Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'article'

David Planella

OSM GPS dump

We’re very excited to announce an agreement with Nokia HERE to provide A-GPS support on Ubuntu. The new platform service will enable developers to obtain accurate positioning data for their location-based apps in under two minutes, a significantly shorter Time To First Fix (TTFF) than the average for raw GPS technologies.

Faster positioning

While Ubuntu already features GPS-based location, it has always been a key requirement for the OS to provide application developers with rapid and efficient location positioning capabilities.

The new positioning service will be a hybrid solution integrating A-GPS and WiFi positioning, a powerful combo to help obtaining a very fast and accurate TTFF. The system is to be functional by the Release To Manufacturer (RTM) milestone, and available on the regular Ubuntu builds and for retail phones shipping Ubuntu.

Privacy and security

With the user’s explicit consent, anonymous data related to signal strength of local WiFi signals and radio cells can be contributed to crowd-sourcing location services, with the purpose of improving the overall quality of the positioning service for all users.

In line with Ubuntu’s privacy policy, no personal data of any nature is to be collected and released. Users will also be able to opt-out of this service if they do not wish their mobile handset to collect this type of data.

The positioning system will also be run under strict confinement, so that the service and its data cannot be accessed without the user explicitly granting access. With Ubuntu’s trust model, a confined application has to be granted trust by the user to gain access to security- or privacy-relevant system components.

Mapping capabilities

As the new service is to be focused on positioning, it will be decoupled from any mapping solution. Ubuntu Developers, as before, will have a choice of mapping services to use for their applications, including Nokia HERE, OpenStreetMap and others.

Header image based on “openstreetmap gps coverage” by Steven Kay, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

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Michael Hall

As part of the continued development of the Ubuntu platform, the Content Hub has gained the ability to share links (and soon text) as a content type, just as it has been able to share images and other file-based content in the past. This allows applications to more easily, and more consistently, share things to a user’s social media accounts.

Consolidating APIs

facebook-sharing
Thanks to the collaborative work going on between the Content Hub and the Ubuntu Webapps developers, it is now possible for remote websites to be packaged with local user scripts that provide deep integration with our platform services. One of the first to take advantage of this is the Facebook webapp, which while displaying remote content via a web browser wrapper, is also a Content Hub importer. This means that when you go to share an image from the Gallery app, the Facebook webapp is displayed as an optional sharing target for that image. If you select it, it will use the Facebook web interface to upload that image to your timeline, without having to go through the separate Friends API.

This work not only brings the social sharing user experience inline with the rest of the system’s content sharing experience, it also provide a much simpler API for application developers to use for accomplishing the same thing. As a result, the Friends API is being deprecated in favor of the new Content Hub functionality.

What it means for App Devs

Because this is an API change, there are things that you as an app developer need to be aware of. First, though the API is being deprecated immediately, it is not being removed from the device images until after the release of 14.10, which will continue to support the ubuntu-sdk-14.04 framework which included the Friends API. The API will not be included in the final ubuntu-sdk-14.10 framework, or any new 14.10-dev frameworks after -dev2.

After the 14.10 release in October, when device images start to build for utopic+1, the ubuntu-sdk-14.04 framework will no longer be on the images. So if you haven’t updated your Click package by then to use the ubuntu-sdk-14.10 framework, it won’t be available to install on devices with the new image. If you are not using the Friends API, this would simply be a matter of changing your package metadata to the new framework version.  For new apps, it will default to the newer version to begin with, so you shouldn’t have to do anything.

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David Planella

Ubuntu loves HTML5Here’s a reminder about next Monday’s 7th of July Ubuntu HTML5 apps session in Barcelona.

At this free event, I’ll be presenting Ubuntu’s HTML5 development story, together with a live coding session and a Q&A round at the end. You’ll learn how to use the Ubuntu SDK and the UI toolkit to easily reuse your web skills to create stunning Ubuntu apps.

HTML5 is the other side of the coin of the Ubuntu app developer offering, where both web and native are first class citizens, offering a very flexible yet focused approach for application development. Teaming up with BeMyApp meetups, the session will start at 7 p.m. at Barcelona’s Mobile World Centre.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Register here for the HTML5 session >

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Michael Hall

It was less than a month that we announced crossing the 10,000 users milestone for Ubuntu phones and tablets, and we’ve already reached another: 100,000 app downloads!

Downloads

10k_downloads_by_countryThe new Ubuntu store used by phones, tablets, and soon the desktop as well, provides app developers with some useful statistics about how many times their app was downloaded, which version was downloaded, and what country the download originated from. This is very useful as it it lets the developer gauge how many users they currently have for their app, and how quickly they are updating to new versions.  One side-effect of these statistics is that we can see how many total downloads there have been across all of the apps in the store, and this week we reached (and quickly passed) the 100,000th download.

