Thursday, July 17, 2008

Q & A

Thanks everyone for the kind words. I am planning on making this app happen, I've certainly not given up. I resubmitted the app last night around 11 PM Pacific time. Hopefully apple will get back to me before the end of today with a response.

I want to answer some questions asked in the comments recently.

Q: do you sign in to it like you would on the Twitter or Facebook clients (which are in the app store now)?

A: Currently you use the web interface to sign in to geocaching.com. For obvious reasons I may have to change that, but to get the information you will need to be signed in, either though my app or geocaching.com via the web. (Unfortunately cookies aren't shared between safari and applications, so you have to sign in separately with both. Which means with the latest changes you definitely want to check the "remember" checkbox when signing in!)

Q: Out of curiosity will you be able to look at a map (perhaps google maps on geocache.com) and be able to view all unfound surrounding caches as if you were using a query?

A: I do have links set up and ready to go for looking at the map view of geocaching.com. I played with that some and unfortunately I can't actually GET data from the web view or safari. So while I can provide a one-way interface
to get to the maps version of geocaching.com, it's not really useful -- you can't get the data entered easily. I do want to do something here, so I'll keep playing around with it. On my desktop machine I almost exclusively use the map view to find nearby caches, so I understand the appeal.

Q: I have one question though, as I do not have a 3G iPhone would I still be able to use the software as an offline tool for paperless caching, e.g. load my gpx file into the software and then use it to get cache descriptions, hints, etc. while using my GPSr to find the cache.

A: GPX support is interesting. I am working on a way to get GPX files directly from geocaching.com (assuming you are logged in), but I haven't gotten that down yet. I am fairly new to web programming, so I'll need to brush up a bit on some javascript to do more there.

As far as offline caching. That is planned, however it is not done yet. That was going to be for the non-lite geopher version. I'll have more details as that gets closer. I do plan on supporting an offline mode, and being able to sue that on a touch or any iPhone. Geocaching and GPS use in general tends to happen out of service ranges as often as in service range, and it would be silly to limit the app to online only.

Q: I take it geocaching.com doesn't have an API to allow more direct integration with your data for recording logs etc?

A: Geocaching.com has no public API that I am aware of, other than the POST codes that I've been able to glean from general usage of the site. In the non-lite version of Geopher I was planning on not ever seeing a web page -- you would just use the app and be able to log caches, manage cache lists, etc all from within the application, oOnline or offline. I have plans to contact groundspeak about this once I start developing this more -- until the lite version is approved (which uses groundspeak's web interface instead of it's own) I've held off. I don't want to do a bunch of development and have apple deny me. Again. ;)

Thanks again for the support everyone.

I'll post again when I hear back from apple, hopefully later today.

9 comments:

Tom Williams said...

Sounds like you have all the intentions of all that was asked. Thats great! I just hope the guys at Groundspeak will want to help out and give you the resources to improve the app even after its release. Keep up the good work you now have a new blog follower!

Tom

Justin Walther said...

One suggestion...

While checking out the weatherbug app...i notice for their radar view they use google maps and use a radar overlay..I'm assuming from their own data. Are they leveraging the built-in googlemaps to do that? Does the iphone API have hooks for that? At the same time, geocaching.com has google maps overlay with their cache data. I know their data is proprietary and thats why they don't have a public API...I wonder if some accomodation could be made to allow use of their data to overlay the built-in google maps like weatherbug is using. From there, the interface could be built to pick up the data from the selection. Just brain-dumping...

DadGuy said...

If I had to guess, the weatherbug app is using javascript to display the weather. The biggest problem I've found with the web pane API is that you have next to no access. You have the basic functionality of forwards and backwards between pages, going to a URL (local or on the web), stop and refresh. You can also call javascript in the currently viewing pane. The javascript is the only way to interface with the content of that pane right now as far as I am aware -- I can't get any data other than requesting it via a javascript.

I don't know exactly how they are doing that, but I am betting that they already have access to the page you view there, and if you knew the URL you could simply navigate to that page in a regular web browser.

I may be able to do something like that in the future, but I'm sort of a web dummy -- I have done a lot of application programming but next to no web development. So that may come later.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Alexandar School of Natural Therapeutics said...

Do the people at Apple have understand what geocaching is and what we need for tools?

Tom Williams said...

^^^ If they did maybe they would have some suggestions or tips as to what you may need to do to improve the App and therefore giving you a pass for it to be posted.

Victor S. said...

ok, made two skins for geopher

hope they get implemented:

Pirate
http://gnomo.fe.up.pt/~vitors/pirate.jpg

Black
http://gnomo.fe.up.pt/~vitors/black.jpg

Victor

DadGuy said...

Thanks victor!

I have plans for skins, I'm working on a way to allow custom skins on a per-user basis. I'll keep you updated.

Just as an update, I haven't heard from apple yet. Hopefully before they close today, otherwise it won't be until monday.

CaptTCS said...

I keep checking with "Web Apps". This is the one application I REALLY WANT for my new 3g. There are several "Local Search" engines, several "Social Club" fluff apps and more "Photo-Blogger" apps than I can shake a stick at. Few of those are of interest to me. This is one application I will use OFTEN. I hope it will come out soon. Keep up the good work!

Kortney said...

Are you kidding? There is STILL no geocaching app in App Store! I search daily for Geopher or any sign that a geocaching app is up. The iPhone is tailor-made for geocaching! Please make this work.

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DadGuy has been working with apple computers since the mac classic. I love games and puzzles and like to solve problems. I'm having a blast developing for the iPhone and iPad.