Going forward, Indigenous will be broken into different apps rather than trying to make a monster app that does everything. I have had three goals of the app up to now:
These are three very different use cases and they need different UIs and different approaches. So today I'm going to talk about three new apps that I'm planning on developing as open source apps for iOS and macOS (using the unnamed Marzipan effort). This might take awhile to develop, but in the end, I think it will allow me to develop features faster, with a better UI and better overall apps. I call them the Abode Suite.
Remark is the first of the three Abode Suite apps that will be released and is the project I am currently working on. Remark will be the replacement of the fun social reader aspect of Indigenous. It's name is built on the idea that we read things that people are talking about and saying and we respond or remark on them. This will be primarily a Microsub app with Micropub sprinkled in just enough to allow you to post short notes, replies or reactions. Think of this as an IndieWeb Twitter-like app. I am avoiding most UI work for now because with WWDC 2019 approaching UI is not something you want to spend much time on. The goal is for this app to have a beta sometime during the iOS 13 beta cycle, and release either at the same time as iOS 13 or later this year after iOS 13 is released. When it is released it should support being used on both iPad and Mac but how optimized it is for both of those platforms may be minimal at launch.
Chronicler will be the replacement for the Micropub app for posting to blogs feature of Indigenous. I've wanted to add support for offline authoring of posts, editing/updating posts, and more tools for long-form posting or posting things such as audio and video from Indigenous. My goal is for Chronicler to be a super easy and focused app that allows you to write long-form writing, but also do things like post podcast episodes, short video snippets as well as view and edit previously published posts using some of the new Micropub queries that have been brainstormed recently. This app will be the second app worked on, once Remark is complete and won't have any Microsub involvement.
Anthologist will be the third app of the Abode Suite trio, being a reading app for long-form saved articles. This app will be based on Microsub and won't be optimized for short-form content (although there won't be a technical restriction against it). This app will likely allow you to choose from 1 (or more) channels within your Microsub account to store offline in the app for reading. This could be a channel of saved articles or it could be a channel with some long-form RSS subscriptions. Either way, the focus will be on showing a subset of your Microsub account rather than showing all of your channels. The goal is to hide away the short ephemeral content that might distract you and instead create an environment like Kindle or Apple Books that allows you to get lost in the content of what you are reading rather than getting distracted by social engagement. I have not decided if this will support Micropub at all. Instead, it will likely rely on the share sheet to share the url of the article to the Chronicler share sheet in order to do most writing / reacting. That said, as it progresses, I'm open to feedback and change. This will be the final of the three apps released, so this might be awhile before I get to it, but it's something I always wanted to build into Indigenous but it never felt like it fit.
I appreciate everyone that has beta tested Indigenous and downloaded the public version of Indigenous in the iOS App Store. It's been exciting to release my first official iOS app to the public and I hope that this change in direction will only improve the quality of the apps I'm making available.
I'd love to hear feedback. I'm going to be recreating the issues in the Indigenous repo in the three new repos for the apps. If you have suggestions or feedback on any of the specific apps feel free to create issue in their respective GitHub repos: Remark, Chronicler, Anthologist. You can also just write a reply on your website and respond to this post!
You should be able to navigate the channel list to select a channel and then view the timeline for that channel, going through and selecting the various posts.
This should also be tracked as a Siri Shortcut that can be triggered audibly and plays the audio back in the background.
It should also provide the option to “RSVP” to the same event that the existing RSVP, RSVPs to.
The catch? It didn't have all the features I wanted to get in and it still has some random weird bugs I need to work through. But I set a pre-order date in the App Store and just kept working and creating new versions and uploading them. The current version that the App Store release yesterday (June 30th) was v1.0.1, but v1.0.2 is currently in review and should be released in the next couple of days.
So what has changed between 0.3 and 1.0.2? A lot.
I would say the four primary changes are: Theme Support (Yes, Indigenous has embraced the Dark Side), Full Post view, Timeline Response Bar, and an Onboarding Screens for New Users.
Themes are almost always appreciated in iOS apps, but ESPECIALLY in reading apps. I’ve started off by building support in Indigenous for a Light theme and a Dark Theme (called Cardinal and Zombie, respectively).