Users

app_storeWe’re getting close to having Ubuntu phones go on sale from our partners at Bq and Meizu, but there are still no devices on the market that came with Ubuntu.  This means that we’ve reached this milestone solely from developers and enthusiasts who have installed Ubuntu on one of their own devices (probably a Nexus device) or the device emulator.  

The continued growth in the download number validates the earlier milestone of 10,000 users, a large number of them are clearly still using Ubuntu on their device (or emulator) and keeping their apps up to date (the number represents new app installs and updates). This means that not only are people trying Ubuntu already, many of them are sticking with it too.  Yet another datapoint in support of this is the 600 new unique users who have been using the store since the last milestone announcement.

Pioneers

pioneers_shirtTo supply all of these users with the apps they want, we’re continuing to build our community of app developers around Ubuntu. The first of these have already received their limited edition t-shirts, and are listed on the Ubuntu Pioneers page of the developer portal.

There is still time to get your app published, and claim your place on that page and your t-shirt, but they’re filling up fast so don’t delay. Go to our Developer Portal and get started today, you could be only a few hours away from publishing your first app in the store!

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Alan Pope

As previously blogged we’re inviting the community to hack on Core Apps and Community Apps this week.

All the details are in the post above, but here’s the executive summary:-

  • Hack days run from 30th June till 4th July
  • We’re hacking on the Core Apps Music, Calendar, Calendar, Clock, Weather & Calculator
  • In addition we’re also hacking on community apps including Beru Ebook Reader, OSM Touch mapping software, and Trojita email client
  • Join us in the #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel on freenode, and on the ubuntu-phone mailing list to get started
  • Get all the details from the hack days wiki page

As always we welcome new contributions during the Hack Days, but also beyond that.

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Alan Pope

Ready for RTM*: Ubuntu Touch Core App Hack Days!

* Release to Manufacturing

device-2014-06-25-121330

We’re running another set of Core Apps Hack Days next week. Starting Monday 30th June through to Friday 4th July we’ll be hacking on Core Apps, getting them polished for our upcoming RTM (Release To Manufacture) images. The goal of our hack days is as always to implement missing features, fix bugs, get new developers involved in coding on Ubuntu using the SDK and to have some fun hacking on Free Software.

For those who’ve not seen the hack days before, it’s really simple. We get together from 09:00 UTC till 21:00 UTC on #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode IRC and hack on the Core Apps. We will be testing the apps to destruction, filing and triaging bugs, creating patches, discussing and testing proposals and generally do whatever we can to get these apps ready for RTM. It’s good fun, relaxed and a great way to get started in Ubuntu app development with the SDK

We’ll have developers hanging around to answer questions, and can call on platform and SDK experts for assistance when required. We focus on specific apps each day, but as always we welcome contributions to all the core apps both during the designated days, and beyond.

Not just Core Apps

This time around we’re also doing things a little differently. Typically we only focus attention on the main community maintained Core Apps we ship on our device images. For this set of Hack Days we’d like to invite 3rd party community app developers to bring their apps along as well and hack with us. We’re looking for developers who have already developed their Ubuntu app using the SDK but maybe need help with the “last mile”. Perhaps you have design questions, bugs or feature enhancements which you’d like to get people involved in.

device-2014-06-25-122105 device-2014-06-25-122334

We won’t be writing your code for you, but we can certainly help to find experienced people to answer your questions and advise of platform and SDK details. We’d expect you to make your code available somewhere, to allow contributions and perhaps enable some kind of bug tracker or task manager. It’s up to you to manage your own community app, we’re here to help though!

Get involved

If you’re interested in bringing your app to hack days, then get in touch with popey (Alan Pope) on IRC or via email [popey@ubuntu.com] and we’ll schedule it in for next week and get the word out.

You can find out more about the Core Apps Hack Days on the wiki, and can discuss this with us on IRC in #ubuntu-app-devel.

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Michael Hall

ubuntu-phone-three-1As we enter the final months before the first Ubuntu phones ship from our partners Meizu and Bq, the numbers of apps, users and downloads continues to grow at a steady pace. Today I’m excited to announce that we have more than ten thousand unique users of Ubuntu on phones or tablets!

Users

Ubuntu phone (and tablet) users sign into their Ubuntu One account on their device in order to download or update the applications on their phone. This allows us to provide many useful features that users expect coming from Android or iOS, such as being able to re-install their collection of apps on a new phone or after resetting their current one, or browsing the store’s website (coming soon) and having the option to install an app directly to their device from there. As a side effect, it means we know how many unique Ubuntu One accounts have connected to the store to in order to download an app, and that number has this week passed the 10,000 mark.

