Archive for March, 2013

March

29

by Kaj Kandler

Users of Plan-B-for-OpenOffice.org can enjoy faster page loads and more stability of the website.

I wanted to do improve performance and stability on http://plan-b-for-openoffice.org for a long time. But never seemed to be the moment or my projects stalled due to the underlying Apache Cocoon framework (Version 2.1) not being maintained anymore.

Several attempts to fix some of the excessive loading of dojo related java script files where doomed. I never got anywhere. When I heard that some good souls decided it is time to update the stable 2.1 branch of the cocoon framework, instead of chasing major re-architecting with maven/spring/hibernate w/o clear goals for improvement, I saw my chance coming.

And the team that put together the release cocoon-2.1.12 a few days ago, did a great job. I had usually struggled upgrading the framework underneath my application. In part I only do it so infrequently. Not so this time. The source actually built flawlessly, and the error messages guide my path to fix issue by issue.

Feel free to report any issues you discover as a comment below.

P.S.: We also had to change hosting companies recently. Our long time partner VPSFarm has closed its business. Now the site is hosted on a VPS fully backed by SSD drives.

March

01

by Kaj Kandler

The app is a great idea. Share with people you are about to meet your status in traffic, and that you are on time or late. Allowing the other party to make appropriate plans. You can use Twist to let your family know that you will arrive in a few minutes for dinner or you can let your buddies for the evening know you are already at location.

The basic functionality works alright. It sends e-mails or text messages to one or multiple parties. It starts the session, called a Twist) only once you appear to be moving.

However, the user experience needs polish everywhere.

The UI is unresponsive, it takes too long to load and to respond to any action. It is also cumbersome and not intuitive. case in point, I can’t figure out how to leave the app. I don’t see any quit button/menu item and the standard back button does not react on the main screen. It seems to wait for a GPS lock, which it will never get when I’m in a building.

Twists, the sessions that keep another party up to date, do not end on arrival. I’d expect them to end automatically and or to display a big “DONE” button. It takes three tabs (and the wait in between) to end a twist. Not funny.

Twist adds messages to the message screen about sending notifications. These messages stay forever in the notification screen, instead of self delete when one has arrived or ended the Twist.

The short cut feature (put a particular favorite Twist on the home screen) is of little help. It still requires to start the Twist (two taps) and loads slow.

Phone book search is sloooow and works marginally, when it should be fast and a good default hit.

On the other side, my counter parts find the number of messages the right amount and feel better informed.