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  1. davtom
    Meh

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

    1. The BigYin

      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.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        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.

        1. OneArmJack

          Re: This

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

          1. JDX Gold badge

            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.

            1. PrivateCitizen

              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.

          2. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            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'.

            1. Blitterbug
              Happy

              Re: @AndrueC

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

        2. Synonymous Howard

          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.

        3. Mark .

          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" ...

      2. David Simpson 1
        FAIL

        Re: This

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

      3. Jim 59

        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.

      4. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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!

        1. Vic

          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.

      5. vic 4

        Re: Other than off-line access

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

    2. jason 7
      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.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        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.

        1. jason 7
          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.

          1. jubtastic1
            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.

            1. Jordan Davenport

              @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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Thumb Down

                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.

        2. PrivateCitizen

          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.

        3. Mark .

          "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.

      2. Dave, Portsmouth
        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

        1. Neoc

          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?)

    3. Wize

      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.

    4. Formenos

      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.

    5. David Simpson 1
      Devil

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

      1. El Presidente

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

  2. Naughtyhorse

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

    also what davtom just said!

    1. dotslash

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

      1. dotslash

        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.

  3. craigj

    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.

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    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

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      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.

      1. El Presidente
        FAIL

        Re: First%20impressions

        LMFAO ...

    2. DaLo
      Facepalm

      Re: First%20impressions

      I think I've spotted a bug?

    3. GBL Initialiser
      Thumb Up

      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.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        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...

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          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

  5. wowfood
    Thumb Up

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

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Yup, back to Chrome ;)

    2. Phil Mitchell (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?

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        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.

        1. Phil Mitchell (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Oh

          Thank you.

      2. Andrew Moore Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Oh

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

  6. Dr_N Silver badge
    FAIL

    17.07MB ?

    Cannot be moved to SD card?

    Uninstalled.

    1. Phil Mitchell (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: 17.07MB ?

      We're looking at this too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: 17.07MB ?

        It lives! 17.08 MB for the app on my SGS2, 724kb for data after reading a couple of articles, and mysteriously infecting the SD card with a further 320kb. Not to mention a reported 4.63 MB in the phone's cache.

        To echo somebody else's comments, for somthing that is merely slighly more competent than an RSS client, how have they managed to make this so f***ing huge? I can remember when an entire OS was less than 18 MB, and even the time when a typical HDD was of this order.

        How many lines of code are there in this abomination?

    2. Jedit

      Re: 17.07MB ?

      It's 9MB on my Play Store.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: 17.07MB ?

        More than 1Mb seems OTT.

  7. James 51 Silver badge

    I would ask for it to be ported to BB7/10/Playbook but in general prefer to use to webpage. Don't want the internet to devolve into apps.

    1. jason 7
      Happy

      Yeah that's the joy of having a proper mobile browser. Mates laugh at me when they say the Playbook has hardly any apps. Well when you have a proper browser you don't need that many.

      Whist they are dicking around with some hokey third party app, I'm using the full meat and potatoes version on the web.

      1. David Simpson 1
        FAIL

        If the Register make the app how is it 3rd party ? I think it's nice to have something optimised for mobile use, if the mobile web devolves in to apps who exactly loses ?

    2. PrivateCitizen
      Thumb Up

      @James 51

      Don't want the internet to devolve into apps.

      Well said.

      Otherwise it seems that AOL & Compuserve were just a bit ahead of their time.

    3. Alex Walsh

      Surely we don't want the world wide web to devolve into apps is a better statement? The internet presumably includes apps as it is?

  8. ewan_mc
    Unhappy

    No luck here

    Not for me and my old (and not so trustworthy) HTC Desire it seems :-(

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: No luck here

      I have a Desire Z, I asked HTC when they were going to provide an upgrade of Android. Their reply is below, but they refused to say what their reasoning/criteria were & then stopped replying. It seems evident that they have little interest in supporting kit once they have sold it -- so I told them that I would be unlikely to buy HTC again. Maybe this is one reason why they are losing market share.

      ''We only update our phones if it will provide an overall improved user experience as we balance features, performance and usability. Because of this, the current firmware you have has been decided to be the best for your device.''

