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milesg

android (Archived) Android app stagnating?

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Is there every going to be an update to the Evernote Android client?

I have just had to uninstall the 1.31 version from the Market as it force closed when attempting to view any note. The last beta version was 2 months ago, and right now we have a release version that doesn't seem to work for many people.

I love the Evernote desktop client and use it every day, but without a decent Android client, I will be looking to jump ship very soon. B)

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Android is a very high priority for us this year, and we're working on it now. There are a few sticky bugs we're trying to fix, and some larger projects that we hope you'll all like. We'll do a release with at least the bug fixes as soon as they're stable and tested.

Thanks

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I suspect that Evernote is concentrating on the iPad app right now, as the Android app is not being updated. It's UNUSABLE at this time. I don't care about new features, I just want the damn thing to work! I'm unable to view most of my notes on my Nexus One; it's the same old force-close bug that's existed for months. I'm forced to use the web version instead, which is a chore to use.

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I'm really just curious if now that Android has overtaken iPhone OS as the most popular (behind BlackBerry), and fastest-growing OS,

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/npd- ... rtphone-m/

if your company has any plans to change their focus, or if it is going to remain Apple first, everything else when we get around to it, as it has been so far?

I am frankly getting tired of paying for a service, just to be told that if I want to make full use of it, I should buy Apple products.

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The iPhone app has just as many developers as the Android app, but it has a very large head start. We're working hard to keep improving the Android app, however. Thanks for the feedback.

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You know it isn't a matter of a head start as you repeatedly claim. It doesn't matter if we are talking about Palm, WinMo, BlackBerry, Nokia or Android. Clearly your iPhone client does not have a year and a half head start on all those clients. Yet across your entire mobile client line, every single one of the clients is lacking features the iPhone/iPod/iPad line has right now. Please don't continually insult the intelligence of your users by hiding behind this red herring of the iPhone having a "head start." Any dispasionate observer would have to be blind not to see that your company has placed special priority on Apple products. I don't really care how you prioritize your development resources, beyond what it gets me as a customer, that is your business decision to make. I have no doubt that your company has felt it made good business sense to put the Apple products at the head of the queue, and as I said, that is your business, not mine. However, clearly the only reason that the iPad had an Evernote client out pretty much on launch, where the Android client took a year after the launch of the first Android handset, was because of the priorities your company chose, not some uncontrollable and inalterable "head start."

I'm not looking to get into some discussion about the relative merits of any given platform, or what should or shouldn't be your priority. I just asked a pretty straightforward question, to which I was hoping to get a straightforward answer. Do the shifting market conditions affect the priority your company puts on Android, which is at present of demonstrably less importance to you than products that start with a lowercase i? I don't really think it is that incendiary a question. The mobile industry moves quickly, and if it is going to be another year until some of the requested features are implemented, while no doubt a new client with new features is released at launch for the new iPhone when it comes out, then as a paying customer I don't think it is irrational nor unreasonable for me to want to know that. I have no desire to end up in the same position as Windows Mobile users, watching feature after feature get rolled out to the iPhone, while they wait literally years to catch up, until users finally give up and start writing their own clients. Clearly you aren't telling your iPhone customers that they have to wait for features because Windows Mobile had a "head Start."

Let me stress again, I don't take it personally if you think Apple users represent a better market for your products than other users. That is obviously your business decision to make. I do think it is dishonest to your customers to imply that there is no prioritization of one mobile client over another, however, when one particular platform clearly sees a more rapid rate of development than anything else in your product line. If keeping Apple users happy is your primary priority, then clearly you aren't too worried about losing users on other platforms, so why the non-answers and PR spin? It isn't like we aren't going to notice that you just kicked out a new product for Apple devices, while we wait a few months for a bug fix. We are all adults here. I don't think anyone is going to have a breakdown if you just say "at present 80% of our revenue comes from people using Apple device clients, so they are our main priority, but as the market changes we are always reevaluating that."

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Does the iPhone version go 2 months between Beta versions I wonder?

Or have a version that is unusable/unstable for many of their customers?

In the time that we have been waiting for a new version of Evernote on Android, I have actually had 2 Android updates on my Milestone!

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I use Evernote on my HTC Incredible everyday with no issues. It worked fine on my Motorola Droid before that. I'm looking forward to any new features and improvements. As Android is a platform rapidly gaining in popularity, I'm sure that it will be worth the companies time to continue to develop the app.

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Does the iPhone version go 2 months between Beta versions I wonder?

Or have a version that is unusable/unstable for many of their customers?

