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Kevin Barry
Works at TeslaCoil Software
Attended University of Detroit Mercy
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Android App Developer
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  • TeslaCoil Software
    Everything, 2010 - present
  • Grant Street Group
    Software Developer, 2009 - 2010
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Introduction
Send support requests to support@teslacoilsw.com , I don't use Google+ for that.
Education
  • University of Detroit Mercy
    Electrical Engineering, 2003 - 2009
  • Northside College Preparatory High School
    1999 - 2003

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Kevin Barry
owner

General Discussion  - 
 
Icon theme developers:

Nova 4.3-beta6 adds a Night Mode > Drawer icon. By default this setting will override all app drawer icons with Nova's built in (during night mode only).

However, if your theme is applied in Nova Settings > Look and Feel > Icon theme, you can provide your own night mode drawer icon using the ":LAUNCHER_ACTION_APP_DRAWER_NIGHT" component. The example theme at https://github.com/teslacoil/Example_NovaTheme has been updated to include this.

I'm removing all comments unrelated to development.
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Kevin Barry

Shared publicly  - 
 
Android N DP2 ShortcutManager API

Disclaimer: The below is a screenshot of Nova Launcher. I borrowed the popup window from Nova's existing long-press menu and borrowed the icon/text layout from other places that Nova uses an icon + title + subtext layout. I have no information on how Google will display this. I also have no information on what gesture will be used (I'm using swipe down as Nova already uses swipe up for custom actions).

A few days ago Google released the second N developer preview and announced the new "Launcher shortcuts" API, with some brief documentation. Unfortunately Google Now Launcher in the N preview doesn't seem to support it yet, and as far as I can tell no apps in the preview provide these shortcuts yet.

Android has actually already had a concept of "Launcher Shortcuts" that were poorly documented and misunderstood. Most launchers no longer refer to them as shortcuts at all, but just call them widgets. This is confusing as they're very different from the normal appwidgets. For the sake of this post I'm going to refer to the existing, pre-N launcher shortcuts as "Icon Widgets". However Nova's widget drawer refers to them as "Shortcuts".

I put together some tests of this new API. What you see below is Nova Launcher and a sample messaging app. Please note the UI (and gesture) is completely up to the launcher. This is also only a preview of Nova, when a release version of Nova includes this functionality it'll likely look like whatever Google is doing in GNL.

Here's how it works:

An app tells the system about some shortcuts at runtime, this means the app has to run before the launcher knows about them. It also means the shortcut list is completely dynamic. The Icon Widget API was based on intents in the AndroidManifest, which meant they were fixed (though could be enabled or disabled, their icons and titles couldn't be changed at runtime).

The launcher requests a list of shortcuts, likely based on the package name. The launcher gets the title, text (subtitle?), and information to load the icon. Importantly, the launcher does not get the intent. Because of this, the launcher can't start the shortcut intent directly but instead asks the system to do so. This is also important because it means that the launcher doesn't need any permissions to launch the activity the intent points too, the activity does not even need to be exported.

A good example of why this new security is important compared to the old approach is the "Direct Dial" Icon Widget. Currently virtually every launcher on the Play Store has the CALL_PHONE permission. This is required for launchers to have because the Phone app has a "Direct Dial" Icon Widget, which returns a raw CALL intent with the desired phone number. Using an actual appwidget, permissions could be handled by the Phone app, but it's more overhead than needed for just a static icon that dials someone. Not requiring the permission for the icon widgets would allow any other app to create their own intents and bypass the CALL_PHONE permission.
Additionally, the Icon Widget method easily lends itself to revealing more information to the launcher than ideal. For Direct Dial, that means the target phone number. The launcher itself is hopefully trustworthy, as it has lots of control over your interacts on the phone. But virtually every launcher, including Google Now Launcher and Nova Launcher, allow other apps (with a declared permission) to read their database. It's important for launchers to allow this so that other launchers can import their settings.

Developers (or crazy enthusiasts), if you want to play with this yourself I've included a preview build of Nova Launcher (which requires Android N DP2) and my Messenderp APK and the Messenderp source code.

You can have Nova popup the shortcut menu by swiping down on the icon. Nothing will happen if the app doesn't have any shortcuts or if the system doesn't see them.

When testing be sure to frequently run:
adb shell cmd shortcut reset-throttling

As Android throttles how often you can update these shortcuts. (Also you probably don't want to delete all and then recreate then in activity onCreate like my example does. Be smarter and more efficient.)

