Topics

Testers wanted

Paul Marshall
 

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 04:36 pm, Richard Russell wrote:
It's not as though the version currently available for download is a time-limited trial version,
Ok. I would be reluctant using it if you yourself had 'gone off' the project.
I have used it once more without the slightest hitch.   For me a big success. Thanks.   

Richard Russell
 

On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 04:23 am, John Nolan wrote:
I would love to be able to do BBC Basic on an iPad, and give you feedback, as and when.
I'm still investigating what I can do that doesn't fall foul of Apple's very restrictive conditions.  They allow time-limited beta testing, so long as the testers are individually appointed and registered, but there are dire warnings of the consequences if one tries to use it as a way of bypassing the app store.

> I may have a section where there are stand alone versions of programs
> compiled using bb4w. But would this infringe any of your copyrights  ?

No; there's not a lot of point in being able to 'compile' a program to a standalone executable if you're not then free to distribute it any way you wish!

Richard.

John Nolan
 

Dear Richard and Group,


I remain very interested in bb4w and also for iOS.

You, or at least the group, don't hear from me, because I am more overloaded than usual, due to an increasingly inform wife.


But, I would love to be able to do BBC Basic on an iPad, and give you feedback, as and when.

For your interest, I have a great interest in energy saving and heating and heat pumps.


Also, at 81, I am exploring the possibility of starting a blog. I may have a section where there are stand alone versions of programs compiled using bb4w. But would this infringe any of your copyrights  ?


All the best for you efforts.


John Nolan 




From: bb4w@groups.io <bb4w@groups.io> on behalf of Richard Russell <news@...>
Sent: 02 March 2018 00:36
To: bb4w@groups.io
Subject: Re: [bb4w] Testers wanted
 
On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 04:29 pm, Paul Marshall wrote:
I dont want to lose this tool just because you cant be bothered!   
I don't understand how you can "lose" what you've already got.  It's not as though the version currently available for download is a time-limited trial version, or restricted in some other way; it's fully functional and there's nothing to stop you continuing to use it.

Richard.

Richard Russell
 

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 04:29 pm, Paul Marshall wrote:
Surely the idea of having feedback from testers was to iron out those difficulties so that others do not get stuck
Of course that's true to a degree, and to be fair I think the problems you had have largely been ameliorated by adding warnings to the program.  But the other person who provided feedback had much more difficulty than you did, even to the extent of not understanding how the Embedded Files feature works (despite it working in an identical fashion to BB4W, and even presenting an identical UI).  I really worry that if somebody so experienced struggled with it, releasing it to the 'wide world' would be unwise.

Perhaps (and of course I'm joking, but it's tempting!!) the program, when first run, should present the user with a multiple-choice questionnaire to assess his level of knowledge.  It could ask questions like 'What does the REM!Fast compiler directive do, and when mustn't you use it?".  That would sort the wheat from the chaff!  :-)

Richard.

mclout@...
 

I will be installing and working on this this weekend.  Just did not have time to get to it.  I too think this is a very valuable project and tool for the community. 

Richard Russell
 

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 04:29 pm, Paul Marshall wrote:
I dont want to lose this tool just because you cant be bothered!   
I don't understand how you can "lose" what you've already got.  It's not as though the version currently available for download is a time-limited trial version, or restricted in some other way; it's fully functional and there's nothing to stop you continuing to use it.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 02:05 am, Richard Russell wrote:
The facts here are that two of the most experienced and most knowledgeable BBC BASIC users struggled so badly to get my utility working that they were both unable to without extensive help from me.
Surely the idea of having feedback from testers was to iron out those difficulties so that others do not get stuck. Maybe two is enough.  We now know about filename restrictions - and you did tell us about leading dots, and case sensitivity was a silly error - but wont be an issue in future. A few things you have ameliorated in the latest version so it should be easier for any new adopters..
It is indeed very bad that so few have bothered to try it. So come on guys I dont want to lose this tool just because you cant be bothered!   

Richard Russell
 

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 01:48 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
it doesnt appear to matter what the company name is.
Of course it matters!  Did you not read the supplied help file, which I recommended that everybody study before trying to use the utility?  The package name must be 'globally unique'; if you don't have a domain and just 'make up' the name there is every likelihood the somebody else might have chosen the same name.  In that case if an end-user, who had previously installed the 'other' app, installed yours it would wipe out the original!

