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back to article The Register: Our all-new app now available for Android

You can now nip down to the Google Play store and bag yourself our new Android App. This version adds offline reading capabilities and comments! Oh. Nice This is a new release, not an update. So those of that you that have the older version, we're sorry: it won’t automatically upgrade. We're also sorry it took longer than …

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Meh

Or you could, you know, just use the web browser...

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This

Other than off-line access, I don't see the point of separate apps for web sites.

And my browser has tabbing, so no need to keep closing and opening apps all the time.

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Stop

Re: This

Other than off-line access, I don't see the point of separate apps for web sites.

Often it makes them more readable by having a better layout. Having bigger text and bigger buttons and being able to adjust properly for vertical/horizontal viewing can make life a lot easier - especially if you are over 40 and your eyes are starting to go.

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FAIL

Reliance on specific apps for web services just reinforces the fact your web browser isn't a proper grown up one with all the features.

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reinforces the fact your web browser isn't a proper grown up one with all the features.

What web browser features can fix the fact that my 46 year old eyes struggle to read text on my phone or that my fingers (not fat fingers either) sometimes hit the wrong link? I mean, yes, I can zoom in but the page layout doesn't always lend itself to that. It either mucks up the text(*) or else I have to zoom back out to navigate or to reach a button.

Do any browsers support orientation detection? Properly, I mean, not just re-flowing the text. A dedicate app will often adopt an entirely different layout in horizontal mode than vertical mode. Putting buttons along the top instead of down the side for instance.

Perhaps all of that could be done in a browser if HTML supports it but how many web designers actually do bother to think about that kind of thing? It's second nature for a phone developer but the most you can really expect a web page to do is flow properly so that page items aren't obscuring other page items.

(*)I don't mean corrupted, merely that the way it ends up being wrapped is unhelpful. Harder to read and/or puts hot links close together so it's a bugger to tap on the right one.

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Re: This

You can do those things with css in a browser, it doesn't need an app.

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Happy

Erm my other half makes responsive websites that automatically re-adjust. move content and resize depending on orientation and screen size. Took her about a day to learn that a few years ago and now puts it into all her sites.

But then again we've seen there are web designers and there are people who pretend to be web designers.

You get what you pay for.

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JDX
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Re: This

Maybe you can do it in CSS, but it's far easier not to. HTML+CSS is an abomination creaking at the seams.

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Re: This

Maybe you can do it in CSS, but it's far easier not to. HTML+CSS is an abomination creaking at the seams.

Yet HTML5 + CSS is what drives most apps.

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What web browser features can fix the fact that my 46 year old eyes struggle to read text on my phone or that my fingers (not fat fingers either) sometimes hit the wrong link?

This is a really good point - and all too often designers are too heavily focused on their massive displays to remember that accessibility is very important.

However, this isnt a problem solely focussed on web browsers or solved with apps. If they are going to the trouble of developing an android and iOS app to provide better accessibility, they should have just put a bit more effort in to the front end design in the first place.

Do any browsers support orientation detection? Properly, I mean, not just re-flowing the text. A dedicate app will often adopt an entirely different layout in horizontal mode than vertical mode. Putting buttons along the top instead of down the side for instance.

This isnt the browser - it is down to the design.

Good responsive layouts will identify that the screen dimensions have changed and reformat its CSS appropriately. There are lots of pretty good frameworks to make responsive design trivially easy (320andup is one of the better known) and these all allow for a full reformatting at breakpoints.

Perhaps all of that could be done in a browser if HTML supports it but how many web designers actually do bother to think about that kind of thing?

It does, but not enough developers think about it - they are too busy designing a website for browsers then coding an app for phones.

It's second nature for a phone developer but the most you can really expect a web page to do is flow properly so that page items aren't obscuring other page items.

Phone and web interface developers are, or at least should be, the same beasts.

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And the plus side to a web browser, you can use your favourite one (as an example, Firefox + adblock) and drop all the adverts.

I don't have anything against websites having adverts. I have something against sites having annoying adverts. The ones that make sounds, flash images to get your attention or pop up over what you are trying to read.

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Bit pointless really.

From a quick try of the mobile version, it seems inferior in almost every way to the mobile site (except for the font, which I quite like). Scrap the development and spend the money on more playmobile reconstructions, I say.

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Re: This

> You can do those things with css in a browser, it doesn't need an app.

