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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Mod Type:: Application

Difficulty:: Very Easy

Mod Base:: Other

Mod Status:: Beta

Apply In:: Other (See Description)

Carrier:: N/A

Requires Root:: No

Source::
Source::
Now on Google+ !
https://plus.google....615763333814534

XDA Thead: http://forum.xda-dev...d.php?t=1587276

Update 5-27-2012
This update replaces the text based view pager indicator with a sliding bar that looks just like the stock launcher's indicator. I'm still not satisfied with the contrast between the bar and the surrounding elements, because it isn't easy to see at this point. I'll keep tinkering with it, and would welcome suggestions. In addition, I have figured out how to allow viewing of read protected directories like /data/. My implementation isn't perfect, which leads me to my next point. I have come to realize that there are some fundamental shortcomings to a few of the apps underpinnings, and I need to find a way to fix them. I have yet to figure out how to make the root process persist so that root functionality doesn't throw up a toast every time it does something, and I seriously need to clean my code.

Therefore, my plan is thus: I'm going to take a crack at helping the dev of OpenExplorer figure out how to enable full root functionality. His code is the only resource I have been able to glean much useful info from, and his own implementation is still half-baked. (seriously, why are there no robust root related resources out there?) Then, (tentatively) I'm going to fork his repo and replace the look and feel of his app with that of Holo File Explorer, while retaining what appears to be a vastly superior back end. The downside to this is that we're looking at something of a rabbit hole, so you guys may not hear from me for a bit. The upside is that forking OpenExplorer will provide a less buggy experience, plus lots of extras like network folder, dropbox and box.net access.

I'm also hopeful that at the end of this process, I'll have my own code hosted on GitHub and ready for collaboration. If I can get interested parties to help with development, It'll speed up the rate of releases. Because to be honest, my rate of release hasn't exactly been timely of late, and you guys deserve better than that. This is the best answer I can come up with to solve the problem. What does everyone think?

New Readers: I've been working on a new file explorer app for phones since the beginning of the year, and I would like to present what I have accomplished so far in order to get some feedback. The reason why I decided to make this app is that most (if not all) of the file explorers out there have clunky user interfaces or lackluster feature sets. I recently purchased a Galaxy Nexus and decided that I needed a file browser to match the aesthetic appeal of the rest of the system. After hours of searching through several dozen of the market's best browsers, the only one with any degree of stock visual polish was inKa file browser. Unfortunately, the app was pretty basic. No root features at all. This prompted me to build my own file browser (although it is still far from complete).



What the app has thus far:
1) Swipable pages. There are 4 swipable views that can be navigated independantly (just like you would on a desktop computer with 2+ explorer windows open.

2) Files can be cut, copied and then pasted within or across the swipable pages. (long press anywhere on an item or check the boxes in order to bring up the "contextual action mode" (screenshot 3)

3) The drop down at the top of the page displays the folder hierarchy for the currently selected folder view.

4) The start of a file details screen (Screenshot 5). There are a lot of functions that people can perform on files (MD5 checking roms is a big one in my mind) and I just don't like the idea of relegating those functions to dialog boxes or menus. I know that this kind of view isn't something that any of the other file explorers have, but I think there is value in departing from that convention. Note: MD5 and permissions aren't implemented yet. Soon though.

5) MD5 summer and checker is now working! I tested it on a 100+mb rom and it ran pretty quickly (5 or 6 seconds) on my Galaxy Nexus, so Rom Flashers might enjoy using this one. I don't have the UI polished to my satisfaction yet, but the functionality is there.

6) Sharing files is now enabled. The updated ShareActionProvider for 4.0+ will be coming at some point.

7) Opening/installing files/apks! Bugs aside, the app now handles almost all of the usual file explorer functions.

8) Themes! Switch them under general settings, and then exit if switching between dark and light or darkactionbar to get the text colors to reload properly. Working on fixing this.

