Icons, Widgets, and Companions

GCA Launcher’s next update will focus on a few asthetics that make the launcher scene appealing and their also things we’ve been struggling on past few months.

First up, Icons. In pixel launcher, their is a view called the Bubbletext view in the source code. This view handles all the icon changes, badges and rendering it properly for the slot in your dock and app drawer. GCA Launcher has a similar view that has similar properties. In the next update, il be reworking this view to provide users a few new tricks to try out, as well as handling events properly to update the icon properly. Right now, updates to icons are handled by large events and this causes problems because it updates items it doesn’t need to and causes lag. This next update will integrate listeners to specific spots in the view so when a badge needs updated or an icon needs refreshed or the position itself needs updated due to being removed or updated by the playstore, it won’t effect the entire area. While rewriting the bubbletext view, badge placements will be reworked so that notification badges will be on point while indicator badges are more crisp and accurate. The problem with badges at the moment is that they may be off by a point or to so you may have a notification but the badge may not appear until you have 2 notifications. That can cause some inconsistencies and we don’t like that those because they build up and sometimes become forgotten. The update should bring to the table higher quality icons and corrected size and dimensions. They are not to bad at the moment but once you step into the environments of tablets and PCs, the launcher starts to react differently and creating a universal ux is what we want.

Widgets have started to show problems while I have updated the compilation code to android 12 standards. We will remain to have the ability to set a desktop widget but the user interface to selecting a widget will be revamped. Users will also have the ability to set multiple widgets in their desktop header. Similar to the ios widget interface where widgets are scrollable. How i will approach this is still on the table. The widget sheet for apps will be revamped to have some other purpose.

Icon packs will be slightly revamped on how they are handled in GCA. The picker interface will receive something similar to what I’ve been working on for No’Me while losing some actions inside the picker because of my intentions of building an icon pack manager in the near future for launchers.

Their are a handful of bugs currently in GCA Launcher preventing app icons from properly updating and some performance issues I need to work out. The elephant in the room is the search interface so il be looking at ways of revamping that soon.

GCA Launcher is on its way of receiving its companion page soon and showing off how developers can participate in its new api il be offering to the table. If any of you are from the times of Sapphire and Sapphyx Launcher, you know what to expect.

The new GCA Launcher update should be released by the second week of August. it’s a long wait but I have alot of other things to work on first.

The No’Me Peak

With the latest hotfixes released for GCA Launcher 2 out on Google Play, there is a window that im letting sit open for awhile to see if the community approves of the changes and how changes will effect GCA Launcher going forward. To help prevent a massive outbreak of bugs in GCA Launcher, I started to implement a sandbox where I can test internal changes, classes and custom views with demos. once it’s more in place, i may hide it as a developer area but for now, it will help with development. This brings us to the next subject, No’Me and Drywall need updates!

No’Me’s next update is in development and it’s gonna bring some major changes to the table. Inspirational changes from GCA Launcher, Android 12 ready patches and a small user interface rewrite. With the rewrite, il be adding even more features for users to manage their launcher apps and how they interfere with their device. What permissions does it run or require, what runs in the background, are their any hidden activities, where was it installed, is it a system app and so on. It will definitely act as a companion to the system launcher manager.

Once the update is complete, a freeware (non donation version) will be published on my github. this will allow users to start forking away or help improve the manager for others. it’s been a few years since I published No’Me and like all good projects, it’s time to give it’s reign to the community and share how that success was made and hopefully see this masterpiece makes its way to custom roms in some way.

No’Me’s interface remastered for android 12

Drywall will also be receiving an update so its content comes straight from reddit. il also be adding a cool feature allow allow users to add in their own categories which may even break the purpose of the app if you understand the content you can find om reddit and how you could possibly use this for other reasons… il keep that discussion in the vault. I just don’t have time to maintain the content in Drywall so it will be updated to provide content on its own to users all over. The app will also receive a big UI overhaul for material You.

I keep speaking of this mystery app after GCA Launcher is in a good state for V2 so let’s talk about it.

