Posts for the month of August 2010

The march towards a first beta...

I'm long overdue for another official post about the status of the LogicMail 2.0 project. So far, most of my commentary has been scattered between the forums, ticket system, mailing lists, and private E-Mails. As such, I think its about time I explained where everything currently stands.

As many of you have observed, I've been working towards a 2.0 release for far too long. There are really three main reasons for this:

  • 2.0 really is significantly more complex than 1.x
    To put things in perspective, using the  SLOC metric (as calculated by  this tool, the final 1.1 release comes in at 13,579 SLOC. Meanwhile, as of today, trunk is at 31,427 SLOC and growing.
  • I do this as part-time adventure
    A few hours here and there is plenty for following up on E-Mails, fixing minor bugs, or adding small features. However, the bigger stuff requires me to be able to dedicate whole days of development time. While I can do this on occasion, I am limited in how often I get the chance.
  • As a direct side-effect of taking so long, the following additional things tend to happen:
    • More time is spent dealing with end-user issues and requests
    • New BlackBerry platform features come out that I want to take advantage of

Despite everything mentioned above, I am optimistic about being able to finally get 2.0 to the beta stage some time this year. The end is in sight, and I actually know what else needs to get done. In short, the following are my must-haves for 2.0 being "feature complete":

  • Various performance and memory management enhancements (connection read/write #221, IMAP parsing #222, cache loading #213, memory management #212)
  • Incremental loading of mailbox data (#211)
  • Running in the background and auto-fetching new data (#79, #78)

Anyone who follows the development builds has probably noticed some of the slush after build [build:199] and hopefully ending in build [build:202]. This is where I implemented #221. It has made actual network loading much faster, but has had the side effect of making the post-processing seem slower. Hopefully #222 (a work in progress) should fix this.

Now, we all really want 2.0 to actually get to a beta release sometime this year. As far as I'm concerned, the beta milestone is where the application is feature-complete, and most of the more major bugs are fixed (and/or well documented). In order to get there, I really need to focus on the core features. This may mean that every little user-request or issue won't get acted upon immediately. However, if they are documented in well-written tickets, they can still be mostly addressed prior to a final 2.0 release (or moved over to 2.1).

  • Posted: 2010-08-08 14:59
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BlackBerry 6 (and build consolidation)

If you follow any of  the  usual  enthusiast and  official websites, its hard to miss what's happened this past week. Amongst all the buzz, they also finally remembered to release an actual  SDK to go along with it.

So what did this mean for LogicMail?

  • I wanted a BlackBerry 6 build, to take immediate advantage of some new APIs:
  • The number of existing LogicMail builds was growing out of control.
    • I already had separate builds for OS 4.2, 4.6, 4.7, and 5.0
    • I also had separate touchscreen builds for 4.7 and 5.0.
    • The first 6.0 device is a hybrid slider, making it unclear what to do

So I started thinking to myself... Why do I actually have separate touchscreen and non-touchscreen builds? What am I actually saving by doing that? Apparently, only about 32kb! In an era where other developers can't figure out how to write a toy app in less than 1M, and I'm only in the 300-400kb range, it seemed silly to fuss over that little memory.

If you now look at the main page of this site, you'll notice that I've done the following:

  • Combined the touchscreen and non-touchscreen builds (which icons or fields to use will now just be decided at runtime)
  • Added an OS 6.0 build, using those new APIs

Of course its best to see screenshots:

  • Posted: 2010-08-08 09:44
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