Open the Home screen where you want to place the widget
    2. Press Menu and touch Add, or just touch and hold and empty location on the Home screen
    3. Choose Widgets in the menu
    4. Find one of the two available sizes (3x2 or 4x3) in the widgets list
    5. Adjust settings if you wish (press Back to exit)

    Honeycomb versions (3.x)
    1. Open the Home screen where you want to place the widget
    2. Touch the + button at the top-right of the screen, or just touch and hold and empty location on the Home screen
    3. Choose the Widgets tab
    4. Find one of the two available sizes (3x2 or 4x3) in the widgets category
    5. Drag the widget onto the Home screen where you want to add it
    6. Adjust settings if you wish (press Back to exit)

    Ice Cream Sandwich and later versions (4.x)
    1. Open the Home screen where you want to place the widget
    2. Touch the All apps icon
    3. Choose the Widgets tab and swipe to the right to find one of the two available sizes (3x2 or 4x3)
    4. Touch and hold the widget until the Home screen appears, slide it into place and lift your finger
    5. Adjust settings if you wish (press Back to exit)

    NOTE: If you use a Home screen replacement app such as Go Launcher or ADW Launcher, these steps may differ slightly.

    1 Since version 1.3.0 the app runs normally after installed, but only to show brief instructions to help users, and also to overcome a quirk with Home screen widgets introduced with Honeycomb - they don't appear immediately in the list of installed widgets