      1. David Simpson 1
        Devil

        Re: No luck here

        A Register user who cannot load a custom ROM - SHAME ON YOU.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No luck here

          "A Register user who cannot load a custom ROM - SHAME ON YOU."

          More like a Reg user who has the sense not to load unsupported firmware of unknown provenance, I'd guess. Or a Reg user who is wise enough not to risk bricking a handset that they don't want to have to pay to replace.

          1. mrwenni

            Re: No luck here

            Got a point there, but when you can only install a handfull of apps, you hardly have a choice. Running Leedroid right now, giving my trusty Desire a new life. I just don't trust it with a regular telecom subscription. The Reg app runs just fine here btw.

  9. El Presidente
    FAIL

    Installed ...

    Unable to comment in this article via the app on my N7.

    I'm getting either a blank white page or 'unable to connect, please check your network connectivity an try again' error messages.

    Commented here:

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/02/06/virgin_media_to_be_acquired_by_liberty_global/

    Last comment as AC .... Lots%of% L%O%L Fail icon because Epic Fail!

    1. GregC

      Re: Installed ...

      Same here - Unable to Connect every time I hit the comments button - Nexus 4 on 4.2.1

      1. GregC

        And also...

        the same on my N10 too

      2. jason 7

        Re: Installed ...

        Ditto, Nexus 4.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: Installed ...

          Ditto SGS2 on ICS 4.0.4

          Is it just me, or is there a degree of simple childish pleasure in kicking down somebody else's sandcastle?

          1. Thecowking
            Thumb Up

            Re: Installed ...

            As a software tester, can I say that yes, yes there is. You can even get paid for it! I love my job.

            I also can't get to comments on a nexus 4, JB 4.2.1

            1. Markl2011
              Thumb Down

              Re: Installed ...

              Ditto Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2

            2. AndrueC Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Installed ...

              As a software tester, can I say that

              As a software developer can I just say that I hate you :)

              Nah, I try to maintain a good relationship with our testers. After many years I've finally realised that they help produce a better product and even help improve my ability. Some of them are house trained as well :)

  10. Liam Thom
    Unhappy

    Login

    Little bit of a bugette in the password section.

  11. El Presidente
    FAIL

    Yup ..

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/02/07/seagate_desktophdd_15/

    Still can't comment in this article via the app on my Nexus 7.

    Was this app tested before it escaped?

    1. Phil Mitchell (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Yup ..

      A lot, yes, an lots of devices too.

      1. El Presidente

        Re: Yup ..

        Except the nexus 7?

        1. blapping

          Re: Yup ..

          or the galaxy s2? or s3?

          nobody likes being lied to.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Pint

            Re: Yup ..@blapping

            Tested != Working

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yup ..

        "A lot, yes, an lots of devices too."

        We believe you.

  12. Eugene Crosser
    Meh

    "Responsive Design"

    is what the marketing types call it. In our tongue, that would be just "proper CSS" on the main web site. That is what we need, not another app.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: "Responsive Design"

      So I'm not the only one who thinks that RWD is another good (if slightly obvious) idea surrounded by bullshit terminology and a design luvvie circlejerk?

      1. dogged
        Windows

        Re: "Responsive Design"

        rear wheel drive?

    2. JDX Gold badge

      @Eugene

      What a surprise, a web-designer suggesting a site should be redesigned.

      I've never found a single site, even one brand new from a good designer, that other designers don't tear to shreds. It seems ingrained into being a web-designer that every site must be completely re-designed every year or two.

      Of course this is unbiased professionalism, not blatant self-interest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Eugene

        It's a tradesman thing... like when you call in a dodgy plumber and get a load of "tut, tut, these pipes are all the wrong bore... we'll have to rip the lot out" :(

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: @Eugene

        What a surprise, a web-designer suggesting a site should be redesigned.

        Surely updating your site's interface to use CSS properly (which isn't necessarily the same as redesigning it) is much less effort than creating and support multi-platform apps?

        I'm prototyping an RWD version of our website at the minute, and despite having barely any styling yet, it matches the layout of the original well enough that at first glance it looks like the same site - until you try to view it in a browser that isn't a fullscreen desktop app.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yay for fragmentation

    yay%20for%20fragmentation%20:D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: yay for fragmentation

      Yay for not understanding what Fragmentation is, and believing everything Steve Jobs told you without question.