Ahahaha, clearly you don't use the iPhone version or hang out on our forums! :)

(iPhone Evernote has crashed on me three times today.)

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I've been using Evernote for years, and generally been very happy with it. The transition to 3.x was painful, but I made it. I've been using Evernote 1.3.1 on Android (HTC Incredible) for a few days now, and I'm shocked by how bad it is. Not being able to search tags, view specific notebooks, and select established tags makes the Android version almost useless. I have thousands of notes, and not having any organization options besides the full list and note text search is not acceptable.

Also, it's somewhat disappointing to note that features highlighted in the demo of the Android version (saved searches & select tag), don't seem to be available in the version of the app that I just downloaded from the Android Market.

What gives?

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I totally agree. I am very happy with Evernote, and recently started using it on my Android phone 9HTC Desire). But it needs a lot of improvements to make it a solid app with basic functionality. I sincerely hope that the Evernote team will pick up the signals from their customers to boost the Android development. To me, Evernote is only as useful as it can be, when it fully offers its functions to my mobile phone.

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You know it isn't a matter of a head start as you repeatedly claim. It doesn't matter if we are talking about Palm, WinMo, BlackBerry, Nokia or Android. Clearly your iPhone client does not have a year and a half head start on all those clients. Yet across your entire mobile client line, every single one of the clients is lacking features the iPhone/iPod/iPad line has right now. Please don't continually insult the intelligence of your users by hiding behind this red herring of the iPhone having a "head start." .............

We are all adults here. I don't think anyone is going to have a breakdown if you just say "at present 80% of our revenue comes from people using Apple device clients, so they are our main priority, but as the market changes we are always reevaluating that."

Did you pick my brain and write down what you found?

It's clear to me, that Evernote being an American company are fully versed in the fine art of not giving a straight answer. They won't answer your questions straight, because that may come back and bite them in the "rear" at a later stage. In their mind, it's better to get some flack for being vague in the beginning, than to get a lot of flack because they promised something in the future and didn't deliver. They are also never mean, because they know you MIGHT be a customer at one point in the future. The result is that they sound like a politician when they give a reply. ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman.....")

For Evernote to succeed with their business plan, they need to radically improve the release of new software. Are users going to pay for development of the software, riding out the flaws for the hope of a better future? Or are they going to deliver software that works and people want to pay for? Hiding behind excuses are not the way to go and they need to become clearer on their intentions, their motivation and their progress.

I believe Evernote has to give us a sort of "road map" of what you are working on, what you are aiming at and when we can expect certain things from the software. A lot of open source software does this now and it makes it a lot easier to pay for something that doesn't quite work as it should. If you are clear on the fact that things might slide and you give ample warning that it might or will, then we, the community will be at ease/relaxed. Right now, I'm sensing some hostility in the forums and that's counter productive. But it stems from unwise handling of the situation by Evernote.

In my view, Evernote need to tell us what they are working on and when we can expect it to arrive. They need to improve the Android app and make it work. Then add new functionality.

The thing is, we want Evernote and we want it to work and most of us are willing to pay for it. If handled unwisely, that might change....what if something better comes along? Being first with something, doesn't necessarily mean that you are the ones who end up cashing in on it.

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The straight answer:

The service changed the definition of the legal content of a note to allow for a wider variety of XHTML, including styles. The Mac and Windows clients started to use this new flexibility last month:

http://blog.evernote.com/2010/04/21/eve ... ore-style/

This new flexibility triggered a bug in the XML parser that was used in our Android client. I.e. the Android client tries to open a note that came from the newer Mac client, and the XML library we're using fails and crashes.

The fix to this problem was a lot harder than we thought it should be. We need to replace the entire XML processing engine with a completely different one. This is a big project, and is the reason we haven't had any small releases while we do this big project.

We have some test versions of our application that include this fix, but this caused other things to work incorrectly (e.g. note creation), so we're trying to fix all of those issues so that we can release a new beta as soon as possible.

Thanks for the feedback and patience.

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Thanks for the straight answer. Evernote is an excellent utility, and I certainly appreciate the free clients you provide on so many platforms. It's a shame that some users of beta software are so rude and impatient. I share their frustration, but it's not as if we are locked out of the problem notes. They can be easily viewed on Android devices using the web client. And if you really need a note on the Android app just "tickle" it on a computer web browser and that will clean it up. Keep up the excellent work. Looking forward to the fix.

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Is there any estimate when your bug fix will be released? It is really a big pity that evernote is not usable on Android for the moment!

