Feed Farmer Update

Things are moving right along on the latest update of Feed Farmer, our feed reader and podcast downloader for Android.

Drawer

The navigation drawer interface is working out beautifully!  We are now including links back to your Power Search results, for immediate recall.

Rendering

As the Android web view has evolved, so has the way it renders the HTML Feed Farmer generates for your feed items, search results, etc.  On newer versions of Android, the rendering experience is sometimes less-than-ideal, especially for “wide” content containing large images, unbroken text, etc.  This is inconvenient, because you must zoom in to make the text readable.

We have enhanced the CSS on our generated markup, so now this is mostly alleviated, and we are keeping generated content within the initial device width.

Web View

We have made some adjustments to the web view; in particular, we have turned on the built-in Zoom controls.  For some reason this was never enabled, apologies!

For feed item viewer, we have also turned off Wide Layout and Overview modes, to discourage auto-zooming generated content.

Processing

Most of the “work” happens after the feed XML file is downloaded via the Android Download Manager.  This is where the “items” are parsed out and the HTML generated for each one.

One error case is when the feed URL no longer references the desired content, for example the feed has been terminated.  In this case HTML error content is the usual response, so Feed Farmer doesn’t recognize it as any XML format it knows, so it generates a “cannot detect document type” error.

We are enhancing the processing to use this error as a signal to disable the feed, and add an Error Report to that feed.  You would need to follow up on that and determine whether that URL is still a valid feed, and remove it if not.  The Check Feed command in the Feed Editor will tell you the content type returned by the server for the feed URL.

Feed Farmer Update

Feed Farmer Update

We want to go over upcoming enhancements to Feed Farmer, our feed-reader/podcast-downloader for Android.

User Interface

Time for another re-vamp of the user interface!

The tabs are gone!  You get that vertical space back.  Now there is a Sliding Drawer navigation pane.  Swipe in from the left-hand side, right-hand if you are in RTL land.

The new navigation pattern starts with the “root” level of items you can access.  Selecting an item shows its “contained” items in the main screen.  From there, it works the same as previous: select an item, and it comes up in the appropriate fragment.

The exciting part is Feed Farmer will provide new things as “items”

  • latest items from all feeds
  • podcasts ready-to-play (added to media player)
  • podcasts not downloaded yet
  • bookmark list
  • error reports (feeds don’t all last forever)
  • discovery links

The discovery in particular hopefully moves to a more-accessible location in the UI.

Error Reports

There was some deficiency in the error reporting.  The system notifications did not include any error information.  We also added more information to the item text in the Activity Log and the feed’s Error Report item.