What isn't done yet:

1) Root actions. This is a biggie, as I want this app to satisfy both power users and casual users at the same time. Feel free to comment on your most desired root functions.

2) File summary views. This would open if you clicked on a file, and would present a summary of the meta information. This view would also provide functions like md5 comparison, opening in external apps, permission setting, etc...

3) Themes. As you can see, the app is currently built on Holo Light (one of the ICS stock system themes). I plan on adding an option for Holo (dark) and maybe more. Depends on the demand.

4) A robust data summary view, including something similar to what you find in the DiskUsage app in the market, as well as some other metrics. Maybe even an miui-like file type size summary.

5) I'm considering a view (linked to from a button in the top right corner of the app) that displays currently running and finished file operations. I think this might be better than throwing up a dialog box for big file copy/paste tasks and having it keep the user from doing anything until the operation is done.

6) Bookmarks

7) Search. Not sure if this will be a basic file search or a grander attempt at indexing and speed.

8) A text editor.

9) Other basic things like an actual settings page, polished action mode icons, image previews and apk icons, an actual app icon, proper folder and file icons (the one's in place now look terrible and are improperly sized, but I'd rather focus on other things first), and general UI polish.

10) Image previews And there you are. Please provide any and all feedback/criticism/praise/trolling that you can. I'd really like to build this into something that works for everyone. Thanks!

UPDATE - 2/9/2012:
Jake Wharton just released beta 6 of Action Bar Sherlock last night, so I'll hopefully have a backwards compatible version of the app out soon (maybe within the next day or so? Depends on how many things are broken in Gingerbread and beyond.) Done as of "alpha 2". I have an old Droid X, so I just need to do some flashing to test both Froyo and Gingerbread. I've also made incremental progress in a lot of areas. A basic settings screen is in place, "new folder" and "refresh" action buttons have been implemented, and I have the start of the file properties screen together. Things are moving along quickly!

UPDATE - 2/14/2012
New stuff:
*A placeholder settings menu now appears when users click settings
*See screenshot 5 for a look at the file info screen. Currently accessed by clicking on a file. Not sure if this is how things will stay, since this is a departure from the ususal "click to open in another app" behavior.
*Gingerbread compatibility! May be a few bugs here and there, but I have the thing running on my old Droid X with CM7. Theme is a little rough for GB devices, so I have some work to do there.
*Buttons more clearly indicate whether they have been implemented.

UPDATE - 2/15/2012
New stuff:
*A whole bunch of bug fixes dealing with copy, cut and paste. Things are still a little broken, but way better than they were before. Remaining issues deal with the UI not properly reflecting paste status - nothing sinister.
*Blue dividers between each page of the viewPager
*Sharing files now works! Select 1 or more files and send them via 3rd party app.
*Files can now be opened in 3rd party apps from the file view screen *Files can be MD5 summed and compared in the file view screen
*I did some checking and things seem to work in Froyo too
*Tinkered with the file icon logic a little bit, and in addition to some less obvious things I got apk icons working. *Based on some of the name suggestions, I renamed the app to "File Swipe." Name still isn't final, but someone mentioned that "Swipe" was a bit confusing. I'm listening to your name suggestions, so please keep em' coming.
*Polished up the action bar icons a tad bit (Search used to be a little too fuzzy, Data summary was too small, add didn't reflect that it was for adding folders, and bookmarks was too dark.)

