iCaching 5.0.5

Last Thursday we released the long awaited version 5.0 and received a lot of enthousiast reactions.
Although we tested a lot and had a beta period, there appeared to be a few issues with this version.
Fortunately the database conversion issue we reported here before seems to be contained to just a few cases. We were not yet able to reproduce that issue.
But there are two other known issues:
1. The application can crash on startup if you have sorted on the Coordinate column in the cache list.
2. Export to all non-GPX file formats and older GPS devices doesn’t work.
Both issues are solved in version 5.0.5 that is send to Apple for review. In the meantime you can download a (temporary working) fixed version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/q163qja545yo37k/iCaching%205.0.5%20Beta.zip?dl=0
There are a few other, more minor, issues that are currently investigated and will be solved later on. If you find anything, let us know.

Version 5.0 is out! [update: please report conversion issues]

warningThis morning we could finally release version 5.0! The update is available in the app store.
Explore the new features like the location picker to insert coordinates, the photos tab and the improved performance.
Happy caching!

WARNING!

There are some reports coming in about databases that are not correctly converted to version 5.0. We’re researching the issue.

Fortunately there is a backup of your original database. It is located in the same folder as the database and its name ends on .iCaching_DataModel 5.0. The database is located on a somewhat hidden location. Instructions to reach that location: http://icaching.eu/support/#toggle-id-4
If the conversion fails on your machine, I’d really like to have a copy of the backup to find out what went wrong. Please mail it using weTransfer.com to info at icaching dot eu

Excuse for the inconvenience!

Version 5.0 Public Beta is out

Two weeks ago we could send out the first public beta of iCaching 5.0 and last week the second beta. Eventually, version 5.0 brought much more code changed than initially intended, so it took much more time than expected to finish it.

But with this version we have a good foundation for the future. Apart from some (big) new features (as mentioned in previous blog posts) the overall performance and under-the-hood logic of iCaching is vastly improved. Thanks to these changes it will be easier to add new functionality in the near future.

For now, we need some time ironing out the last bugs, finishing translations and help files. But we’re finally heading towards this long awaited release. A little patience please….

Screenshot 5.0 beta

A small update on it’s way

Just pressed the submit button for version 4.97.7. A small update which fixes some little bugs reported by customers.
Also added some small improvements. The most important one: in addition to the existing cmd-backspace keystroke (like in Finder), you can delete a cache from the list with just delete or backspace alone.
So when Apple has reviewed this version, it will appear in the App Store.
And in the meantime we continue work on version 5.0 which is nearing completion.

Angry

Groundspeak API changes lead to broken logs download

OAngryn March 16, Groundspeak has changed some API limits without notice to developers. Unfortunately this breaks some functionality in iCaching. Loading your last logs, or logs for caches now returns an error message instead of logs.

We’ll fix this ASAP.

How about that version 5.0 you’re talking about?

That’s a good question. Let me explain.

The major features I planned for version 5.0 were a Yosemite look and feel, a geocache images tab and a location picker (to choose a location for corrected coordinates, API searches and home locations. See screenshot).

LocationPickerTo implement these features I had to make major refactorings in the existing code. For example, for the location picker I needed the Apple Maps API, which is only available for Mavericks and higher (so that will be the minimum OS for version 5.0). That made it possible to replace a lot of legacy code by more modern APIs Apple is providing. Or another example; to add the photos, I need to do a database version migration. That provided the opportunity to make the data model more efficient (loading at startup with big databases!), and prepare for new properties (user waypoints). The extra work involved was to create a migration process from the old to the new version, keeping your old data work in the new version.

These refactorings make the groundwork of the application more stable, faster and better maintainable. But they cost a lot (yes, I mean a lot!) of time. And in the meantime there is still some maintenance work on version 4.x…

To make this version ship in a not too distant future, I will cut some of the planned features (probably photos too) for the first 5.x version. But a lot of groundwork has been done, so those extra features can be added soon after the first release.

Public beta

All these changes in the foundation of the application, might introduce new issues, and that’s not what you and I want. Therefore I want to do thorough tests upfront. I also want to do a public beta within a few weeks (just like Apple does
these days).
If you want to participate, please send a mail (using the contact tab on this site) and mention ‘Public beta’ in the subject field. But keep in mind that the first beta will not work with your current database, and the final version will probably not be able to use the data from the beta version too. The main goal of the beta is to gather feedback and find bugs, not (only) to make you enjoy ‘the latest greatest’.

Export blues

While working on version 5.0 (which unfortunately takes more time than expected), I still want to do some maintenance on version 4.x. Once in a while I also like to add a few features in that version too.

Recently some users asked if it were possible to add attribute names to the cache description when exporting them, so you could see them in the field. This seemed a pretty trivial programming excersise, so I added it in version 4.97. But unfortunately, this feature has caused a lot of crashes. This week version 4.97.2 (yes, I want to reserve 5.0 for the next big thing, so coming up with a proper versionnumber becomes more difficult every time) was released, fixing the glaring main issue in the export code.

But after that update, some users still had issues. One was caused by a new attribute type (GeoTour) not yet supported in iCaching, and another for caches with an empty description. Both situations were not present in my test data, so everything went fine here.

Today version 4.97.3 is submitted to Apple for review. That one should finally fix the export issues. My apologies for the inconvenience these issues have caused. And a big thank you for the users that helped me providing crash reports and example files. This helped me to solve this quickly.

Tips and tricks: open geocache web page

Just a little tip for the weekend: You can open a geocache webpage directly by clicking the cache icon on the Info tab.

Tips and tricks: The Map window

The Map window has some nice (hidden) features. So it is worth a separate post.

What to show

By default the map shows the caches in the active folder. So the caches on the map are the same as the caches listed in the cache list of the main window. When you click on a cache symbol, the cache becomes the selected cache in the main window.

Only the additional waypoints of the selected cache are shown in the map. When you zoom out too far, the additional waypoints are hidden.

When you click on the little triangle button in the bottom right corner, a little panel pops up with some extra options. Here you can select which caches you want to see (all caches in the current Folder, or only the selected ones) and which additional waypoints you want to see.

Maptypes

iCaching has more maptypes to show than listed in the window. There are (standard Google Maps) buttons for roadmap (r), satellite (s), terrain (t) and hybrid (u). In some areas there are also 45 degrees aerial pictures available. You can also toggle between these views by the keyboard shortcuts as listed between brackets. But there are two more maptypes: OpenStreetMap and OpenCycleMap. You can show these by using the o and p keys.

Speed tip

For the time being (but hopefully not for too long), the Map is based on Google Maps. This has as disadvantage that it’s speed is not fantastic when you have a lot of caches. So when you have a big number of caches within iCaching, don’t open the Map when you are in the ‘All Caches’ folder, but from folders with about 3.000 caches max.

The new iCaching logo

New look

Within a few days we hope to release iCaching 4.90. We changed plans after the bumpy road to this version. Both 4.80 and 4.85 unfortunately had some serious bugs. Fixing these bugs took some time, therefore we decided to implement (the biggest part) of the new Yosemite style look, planned for version 5.0, into this version.

The new look also includes a completely new application icon for the first time in the history of iCaching (hmm, actually second time, but the first change was pretty minor). Hope you like it as much as we do :-)

Update November 13: Version 4.90 is released!

The new iCaching logo