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Developer
greenmr
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎03-20-2013
My Device: Red LE Developer Z10
My Carrier: Fido

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

[ Edited ]

Ok, home now so I can post with the desktop browser and attach the example screen caps. I know these images will take up to 24 hours before the moderators make them publicly visible, but maybe you can see them before that Mark. This first one demonstrates the strange clumping of several lines when I viewed one of my own earlier posts:

 

IMG_20140130_175821.png

 

This second capture shows how the last few characters on long lines are being chopped off:

 

IMG_20140130_231900.png

 

Note in that last paragraph only half the "e" shows at the end of one line, and the "f" on the end of the following line is completely missing. Note this is NOT the result of orientation changes. I simply loaded the thread in Portrait mode and left it that way. I tried to zoom it smaller but this is as small as it gets.

 

EDIT: I just realized there are some characters chopped off the end of long line in the first screen capture too.



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Developer
greenmr
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎03-20-2013
My Device: Red LE Developer Z10
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Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

[ Edited ]

Mark, I don't want you to think I don't appreciate an app like this. Properly executed it could dramatically increase my ability to stay on top of the developer forums, but right now it is only good for the simplest of tasks. I'm sure it is much more useful on the general interest blogs and forums, but in the developer forums it is just missing too many critical features. There may be even more issues, but these are my first impressions trying to respond to a couple of newbie questions:

 

  • In the developer forums the regulars spend a lot of time trying to teach the new posters to use the "code" button when posting code samples. This new app doesn't appear to have any way to do this, which will contribute to unreadable code blocks and those annoying spurious smileys where two sequential characters that are valid code also combine as a smiley code.
  • Although needed less often than the last item, sometimes there is just no way to offer helpful advice without seeing a screen capture of the problem. Again, right now this new app doesn't make that possible.
  • There is no way to format text appearance. I use bold and italic often, as anyone who has read my posts can attest. Again... no way to do this that I can see.
  • No way to post a link, which is very important to the local guru developers to point a questioner to a page with an in-depth answer to their query, particularly the relevant BB documentation page.
  • Although it is not a complete show stopper, I often think of something else shortly after posting, or realize I gave erroneous information and go back to change it. The lack of an edit feature is bad news for someone like me.

Again, I'm really pleased to see a tool like this appear, but I think it could have been held back a bit longer to add the features that would really make it useful. Right now I doubt the most experienced developers on the board are going to be able spend much time responding to questions with this app.



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Developer
BBSJdev
Posts: 6,089
Registered: ‎07-05-2012
My Device: Playbook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C
My Carrier: Orange

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

@greenmr I'm sure a lot of these things will come in time however I sometimes get the impression you deliberately look for problems, you are not really a 'go with the flow' kind of guy are you. :smileyhappy:


This app is not a 'full' replacement for the browser experience, at least not yet, and it is more a 'quick fire off and leave' app for the general public than us developers.
It's a way for them to be more easily involved in the forums from their phone.

Having used this app for a few weeks now I can tell you that even if it did allow adding of code I still wouldn't use it, firstly I code on my PC and if I need to add a piece of code the PC would need to be on anyway, in which case I would just use the browser. On the very rare occasions when I would need to type small snippets of code off the top of my head then I would just invoke the browser from the app and use the 'add code' button.

As a developer you would know that you can't always put everything in the first version and you will never be able to cater for the niche users, and guess what, we developers are the niche users. So I'm sure Mark appreciates your feedback, in fact I know he does, but try and come at it from the point of view of the intended audience rather then yours.

Typed from the App. :smileyhappy:


If you've been helped click on Like Button, if you've been saved buy the app. :smileyhappy:

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Developer
knobtviker
Posts: 127
Registered: ‎05-31-2013
My Device: BlackBerry Z10 Limited Edition
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Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

Is there a solution for us that logged in to this forum via Facebook?

Credentials aren't recognized. :smileysad:

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Administrator
MSohm
Posts: 14,421
Registered: ‎07-09-2008
My Device: BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry PlayBook
My Carrier: Bell

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Here are a few quick comments about them.

 

  • Squished text in screenshot - Looking into that one.
  • Editing posts - On the todo list already.
  • Posting links - You can do this now.  If you enter http://www.blackberry.com in the app it'll show up as a link in the post.
  • Rich text - Not currently supported in the app.  If you'd like to use the full rich text editor for the browser you can long press on the message title and Open in Browser to reply.  For basic formatting in the app you could type out basic HTML for things like bold, italics, etc.  That's not for the masses, but may appeal to developers.  :smileyhappy:
  • Posting attachments - Not currently supported by the Lithium APIs this app uses (this is a Lithium forum).
  • Facebook login - Not currently supported by the Lithium APis this app uses (this is a Lithium forum).

 

 

Mark Sohm
BlackBerry Development Advisor

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Developer
greenmr
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎03-20-2013
My Device: Red LE Developer Z10
My Carrier: Fido

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

To the contrary, if I wasn't a "look for solutions" kind of guy I wouldn't spend nearly so much time trying to help other developers with their questions. I have a great deal of respect for your experience and expertise, not to mention the amount of effort you put in here helping others, and my overall feeling towards you is one of friendship, but MY impression is that you seem to derive great pleasure sometimes from knocking me down a few pegs, and I really don't know why that should be the case.

 

This thread is a sticky at the top of all the developer forums, meaning that BlackBerry intends US to try this app and hopefully use it. Were it just a random post in the forums I would agree with you that we are not its intended audience, but making it a sticky here makes it obvious we ARE.