Excitement

Meizu-MX3Not only is this a milestone, but it’s down right amazing when you consider that there are currently no phones available to purchase with Ubuntu on them. The first phones from OEMs will be shipping later this year, but for now there isn’t a phone or tablet that comes with the new Ubuntu device OS on it. That means that each of these 10,000 people have purchased (or already had) either a supported Nexus device, or are using one of the community ports, and either wiped Android off them in favor of Ubuntu, or are dual booting. If this many people are willing to install the beta release of Ubuntu phone on their device, just imagine how many more will want to purchase a phone with Ubuntu pre-installed and with full support from the manufacturer.

Pioneers

In addition to users of Ubuntu phone, we’ve also seen a steady growth in the number of applications and application developers targeting Ubuntu phone and using the Ubuntu SDK. To celebrate them, we created Ubuntu App Pioneers page, and the first batch of Pioneers t-shirts are being sent out to those intrepid developers who, again, are so excited about a platform that isn’t even available to consumers yet that they’ve dedicated their time and energy into making it better for everyone.

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John Pugh

In June of last year, Leadwerks Software launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their game development software to Linux. This week the company has released Leadwerks Game Engine on the Ubuntu Software Center enabling Ubuntu users to build and play games without ever leaving Ubuntu.

Leadwerks is a visual editor for building game levels combined with a programming API for coding games. Development in Leadwerks occurs at three layers:

  • Beginners can use the visual editor to set up scenes and add game mechanics using the flowgraph system. The software includes eight example maps that demonstrate various aspects of gameplay including physics puzzles, weapons, and AI.
  • At the next level, users can open up Lua scripts and modify them with the built-in script editor. A debugger users to step through code as your game is running. Scripts can be modified, or new ones can be created that add new functionality to the flowgraph system.
  • At the lowest level, users can program the entire Leadwerks API directly in C++. Extensive documentation is included for every command in the Leadwerks API, with examples for both C++ and Lua.

Creating a New C++ Project

When starting the Leadwerks Editor in Ubuntu, it looks like this:

1

To create a new project, select the File > Project Manager menu item to open the project manager. Press the New button to open the project wizard. You can enter the name of your new game project, set the location if needed, and add an author and company name. Press ok to create the project.
2

You can then double-click on the project item to open the file directory. If you navigate to the “Projects/Linux” subfolder, you will find a new Code::Blocks project with the name of your game. Open this file in Code::Blocks and it will be ready to compile.
3

By default, a simple example is provided, but there are lots of code examples for all the commands in the Leadwerks API. The program documentation can be access from the editor by pressing F1 or selecting the Help > Help Contents menu item.
4

We’re excited about Leadwerks coming to Ubuntu! Head over to the Ubuntu Software Center and get your copy of Leadwerks today!

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David Planella

We’re thrilled to announce a new release of Ubuntu Dual boot, now supporting enhanced Ubuntu upgrades either from the Android or Ubuntu side.

The new Ubuntu Dualboot release, codenamed M9, enables developers to run both Ubuntu and Android on a single device and is packed with new features that make it the power tool to use for those doing development in both platforms.

For developers only

Dual boot is not a feature suitable for regular users. It is recommended to be installed only by developers who are comfortable with flashing devices and with their partition layout. Dual boot rewrites the Android recovery partition and those installing it should be intimately familiar with re-flashing it in case something goes wrong.

Multiple Android flavours are supported (AOSP or stock, CyanogenMod) and installation of Ubuntu can be done for all versions available in the regular distribution channels.

What’s new

The new release fixes a number of bugs, brings under-the-hood enhancements and includes a bunch of exciting features. Here are the highlights:

Enhanced Ubuntu upgrades

The most prominent feature is the addition of support for the upgrades on the Ubuntu side. Now image upgrades can be downloaded using the standard procedure in System Settings › Updates from Ubuntu. To complete the installation, a reboot to Android will have the Dualboot app pick up the downloaded image upgrade, install it in the right location and reboot to the new Ubuntu image.

As an alternative, installations can still be done fully on the Android side. In a nutshell:

  • Download of a new Ubuntu version can happen on either the Ubuntu or Android side
  • Installation of a new Ubuntu version needs to be done from the Android side via the Dualboot app

Learn more about upgrading to a new Ubuntu image ›

Android notifications and background execution improvements

The Dualboot Android app now provides notifications for when new Ubuntu images are available, so no more excuses not to be running the latest Ubuntu! In addition, improvements have been added to download and install Ubuntu in the background, while showing progress also using standard Android notifications.

Sideload support

For those cases in which bandwidth is at a premium, the dual boot installer now supports sideload mode. This enables downloading images on a fast network and saving them for later installation: these can be downloaded on a laptop and then transferred via USB to the device. It also opens the door for easily flashing custom images other than the ones downloaded from the official channels.

