Vincent Ritter

Gluon speed improvements, Android update and Push Notifications

I’ve got an exciting update coming to Gluon, pretty much right now, and I’m super happy to share the juicy details with you.

“I’ve got the need… the need for speed”

Gluon was already fast, but I took time to work around a few edge cases and dramatically reduce the calls to the Micro.blog API. In the past, for convenience, I called the API every time you switched screens, this was to mitigate the, at the time, slowness of it. Manton worked hard on speed improvements and it shows. Now, I apply my own sort of cache to these calls and only load when I think it should, within reason. Of course, pull to refresh will always work to the way you want.

Now that the API call is less aggressive, it will also a bit faster to move around ever so slightly. This is thanks to way more less background activity.

I also worked on every screen to reduce the load times for those also. Conversations are quicker to load as I now check the API as soon as you tap on the timeline item. In the past this happened after you went on the screen.

There was also some code that I just didn’t need anymore, so I took it all out. Overall I shaved off around 100KB of code. Which is nice and makes me happy.

Overall, I think the app flies.

Push Notifications

This is one feature I’m super excited about! And I’m super happy to announce that proper push notifications are coming to Gluon. Today!

This is thanks to Manton and Micro.blog, who was super kind enough to put in the work to support third party apps. This will also include Icro and other iOS clients when they’re ready. Manton already posted a reply to Icro on this matter and can’t wait for it to come there also.

So, thank you Manton for the work and enabling developers to do this!

Push notifications are controlled from the Micro.blog end, so there is no third party involved. Whilst running my own server with logic would bring other benefits, it dramatically reduces my own overhead and I’m happy that there are uniform expectations on push notifications from the service.

Notifications are sent in the same fashion as per the official Micro.blog app. This means, non disruptive and come in quietly without sound. Suits me. The world is too loud and too busy anyway.

To enable push, just head to the settings screen and then “Push notifications”. Should be easy and without trouble.

Other tweaks

In general I cleared up a few styling points and made other improvements to screens throughout the app. Which clears a path for a slightly cleaner and simple look throughout.

Search now lives in the “Discover More” section and is removed from the tab bar. The tab bar looked very cluttered, so having a bit of zen back is nice.

Throughout the app, on iOS, you will always be able to get to your profile if needs be from the top bar. This used to be only some screens in the past. Now any top level screen will show it.

I made a further tweak to swipe back gestures in the app. I think it’s a good middle ground. A weird problem to have had… just one of those things I guess.

Android loving

All the above is iOS only… which brings me to my next topic. Android.

Whilst I was hoping for feature parity I’m now facing difficulty in bringing it across to Android. Let’s just call that a limitation of the framework I’m using… and I guess my understanding of Android too.

In the next few weeks I’ll be dedicating time just for the Android build to bring across all the latest changes whilst also tweaking it ever so slightly to bring Android only design styles and app layouts.

The current Android build still feels very Alpha to me so I’m hoping to get this to Beta level soon, where I’ll then open up the app for proper public beta testing.

Closing thoughts

Gluon is getting there, although I always think it’s never going to be in a finished state. I have particular goals with my apps but as the days go I also change my mind on things.

I’m aware there are features I still need to add for posting to Micro.blog and also third party websites. This will come… as I always keep saying.

I’m not in a rush to launch the app to the App Store and I’m happy to take my time. Too many times do I rush things.

Thank you to all my wonderful testers and your continued feedback and trust.

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