My Live Channels app, Cumulus TV, has been slowly accruing a number of feature requests on its issue tracker. Many people have been asking for EPG (electronic program guide) support as well as more customization. Personally I have desired to reduce the number of crashes that exist in the app as well as make the user interface a little nicer.
Today I’m peeling the lid off version 1.6 which aims to make sizable gains in all three areas. This new version is currently live in the beta track on Google Play. I’ll continue to make small bug fixes if needed before rolling it out publicly to all users. Before the master release, I wanted to give everyone a good look at what’s changed.
Stability has been a long-term goal of mine. As the app continues to gain new users, it becomes more important that they have a good user experience and keep returning to the app. I have been using a crash reporting tool to keep track of these crashes and fix them indivudally. While that has gotten me far, it’s been more responsive than preventative. Ideally crashes are caught before they go out to everyone. Part of improving stability has been removing old code to make the codebase simpler and less error prone.
I have begun developing an automated test suite which will run before an app update is published so that even minor issues aren’t ignored. Adding tests also help enforce good coding practices of keeping code modular. For example, separating Google Drive and local storage to test each individually. Users do not need to use Google Drive anymore, which may help clear up some of the confusion surrounding the JSON file.
Cumulus TV is meant to work with Live Channels, so I’ve been adding more integrations. Instead of playing a stream in an internal player, it will open that channel in Live Channels. Do you want to edit some metadata? There’s also a “Report playback issue” which sends a report with your channel data so I can take a look at it. That should also help reduce the number of issues people have since it’ll be easier to debug.
The TV interface was not too attractive. There were some channel logos and lot of blocks of text. I’ve spent some time redesigning these so that they look much nicer and feel more polished. Channel cards now have a color based on the channel logo, and other options are also more colorful and have iconography.
You can follow updates on the project’s GitHub page or download it for free from Google Play. Let me know what you think of these changes.