Also before testing from Nova, confirm the system sees your shortcuts with:
adb shell dumpsys shortcut

You'll need Nova Launcher set as the default and need to see ShortcutInfo lines from your app.

Nova N Preview APK: http://novalauncher.com/apk/NovaLauncher_4.3-beta5.npreview.apk

Messenderp Sample: http://novalauncher.com/apk/Messenderp.apk

Messenderp source code: https://github.com/teslacoil/NPreview_ShortcutTest

Note Messenderp hard codes the icons and ids. This wouldn't be practical in a real app, but I was primarily focused on testing the launcher side of things. If you're a developer trying it out feel free to get in touch ( kevin@teslacoilsw.com ) if you have questions.

+Steve Albright of Phandroid has already been experimenting with the API and made a screencast of an example weather app: http://phandroid.com/2016/04/15/android-3d-touch/

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Cannot install Nova N preview apk. There was a problem parsing the package....
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Kevin Barry
owner

General Discussion  - 
 
Constant Crashing or Not Responding

The last Google App betas (5.10.22.19 and 5.10.23.19) contain a bug with the 4x4 Google Now widget. This causes the widget to ask the launcher to update approximately 20 times per second. This will cause crashes, excessive CPU usage, excessive battery usage. This will happen with any launcher that has the widget.

We recommend either downgrading to the stable version of the Google App or removing the widget.

We've contacted Google about the issue and heard back from them that they will look into it. Hopefully we'll see a new Google App beta soon that resolves the problem
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Hmm.. The updated date for Google App on the PlayStore still says Feb 19. Maybe I need to wait for a little while more for the new update to roll out. 
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
TeslaUnread 5.0beta1
Simplified user interface
Improved handling of unread counts from notifications
Improved or added support for several more apps
Added crash and usage analytics (and internet permission) to help identify issues and further improve TeslaUnread

Opt-in for betas at
https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.notifier

May take a few hours to appear on your Google Play


This update aims to tackle the top two issues with TeslaUnread.
1) Configuration, it has been incredibly easy to misconfigure TeslaUnread, lead to unreliability. The duplicated list of apps at the top level and in notification listener was the biggest, but not only, problem. Now the interface is simply a list of apps (broken up into common/well-supported and "other" apps)
2) How counts were extracted from notifications, before it was overly generous which mean it was rarely reporting "1" when you the notification contained an unread count, but it could fail by reporting something other then 1 when there was only one message. Now it's more conservative, which means some apps that TeslaUnread previously corrected extracted an unread count from will only show "1", just let us know the app and we can take care of it.

We welcome issue reports, but please please please include the name of the app you are having issues with, along with your device and android version. Additionally there is a debug log we may request available in TeslaUnread Settings > Long-press volume down for Labs > Debug

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32 comments
 
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Miui 7. I downloaded the most recent update. Gmail seems to be working consecutively, Outlook and Instagram are hit and miss. Still no Notification for my stock messaging app. (That one did work before trying the bet version but didn't always show the correct number)
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
4.2.2 Jan 8, 2016

-Improved stability
-Optimizations


(May take a few hours to appear on your Google Play)
Opt-in to betas at https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.launcher
Or download the APK http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public


I know that's a lame changelog, basically a handful of difficult to describe workarounds for bugs in different implementations of Android or apps.
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Gracias por las constantes mejoras del launcher, cada día más fluido, eficaz y personalizable.
 ·  Translate
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Kevin Barry

Shared publicly  - 
 
Learned of an interesting bug in Android from a user report today. Android 6.0.1 added a SystemUI flag to allow apps designed for light background status bars (so dark icons). Nova makes it a user option as it works well for some people's wallpapers. But a user reported that the icons stay light after using the Nexus 6P's double-tap power to camera feature. Sure enough I can reproduce. Force closing or even uninstalling and reinstalling doesn't help.

AOSP bug filed at
https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=197798

+Chris Wren +Roman Nurik
Android Open Source Project - Issue Tracker
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5 comments
 
Double tap power for camera works on N6 as well.
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
4.3-beta7 Apr 20, 2016

- Night mode drawer icon (Enable in Night mode settings)
-Improve performance of Android N Preview folder background
-N Preview folder background now supports Android 4.x
-Adjust folder grid style to not be vertically offset when using N Preview background
-Minor UI tweaks and fixes


The new approach for the N folder background performs much better and has negligible impact on memory, this also allows supports android 4.x, so assuming it doesn't cause any new issues it's a big win. It makes me wonder what Google will do with GNL, as the method they're using seems to be similar to the original method that was causing lag for a number of you.