 

You seem to imply that there is something wrong with listing the reasons I think this app should have been held back a bit longer so important missing features could be included. At the beginning and end of my previous post I clearly stated that I welcomed this new tool. Are you suggesting I just leave it at that and "go with the flow" by not listing the features I think it needs to be truly useful? If nobody says anything the developers will justifiably assume everything is hunky-dory. Without constructive negative feedback how are they to know what the user community would like to see added or changed?

 

I actually began to write, but then removed, a paragraph in that last post where I was going to say that as a developer I understood that it is common for apps to be released without all the features planned for inclusion in later updates. What I began to say before removing the passage was that I didn't think this was necessary with something like this application. We developers generally do this to get SOMETHING to market and hopefully begin to generate revenue, partly to help fund further improvements. This application however doesn't fall into that category since it is not a revenue generating avenue for BlackBerry, and I was not aware of a great clamoring for something like this. If you want to argue that another reason for releasing an incomplete application early is to flush out bugs and clarify UI bottlenecks, well... that is what a beta release program is for.

 

Yes, I agree that long blocks of code are usually copied from elsewhere on a developer's PC, but if I want to explain a concept with just a few lines of code (up to 10 or so) I often just type it straight into a code entry window directly. I'll also state again that I think this app will encourage new posters to enter unformatted code when asking questions, and we all know how difficult to read that can be.

 

That said, I will agree that lack of code entry is not a show stopper, but I would argue that inability to post images, and in particular screen captures, and no way to enter HTML links DO severely limit the usefulness of this application, and not just for us developers. The social discussion boards here can probably get by with simple text back-and-forth, but I would argue that the majority of potential users would dearly miss this functionality.

 

I guess my expectations may have been too high when I first saw that BlackBerry itself had built this app. I was hoping this app to be a "best practices" showcase, showing off the awesomeness (yes, I said it... deal with it) of the BlackBerry Native UI, but right now I would have to conclude that CrackBerry gets the picture better than BlackBerry itself. A quick look at the BlackBerry World review page for this app show that although most early reviewers are giving high marks, a small but growing contingent agree with me that right now this app is a bit underwhelming for something coming from on high.

 

So to Mark, and BlackBerry as a whole... well done for conceiving of something like this and bringing it to the masses, but it does seem rather half-baked to me for an "official" app. Hopefully future updates will improve the situation.


BBSJdev wrote:
@greenmr I'm sure a lot of these things will come in time however I sometimes get the impression you deliberately look for problems, you are not really a 'go with the flow' kind of guy are you. :smileyhappy:


This app is not a 'full' replacement for the browser experience, at least not yet, and it is more a 'quick fire off and leave' app for the general public than us developers.
It's a way for them to be more easily involved in the forums from their phone.

Having used this app for a few weeks now I can tell you that even if it did allow adding of code I still wouldn't use it, firstly I code on my PC and if I need to add a piece of code the PC would need to be on anyway, in which case I would just use the browser. On the very rare occasions when I would need to type small snippets of code off the top of my head then I would just invoke the browser from the app and use the 'add code' button.

As a developer you would know that you can't always put everything in the first version and you will never be able to cater for the niche users, and guess what, we developers are the niche users. So I'm sure Mark appreciates your feedback, in fact I know he does, but try and come at it from the point of view of the intended audience rather then yours.

Typed from the App. :smileyhappy:






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Developer
greenmr
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎03-20-2013
My Device: Red LE Developer Z10
My Carrier: Fido

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

Thanks for the response Mark. Some good and useful answers. I notice that you didn't mention the end-of-line text cutoff though.

 

Good to know the app (or the API more likely) autoconverts URLs to links, but i rarely ever want to post the link in plaintext. I usually highlight a word or two in my post, hit the link button, and fill in the URL I want those words to link to. I also usually fill in the "Title" field to indicate what the link points to in human-readable format. Good to know there is a way to get links into posts though.

 

Rich text is low on my wish list, but attachments are high.

 

Thanks for keeping us informed.


MSohm wrote:

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Here are a few quick comments about them.

 

  • Squished text in screenshot - Looking into that one.
  • Editing posts - On the todo list already.
  • Posting links - You can do this now.  If you enter http://www.blackberry.com in the app it'll show up as a link in the post.
  • Rich text - Not currently supported in the app.  If you'd like to use the full rich text editor for the browser you can long press on the message title and Open in Browser to reply.  For basic formatting in the app you could type out basic HTML for things like bold, italics, etc.  That's not for the masses, but may appeal to developers.  :smileyhappy:
  • Posting attachments - Not currently supported by the Lithium APIs this app uses (this is a Lithium forum).
  • Facebook login - Not currently supported by the Lithium APis this app uses (this is a Lithium forum).

 

 






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Developer
BBSJdev
Posts: 6,089
Registered: ‎07-05-2012
My Device: Playbook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C
My Carrier: Orange

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

@greenmr Ok.


If you've been helped click on Like Button, if you've been saved buy the app. :smileyhappy:

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JSanders
Posts: 84,430
Likes: 22,909
Solutions: 5,893
Registered: ‎04-01-2008
My Device: Z30 • Z10 • Torch9850 • Playbook
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

I've enjoyed using the new app.

 

With that said and in response to some of the comments above, the app is obviously not intended for the heavy users of this forum. The app really doesn't (yet) fit my full needs and the mobile site itself is a better experience for me (although it too doesn't allow for editing of posts either).

 

For the other 99%, it's great, serves a nice need for those of the intended audicence.

 

And I look forward to the upgrades as well.




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Administrator
MSohm
Posts: 14,421
Registered: ‎07-09-2008
My Device: BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry PlayBook
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Re: Meet the BlackBerry Community App

I'll look into adding something to format links for a future release.  Note that manually crafting a URL from an < a > tag will work too.  Messy, but again something that might interest this developer crowd.

Mark Sohm
BlackBerry Development Advisor

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