UPDATE - 2/27/2012
New stuff:
*Themes! In addition to the original ICS Holo Light theme, we now have a dark and light-with-dark-actionbar theme. (You need to exit the app using the new exit button in order to get the themes to switch properly. Working on fixing this.) CAVEAT: There is currently a bug in ActionBarSherlock which prevents the loading of action bar icons when they are referenced via theme. Therefore, for now we are stuck with text instead of icons on the action bar. According to Jake Wharton's github bug tracker, we are about 9 days away from another Release Candidate, and the bug should be fixed then. Until then, don't freak out! (fixed now)
*A lot of internal refactoring and housecleaning. Not that interesting to you guys, but it had to be done in order to make themes work.
*App now handles reopening and orientation changes without crapping out (used to stop updating the navigation dropdown and would sometimes force close on actions). Learned some interesting things about viewpagers (the swipey pages as found in the market) in the last few days, so I'm hoping to be able to share that info with other coders out there in some fashion.
*The beginnings of a settings page (whoooo!)
*Settings includes the theme switcher and a popup to update the default directory. Haven't gotten it to verify directory input yet, so don't go too crazy.
*A new exit button. As mentioned earlier, you need to exit in order to get the themes to load properly. May disappear later. Not sure.

UPDATE - 3/5/2012
New stuff:
*Nothing show-stopping. Just little tweaks and fixes here and there
*After talking with some of you guys, tapping on a file now opens the file instead of a details screen. Details are now reached via the menu. The option will only present itself when a single file item is selected. Keep up the feedback (because I listen)!
*Tweaked some of the colors a little to provide contrast between file names and file details.
*Pulled in the latest code base from Jake Wharton's ActionBarSherlock. Therein lies the real bounty of changes. (This guy is a beast)
*Pre-3.0 users now get a proper ICS navigation dropdown, instead of that bloody spinner list.
*Icons are back, so things are looking normal again.

UPDATE - 3/28/2012
Holy bugger this has been a crazy month. Since the last update, I moved from PA to NC and started a new job. It's been a while but thanks for your patience.
New stuff:
*I'm back! (whoooooooo!)
*A hopefully bug-free scroll position/history stack. Essentially this means that instead of taking you up a level, the back button returns you to the previous folder you were at (each scroll pane gets its own history too), and it also remembers your scroll position when you go back. It's a small touch, but it really makes the whole thing more natural.
*Moved the pagertitlestrip from the bottom to the top and changed the styling a bit (as inspired by today's google maps/navigation update today). You'll all have to let me know if you like the change. Haven't figured out how to shrink the text size on it either, so those caps should be less obnoxiously large sometime soon. I'll try and make sure you don't have to wait another month before the next update
Maybe sometime this weekend. Depends on how ambitious I am.

UPDATE - 4/7/2012
Quick update today. I added in a new sort button to allow for alphabetical and last modified sorting, along with a 'reverse sort' that toggles between ASC and DESC sort. Enjoy!

Update 4-11-2012
The most obvious change for today is the the theme. I've switched the default over to the app's "Identity" theme. The new goods are pictured in the updated screenshots. I've also fixed the app so that it displays the navigation dropdown at load time, and I figured out the bug that was making everyone's root file location only display one folder. There are probably some other small visual tweaks, but nothing that important.

Download "Alpha 9" apk here: http://goo.gl/olMcn
 

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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Updated original post with some new info. Also, how do people feel about the name "Swipe File Explorer"? If you don't like it,
feel free to add your own suggestion.
 

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Premium Member
Joined
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38 Posts
Ok. After i played a little bit

- Settings dont work, i can tap on it but nothing happens
- the actionbar is little bit unsharp
- The buttons: New, Storage summary, search an Bookmarks dont work

Also i think the name "swipe" is not good. Only "Explorer" or so would be better
 

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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Wingnut: I'll post an update here soon that will have a working "add folder" button. The action bar icons are a little unsharp, I agree. One of the things I need to fix. Storage summary and bookmarks haven't been implemented yet.

b16: Not yet, but definitely soon. Its in the cards. At this point in the game, I wanted to focus on ironing out the basic functionality, and I went with the the ICS Holo Light theme because there were more pre-made action bar icons out there (mostly because the ICS email and calendar apps also use Holo Light). I'm getting pretty close to the point where I'm ready to add the Holo (dark) theme to the mix. I know that it blends a lot better with Gingerbread devices and is easier on AMOLED display batteries too. Other than that, any suggestions?
 