Learn more about sideload support ›

Custom servers

A nifty feature our heroic community of porters of Ubuntu images to devices not officially supported, and for users of those ports: dual boot now supports setting a custom server to directly install new Ubuntu images from there

Learn more about using a custom server ›

Installing dual boot

Installing and running dual boot can be done in a few easy steps. In a nutshell, it requires performing a one-off installation of the dual boot app in Android, which will enable you to both install the version of Ubuntu of your choice, and to reboot into Ubuntu.

Install dual boot on your device

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Michael Hall

Ubuntu has always been about breaking new ground. We broke the ground with the desktop back in 2004, we have broken the ground with cloud orchestration across multiple clouds and providers, and we are building a powerful, innovative mobile and desktop platform that is breaking ground with convergence.

The hardest part about breaking new ground and innovating is not having the vision and creating the technology, it is getting people on board to be part of it.

We knew this was going to be a challenge when we first took the wraps off the Ubuntu app developer platform: we have a brand new platform that was still being developed, and when we started many of the key pieces were not there such as a solid developer portal, documentation, API references, training and more. Today the story is very different with a compelling, end-to-end, developer story for building powerful convergent apps.

We believed and always have believed in the power of this platform, and every single one of those people who also believed in what we are doing and wrote apps have shared the same spirit of pioneering a new platform that we have.

As such, we want to acknowledge those people.

And with this, I present Ubuntu Pioneers.

The idea is simple, we want to celebrate the first 200 app developers who get their apps in Ubuntu. We are doing this in two ways.

Firstly, we have created http://developer.ubuntu.com/pioneers which displays all of these developers and lists the apps that they have created. This will provide a permanent record of those who were there right at the beginning.

Secondly, we have designed a custom, limited-edition Ubuntu Pioneers t-shirt that we want to send to all of our pioneers. For those of you who are listed on this page, please ensure that your email address is correct in MyApps as we will be getting in touch soon.

Thank-you so much to every single person listed on that page. You are an inspiration for me, my team, and the wider Ubuntu project.

If you have that pioneering spirit and wished you were up there, fear not! We still have some space before we hit 200 developers, so go here to get started building an app.

Original by Jono Bacon

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David Planella

The judging is finished and the scores are in, we now have the winners of our third Ubuntu App Showdown! Over the course of six weeks, and using the Ubuntu SDK, our community of app developers were able to put together a number of stunningly beautiful, useful, and often highly entertaining apps.

We had everything from games to productivity tools submitted to the competition, written in QML, C++ and HTML5. Some were ports of apps that already existed on other platforms, but the vast majority were original apps created specifically for the Ubuntu platform.

Best of all, these apps are all available to download and install from the Apps Scope on Ubuntu phones and tablets, so if you have a Nexus device or one with a community image of Ubuntu, you can try these and many more for yourself. Now, on to the winners!

QML Apps: Project Dashboard

dashboard

Judges were astounded by the beautifully crafted Project Dashboard app, the winner of the QML category. Not only the idea and execution were brilliant, but also the fact that it’s a convergent QML application that runs on phones, tablet and desktop got it those coveted extra points from the jury.

With Project Dashboard you can keep track of different projects you’re managing or participating right from your device, in a very intuitive and easy way. For the geeks in us who contribute in several Open Source project, the excellent integration with Github makes it a pleasure to participate or manage the day to day of projects hosted in there.

Well done Michael Spencer!

HTML5 Apps: BE Mobile

bemobile

Say you’re in Belgium and want to get quickly from A to B with public transport? Then you’ll definitely want to use the winner of the HTML5 apps category: BE Mobile.

BE Mobile helps travellers find the best routes and times to travel within Belgium by selecting a journey and searching through a list of public transport services that can be enabled or disabled at will. In addition to that, a set of Twitter feeds for the services are provided, so that commuters and occasional travellers get informed in real time of disruptions and news for the lines they’re wanting to use.

What’s beautiful about it is the way in which using the SDK’s HTML5 components the app blends into the system exactly as a QML app. Convergence is also well-catered for with a responsive HTML design.

Congrats to Jelmer Prins!

Ported Apps: 2048

2048

Whoever has been online lately has surely heard about or played 2048. This addictive game created by 19-year-old Gabriele Cirully has quicky reached Internet popularity status and quite a following. And now Ubuntu has got its own ported version thanks to developer Victor Thompson, who takes home the prize for the best ported app in this Showdown!

A simple yet beautiful UI, combined with an engaging game experience will certainly grant hours of fun trying to reach that craved for 2048 tile!

