The Ubuntu Touch Core Apps project is a new kind of collaboration between Canonical and the wider Ubuntu community, with a goal of developing high-quality applications for Ubuntu Touch. A couple of months ago I set out the Core Apps roadmap to October, and it’s high time I got around to giving you an update on our progress.
I had originally planned on giving an update of each of the core apps in a single blog post, but I realized that was going to get very, very long. And nobody has time to read a giant wall of text. So instead I’ll be breaking them up, one post per apps, so you can spread your reading time over multiple days.
To kick this off, here are the latest developments going on in the Clock app:
Sunrise & Sunset
Recently added to the main Clock tab is a way to check the sunrise and sunset times for the day. Simply tap on the clock face and it will switch to the sunrise/sunset view. Tap it again to switch back. Swipe up from the bottom to reveal the toolbar, where you can set your location (which is used to calculate your specific sunrise and sunset times).
The Clock app developers are still waiting on a platform API to support registering alarms that will work even when the Clock app isn’t running. But while they’re waiting on that, they’ve still be working hard on the interface for managing your alarms. Their approach is both minimal and obvious, you drag the hour and minute hands around to the time you and and click Done in the center. If you need more options, you can pick how often to repeat, what alarm tone to use, and whether or not to vibrate.
Now these won’t actually work until the platform API is in place, but you can already see how it will look to the user, and how simple it is to do.
Like the alarms, setting a timer is both minimal and obvious. Unlike alarms, the timer is working today. Drag the hand around to set how many seconds, tap the minutes part of the time and drag the hand to set the minutes. Make more than one revolution around the dial and it will start adding hours as well.
Another nice feature is the ability to define custom timers that you can use again and again. Swipe up from the bottom to reveal the toolbar again, select Add Preset, and set the duration using the same simple dragging motions on the dial.
Finally we come to the stopwatch part of the app. In addition to simple start, pause and reset functionality, the stopwatch lets you mark laps as it goes, and keeps a log of each one that you can view both while the stopwatch is running and after.
Some of you may have seen the new visual concepts that the Design Team published last month, which received quite a bit of positive feedback. Well this week they sent the Clock developers the completed visual designs for the Clock app, so we should start to get our first taste of those designs in action in the next few weeks.
Starting a couple of weeks ago, I started working with each of the Core Apps developer teams to set release targets for Alpha, Beta and Final releases of the app, with a goal to have them all at a 1.0 version before the October release of Ubuntu 13.10. For the clock, we decided to mark the month-1 milestone (May) as an alpha release, because of the progress they had already made. We then picked month-3 (July) for beta and month-4 (August) for our final release target. Furthermore we have work items assigned on a monthly release basis to track the progress we are making.