Carpenter is currently in the drawing stages. In my notepad, their are sketches and blueprints of this new app taking form, so, what’s it going todo? Carpenter is going to be an Icon Pack manager app. Alot of us have favorite icon packs for custom roms and launchers. Some, we even mix and match but what if we had an app where we could like manage these? Many launchers hold the ability to hide apps and most of the time, we hide these packages so having a place for their place was an idea that took off. This will be an app i partner with GCA Launcher and hopefully take it to even higher places with other launchers. It’s going to be like googles styles app but specifically for icons. Hope your excited for it, because I am

GCA Beta Update

This week, we’re launching a new update on the beta channel!

Now, I do stress reason behind launching this new update on the beta channel because their is still alot of work todo as I forge GCA Launcher 2 into the launcher I want it to be this year. I’m going to list the major changes and how they’re going to affect you as a user.

First up is Monet! This was discussed about by xda developers a few days back but a developer created an app based theme engine based off of android 12s theme engine. This immediately caught my attention as I was achieving the same purpose with GCA Launchers color scheme system. In this update, Monet has been merged into GCA Launcher to help create pallettes of colors for the color scheme theme engine. it also helps identify which type of navbar or statusbar to be used during complex wallpaper situations. This ultimately replaced the launcher3 / pixel theme engine i integrated in GCA Launcher and definitely works like a charm. The color scheme ui has been revamped to be abit more complex with a new secondary and background color chooser. when clicking on a scheme, you can create a pallette of colors based on your wallpaper for the launcher to use in real time. Now because GCA Launcher supports pro themes, those colors will be added to the palette as their unlocked so you can mix and match because sometimes colors presented are not what you want. GCA Launcher will get an auto theme feature as a pro feature in the future but i have some work todo first to make it run like i want it to. Monet will replace the color scheme system if the feature fails in the future. it’s alittle sluggish but implementing in our system has sped up the launcher processing so i believe itl be a win. Monet can also override app icon colors for popup menus, sheets and badges.

The App Drawer has been revamped to include App Groups and Recent apps in the respective tabs your working with. This brings a large level of personalization to the table and i feel it’ll be a big hit for the people who want organization. Im working on improving groups, app data processing and drag n drop as future implementations but for now, we need to make sure this new feature is working properly. users may experience slower drawer load times or incorrect search results. these will be improved on for the stable release. App sheets may also show the incorrect app data or icon edits may not be correctly set in the database and may need a launcher restart first. This will also bring in new icon editing tools and fixes. Users can expect a bigger overhaul in the next stable update.

App Data processing has been revamped so further launcher settings can be explored and the app drawer can organize data faster. This brought the ability for Monet to override popup menu colors and sheets. Icon editing tools will be revamped in the near future to include fixes and more in depth customization.

Launcher cleanup is important as tiny fixes have been put into place, the changelog has been cleaned up and the What’s new area will focus on recent introduced features to keep users in the loop of changes.

The GCA Launcher theme engine has heavily been revamped to include Monet in decision making for the system.

Their were many changes made in the background so bigger things can be accomplished in the new weeks to come. some of the bigger changes are an internal wallpaper provider module to take Drywalls work when it’s not installed, changes to how widgets work in gca launcher, a new pro sheet and a new other kind of sheet. we’ll also be introduced to a companion page and a revamped default homescreen setup.

There are many cool things coming to users this year and I hope what I have presented you guys so far has been pleasing.

GCA DU

I started playing with words again (Dev Update), Just don’t ask me to spell them.

Hey everyone, just wanted to give alittle bit of an update on GCA Launcher. The next update may release on the beta channel first for those of you wanting in on the latest builds, this update will focus mostly on the app drawer and if i have time, users will be able to preview a new feature ive been planning. There currently is no release date for this update, i planned for next week but its getting complicated.