Chinese Apps: QmlTextReader and Simple Dict

Chinese apps: QmlTextReader on the left, Simple Dict on the right

Chinese apps: QmlTextReader on the left, Simple Dict on the right

As a new category, we added “Chinese apps” for this third round of the App Showdown. Boren Zhang, who is also a Core Apps developer, contributed QmlTextReader, which had a simple design as its focus. It allows you to read novels and other texts and works very well for Chinese text. Font size and encoding can be changed and you can jump to where you left the text before. Perfect for long rides on the train or bus! Shenjing Zhu submitted a simple English/Chinese dictionary which is easy to use and very straight-forward. Both apps are very useful for readers and will come in handy quite often.

Go and get them all!

With retail Ubuntu phones getting closer and closer, the third Ubuntu App Showdown Ubuntu was a good opportunity to put the Ubuntu SDK, our documentation and our general approach to apps in Ubuntu to the test. In particular our HTML5 story has evolved to be on par with QML, so thanks a lot to all community developers and the Webapps team Engineers who have made this possible. During the course of these six weeks we’ve received great feedback from our developer community, worked out a large number of bugs in the SDK, and added or plan to add many new features to our platform.

It was also great to see how quickly all the apps were published in the app store and how little time had to be spent in reviews. The great thing is: if you have a device to run Ubuntu on or use the emulator, you can very easily install all the apps and take them for a spin. Six weeks is not a long time to write an app and get it to completion, but everybody worked hard, got their app in and we are very likely going to see more updates to the apps in the coming weeks.

Once again congratulations to Boren Zhang, Jelmer Prins, Michael Spencer, Shengjing Zhu, Victor Thompson and a big thank you to everybody who participated or helped those who participated, and everyone who has worked on building the Ubuntu SDK, Click tools and the App Store. And if you’re an app developer, or want to become an app developer, now is your time to get started with the Ubuntu SDK!

?? for all the submissions everyone!

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Rupinder Mann

Ubuntu is entering the mobile industry with smartphones coming to market in 2014. The Ubuntu app ecosystem is growing consistently, as is app development across multiple platforms, and we want to hear your views on what factors contribute to your choice of developing on Ubuntu.

Our friends at Vision Mobile have launched their 7th Developer Economics survey, providing mobile developers with the opportunity to be heard on the top app developer issues, and how Ubuntu continuously strives to make development as efficient as possible – contribute to the research and find out how your opinion stack against other developers.

Participants who complete the short survey have the chance to win some fantastic prizes, including an iPhone 5s, a Galaxy S5, a Sphero, a Lego Mindstorm robot, a Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Ki, a Das Keyboard – and more!

The survey results will be available for free download on July 2014.  Don’t miss out, complete the 10-minute survey now click here

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James Westby

We’ve recently rolled out some changes to the submission process for Click Applications that should make it easier for you to submit new applications, and allow them to be approved more quickly.

Previously when submitting an application you would have to enter all the information about that application on the website, even when some of that information was already included in the package itself. This was firstly an irritation, but sometimes developers would make a mistake when re-entering this information, meaning that the app was rejected from review and they would have to go back and correct the mistake.

With the new changes, when you submit an application you will wait a few seconds while the package is examined by the system, and you will then be redirected to the same process as before. However this time some of the fields will be pre-filled with information from the package. You won’t have to type in the application name, as it will already be there. This will speed up the process, and should reduce the number of mistakes that happen at that stage.

We’ve also been working on a command-line interface for submitting applications. It’s not polished yet, but if you are intrepid you can try out click-toolbelt.

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Jono Bacon

So, we have announced the Ubuntu App Showdown where you can build some awesome Ubuntu apps and win prizes such as the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and the Meizu MX3, we have provided an update on lots of great updates going on such as refined HTML5 support and a raft of developer.ubuntu.com updates, we have revised and improved how the dash and scopes work (more developer docs on this coming soon!), we have simplified how apps are uploaded to the store, and of course, Ubuntu handsets are hitting the market later this year so our app devs will have plenty of new users to consume their apps. But, why stop there?

We are not here to build a good app developer community, we are here to build the most empowering, rewarding, and fun app developer community there is, all powered by openness and collaboration.

As such, I am delighted to announce that next week Ubuntu App Developer Week beginning on Monday 3rd March at 2pm UTC and running all week

This is a week with a range of tutorial sessions for how to build apps for Ubuntu across QML, HTML5 and more. All of these sessions take place online in a series of Google Hangouts, complete with embedded chat channels where you can interact with the speaker and ask questions.