  14. npupp 1

    could we not...

    ... perform the same basic function (well offline reading at least) through Google currents*?

    Granted commenting isn't possible in-app, but for "train reading" etc. , where mobile network is too flaky to be useful, commenting wouldn't work anyways...

    *disclaimer - I am NOT affiliated with the chocolate factory, but am:

    For: having a multitude of offline articles to read from numerous sources

    Against: separate apps for each website, each of the order 15mb and non installable on SD card

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: could we not...

      Trains in NI have free wifi. Can't go into the iplayer or youtube but you can tweet about how late the train is while reading elreg.

  15. El Presidente
    FAIL

    Also ..

    Logs me out every time I close the app.

    App remembers my email address, doesn't remember my password.

    Imagine!

    Most popular tech website doing bug tracking of its new app. Live and in public!

    Priceless.

    1. djstardust Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Also ..

      Maybe so, but still not nearly as embarrassing as Apple Maps!

      (ducks down awaiting a plethora of downvotes!)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Also ..

        At least you're quite safe saying that. Anyone pissed off enough to want to give you a kicking won't be able to find you.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I probably should cancel my download

    but curiosity has got(ten? test?) the better of me.

    Typing of which, given the number of egregious spelling and grammar crimes committed by the El Reg commentards (myself included), it is perhaps appropriate to cut The Register some slack.

  17. wolfetone Silver badge
    FAIL

    Aren't you forgetting something?

    Checking out the link you gave for Windows Phone 8 and iOS, there's a strange image on the right. An image, of four phones: Android phone, Windows phone, Apple iPhone, and BlackBerry phone.

    But! What is this? There is no BlackBerry app to download!!!

    1. jai

      Re: Aren't you forgetting something?

      you got the wrong icon, you should have used the Thumbs Up one :)

  18. El Presidente
    FAIL

    To cut The Register some slack?

    No no and thrice no!

    El Reg and its commentards are amongst the first to point and laugh when a tech related company has a complete and very public cock up with their new shiny tech.

    More so when a Government procurement agency procures some software which doesn't work as promised.

    it would be borderline criminal for us not to point and laugh. Then point and laugh some more!

    1. Phil Mitchell (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: To cut The Register some slack?

      Quite right. Get stuck in.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. 142
      Facepalm

      Re: To cut The Register some slack?

      I'm inclined to agree... what the hell are they doing? The app is huge, and all it has to do download and display text. El Reg is the least visually complex online news site on the web - zero graphs in the articles, feck-all pictures, and no fancy fonts. All it needs for an app is a glorified RSS reader, with the ability to submit comments, something that's been done 20 million times before!

      What is so special about El Reg that makes it so hard? Are they trying to do everything from scratch from first principles? The %20 bugs people are getting when commenting suggests they are...

      It's as though they've reinvented the wheel and decided the best shape was a square.

      1. El Presidente
        FAIL

        Re: To cut The Register some slack?

        "It's as though they've reinvented the wheel and decided the best shape was a square"

        Good comment, Sir. The old adage 'if the app is free you are the product' might apply here. Just another way to serve up adverts? (I'm guessing the spinning thing in the grey box at the bottom of the app was an advert?)

        I've never understood the argument for using an app instead of a browser except for more adverts.

  19. HaydnH
    Thumb Down

    "And the rest"

    ... what about us loyal WebOS users?

    1. GBL Initialiser

      I am still waiting for their teletext service.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Teletext would be awesome

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: "And the rest"

      I didn't know there was such a thing linguistically as a "royal us" until now.....

  20. DrXym Silver badge

    Some tips for sites

    Browsing the web with a tablet can be a frustrating experience. Not because the browser is bad or renders the content wrongly. It's because sites see that I'm using a tablet and implement some intensely annoying behaviour.

    With that in mind, here are some rules that all sites should follow.

    1. DO NOT open a popup every time I visit the site asking if I want an app to view the content I'm viewing right this instance. If I said no the last time then there is a 99.99% chance you're just annoying me by asking again.