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It's the top priority problem for engineering (and for the tech support team...), and our head of engineering is working personally to try to get it resolved. Unfortunately, the fix for the original problem was a lot bigger than we expected, so it triggered a cascade of overhauling things. We hope to have a testing version for external people soon, however.

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I know you all have been trying, but unfortunately this issue has just gone on way way way too long. Because I don't wish ill of you, I won't say on these forums what my new solution is, but I am now officially leaving Evernote and canceling my pro subscription. :)

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@icantremember

Yes, there was an update to the iXXXXX version of the apps today. How is this relevant to the Android app?

I am not happy about this issue either (the "can't open notes on Android after editing on Mac issue", to be exact), it makes it much more difficult to use. It is one of the big reasons I haven't invested in a Pro subscription yet. Unfortunately, it happened, and the issue was unexpected and much larger than they initially thought.

On the subject of the iApps vs. the Android app, though, these are two separate development teams. The updates for the iApps doesn't mean that they aren't working on the Android app, as they are different groups of people. I'm not sure if it is just not knowing how app development works, or a willful ignorance of some on this board, but the people who are updating the iApps are NOT the same as developer doing the Android app, and I believe this has even been posted by engberg in the past.

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@engberg: Thank you very much for the straight answer, and I certainly understand how things like that can happen. I hope you can get it all straightened out soon.

@bllarkin: Just because people are on different teams, doesn't mean they can't be temporarily reassigned, and don't have complementary skills that could help on a project. As I said earlier, it is Evernote's business how they prioritize their resources, not mine, but in my experience developing software, I have been on plenty of projects in my life where priorities got shifted, people were pulled from other teams, and more resources were devoted to one project than another. There would be nothing even remotely odd about a company saying "hey, this one client is really in the weeds, we need to pull everyone off all other projects and get this done as the #1 priority, before we advance any other builds." All these clients pull from the same backend, they are all dealing with the same data, they all have (or at least should have) a similar structure. Chances are anyone from any of the teams could help out on any other client in SOME way. As such, it is perfectly reasonable, and not at all ignorant of software development, to note that no matter how high a priority Android might be, it is not a high-enough priority to pull anyone off the iDevices team. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just a simple fact.

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The problem with this is entirely on the Android client (the notes themselves are valid and well-formed, it's just that the XML processing library used by the client crashes when it tries to read them), so the fix will be in the Android.

The engineer doing our iPhone and iPad development is an expert in Objective-C programming and the Apple Cocoa programming frameworks. It takes a few months to ramp up on a new programming language and operating system to be productive, so it's not really useful to stop all development on the iPhone and retrain our engineer for Java+Android just because there's a bug on the Android platform.

Like I said, our head of engineering is personally focused on this problem and said twice this week (in the weekly Support call and Management meeting) that it's his top priority right now.

Thanks

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In addition to the many reasons already posted regarding the iDevice team vs Android team...training someone new to Android programming can even make the existing iPhone OS experts less productive b/c if someone new to the OS has problems or can't figure something out, the expert often is involved in the training/debugging.

Thinking that because someone is an expert in iPhone OS programming, therefore is automatically easily able to develop Android apps is faulty thinking.

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@ubik

I think engberg finished the point I was trying to make. It's not just the platforms that are different, but the entire development environment Objective-C and Java (as well as the APIs in Android and iPhone OS) are very different, you can't just swap engineers around.

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To everyone:

First off, I, and I doubt any of you until this moment, had no idea until engberg just said it, that the iPhone 'team' consisted of one guy. The use of the word "team" led me to believe that there were multiple people on said 'team.' Of course it doesn't make any sense to move him, if there is just one guy who does nothing but make iDevice apps. That said, given that something like 90% of all mobile phones run some flavor of Java, this is literally the first time I have ever come across a mobile developer with no Java experience. It isn't like Java is some obscure language it is unreasonable to expect a mobile app developer to know, it is the de facto language most mobile Apps are written in for most handsets.

All of that said, I still maintain that you unfairly jumped on icantremember as being ignorant of how development works, for reasons that have nothing to do with ignorance of the development process in general. There was no way he, or anyone else outside of Evernote, could have known the size of the 'teams' involved, without being told. I got the answer I was looking for, I just hate to see people start throwing around words like "ignorant" just because someone disagrees with them.