This includes sessions such as the following for QML apps:

  • Game Development with QML and Box2D
  • Internationalize your apps
  • Extending QML with a C++ Plugin
  • Ubuntu UI Toolkit tips and tricks for beginners
  • Responsive Layouts
  • Testing with qmltestrunner
  • Making the perfect user acceptance test
  • Integrating U1DB in your app
  • Content Exchange in a confined world
  • Add download capabilities to your apps

and the following for HTML5 apps:

  • Building HTML5 apps with Ubuntu
  • Cordova in HTML5 Apps
  • Platform APIs for HTML5 Apps
  • HTML5 UbuntuUI Components
  • Debugging HTML5 apps

We also have a few other sessions such as a feedback session on the software store and how to get compiled code into click packages.

How Do I Join?

Ubuntu App Developer Week is available freely to anyone who chooses to join. You don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t have to know how to write apps with the Ubuntu SDK yet. Beginners are very welcome!

All of the sessions, their times, and how to join them are available on the Ubuntu App Developer Week schedule. Just show up at the right time, click a session, and you are ready to go!

We still have some slots free if you want to volunteer to run a session. If you would like to, please email Michael Hall.

The fun starts next week on Monday 3rd March at 2pm UTC and runs all week. We hope to see you there!

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Daniel Holbach

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Read this article in English.

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Daniel Holbach

Announcing the latest Ubuntu App Showdown contest!

image-app-showdown

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Today we are announcing our third Ubuntu App Showdown! Contestants will have six weeks to build and publish their apps using the new Ubuntu SDK and Ubuntu platform. Both original apps and ported apps, QML and HTML 5, will qualify for this competition.

Categories and prizes

This App Showdown is going to be very special, because we will have four dedicated categories in which you can participate and win a prize.

  1. QML: original apps written in QML or with a combination of QML and JavaScript/C++
  2. HTML5: original apps written using web technologies, be it pure HTML (and CSS/JavaScript) or with platform access using Apache Cordova
  3. Ported: apps ported from another platform, regardless of the technology used
  4. Chinese apps: apps in this category will have to be original and specific to China and the Chinese culture. They will be judged by two native experts in our jury.

The set of prizes will consist of a Nexus 7 (2013) per category for QML, HTML5 and ported apps.
Nexus7-2013


The top two Chinese apps will receive a Meizu device each.
Meizu-MX3

Review criteria

Apps in the HTML5/QML/Ported categories will be reviewed by a jury composed by an international team of five judges:

  • Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager
  • Adnane Belmadiaf, Ubuntu HTML5 expert
  • Lucas Romero di Benedetto, Ubuntu Community Design Team
  • Nekhelesh Ramananthan, Ubuntu Core App Developer
  • Joey-Elijah Sneddon, OMG!Ubuntu editor

The judges for the Chinese apps are:

  1. Shuduo Sang?Software Engineer in Canonical PES
  2. Joey Chan, Ubuntu Core App Developer
  3. Jack Yu, Ubuntu Kylin Lead/Ubuntu Member

The jury will judge applications according to the following criteria:

  • General Interest – apps that are of more interest to general phone users will be scored higher. We recommend identifying what most phone users want to see, and identifying gaps that your app could fill.
  • Convergence – apps that have a convergent layout that expands to dedicated tablet mode or optionally run well on the desktop will also be scored higher.
  • Features – a wide range of useful and interesting features.
  • Quality – a high quality, stable, and bug-free application experience.
  • Design – your app should harness the Ubuntu Design Guidelines so it looks, feels, and operates like an Ubuntu app.
  • Awareness / Promotion – we will award extra points to those of you who blog, tweet, facebook, Google+, reddit, and otherwise share updates and information about your app as it progresses.
  • Chinese culture – apps optionally submitted in the China category will be reviewed with the same criteria above, plus their relevance to Chinese users of the app. This can be by providing access to Chinese services, being related to Chinese culture or being generally useful to somebody in the People’s Republic of China.

Learn how to write Ubuntu apps

To make it easier for you to get started with writing apps for Ubuntu on the phone and tablets, we’ve set up a week packed with video streaming tutorials where experts from the Ubuntu community will teach you how to use Ubuntu platform technologies to write apps.

Join the Ubuntu App Developer Week! >

If you cannot join, review our app developer documentation.

How to participate

If you are not a programmer and want to share some ideas for cool apps, be sure to add and vote apps on our reddit page.

The contest is free to enter and open to everyone.

The six week period starts on the Wed 26th February and runs until Wed 9th April 2014!

Enter the Ubuntu App Showdown >

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Jono Bacon

This last weekend Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager, was in LA at SCALE12x and gave a presentation providing a detailed update of much of the work going on as we build a convergent Ubuntu.

As we have mentioned before, there is lots of other foundational pieces being built as part of this work (app insulation, SDK, click packages, [developer.ubuntu.com](http://developer.ubuntu.com), platform services etc), and this presentation covered where we stand today in this work.