Not many do though. So the gist of Jason 7's argument "Your browser is crap, mine isn't, nyah, nyah" is not appropriate. It would be more appropriate to say "Reliance on specific apps for web services just reinforces the fact that web designers rarely bother to design their sites for optimum use on a small mobile device".

For what it's worth I don't like the idea of 'apps'. Never have. Even the terminology stinks. I fundamentally agree that a web browser should be all you need. That was supposed to be what made 'the web' so wonderful. I've been working with computers since the early 80s so I thought we were making progress and moving away from dedicated applications.

Unfortunately the proliferation of different browsers, the corruption of (or failure to adhere to) good standards and possibly developer laziness mean that ship seems to have sailed for now. My experience is that in a lot of cases a dedicated 'app' offers a better experience than using a generic browser. Things shouldn't be that way - but they are, and I don't think it's because 'your browser is better than mine'.

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Re: This

Nah ... m.theregister.co.uk looks fine to me in any browser (and less advertising and no app-level tracking) ... also 'reader' mode on mobile browsers (well Safari anyway) is even more readable and even less advertising.

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Devil

Or you could just write a book about it....

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Re: This

Ever heard of multi-tasking ? You can flick in and out of the app easily.

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Re: This

True, though I think the thing that really makes things odd is all the people advertising "apps" for their website for ipads. Seems like at least one advert per ad break advertises an ipad app, whilst Sky have launched a whole industry for fishermen with ipads, and casinos.

So if the reason is for small devices, that doesn't apply to big ipads with high resolutions. And if there's some other reason why an application is better, I wonder why there isn't an application for Windows (Windows x86, not WP or RT), for you know, the majority of people who use those laptop things, rather than the minority of Apple users. (And maybe an app for OS X and Linux users too, if they want to be cross-platform.)

Perhaps it's that they only produce for devices with cut-down browsers (but so much for the idea of ios devices having good browsers - maybe good compared to a feature phone, perhaps). The only other explanation is that they're produced by managers who think an "app" is something special that only runs on Apple devices (or perhaps Android). At least once now, I've heard someone say "Windows 8 can now run apps" ...

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"Do any browsers support orientation detection? Properly, I mean, not just re-flowing the text. A dedicate app will often adopt an entirely different layout in horizontal mode than vertical mode. Putting buttons along the top instead of down the side for instance."

Actually I often find a reverse, an "app" will be hardcoded for one orientation, whilst the webpage will at least do some reasonable job at coping.

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Vulture and Robot

For some complicated sites, eg Ebay, an app is much more convenient. Better still would be if all sites ran good mobile versions. The fact that many don't must be down to cost I guess. The Register app looks okay but personally I will continue to use an RSS Reader.

Comments can be left using the app but there is no "My Posts" etc. etc.

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Re: This

At least Theregister.co.uk has the common decency not to throw up a dialogue "An app is available for this website, do you want to install it? OK / Cancel" when I access it from my phone's browser. Thank you Reg!

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Stop

@jason7

Could you pass on a message for me?

I only turn my phone sideways for two reasons, either I'm watching a video or the text was too small to read in portrait. If the clever CSS detects a landscape view and simply makes the column wider whilst keeping the text the same size I give up and close the tab. Also true for unzoomable pages, whatever turkey worked out that trick needs shooting and basting, preferably not in that order.

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Or a pamphlet if you're short of time ..

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FAIL

The only problems I have with websites on my phone / iPad are those that try to be clever and detect my browser. A few examples:

- some sites detect an iPad as a "mobile device" and so by default I get a narrow very basic website and have to manually switch back. I don't use those sites anymore.

- many sites automatically redirect to a different mobile version. Often, if I'm trying to reach a specific page via a Google search I will be redirected back to the mobile homepage. Totally useless. I don't use those sites unless I really really have to.

- at least one site (ihg/Holiday Inn) I need to use a specific link to book a room. It's impossible to reach from a mobile, because it's being "clever" and redirecting me to its mobile site. I have to use a browser where I can fake the browser ID in order to book rooms using our corporate ID.

The only way around these is nothing to do wit the browser, but the way websites try to detect what you have. I shouldn't have to pretend to be IE8 in order to access a website!

David

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@jubtastic1

I know at least on Android, Chrome has options to force the ability to zoom even if it's disabled, and Firefox has an extension that allows you to do that.

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Re: @jubtastic1

"Apps" are just one more peice of bloatware, one more security risk. Websites put out apps because it is trendy or they can't be bother to make a proper mobile page. Either way, an "App" puts a extra hook into you, and they want you hooked.