    2. Instead, DO put a discrete "get our app" link somewhere in the main page, and potentially at the *bottom* of other pages where it can be ignored if not desired.

    3. DO NOT redirect the user to the "mobile" version of your website. Most tablets are more than capable of rendering the full site. Even most phones are. If you absolutely must inflict mobile on a user, use a heuristic, e.g. user agent & screen res, and ASK ONCE.

    4. DO remember this decision so future visits to the site pick the right site.

    5. DO put a discrete "switch to mobile" link somewhere in the main page / bottom of content where a user can switch to the mobile version.

    6. DO put a discrete "switch to desktop" link in the mobile site.

    7. DO NOT maintain a www. and m. version of the same site or different urls to the same content. There is no reason for this at all. Use a filter to redirect a user based no their expressed display mode to one HTML template or another. Two links just confuses everyone and makes it a nuisance to bookmark content.

    There.

    1. frank ly Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @DrXym Re: Some tips for sites

      Thank you for saying what I've been thinking (with less technical detail) for the past two years. I get especially annoyed with ebay and Wikipedia who always initially deliver their mobile site to my 10" tablet.

      Having said that, I am pleased that 'The Independent' newspaper delivers its mobile version, because then I get just the article text, with no fancy layout bars, no adverts and no big pictures; with simple links to other articles underneath it. I've tried the main site and it's full of crud that I don't want to download or look at. I use the Google RSS news reader for my newspaper and other regularly updated websites.

    2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: Some tips for sites

      Offtopic for mobile but I would like to propose:

      8. After allowing me to view the site for only three seconds DO NOT pop up a content-covering box asking me to take a survey where I feed back my experience of how much I do or don't like your site .

      1. Cliff

        Re: Some tips for sites

        Another pet hate...

        9) When I have followed an external deep link to a specific article, the 'mobile' version, if it is to be served up at all, really should take me to the same target article. Some sites seem to dump you back at their front page when they decide you want the m. instead of the www. version of the site, and this is frustrating beyond belief.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some tips for sites

      Dr Xym..some tips for sites....

      From the name and the title I was expecting something with an, erm, grown up and "east european" flavour.

  21. Sil

    Regarding Windows app

    I'm using the Register's Windows Phone app everyday but I uninstalled the Windows 8 version which was very disappointing. At the very least please add options for type size, the possibility to get black text on white background.

  22. Khaptain Silver badge

    Samsung Note

    As soon as I start the applicaiton, I get a nice

    "An application restart is required".

    I can get to the main screen, click on the articles and get to the comments section on "some" articles. On the others, this one for example, I get network errors ( which I think in truth means timeouts of some kind or other"...) and Yes I have a good network connection I can browse to this site without problem.

    Oh well, everyone has to start someone, I know a coder who is profusely sweating at this moment in time...

  23. El Presidente
    FAIL

    An application restart is required

    Yup, application restart confirmed here, too.

    Also, when access to comments fails the settings button doesn't work.

    Nexus 7 Stock Android 4.2.1

    1. Alain
      Thumb Down

      Re: An application restart is required

      Indeed, I get "an application restart is required" every bloody time I go back to the welcome screen from the app using the home key and want to enter it again. Then, 3 times out of 4, I'm greeted by an "Unfortunately, The Register has stopped"... and back to the welcome screen where I have to start the app once again. Won't stand this for long, the app is likely to be heading towards the recycle bin soon and me back to the mobile site, I guess.

      Ployer Momo9C tablet, Android 4.0.3 stock.

  24. jason 7
    FAIL

    Doesnt anyone do any bloody testing anymore?

    Yes its tedious and boring but it stops you looking a twat later on!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesnt anyone do any bloody testing anymore?

      why, sir, I do not understand. It IS testing, innit?

    2. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Re: Doesnt anyone do any bloody testing anymore?

      We are the testers. Who would be better at testing it than the people that use the site primarily?

  25. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Can't say I'd use it.

    Can't you just provide an RSS feed, or decent CSS on the website? On the few occasions I might be tempted to keep an eye on The Reg from a phone, I'll just load up Opera thanks, even on my (apparently ancient) Galaxy Ace. No installs taking up more space than I have, no separate program to be security-audited (i.e. don't use it for a year and see if it breaks for others), no specialist hassle to see the content, and no waiting for the app to come out / be fixed / get updated.