The App Drawer has had a huge request to be asked to get a rework. I agree on everyone’s part that i probably could do better and I am. In the next update, App Drawer Tabs will be complex beings. They have been rewritten to be their own complex views that will offer more to the table and a better experience for all. The recents apps area will be removed and than combined to the tab. In a tab, users can view their recent apps, all apps list and Groups they have created for the Groups sheet. This allows them to use the secondary drawer tab as a more personal space to show either apps, groups, recent apps or everything else. because of this new complex work going into place, it has really screwed up how data is configured and handled so im working around my time to make sure it’s ready to rock n roll to the user base soon. Because of this work being done in the background, we could possibly see an increase in performance, a smoother app drawer and drag n drop feature down the road. GCA Launcher is climbing to be a prime launcher example, lets keep climbing.

I will be adding in a preview of the Shift Companion page soon. This little companion page was inspired by wear os so it’s nothing complicated but brings to the table some personal homescreen touches. Overtime, il be introducing something that will take it up a notch even more but we’re not ready yet.

I will be doing a vidoc here sometime to talk about GCA Launcher 2 in more detail and fro mbehind the scenes so you can have that time with me that some other devs don’t really like to explore. we’ll talk about where gca launcher is headed, how far we’ve come and take a look at some new things headed your way.

see you all around!

GocalSD Apps roadmap

I was given a notice by Google play that I can no longer keep GSDmobile on Google Play any more because it does not abide by the updated new guidelines because it houses contact information and uses a different IP that i don’t own so with that being said, I will be removing GSD Mobile from google play this month.

only a handful of users used it so it wasn’t a big loss, just a little ill hearted as it was just a freelance project I made during my own time.

if i get enough request, I will definitely revive it and host it on my own terms on my portfolio site but for now, it will be dieing.

Drywall will be receiving a big update hopefully soon. I plan to completely revamp it to be a a wallpaper dashboard and styles utility app. Drywall will maintain a healthy collection of wallpapers pulled from reddit, it will have a wallpaper manager interface to modify your current wallpaper or apply a new one, it will also gain a new styles preview were users can see how their current wallpaper will look with icons and shapes.

Beside Drywall will be a new app called Carpenter. What I can say about carpenter is it’s been in planning for sometime now, has been inspired by the GCA Community and will interact with Icon Packs. I will have more details in the near future about it.

No’me will be receiving a maintenance update. there are a few things about the dashboard id like to change up and revamp based on Material you so i cant wait to get started on that and adapt in some changes for android 11. No’me is actually my most successful free app right now and maintaining it is very important to me.

as always, GCA Launcher development will continue but i like breaks every so often. allows me to recharge my batteries and re think on some things I’ve been working on and choose how I want to approach things. Some things I want to work on is a revamped widget support, new icon pack dashboard selector with new options, new sheet options, upgraded gesture support and drag n drop support for the shelf and app drawer.

Il be sure to keep everyone in the loop of development and il have an in depth GCA Launcher 2 release video here sometime soon. just depends on my free time and availability.

see you around!

GCA Launcher 2 Now Available

You see correctly, This we launched GCA Launcher 2 on Google Play!

The Insider Preview will still go strong as i have alot of testing todo for many new things to come.

I expect alot things to happen in the next few days with us hit the ground running with GCA 2 in the wild now. we have competition, Lots of competition as the new team behind lawnchair start development on their new update while nova launcher creeps in with Nova 7? I think their on now… no worries as GCA Launcher is tackling a new angle and theirs nothing that could scare the community for competition.

I hope to see some new faces in the telegram group soon. I wanna hear back on what some members have to say about the new changes.

see you all around as il have more to talk about later!

Trials

GCA Launcher Insider Preview

This month we officially launched GCA Launcher 2 beta and the results have been pretty good. No bad triggers have been sent off as there is so much more happening that it was hard to pinpoint anything bad going on with development. Users can tell in this beta that things are being taken seriously. Changes are being made to accommodate user request and device upgrades. Its alot of work and were just getting started.