We all know that .js alone can manipulate the display any way an "App" can. That being said, it's not the websites fault for not being techie enough to have a proper mobile page, it is the "team" who suggested the app over the proper. That "team" is either too trendy or lacks skills.

"Apps" are a regression, a single user mode of sorts. A day will come where you where the majority will weed them out in favor of html, just like instant messagers.

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I don't know about the others, but Firefox Beta allows you to check an "always request desktop version of site" option. I very rarely get the mobile version of any websites these days, unless said site goes through hoops trying to detect my hardware (and some do. Why?)

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Happy

Re: @AndrueC

Mr C, I'm with you, bro. Don't sweat the DVs! Us oldies gotta etc...

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Vic
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Re: This

> "An app is available for this website, do you want to install it? OK / Cancel"

There's a weather site I use that does that sometimes (not every visit, thankfully).

Trouble is, if you cancel it, the page reloads - together with the dialogue asking if you want the app.

The only[1] "fix" is to back right out and go in again :-(

Vic.

[1] Yes, I know I could avoid the site - but it is quite useful.

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Re: Other than off-line access

Shame HTML5 doesn't support working offline. Duh, it does.

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I hope it's better than the old reg droid app, whcih frankly was crap.

also what davtom just said!

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me too, only took (i think) more than a year to build! installing now...

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hmm, not great first impressions.

Stock Galaxy Note II, it's slow to load, says an app restart is required a lot and you can't specify when you want to sync files for offline reading or if that can only happen on wifi.

I'd find a better outfit to outsource this to.

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Re: davtom

"Or you could, you know, just use the web browser..."

The app is good for downloading stories & comments to read offline on the train, when I wouldn't have a 3g signal to use the website. Voting would be nice in the app though.

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First%20impressions

Yup%20so%20far%20it%20looks%20better%20(writing%20this%20through%20it).%20Certainly%20better%20than%20the%20old%20mess%2C%20but%20that%20isn't%20saying%20much.%0A%0AWould%20be%20nicer%20to%20have%20more%20control%20over%20log%20in%20and%20what%20gets%20synched%20though%2C%20at%20least%20from%20a%20first%20impression.%0A%0AAnd%20yet%20again%20forced%20to%20provide%20a%20title%3F

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Re: First%20impressions

And that was an attempt at posting a comment via the new app (from a Nexus 7)...

Methinks perhaps some work is still required here, as it initially came up as being an unsuccessful post within the app itself...

As a browser it looks an improvement on the previous one (which isn't saying much), but as noted aside from offline synching (of which more control on what gets synched would be nice) how much use it is over just using a browser is questionable.

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Re: First%20impressions

I think I've spotted a bug?

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Re: First%20impressions

LMFAO ...

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Re: First%20impressions

There was one benefit from this bug. It caused me to recreate my old, deleted, account to say that was the best damn review I have ever read.

Good job, Custard.

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Re: First%20impressions

You're welcome :)

Just updated, and was going to come here and post second impressions. But now not only had the restart glitch, but the settings cog now also does nothing for me (it worked before) and when I try and get into this comment screen it just does the "loading" and time-out trick with the unable to connect box (leaving behind the white screen when you back out of it).

So all in all so far my second impression is even worse than my first, as there's not even an amusing bug to reveal along the way...

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Re: First%20impressions

but the settings cog now also does nothing for me

Not just me then, I was beginning to wonder if they'd forgotten to link an event to it, or if my tired mind was being thick and mis-interpreting some new logo.

Think I'll stick to using my browser for the time being in all honesty

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gotta%20love%20those%20failed%20spaces.

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Yup, back to Chrome ;)

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(Written by Reg staff)

Oh

Can't say we weren't expecting a few more bugs, although we've not encountered this one ourselves. We'll load up and go hunt that one down. Thanks for the heads-up.

Any pointers on the device/version you're using?

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Re: Oh

Nexus 7 under Jellybean 4.2.1 for the problem post (the working ones are from my Win7 laptop under IE).

Just downloaded the app, logged in and hit the reply button to do the test.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Oh

Thank you.

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Coat

Re: Oh

The real Phil Mitchell would just go round and break his knees...

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FAIL

17.07MB ?

Cannot be moved to SD card?

Uninstalled.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: 17.07MB ?

We're looking at this too.

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Re: 17.07MB ?

It's 9MB on my Play Store.

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JDX
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Re: 17.07MB ?

More than 1Mb seems OTT.

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