Just came back home yesterday from Randa Meetings 2017. This year, even though my major motive for the sprint was to use Qt 5.8’s Qt Speech module instead of custom Java for text-to-speech during navigation, that could not be achieved because of a bug which made the routes not appear in the app in the first place. And this bug is reproducible both by using latest code, and old-enough code, and is even there in the prod app in the Google Play Store itself. So, although most of my time had gone in deep-diving on the issue, unfortunately I was not able to find the root-cause to it eventually. I will need to pick up on that in the coming weeks again when I get time, to get it fixed. Apart from that, I managed to fix a few more bugs, and work on adding a splash screen to the Android app:
- Made the bookmarks dialog responsive to touch everywhere. When we tapped on the Search field in the app, if nothing was written in that field then the bookmarks dialog showed up there. If the number of bookmarks was <= 6, then the far-lower part of the dialog did nothing on being tapped. Made that portion choose the last item from the bookmarks list in that case.
There was an issue where pressing the back-button always led to closing the app instead of handling that event depending on the various scenarios. On looking, it was found that the root-cause for the issue was lying in the code of Kirigami itself. Reported the same to Marco Martin, and fixed the issue in the Marble app via a workaround by using Kirigami.AbstractApplicationWindow instead of Kirigami.ApplicationWindow in the Qml. Also reported the issue that svg icons were not showing up in the app on Plasma Mobile because of svg icons not being enabled there.
- Worked on adding a splash screen to the Marble Maps app. The highest resolution of the Marble logo in png that we had at the moment was 192 x 192, which looked a bit blurry, as if it had been scaled up, so I just displayed it as 100×100 for the splash screen to make it look sharp. Later, Torsten created a 256×256 version of the png from an svg, which got rid of the blur in the previous png. So I added that in the splash screen later, and the icon there looks much bigger, sharper, and non-blurry now.
Apart from work, there was snow this year, did some interesting acro-yoga with Frederik, did a 3-hour hike to walk across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, went on a tour to Zermatt to catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn, and ended it all with having a delicious barbecue with Emmanuel and Tomaz somewhere up in the mountains on the final evening. Thanks to Mario for organizing the meetings and the cheese and chocolates, without which no work could have been done.
One more year of fun and intense productivity in Randa came to an end just a few days back, and I feel so good to have been a part of it. Much progress was made by the Marble team this year by Dennis, Torsten, Friedrich, David and me. I mostly worked on the Marble Maps Android app’s navigation feature, and would like to mention the changes here very briefly:
- First of all, cmake was picking up the wrong target for aprs plugin, so I made cmake to skip the aprs plugin for Android, so that it does not lead to an unnecessary crash during building it.
- There was a bug in the Route Simulation position provider plugin, it was not working in the Navigation mode. Made a fix to that.
- Replaced the older QImage based current-position pointer, with a QML based one in the Android app. So now we are able to make our custom animations on it.
- The current-position pointer will be staying at points on the route itself, when the user is very close to the route (not too deviated from it). With the new QML based pointer, we made sure that the radius of accuracy remains the same with respect to the Earth irrespective of which height we are viewing the map from. Plus, we have got rid of this accuracy-indicator when the position-pointer is already on the route, and are showing it only otherwise.
- There was a minor bug with this in the desktop version as well. Imagine that while you’re simulating a navigation through a route between New York and Boston, you zoom out till the whole Earth is visible, then rotate the Earth so that the other half of the globe, for example India, is visible now, instead of America. In that case the position marker was showing up on the top-left corner of map (somewhere in the sky), when it was supposed to not be visible at all since it is theoretically present on the other “not-visible” side of the globe now. So this bug was fixed as well.
- Used some new maneuver direction pixmaps for navigation in the Android app, getting rid of old ones, and also made them look sharper in the Navigation info-bar while they were shown during turn-by-turn navigation, by making some tweaks in the QMLs that were using them.
- Finally, the distance text that shows on the top while in Navigation mode, its border height has been changed to match the height of that of the maneuver pixmaps shown on its left as well, so that the view looks much more uniform. Plus, a similar panel has been added at the bottom as well, that shows the speed and distance information during the navigation, each at two different sides of the panel.
That’s all about work. And adding to the yummy food that turns out to be truly delicious every single year, this time we had some more fun activities as well. We were fortunate enough to board a cable-car to ride to as high as possible in the mountains, so much that we ended up finding ourselves in snowfall ( it’s my first time being in a snowfall 🙂 ), which was amazing! The special red tea we were greeted at a stop at a restaurant during the hike was pretty unique. We then visited a museum, and that was a lot of fun as well.
Such a lively and eventful week it was, thanks a lot to Mario and Simon for organizing the Randa Meetings one more year. Let’s keep the Marble rolling, and I hope to be a part of this again in the subsequent years to come! 🙂
It is time for one more Randa Meetings this year, and over 50 KDE developers are going to participate in it along with me as well. The Randa Meetings is a codesprint sponsored by KDE and organized by Mario Fux, in which KDE developers from all across the globe are invited, and get to sit under the same roof and work together to collaborate on different ideas, coming up with some awesome feature implementations within a time span of about a week. These meetings generally focus on a common topic every year. Last year (2014) it was focused mainly on porting of various KDE applications to the KF5 framework. Similarly, this year we have a common focus as well, and it is aimed at bringing more of KDE to the mobile platform as much as possible. Now, since I am a Marble developer, let me tell you in brief what are my plans for Randa Meetings this year.
Marble is a virtual globe software, released for use in Desktops for now, but we’re working on “Marble Maps” for Android currently, which brings the openstreetmap + navigation/routing parts of Marble to Android. Although this Android app is still in its beta version for now and is going through a lot of testing at the moment, it will be openly available in the Play Store for being installed by everyone very soon. Along with that, we also plan to release an app called “Marble Globe” for Android later, which will focus more on different map themes, different planets, satellites and so on. For Marble Globe we think that it would be very interesting to include the “interactive tours” feature there prominently. So there could be a tour that shows landing sites on the moon. And another one that introduces certain interesting spots of a historical map. And so on. We would need declarative/qml support for tours to do that, and probably some other extensions as well that plain KML tours do not support out of the box. So we are interested in exploring these stuff, and are going to discuss these topics in Randa. Apart from that I am going to polish the existing feature in the desktop version as well.
I am really excited to meet Dennis and Torsten once again this year in Randa, along with the rest of the Marble team. Hope to have a lot of fun, loads of food, and a whole lot of hacking! 🙂 Although, all this can only be possible if you can provide us your support in this. So, please make sure to donate to the Randa fundraising to encourage the time and energy spent by all the KDE developers in this meeting, if you are an user or supporter of KDE in any way. Your every small contribution will be as precious as the rest! 🙂
Thanks a lot to Mario for organizing this amazing event. And I hope to have another awesome week in Randa this year. Cheers! 🙂
Hi all, just wanted to say that I am going to the Randa Meetings that are going to be held in Randa, Switzerland from the 9th to 15th of August this year. These code sprints are pretty important because through these, developers can get to interact and plan out stuff, collaborate, and create amazing softwares in a very small span of time. As always, this sprint is going to help everyone who uses KDE softwares. But we need your help to make this event possible. As you know that KDE is a non-profit organisation, and just like any other type of meeting / event needs funds, so do we. So even if you are not attending this meeting, still you can help us by donating some amount to the fundraiser. We need your help and It is people like you who can make these meetings possible. Thank you! 🙂