Release Notes: Reading Traffic v1.3

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I’ve just submitted an update to my Reading Traffic Info app for Windows Phone 8 and it’ll hopefully be available for download in the Windows Phone marketplace within the next week (subject to certification testing).

This new version, 1.3, focuses on some improvements to the overall app usability as well as the introduction of a new feature, the “favourites spy”, which lets you view just the latest thumbnails from your favourite cameras in a vertical list, that updates automatically.

In addition, now that the number of users is growing to a reasonable size (and crucially, the number of repeat users is pretty high), this version incorporates a number of backend features to allow me to collect anonymised telemetry about how the app is being used. This is especially useful when considering that I only get a few hours per week, maximum, during my otherwise ‘free time’, to maintain the app: so knowing where to invest that time is absolutely crucial!

Release Notes

  • Fixed some minor problems with 6 of the cameras in the feed; thanks for the error reports.
  • Updated the application bar on the main menu (added a ‘settings’ icon, and a ‘favourites spy’ icon)
  • Removed the ‘settings’ application bar menu item (because it’s now replaced with an icon button)
  • Created a ‘favourites spy’ feature, which shows you auto-refreshing thumbnail images from all the cameras you’ve marked as ‘favourite’, in a single, vertically-scrolling list
  • Added landscape support to the camera detail page (click to view a specific camera, then rotate into landscape orientation to go full screen on the camera image).
  • Incorporated Flurry analytics to help me figure out which cameras are most popular among users, as well as where people are when they use the app (i.e. proximity to the cameras they’re looking at). This should help me design new features that make the app easier to use, and more useful. If you want to disable this functionality, you have to disable location services (which you can do either in the app itself (tap settings > location services) or in the phone O/S itself.

Reading Traffic Info V1.2 for Windows Phone 8 now out!

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My regular readers will know that a few weeks ago, I released an app called “Reading Traffic Info” to the Windows Phone 8 store (http://bit.ly/readingtrafficapp). In a nutshell, the app helps those who live in or around, or commute in or through Reading Borough, by connecting them to a near real-time feed of all of the borough’s traffic cameras.

I want to thank everyone who has downloaded the app so far, I’m surprised to have hit 466 downloads in just a few weeks for such a niche app. Proof that there must be demand for apps providing access to this information!

What’s new in version 1.2?

Firstly, I’ve added a ton of new cameras. Here’s the full list:

A329 (M) TVP
A33 Bennet Road
A33 Little Sea
A33 Relief Road
A33 Rose Kiln Lane
A4 Langley Hill
Castle Hill
Gosbrook Road
Grovelands Road
Henley Road (Lower)
Kings Road
M4 Jn 11
M4 Jn 11 Westbound
Queens Road
Whitley Street
Winnersh Crossroads

In addition, the app will now automatically check with my server every day to see if new cameras are available and include them in the camera list without the need to update the entire application. This works for corrections/alterations to existing camera metadata, too (for example, to correct latitude/longitude pairs or orientation/naming data).

Version 1.2 also has an updated user interface which sports a bit more colour, and the spacing on the camera listing has been increased further still to make selecting them a little easier:

2e08eace-1952-4ace-97fa-42f0c0eb5c53 759188ef-c956-4a12-b3ba-292de6417a51 e2a172d5-e580-4068-8088-c1f69154b9ef

I also added icons to denote favourite cameras, as well as a new button to report camera inaccuracies directly within the app (it’ll open up your email client with a pre-populated body detailing the camera you’re looking at, with a space for you to tell me what the problem is).

Remote Camera connection quality tolerance

Version 1.2 includes additional tolerances for the quality and reliability of the camera feeds operated by the council. If a camera is offline, or the council’s camera server went offline (as it did about a week ago), the app will now indicate that there has been a problem connecting to the camera. Additionally, I fixed a bug where the app would continually try to refresh an image from a camera every 5 seconds, regardless of whether it had successfully connected or not. To help mitigate image loading delays on slower mobile network connections, the refresh time has increased from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. While the latest image is loading, if a previous one was available it will remain on-screen.

I also fixed a problem with the camera images ‘flickering’ between refreshes.

Finally, additional tolerances were added into the app to detect the state of your phone’s internet connection and warn you when it is unavailable.

Continued thanks to everyone

Again, thanks to all those who have supported me by downloading and using the app, submitting feedback or helping me with the design itself.

What’s next?

There are lots of features on the horizon and I’m very much planning to continue developing the app in my spare time. Already on the cards is support for providing up-to-date car park status within the app (so you can decide which car park to head to in order to avoid the jams!) and also road works status.

If you’d like to make suggestions, see what’s planned or vote on new features, head over to my UserVoice community at http://rikp.uservoice.com.

Thanks!