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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JellyBellys: No tablet support at the moment. Thats gonna be a whole other rodeo, although my use of fragments will quicken that endeavor. I plan on having a huge discussion with everyone about the ideal tablet layout. For phones, it seemed obvious to me: multiple swipable "windows" with a bar above and below. On tablets though? I really want the user to be able to have the same benefit of performing actions between "windows"/panes/sections of the screen, and to also be able to see detailed information on individual selected files. I'm tentatively leaning towards the "commander" two pane browser style, but I need to do some wireframes and get some feedback. I have done a lot of research on the existing market apps, and none of them seemed optimized for the kind of usage I think tablets are capapble of. It seems like they all limit the user to looking at a single point in their folder heirarchy at any given moment. Rest assured I am pondering the issue.
 

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Supporting Member
Joined
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54 Posts
Testing it out on my droid 3. Everything looks very good. One thing I found when you select a file and hit the button with the scissors which I'm assuming its cut it copies the file. Still playing with it and love whats going on with it so far.

Edit: just thought of a couple name suggestions: window explorer or multi explorer. Really just trying to spark something here LOL

Sent from my XT862 using Tapatalk
 

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Average Android
Joined
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310 Posts
Very nice app. Can't wait to see what the final product looks like. Once it is all done and fully functional this is going to rock with a dark theme added to it. Thanks and keep up the great work!

Powered by recycled iPhones!
 

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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Testing it out on my droid 3. Everything looks very good. One thing I found when you select a file and hit the button with the scissors which I'm assuming its cut it copies the file. Still playing with it and love whats going on with it so far.

Edit: just thought of a couple name suggestions: window explorer or multi explorer. Really just trying to spark something here LOL

Sent from my XT862 using Tapatalk
You're right. Currently ironing this out. Also discovered about 4 other things that I needed to fix with the cut/copy/paste implementation. Its getting difficult to decide how multiple pages should be interacting with the action mode. Mostly because action modes are designed to work with a single list, and to appear only when items are selected. The whole paste action presumes that at some point nothing will be selected, and I'm working to make pasting work across page swipes. Good times.

Not sure about window or multi explorer, but it gets me thinking. I'd like for the name to communicate some unique and desirable characteristic that sets it apart from the others, but nothing has clicked yet. Explorer, at least, seems to be a good base for the full name.

Or maybe I should go with something off the wall like "Multiplicity" ? Not sure if casual browsers would know what the heck the app is with a name like that...
 

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Android Beginner
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12 Posts
Some of you may raise one eyebrow to this... hoe about Swipexplorer? lol yeah I'm just throwing it out there, not many others listing names. I just know if I I hadn't saved the APK in my File Manager folder where I backup different apps I like of that category, I would have confused it with my Swype input method.

I checked it out and love it. I can't wait to test an updated version with more features.

I just hope it stays pretty light weight. I keep some of my favorite apps for specific features, but they are usually backed up and installed when needed. Reason I rarely use Astro is each bug update felt more bloated and slower.

Will be looking for updates!
 

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Backbone FM Developer
Joined
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just posted the last two days of progress. It's getting really close to being a usable file explorer for those that don't do much with file browsers. I have a bit of work to do on the Archive action button, and after that I may start working on fleshing out the settings and throwing together a dark theme. I've got a bit of optimization to look at too. I need to figure out how to implement viewholders on the listviews (if you understand what those are) which will be interesting because my listviews are based on a rather wonky custom implementation that I pulled from the ICS email app. (I would recommend a look at the internals of that app to the developers out there. Has some interesting optimization stuff that I haven't seen elsewhere) Good times!

Changed the file name a little bit too. I flipped Wingnut's suggestion around and am calling it "File Swipe" for now. I'm not too concerned about hammering out a name until we hit beta, but I love hearing the suggestions.
 
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