Obviously a lot more of you couldn’t be at SCALE than couldn’t, so Jono has recorded his presentation to share online. You can see it below:

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Jono Bacon

The focus on content is a core principle that drives how we build Ubuntu. This not only includes getting the clutter out of the way and maximizing your view on your content (such as integrated window borders and overlay scroll-bars), but it also includes searching for, browsing, and consuming content as easily as possible.

At the core of this latter approach to content is the Ubuntu dash and the scopes that power it. For those unfamiliar with this technology, when you tap or click the Ubuntu button on your Ubuntu computer, smart-phone, or tablet you currently see a number of different views such as Home, Apps, Music, and Videos.

Within these views we have a series of “scopes” that deliver both online and offline content. As an example, in our music scope we show music on your computer/device as well as music available to download or purchase online too.

All of this integrates search right into the heart of Ubuntu; no longer do you need to open up a software store, music app, or video app to access content you either own or would like to aquire…it is all integrated into the core of Ubuntu.

Ever since we released this technology we have been evaluating the feedback from our users, through formalized user testing, as well as input from content providers who are keen to deliver content via these services. We have reviewed all of this feedback and made a set of changes that improve and refine how the dash and scopes work, and we want to share some of those updates here.

This post does not summarize all improvements we are making; we have other refinements in store, and we will provide those updates closer to the time.

All screenshots in this post are of working code on the phone and tablet, much of which you can see at MWC this week. This technology will also be coming to the desktop at a later date.

The Core of the Dash

One of the constraining aspects about our previous dash was some of the limitations in terms of how scope results are presented to the user. Ubuntu users will be very familiar with a search resulting in the same visual structure of how results appear, which you can then click a result to see a preview view with more details.

We have refined and improved this by building a “dash toolkit” that can be used to customize how results are displayed now.

As an example, here are some screenshots of the dash displaying different types of results:

The Scopes Store

In our previous dash the notion of scopes were something that the Ubuntu development team were primarily involved in – we would ship a number of scopes switched on by default and the user could enable/disable those scopes where appropriate.

In our new dash we are treating scopes almost like in-dash apps; that is, a scope is something a provider can ship to users and the user can enable or disable the scopes that are of most interest to them. This makes the dash infinitely pluggable, more tuned to the user’s needs, and combined with the customization of how results are displayed, it makes the dash far more compelling for both users and content providers.

This range of scopes is delivered by the Scopes store which provides a range of categories and available scopes.

As an example, if you are a Grooveshark fan you can head into the Scopes store and add the Grooveshark scope and now your search will return Grooveshark content.
In action

Let’s take this new technology for a spin to demonstrate how it works.

In the screenshot below we can see the familiar apps scope. Here we can see apps that are installed, apps available to download, and we can search for apps too:

Let’s now see a more customized scope in the form of a guide to Barcelona:

Here you can see a combination of recommended places to visit, transport information, weather and more:

This scope is pulling together a variety of online components in a customized view and can be shipped as a scope that you can install on your computer or device.

Let’s look at another example. Here we have a scope for World Cup information:

Finally, let’s take a look at how we browse and install scopes. This is the scopes store:

Here we can select a scope easily and install it by tapping it.

When will I get this?

This technology is going to be arriving for Ubuntu for smart-phones and tablets in the next few weeks. Those of you using Ubuntu for devices can expect to find it as part of a norma system update.

For the desktop this technology will arrive at a later date when converge our Unity 8 platform on the desktop. We expect this to be around the time of Ubuntu 14.10 – Ubuntu 15.04.

The Developer Story

This new technology opens up a wealth of opportunities for developers. Over the coming weeks we will be providing a full tutorial, API documentation, quick-start guides, and more on developer.ubuntu.com to help you get stared building and deliver scopes to users.

We will announce when this content has been released on this blog.

FAQ

Why did you change the dash and scopes?

Based on feedback from our users, through formalized user testing, and input from content providers, we wanted to make a series of improvements to refine how the dash and scopes work.

When can we expect this technology to arrive?

We expect these improvements to be landing in the Ubuntu for phones and tablets images in the next few weeks.

How can I enable/disable scopes?

You determine which scopes are searched by adding them to (or removing them from) your favourites list. Even if a scope is not in your favourites list, you can explicitly navigate to that scope and start a search, without adding that scope to your favourites list. So, you are in complete control at all times of which scopes are searched.

What security/privacy measures are you putting in place with this technology?

While we will ship with a set of default scopes, the user can switch of any scopes if they choose to do so.

Each scope runs as a separate process in its own sandbox, secure via AppArmor. The sandbox is enforced at the kernel level, so it is impossible for a scope implementation to break out of the sandbox (for example, by making system calls directly).