    Like Slashdot, I'd just much rather you practised what you preached and did the right "IT" thing - just provide a website that isn't locked into a 1920x1600 viewing in only a particular web browser and was designed properly. The entire WAP generation passed us by because of exactly this - by the time people worked out how to do it properly, websites that hadn't bothered but just made their content more accessible actually out-performed and out-classed them. Hell, I've never even loaded up the BBC website on a mobile, even back in the WAP-compatible days, except to laugh at the technology. Just load up a "proper" browser, which isn't beyond the means of any modern device, or even an ageing smartphone, and look at the "proper" webpage.

    How about we forget the Android stuff and finally publish an AAAA record in your DNS, eh? But I guess you'll write at least another 10 "IPv4 is gone, everyone should scramble to IPv6" articles before that happens - just like Slashdot do about once a month.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      @Lee Dowling

      El Reg does have an RSS feed, it has several. I've been using the main one for ages and it's _usually_ exactly up to date.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/feeds.html

      1. El Presidente

        Re: El Reg does have an RSS feed

        Still requires the reader to visit the page for the article (and the adverts)

        At least it does in Sparse RSS

  26. VictoriaStamps
    Alert

    Oh dear...

    So it restarts when you first start it. The settings don't work. It has to (apparently) explicitly load each article. And something is twirling at the bottom of the screen...

    Other than that it appears to work :-/

    1. Ocasta Studios
      Childcatcher

      Re: Oh dear...

      Once the settings work... you'll be able to turn on a full offline sync mode that'll download all articles for offline reading.

      Whilst we fix up the settings, if you quit the app and go back to it then the setting will work. Peculiarly this only happens on the app when installed via Google Play. Installing the build we submitted without using Google Play doesn't have this behaviour. We're investigating the bugger now!

  27. GBL Initialiser

    The link in the article for the Win 8 & iOS app greets you with a 404 error when followed from the mobile site.

  28. El Presidente
    Trollface

    Oi! Ocasta Studios

    I've developed a two character front end plugin for your amazing app:

    Cr

    That'll be £3000 please.

    1. Ocasta Studios
      Pint

      Re: Oi! Ocasta Studios

      Really app-reciate that! Send us your bank details and we'll get you paid.

  29. Shippwreck1

    Settings...

    In the top right corner there is what looks like a settings icon, however when I tap it, it does nothing... not sure if it's meant to be a settings menu or not...

    Also every time I open it I get a message saying the application needs to restart and then it exits and re-loads the app

    HTC One X+ Running stock Android 4.1.1

  30. Irongut

    Why?

    I've never seen the point of these website in a box apps. El Reg works perfectly in Android Chrome and if I want to download stories to read offline I can open them in tabs. I'm almost never out of wifi or 3G reception when I would actually want to read the site anyway.

    I tried the last Reg app and it was so bad I've never used a website in a box app since!

  31. Doogie Howser MD
    Joke

    Careful!

    The dude moderating this is called Phil Mitchell, so if you are having trouble distinguishing real life from soap operas, you might get two sweaty, balding cockney types coming around your house to give you a good old fashioned knuckle dusting. That being said, didn't one of them call the police in real life when his ex-wife beat him up? Hmm..quaking in my boots now? Not so much.

    Oh, and +1 for Google Currents, great suggestion for whoever said it.

  32. GregC

    And another thing....

    On the Nexus 10, in landscape, the loading screen is stretched and looks bloody awful....

    Screenie

    1. El Presidente
      FAIL

      Re: And another thing....

      Ditto the Nexus 7

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: And another thing....

      Thanks for the background image. I needed one of those.

  33. ShaolinMonkfish
    Mushroom

    Not good

    Like others - comments and settings not working for me. Network connection is fine thanks! Needs some work. Hard to believe this passed muster really.

    Also like others have said, if you're providing an "app" it's got to do more than just provide the web-in-a-box. Otherwise why bother. Pocket more than adequately provides my offline reading capabilities already.

  34. JDX Gold badge

    At least they named the developer who built this.