(May take a few hours to appear on your Google Play)
Opt-in to betas at https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.launcher
Or download the APK http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public
Older Versions:
Previous Beta APK: 4.3-beta5 Apr 14, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42907
Latest Stable APK: 4.2.2 Jan 8, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42200
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38 comments
 
I requested for keeping app drawer icons colored when opening folders in app drawer, is it implemented?
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
4.3-beta5 April 14, 2016
Added N Preview style folder background with clipped preview
Custom night mode schedule
Fix some layout issues

Here's what the N Preview folder background looks like, the default style is grid to match the N Preview but of course you can change that to one of Nova's other options.

(May take a few hours to appear on your Google Play)
Opt-in to betas at https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.launcher
Or download the APK http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public
Older Versions:
Previous Beta APK: 4.3-beta4 Apr 8, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42906
Latest Stable APK: 4.2.2 Jan 8, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42200
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84 comments
 
N-style folder cause lag also in g3 32gb w/ m6
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
4.3-beta2 Apr 2, 2016

-Night Mode
-Improved search bar configuration
-Bug fixes

Hope you guys enjoyed Holo for April Fools, but didn't get too attached as Holo Mode's now showing it's true face as Night Mode, which is Material Dark, not Holo. No more #33b5e5.


(May take a few hours to appear on your Google Play)
Opt-in to betas at https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.launcher
Or download the APK http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public

Older Versions:
Previous Beta APK: 4.3-beta-april1 Apr 1, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42903
Latest Stable APK: 4.2.2 Jan 8, 2016 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42200
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52 comments
 
I just wanna ask, is any chance for this http://feedback.novalauncher.com/forums/145180-nova-feature-requests/suggestions/2887077-custom-sorting-in-app-drawer most demanded feature to be included in this update? 1 year and 2 mounts have past from when was marked as a started, and nothing happens. 8500 USERS VOTES are not enough so we can have a decent custom sorting option in Nova Launcher Prime? 
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
Nova Launcher 4.3 beta april1
- Holo Mode
- Auto Holo Mode, to enable a Holo dark theme after sunset
- Search bar with classic Google logo in full color
- Bug fixes and optimizations

May take a few hours to appear on Google Play
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+Pushkar Gogte it is April 1st release, next update will be probably with material dark theme... I hope so
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Kevin Barry
owner

General Discussion  - 
 
Chrome Bookmarks Shortcut

As some of you have noticed, the Chrome Bookmarks 1x1 shortcut is broken in current builds of Chrome. Furthermore, Google has said that it is being removed entirely in the next major Chrome update. https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=567544

Google's proposed solution is to use Chrome's "Add to Homescreen" menu option.

I know for a number of you this is not sufficient and I'd like to get more information about why. The most obvious problem that comes to mind is users were using this for adding a bookmark as a swipe action.

Potential workarounds are to use a third party browser that supports bookmark shortcuts (and generally these shortcuts will open with your default browser anyway). Another possible approach would be for a more generic URL Shortcut tool where you could type or copy/paste a URL and create a shortcut for it. The big problem here is the typing in the URL, a third party app can't easily access your Chrome bookmarks.

What do you guys use the Chrome Bookmarks Shortcut for? Is typing or copy/pasting a URL too much of a pain to be worth it?
An open-source project to help move the web forward.
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Late to the party, but I came here to find the answer to this exact question. I want to be able to swipe up on the Chrome icon to launch Google image search. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see the bookmarks option, but this explains it. A generic URL shortcut option would be very welcome for me at least!
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Kevin Barry
owner

Changelogs(DO NOT POST)  - 
 
4.2.1-beta3 Dec 28, 2015

-Fix lock desktop in vertical app drawer
-Fix widget drawer starting scrolled to the center
-Misc fixes
-Updated translations

Opt-in for betas at
https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.teslacoilsw.launcher
Then it may take a few hours to appear in your Google Play


Or download the APK http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public
Older Versions:
Previous Beta APK: 4.2.1-beta2 Dec 17, 2015 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42002
Latest Stable APK: 4.2.0 Dec 7, 2015 http://teslacoilsw.com/tesladirect/download.pl?packageName=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&betaType=public&versionCode=42000
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6 comments
 
Thats great work. The most loving launcher in play store. But one more minor feature needed if you can. Like in samsung touchwiz launchers, there we can go/slide to next screen by just tapping the dock markers/dots instead of swiping the screen. It would be much appreciated if you add it too. 
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