Scopes that are installed in the device have exactly one of two possible AppArmor profiles: network access or file system access. If a scope can access the network (for example, to retrieve email headers from a remote imap account), that scope cannot access the file system. Conversely, if a scope can access the file system (for example, to search for locally-installed media files), it cannot access the network. This prevents a scope from retrieving sensitive information from the file system and then shipping it out via the network to some remote server.

Scopes are also prevented from accessing each others’ network endpoints. This means that a scope installed on the device cannot send queries to other scopes on the device in an attempt to collect private information.

What languages can I write these scopes in?

C++, Javascript, and Go.

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Daniel Holbach

We are starting a blog series where we interview our Ubuntu App Heroes. We want to learn more about how developers found the experience writing apps for Ubuntu, what their plans are, what they do and who they are.

Kicking off the series, we had a quick chat with the two guys working on the beautiful Weather app, Martin Borho and Raúl Yeguas.

Martin Borho Raúl Yeguas

Can you introduce yourselves?

Raúl: My name is Raúl Yeguas, I’m a frontend developer and I live in Seville in Spain. I studied IT at the University of Jaén where I organised some free software events. I’m a great Qt fan and a proud KDE user.

Martin: My name is Martin Borho, I’m 37 years old and I live in Hamburg, Germany. I work as a freelance programmer, mainly coding Python.

When and how did you get involved in the Ubuntu Core Apps project?

Martin: As Ubuntu Touch was announced, there was a little form at the webpage, asking for interested persons willing to contribute. As I was searching for a project I could join at that time, I filled it out….

Rául: I noticed Canonical’s call for developers on QtPlanet. When I subscribed to Canonical’s first announce I thought that it was for helping developers to write their own apps for their platform; but when I received the emails from them asking me what core app I wanted to work on I was so surprised and excited. I’m part of the Core Apps Developers from the beginning.

Have you developed apps before?

Martin: Yes, I’ve started doing a mobile app, named “Ask Ziggy”, on my Nokia N900 in 2010. In 2011 I’ve built an app for Google News called “NewsG” for WebOS. Which I later ported to Qt/QML, to get it on my Nokia N9/N950.

Raúl: Yes, mainly C++/Qt apps and HTML/JS webapps.

What was your experience learning everything involved to work on the Weather app?

Martin: Hmm, initially I had no idea what to expect. After all I have learned quite a few things (and still do). Contributing to a large scale project with people from all over the world is one, how various parts have to fit together is another one. It is fascinating to see how Ubuntu Touch has evolved over the last months.

Raúl: I have to say that this team is awesome. I learned too much from them, mainly about working in team with distant people and about designing new ways to interact with an app.

Weather App Designs

Weather App Designs

Is there anything you are proud of or feel is solved very well in the Weather app?

Raúl: Yes, the gestures to change between daily forecast and hourly forecast. I think is too easy to use and intuitive.

Martin: Hard to say, perhaps: It’s quite easy to add more weather data providers to the app, without having to deal much with the UI part. And having a distinction between fast and slow scrolling, to flip between days, respective hours, is quite nice.

What can new app developers learn from your app?

Martin: Can’t say… as I’m doing Qt/QML only in my spare time I don’t think it’s very sophisticated in that regard.

Raúl: I think that our app has well organised and differentiated graphics components so I think that it could be a good example for learning how to create complex QML components by creating simple parts. It also has a very good API to call weather info providers.

What can users of the app expect in the coming months?

Martin: The integration of Weather Channel as a second weather data provider is nearly finished and will be ready to get merged into trunk very soon. Apart from that, Raúl is currently working on new animated icons, which will be very nice when ready.

Raúl: Yes, expect some new animations for eye-candy and a new weather information provider.

Do you have any other hobbies apart from working on Ubuntu?

Martin: I like biking. And as the stadium of my favourite club is only a 5 minute walk away, I like watching football too … ;-)

Raúl: Yes, like non-IT people have. ;) I like watching movies, playing videogames and traveling. When I have enough time I produce electronic music. But I have to confess that sometimes I contribute on other open source projects \o/

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Michael Hall

udbflash_osx_smallUbuntu has long provided tools that made it easy to install the new Ubuntu phone images to your device, taking care of finding the right images and latest versions for you.  While this worked great, it was only available to current users of the Ubuntu desktop.  But now Ubuntu engineer Alex Chiang has provided a set of instructions for getting the same easy installation options on Mac OSX.

Though similar to the process that Ubuntu desktop users have access to, the setup does require some additional tools be installed by the user.  In the end, though, it will provide the same ease of installation and updating that is offered on Ubuntu desktops.

These instructions feature a new flashing tool called udbflash, a future replacement to the existing phablet-flash tool, which is written in Go and designed to be more easily ported to other operating systems and environments (as showcased here on OSX).

Wikihttps://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install/OSX

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