For my first post on Medium I’ll be showing you some of the improvements for the next Focus release, a gallery app developed by me and designed by Liam Spradlin.
Last year around July we released this application on the Google Play Store to provide a different experience to the users. We got tired of badly designed galleries and not so great ways to organize the library. By the time we started working on this Google Photos wasn’t a thing, and when we released Focus Google Photos was just released. Since we never intended to “fight” for the cloud, machine learning space, we think we did a pretty good job for local storage.
Now we’re reaching the first year anniversary and there’s still much to improve so I’d like to go through a couple of the things we’ve been working on to improve your user experience.
Focus 1.3 Beta 1 has been pushed to the Play Store Beta channel. If you want to be a part of the testing phase, join here: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.franco.focus
We have a bugtracker where you can add in new issues and help us make version 1.3 even more amazing: https://github.com/franciscofranco/Focus-bugtracker/issues
There’s a clear improvement on quality compared to the current production release and it’s specially visible on Full HD or Quad HD displays. This is probably a tiny bit more taxing for your CPU, but it’s totally worth it.
The UI for cropping has been completely changed and improved. The options are easily reachable in a unobstructive interface.
Better Muzei support
The ability to use a Tag to be your Muzei album has been available since version 1.0 for Premium users, but it was really cumbersome to use and it raised more questions than it solved. So we decided to make it proper and it’s exactly as you’d expect.
Improved app/picture lock interface
There was a need to re-design the locking mechanism UI which serves to lock Focus as soon as it goes to the background or if you lock your picture from being “swipable” (yeah you know when you handle your phone to someone to show a picture and that person starts swiping around, Focus is your friend and helps you protect your other pictures). This is a feature for Premium users and it also supports Fingerprint access for devices which support it on Android Marshmallow.
New FocusGram icon for fun
We all remember when Instagram unveiled the new icon and the internet went crazy (maybe not for the best reasons though), so we also allow you to use a similar icon for Focus because why the hell not?
An update wouldn’t be an update with new animations that would leave Matias Duarte in tears of joy.
There’s a new local Search functionality, although limited compared to what Google Photos can do for your uploaded photos, but it’ll help you find pictures in your tags, in specific time periods, by file size (if you want to free some space on your phone) and a couple more search queries. Search is hard, so we can’t offer ridiculous magnitude of search queries, but it’s something we can iterate with time. This is a work in progress and it’ll be ready to test in a couple weeks through the Beta channel on the Play Store.
The Vault will receive a substancial improvement to actually hide your media from all other apps/file managers. The current version only hides stuff from within Focus but that isn’t enough so it’s something I’m working on. Vault is for Premium users too.
You’ll be able to view your PNG files with Alpha channel. This is kind of already possible, but if you have a transparent PNG and the actual image portion is black you won’t be able to see a thing. It’ll be possible on version 1.3.
Albums will be cached so even if you have 20k pictures (which could take ~5…10 seconds to load) every time you opened Focus it’ll load almost instantly and it’ll only need to refresh everything if you so desire. And if there are file changes it’ll refresh the adapters properly without issuing a full refresh. Memory ram usage has also been improved with some leaks being fixed and smarter use of existing objects from Google (SparseArrays etc).
I never take photo spheres so I kept forgetting about adding support for it, but now it’ll be available and kickin’!
We don’t want to provide ETAs, but we’re aiming for somewhere within the 1 year anniversary period, so around end-July, first week of August.
This version also required me to re-write around 50% of the existing code to provide you a better experience and WAY better performance.
Every design aspect you see here can and may be changed until the release date.
We think you’re going to love it.
In the meantime you can download Focus from the Play Store and you’ll be able to enjoy all these new goodies when it hits.
Thanks for reading!