You can't even argue that you can change the name should such a situation come to light, since once allocated you can never change the package name(because it will break the 'app update' process whereby a newer version automatically replaces the older one).

If you haven't got a domain I strongly recommend that you obtain one; they are very cheap.  But even if you don't, you still have the option of (hopefully) guaranteeing uniqueness by using a 'reversed' email address as the initial part of the package name.

Releasing Android apps to the 'wide world' requires that you adopt a professional approach, just as releasing 'compiled' BB4W executables does.  Since all such EXEs and apps made using BBC2APK contain details that allow them to be traced back to me, it could reflect badly on me if you don't.

Richard Russell
 

The facts here are that two of the most experienced and most knowledgeable BBC BASIC users struggled so badly to get my utility working that they were both unable to without extensive help from me.  I can confidently say that most people would find it more difficult, not less, than they did.

I assume the 'string too long' is still an issue

I've left the 'workaround' code in place, so it should no longer affect the operation of the loader program (autorun.bbc) but it could still of course affect the operation of users' own programs if they are also using the $addr kind of 'fixed string'.

> I would beg you not to deny it to the rest of us.

I'll do a deal with you: if - despite the deadline having passed - I receive encouraging feedback from some of the others who offered to test it, but have not yet responded, I will reconsider my decision not to release it.  However given the lack of response and general apathy I do wonder whether the "rest of us" actually amounts to 'nobody'.

Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version (0.32) which has some changes that should ameliorate a few of the problems encountered.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 03:35 pm, Richard Russell wrote:
Sorry.

Richard, you have nothing to be sorry about. As one of those who has been in communication with you let me state publicly that you've have created a superbly useful tool.
Yes  there were some difficulties, all centred around filenames. If these snags appeared to be negative it wasnt meant too, I regret that one simple error creates a chain of emails!

Now that we know the following it is not an issue any longer:

  • filenames must not start with a dot
  • filenames must not contain spaces
  • filenames are case sensitive

Some problems with  the package name have been resolved. It might put some people off if they think they need to have a website but it doesnt appear to matter what the company name is.

I have turned two programs into Android apps really without any other real problems. Admittedly they were old Acorn programs with nothing particularly clever and no Windows api calls, but it's good experience for the future. And - although you will criticise me for this - I didnt even test my latest program on the Android first. Such is the ease of compiling that I prefer to make changes in Windows SDL compile, install and test on the tablet. Thats because although TouchIDE is useful I am a dyed-in-the-wool Windows user and find it much easier.

I assume the 'string too long' is still an issue but if it works on the majority of devices and only fails on one or two I would beg you not to deny it to the rest of us.

dai_m_leeds
 

Hi Richard,

I know it took a bit of headscratching to work out why I was struggling, but once we'd realised the program needs to sit in a directory path with no spaces, it was pretty straightforward after that. Now that I have my keystore and template working, presumably making more will be striaghtforward.

I am enthusiastic- please don't despair/give up: I think the prize is well worth the hassle..

Best wishes,

D

Richard Russell
 

The deadline has now passed, and disappointingly there have been very few responses from the testers.  Indeed most of the people who requested a beta copy didn't even bother to acknowledge receipt.  I know I shouldn't be surprised, or allow it to upset me, but it always does.  :-(

The small number of reports received have, on the whole, been negative.  It seems that people have had much more difficulty getting the utility to work for them than I hoped.   The users concerned may (or may not!) wish to post their own reasons for not being enthusiastic.

The concept of a tool which would automatically convert a BBC BASIC program to a self-contained Android app seemed initially very exciting, but like so many of my 'grand ideas' it hasn't worked out.  Sorry.

Richard.

Richard Russell
 

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 03:01 pm, <mclout@...> wrote:
I would like to check it out if that is ok.
I've sent you the email with the link too.

Richard.

mclout@...
 

I would like to check it out if that is ok.  Thanks either way.

Richard Russell
 

I've sent copies of the BBC2APK utility, albeit with known incompatibilities, to all those who expressed an interest in testing it - I think. If I've missed anybody out please get in touch.

I've also updated the Forces of Darkness app and put it back where it was: http://www.rtr.myzen.co.uk/FOD.apk

I know that this app places heavy demands on GPU texture memory and some devices, particularly with earlier versions of Android, give up and crash as a result.

Richard.