  35. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    ...and there I was thinking that HTML 5 offline storage could be a good solution to reading articles offline rather than (yet another) app.

    I'll admit that I haven't tried using this functionality in anger, only in noddy test environments. Apps can do smarter things though, such as fetching content in the background even when the browser is not running, but that tends to upset user's data plans.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It works for Kindle...

  36. BenM 29
    FAIL

    Not good is an understatement

    Galaxy SIII - stock OS 4.0.0, kernel 3.0.15-1029495-user

    Installed ok,

    Needed an immediate restart on application startup.

    Settings gear does nothing

    Go to comment on this story "Check your network connection" dialog box displayed (if the network connection is dead why did it manage to load the story? and BTW its the same network connection over which I am posting this)

    Hit phone back button

    Returned to El Reg. app but page blank and no buttons work - other than the phone back button.

    Exit application

    Restart

    Rinse and repeat.

    Uninstalling.

    El Reg, you fail in product testing. Galaxy SIII isn't exactly uncommon and nor is 4.0.4 android.... though the latter may be amongst other commentards :)

    1. peter 45

      Re: Not good is an understatement

      Pretty much what happened on my Transformer. Blech.

  37. pwibble
    Unhappy

    Continental Commentards Not Welcome

    "This item isn't available in your country" at least in The Netherlands.

    Boo hoo... or is El Reg just proactively betting on a "No" vote in 2017?

  38. thecapsaicinkid

    I'd rather see the Reg appear in Google Currents(without going via Reader). I really don't understand why someone would want a different app for each site they visit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      You can add the feed in Google Currents.

      You can even add the whole article body too, with some clever Yahoo Pipes magic.. :-)

  39. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Where?

    Immediately I read about this I went to Play Store and searched for "the register".

    There were two results shown in Apps: The Register (Unofficial Feed) , which described itself as "not maintained or updated", and (tee hee) The Moron Test . If it's the latter, I think El Reg should keep its opinion of its readers to itself.

    Can anyone explain how "the moron test" is a valid search hit for "the register"? I know they both contain "the", but I would have though that was a noise word.

    There were a further 12239 results in Apps, but I don't expect to live long enough to check them all. I guess I'll just stick to reading El Reg on a computer as nature intended.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Where?

      There's a link to it at the end of the first line in the article.

      Or click here to go get it.

      That said given how many issues have been found in it, you may be better to hang on a bit?

  40. peter 45
    Meh

    Yuck

    Just tried in on my Transformer. Each time it opens, it requires a restart, It crashes on opening 'bout 30% of the time, and the opening splash is the wrong aspect ratio. Settings icon doesn't seem to work (but the refresh button next to it does). There is no arrow showing that a comment is in reply and the ttile in the reply message does not do "Re: <title>.

    Apart from that a nice simple app (for how many Megs?)

  41. Haku

    Font size

    One reason I dislike apps that are a replacement for a web browser to view content on a certain site is that they almost always have a fixed font size, and no pinch-zoom.

    1. Ocasta Studios
      Coat

      Re: Font size

      Oh if only the settings worked, you'd be able to adjust the font size there! Try quitting the app and opening it again, that'll get the settings working and you'll be able to tweak the text display.

  42. El Presidente
    Thumb Up

    After the update ...

    The %ages are gone, the settings cog button now works but I'm still unable to reply in *this* article's comments which is ironic, really, but at least the log in un/pw is now being retained.

    "Unable to Connect

    Please check your network connectivity and try again"

    Back button then takes me to a blank white page. Back button again takes me to the article.

    I am able to comment in other articles.

    1. Ocasta Studios
      Facepalm

      Re: After the update ...

      Doubly ironic, as the reason you can't read the comments on this article is the comments you posted earlier have broken the thread so the app can't read it. D'oh.

      We're working on a fix now. Hang tight!

      1. El Presidente
        Thumb Up

        Re: After the update ...

        "Doubly ironic, as the reason you can't read the comments on this article is the comments you posted earlier have broken the thread so the app can't read it. D'oh"

        LOL!

        Oh well, at least you're on the case, good humoured and honest about the issues :)

      2. Markl2011
        Joke

        Re: After the update ...