Oh, and specifically to baumgarr, all due respect to pithy wikipedia links about obsolete pre-object-oriented programming techniques from the '60s aside, I find that getting another set of eyes on problem code rarely hurts. Programmers are just people like anyone else, despite their overwhelming pride and frequent insistence that they are the only people on Earth who can solve a given problem, and they can still get too close to a code to see the solution. Just like any other professional, sometimes a fresh set of eyes is the best thing to get past a difficult stumbling block. It has been my experience that programmers who's code is so undocumented and personal that other people can't step in and help, are usually not the best programmers.

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Thanks for sticking up for me, ubik. I'll admit that I was a bit surprised to see someone (other than an employee) sticking up for Evernote. That said, I don't think anyone here is "against" Evernote (we're all users), but I do think most of us are upset with the disparity between the mobile clients for the service. I'm a "pro" user because I feel that my data is safe with Evernote and that's what keeps me from jumping ship to some other service.

The Android client, given the length of time it's been available, is just not good enough. Personally, I don't really care how the development "team" works, I just want it/him to work better.

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First, if I sounded harsh or in any way disrespectful I'd like to apologize. That certainly wasn't my intention.

I just wanted to point out that throwing bodies at a problem doesn't necessarily mean that a problem will be solved more quickly. I also never said a second set of eyes or additional resources can't help. I have no exposure into the internals of Evernote so I can't comment on their priorities or their development structure so saying that additional people wouldn't help is as baseless as saying they need 100 more people to fix the problem.

As for "programmers are just people like anyone else", you obviously know a higher class of programmers than I do. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding)

By the way, I really like the phrase "obsolete pre-object-oriented programming techniques from the '60s" I about spit up on my monitor laughing. :lol:

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First off, I, and I doubt any of you until this moment, had no idea until engberg just said it, that the iPhone 'team' consisted of one guy.

So?

All of that said, I still maintain that you unfairly jumped on icantremember as being ignorant of how development works, for reasons that have nothing to do with ignorance of the development process in general. There was no way he, or anyone else outside of Evernote, could have known the size of the 'teams' involved, without being told. I got the answer I was looking for, I just hate to see people start throwing around words like "ignorant" just because someone disagrees with them.

Supposedly, we're all adults here. There were no unjust, unkind or rude posts or anyone "jumping" on anyone. Simply replies to someone comparing apples (so to speak) to oranges.

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I apologize if I offended. I use the word "ignorant" in the true sense of "without knowledge of said subject", not in a sense meant to call somebody stupid. Ignorance is not a bad thing, nobody knows everything, I am ignorant in a lot of different areas.

As for sticking up for Evernote, I am as frustrated as anyone else that it doesn't work on my Droid, but the issue is one that wasn't expected, and making large scale fixes like that (like rewriting an XML parsing engine that drives most of what Evernote does in functionality) is not a 24 hour fix. Yes, it has been some time, but other issues have cropped up and they are dealing with them. I have faith that development is ongoing. In my opinion, it is a big deal, but I can work around it for a while. If that's not possible for you, than I would find a tool that works. I prefer Evernote not just because it is on my phone, but also on the other platforms I use.

Again, I apologize if I offended anyone.

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Ok, it's mid-July 2010 now.

There was a beta that basically just fixed the issue that the Evernote desktop client introduced back in May.

Is there ever going to be new functionality that we are all crying out for in the Evernote Android client, or is this a polite way to try and move us all to other note-taking solutions, because that's exactly what I'll be doing in another few months if nothing turns up.

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Yup, the new Android lead is up to speed and doing a lot of great work. I saw an internal early alpha version of a desktop "widget" for the Android yesterday that looks pretty nice. I hope to see an external release (or at least a beta) soon.

Thanks

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Yup, the new Android lead is up to speed and doing a lot of great work. I saw an internal early alpha version of a desktop "widget" for the Android yesterday that looks pretty nice. I hope to see an external release (or at least a beta) soon.

Thanks

Glad to hear that. I'm sticking around until the end of August, then I'm jumping ship if there are no significant improvements.

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I understand the need to keep alpha's and possibly betas in private beta testing, but what makes the Android market so great is you can release an update, get instant feedback, and fix it. If the development team is proficient enough, this could dramatically reduce the time it takes to roll out these features. When I see things get to the Beta5 stage, I think by releasing an almost ready app in the market will get you much more valuable feedback and speed up development. People who constantly tinker their product and delay shipping in pursuit of perfection often fail much more than those that put something out there and adjust it based on feedback.

That said, I am looking forward to testing out an Android client with an improved UI and abilities to hopefully download notes, edit them, and change the tags of already made notes. Anything else would just be a bonus. Keep up the great work and maybe have the new head developer come into the forum and say hello!

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