David Smith
 

Hi, I am pleased with BBC Basic on my Debian Linux tower. I use this as a development tool. BBC Basic also runs on my Samsung Galaxy Tab and my Samsung Galaxy Young mobile phone.
Here is a link to my website, the three BBC aplications on the first page were developed on my Debian tower.




I am also pleased with the BBC Basic on my Windows 7 and Windowws 10 laptops.
Thank you for keeping a tradition alive, I did my City and Guilds in BBC Basic at South Bristol Technical college. My supervisor was Paul Mobey.
Kind regards,
David S


On Monday, 12 February 2018, 0:44, Richard Russell <news@...> wrote:


I am developing a software tool which will automatically convert a BBC BASIC program to an Android app. My objective is to make it as straightforward to create an APK file for Android as it is to create an EXE file for Windows using BB4W! Enough of it is working to give me confidence that I will succeed: here is an APK for David Williams' Forces of Darkness game that I made this way (40 Mbytes):

http://www.rtr.myzen.co.uk/FOD.apk

Because the user-interface is such an important aspect of the program I would like to invite people to try it out and give me their feedback before it is formally released. The prerequisites are that you must have written a BBC BASIC program which you have confirmed works on an Android device (using BBCSDL), and that you have a relatively modern Windows PC which has Java 1.7 or later installed (or on which you are happy to install Java).

If you would like to volunteer let me know.

Richard.


Richard Russell
 

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 03:45 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
I know you cant have an application that only works for some people but it should be encouraging if a number of us confirm that it is working.
As you say, a utility that creates APKs that only work on some devices is about as useful as a chocolate teapot (some versions have 'chocolate fireguard', take your pick)!  I will, of course, be happy to take it out of mothballs if and when the cause of the incompatibility is established and a solution found.  I have described the issue in more detail at the forum, since it's too specialised for discussion here - and I know from experience that highly technical posts are prone to provoke resignations from the group.  If anybody has the expertise to help, please join in at the forum.

Richard.

Paul Marshall
 

On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 02:41 pm, Richard Russell wrote:
I'm almost pleased that my utility has the bug so that I can abandon it with a clear conscience
Please dont give up! It must be immensely frustrating that it doesnt work on a couple of devices and it cant help that people dont read the whole thread, and that in my case I forget what you've already told me.  I know you cant have an application that only works for some people but it should be encouraging if a number of us confirm that it is working.

Richard Russell
 

On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 01:58 pm, Robin Hodson wrote:
Only when I pressed the back button, which I now know emulates the
escape key, did something break
I give up.  Here is the response to Paul Marshall that I posted earlier today, which NOBODY seems to have read:

"On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 06:20 am, Paul Marshall wrote:
pressing Escape gives a 'File or path not found" error.
Needless to say, this was simply intended as a quick demo of my (it appears broken) utility to create an APK from a BBC; I didn't make any changes to Dibley.bbc.  Typically you are going to need to adapt a program before it is suitable as a standalone app, not least that there ought to be no way for it to 'quit' (or exit to immediate mode).  Android apps never 'terminate' as such, other than through the user 'force closing' them, and indeed if you allow a BBC BASIC program to quit you will end up with a 'zombie' process still running in the background.

And before anybody (JGH?) says that they think it should be the responsibility of BBC BASIC itself or of the BBC2APK utility 'automatically' to modify the behaviour of the program from how it works when run from the IDE, I totally disagree!"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I'm almost pleased that my utility has the bug so that I can abandon it with a clear conscience.

Richard.

Robin Hodson
 

On 14/2/2018 1756, Richard Russell wrote:
On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 09:29 am, Chris Fry wrote:

I don’t know if that helps.

Unfortunately knowing that it works doesn't help at all -  it works on
all my devices too!  I am waiting to hear whether my recently modified
'dibley.apk' fixes the problem for those who are suffering it, i.e.
Robin Hodson and David Nichols.  If it does I will at least have a
workaround, but if not I'm as much in the dark as ever.
Dibley, once I searched through these messages for where to download it,
for the benefit of anyone else mystified:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/muu8sr9ffurjweg/dibley.apk?dl=0

... Works fine, including sound.
I didn't even have to clear my cache.

Only when I pressed the back button, which I now know emulates the
escape key, did something break, this time saying:

>File or path not found
>_

At this point, PRINT PAGE'LOMEM'END'HIMEM produced:

4396800
4410090
4423694
6493952




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