The base color of the light theme is white and the base color of the dark theme is black. The text color should invert and the tint color throughout the app should change from the light red to teal color. There are some bugs and It’s just first steps as far as these themes go. I want to add support for changing the theme based on screen brightness and find other ways to optimize. Eventually maybe we can even add some new themes… maybe some Easter egg themes even!
One thing I’ve always loved about using Tweetbot has been the ability to just tap on a tweet and instantly respond to it. I wanted to make sure Indigenous had that ease of use. So I’ve added a Timeline Response Bar. When you tap on a post in the Timeline view, it shows a response bar. Currently the response bar presents 5 options: Like, Repost, Reply, Share, and More.
Like and Repost instantly send a Micropub request with those actions taken on the URL of the post in the Timeline.
Reply opens a reply window, so you can type out a reply to the post.
Share opens the URL of the Timeline post in the native iOS share sheet so you can do anything you feel like you want to do with the post. (Until I officially build in IndiePaper support, I use the Share action to send posts I want to read later to my Saved channel using the IndiePaper Workflow.
More lets you do other, less common actions. Right now this makes available the ability to: “Mark post as read/unread”, “Mark posts below as read” and “delete post”. Marking post as read/unread is a toggle that changes the read status of the post. Mark posts below as read, marks all the posts that come before that on as read, which is helpful when trying to quickly mark a bunch of stuff read. Finally, delete post is great for when you get a post in your timeline that you just never want to see again.
This was something I have been wanting to get into Indigenous for awhile. When you swipe left on a Timeline post, instead of opening the post’s original URL in an in-app browser, it actually loads the post into a Full Post View, allowing you to read an entire article with HTML displays and everything.
I’ve been really enjoying this, especially with IndiePaper . My goal is for Indigenous to one day completely replace my use of Instapaper and with the public release of Indigenous I am getting pretty close.
When you scroll in Full Post View, the top and bottom bars disappear, allowing you to just focus on reading the article.
Speaking of the bottom bar, the bottom bar allows you to do everything that the Timeline Response Bar does, with the addition of one thing: opening the post in Safari. Sometimes you might get to the Full Post View and realize you just really need to visit the page that this post is from, and that’s what the Safari icon does!
With Micropub and Microsub being a relatively new protocol and not many people outside the IndieWeb community having support for these technologies, I knew I needed to find a bit more of a user friendly way to introduce these concepts. My solution was a couple on-boarding screens with links to help pages on the Indigenous for iOS website.
The on-boarding screens essentially introduce the concept of Indigenous, the use of Micropub, the use of Microsub and then has the user login via IndieAuth.
The Writing page links to the Micropub Help Page which highlights the most popular services and software that support Micropub as well as some links for more technically inclined folks.
The Reading page links to the Microsub Help Page which explains what Microsub is and highlights what services and software support Microsub (spoiler: currently, Only Aperture, although I’ll continue to expand this page as new Microsub services and software come available).
The Login page links to the IndieAuth Help Page which explains what IndieAuth is and highlights the most popular services and software that support IndieAuth as well as some links for more technically inclined folks.
The goal with all of these help pages is to make it as easy as possible to use popular software and services that people know of in order to get up and running as easily as possible. So I link to help pages or tutorials when available and plugins when needed.
I’m quickly working on the next version of Indigenous. Here are some highlights of the top priority things that I’m working on:
Ability to manage Channels and Feeds
iPad layout improvements
Changing font/margin settings in Full Post view
Working on known bugs
If you want all the nitty gritty on the features and bug fixes in this release, it’s all listed below for you.
Added Theme Support (Currently 1 light and 1 dark theme)
Added Full Post view that supports showing an entire article in an immersive reading mode along with a response bar at the bottom.
Added a response bar to the Timeline when a post is tapped.
New On-boarding Screens when the app is launched without any users being logged in.
Channel List filters now persist between launches
Improvements to when posts are marked as read
Added the ability to delete a post from the Timeline
Added a summary fallback attribute to "like" and "bookmark" Micropub posts that are published to servers that don't support like or bookmark posts.
Added simple summary text to the Timeline to improve when a post is a "like" or a "bookmark" post.
Added a Microsub help screen in place of the Channels list if the user has logged in with Micropub only.
Fixed some iPad related crashes
Fixed some sizing issues with smaller iPhones
Wordpress Emoji images are no longer treated as "Post Photos"