        "Doubly ironic, as the reason you can't read the comments on this article is the comments you posted earlier have broken the thread so the app can't read it. D'oh."

        It will be the signed byte you use to store the number of comments ;-)

      3. blapping

        Re: After the update ...

        Err... I thought all these bugs were mysteriously introduced by the play store submission process? In which case, why aren't they all being fixed in a single operation rather than lots of individual, well y'know, bug fixes?

        1. Ocasta Studios
          Boffin

          Re: After the update ...

          Not all the bugs were caused through Google Play, the %20 comment issue was our fault, and we've released a fix for that. Ironically that created a rather unfortunate second issue; any comments that had been made with the broken encoding the app produced, then couldn't be read by the app. This was due to the double encoding that occurred. Great fun, we've fixed that too and there'll be a second update soon.

          "The application requires a restart" message. This only became apparent once the app was installed via Google Play, When the app is installed through Play it can be opened from the notification bar's message 'The Register Successfully Installed' or the Google Play listing changes to [Open] instead of [Install]. When launched this way, Google has, Rather kindly, introduced a bug that then launches the main activity on top of the current app, causing it to be launched twice. Once from the notification and once from the app. To get around this, the app asks to restart, so it can relaunch and open the single activity. However, this was firing more often than it should on some devices, and not at all on others. We'd then end up with two activities running at once, which would cause some major irregularities, the main one being the setting button not responding to touch, as it didn't know what to do. We've put in some workarounds now, you shouldn't see the message again, and best of all, settings will work consistently!

          We've taken the forthcoming update as a chance to address some other feedback. The font size will change the article lists as well as the articles, syncing will be quicker and you'll be able to read comments on all articles (no more blank screen). Once you can get in to your settings I recommend turning on article syncing, it's pretty fast now!

          - Ben

  43. GregC

    Seems very l-a-g-g-y too...

    It should scroll nice and smoothly, especially on a N4 (everything else does...) but it's really very jerky. Not as bad as the old app, granted, but even so it feels like I'm back on Gingerbread....

    Also, as per El Presidente's post - following the update I also get the "Unable to Connect" error when I hit the comments button for this article specifically - others are fine.

  44. Dcope
    Thumb Down

    now unable to connect.....

    to comments over 3.

    Again just a full feed to currents would have been better.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. Dick Pountain

    Phew!

    Does El Reg ever read user reviews on Google Play? This app has the stinkiest I've ever seen - bar chart all 1s. Time to pull it and fire the developer I'd say.

  47. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Font size.

    Having an adjustable font size for reading - 10/10

    Not having that adjustment apply to the text in the article list, so you still can't see which article you'd like to read - 0/10

  48. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  49. Khaptain Silver badge

    the update doesnt do anything better

    I just recieved an update from Google play. Installed it and prayed, same problems....

    1. Phil Mitchell (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: the update doesnt do anything better

      What are you running it on Khaptain?

  50. tekHedd
    Pint

    I'm not saying that apps can't be nice but..

    Am I alone in thinking that (maybe) a week of playing with the @media selector and a handful of tablets and phones for testing (or simply resizing the browser window) and the app would be made entirely unnecessary? I mean, yes, on some sites the layout is hopeless, but this is the reg, the basic page design is a natural for simple CSS restyling.

    Or I suppose you could make an app. Hey it's not my money. It's certainly more *fun* to make an app. Although in that case I'd be inclined to include some fun third-party frameworks with flashy transitions etc.

  51. mhoulden
    Trollface

    Will there be a Symbian version for my old Nokia N8?

    Actually, one point I'd make about the mobile website is that it displays articles as a single page even when the desktop version has them split up into individual pages. Deliberate decision, a bug with the CMS or something else?

    1. blapping

      Err

      Whatever it is they should leave it that way, it's the best way. I like the mobile site. The app is junk. The developers of the app are a joke. Writing an RSS reader on Android is easy, writing one for a single specific feed should be an order of magnitude easier.

  52. peter 45
    Trollface

    Ironic

    Register, an IT site that (righty) bangs on about Government wasting Billions on big software projects.

    Left a bit..........up a bit............foot in sights......shoot.

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