Friday, October 31, 2014

2.0 progress update 3

Its time for another update.  A few weeks ago Google released the android 5.0 SDK along with the new updated compatibility with support for material design (partially) on pre 5.0 devices.  Google was kind enough to release this on a Friday so I had that whole weekend to play around with it and while it did provide some really cool things, it also broke a lot when it comes to a holo UI.  I lost about a half week getting GMMP's holo themes back to where they were before the sdk update.

Since then I have been working on the new material "inspired" themes.  The material design guidelines are great for the most part, but it definitely increases the amount of whitespace / wasted space.  Frankly on smaller screen sizes this is not a sacrifice I am willing to give up.  The preview shots later in this post are on a Moto G, so keep that in mind if you see some of the margins being smaller than they should.  I do plan on sticking to the spacing a bit closer for larger phones.  As for fonts, I tried out the suggested fonts (size/style) for lists that the guidelines state and it just looks off, so for now I am keeping what looks best.  I may down the line provide "cleaner/simpler" themes that really stick to the guidelines at the sacrifice of information display on the screen.  There is also the possibility of a cards UI option down the line too.  I had played with it and google made it pretty simple to add.

So here is the progress on the material theme so far.  To start I've add the side navigation drawer with the hamburger menu with the slick animation that everyone seems to love.  For some reason I cannot get the title in the toolbar to align correctly so its removed until I can figure it out.  I know its not just me because i've seen some other apps with the same issue.

I kept the same tabs from the holo themes except for Library.  This view will be have a view pager with Artist / Album / Song / Genre that you can swipe between.  The top levels will look similar to the holo theme, but once you make the initial selection it'll open a more detailed page with a nice image at the top (like play music).  I havent started on that part so there is nothing to show yet.

What i do have to show is the queue, browser, and effects view.  I have the search view converted over as well but I still have some more tweaks to that before I show any screens.

Over the last few months I've recolored GMMP's icons about 5-6 different times to switch alphas to match the backgrounds and I still was not happy with the final result, so instead of wasting time reediting the icons over and over, I wrote some code that will auto color the icons.  So in 2.0, I will be able to define a specific icon color/alpha for each theme and the users will also be able to change the colors of the icons as well.  One other thing to expect with 2.0 is many more icons.  Google was kind enough to release thousands of material design icons that developers can use freely.  Some of the screenshots above show them off.

Realistically, I dont think the first 2.0 beta will be out until december.  I am also fully expecting it to stay in beta for a long time.  This is such a major update that I want to get it right before its fully pushed to everyone on google play.