Glance Sheets give you all the Deets about your pinned apps

The latest insider preview introduced Glance Sheets which are only available to Shelf apps and are triggered by swiping down an app. These sheets show you a great deal of information. First, beside its label, shows a notification badge indicating how many active notifications it has. Second if the app has a widget, it inflates it in the header of the sheet. If the app has has multiple widgets, you can set a priority widget to your favorite each time the sheet inflates. This development alone has GCA Launcher headed into a direction of widget enhancements. Right now, the launcher doesn’t support 100% of androids widgets and my goal is to change that this year. Below the Glance sheets widget are App Shortcuts and Priority Notifications available to the user. These sheets were to compliment the App Sheets and make a faster way of accessing app information for your favorite apps.

GCA promises something new

For the past 3 years, ive been developing a unique interface i wanted to distribute to all my apps to distinguish them from the crowd. In our latest insider preview, GCA Launcher’s settings interface feels complete. I will be tearing out the suggestions from the expanded minibar to its own little area soon. It’ll have a cleaner interface soon. What’s really been the struggle is android 11+ rewrites how alot of layouts are treated so you’ll notice alot more padding and space available so im trying to create a unified system. Fragments will no longer overlap which just means if your on the general tab, clicking it again won’t reopen the fragment. It will still close the minibar if its expanded. Im looking at triggering an indicator in the minibar to indicate which category the user is on. This is already identified by the toolbar title but for bigger devices, this may be needed.

I introduced a new category in the data management category called Launcher services. The latest insider preview brought a reworked system of communication with the Google Play Services which brings over the air updates and version control, better launcher upgrade add-on purchases and security, and cloud compatibility. Even tho a good number of devices don’t have Google Play Services, I still want to depend on it for version control, security and in app purchase reliability and security.

GCA uses its own api for preferences

I took some time to fix a bug that has been lingering in gca launcher for 2 years. This brought to the table a reworked database for color schemes, more dynamic color control from your wallpaper to work just like Android 12s theme system to bring it to all users. Im still working out the kinks but soon all the windows, menus, toolbars, and buttons in GCA will be theme able in some way.

Double Lined Labels now fixed

Another bug that has been haunting me forever is the padding and spacing for apps in the drawer and shelf. While writing the code for glance sheets, i had a site of realization to fix this issue. App labels will now arrange themselves properly in the space given to them. The word “Google” was also filtered out of google apps so they are cleaner. This whole process was abit challenging because i had to take the app label, figure out how many words were in the label, filter them, seperate them and get the correct spacing. While doing this tho, i caused several other issues through out the launcher so il have to pinpoint them.

Some bigger changes im bringing to the table soon are Ofcourse Widgets. I will admit that widget code is a nightmare and how data is stored and accessed. My goal is to understand this nightmare and allow user data to be stored and managed do widgets operate correctly.

The Search functionality sux in GCA Launcher. I want to create a universal search function that’s accessed from the searchbar or a sheet function. Ultimately, i want to remove search from the app drawer or just simplify it to just apps and than have another search window that goes through the motions of digging through Recent Apps, primary and secondary app list, recent search topics, playstore items and global search so we’ll see that start being pieced together soon.

Recent Actions will be reworked soon. Right now, i have the launcher saving data that’s to redundant and could be simplified if tackled correctly.

Gestures will have more actions, launchable apps, and a better screen off feature.

In general, I want GCA Launcher to feel like a completely new experience from other launchers on the market.

This june, I plan to launch GCA Launcher 2. There are many more things il be focusing on. Widgets, more complex app icon editing tools, ui improvements, Shift Companion. The reason for the Add on Store was to fund the project for the time this project stays in development. The more funding, the more support and features you’ll see. If funding stays fueled, il be able to push out more free features like Glance pages!

Now, I will be setting some time aside to update No’Me and Drywall. These 2 apps will be getting a maintenance treatment and UI changes to compliment android 11 and 12 release. GSD Mobile is also expected to get an update but that’l be more complex.

I hope i see alot more discussion about GCA Launcher soon. It needs a good review in the near future.

GCA Paid Features

With the release of GCA Launcher 2 around the corner and exiting the beta phase on Google Play, I wanted to provide a list of features that will be considered paid features in GCA on release. This list will continue to grow as new ones are released or evolve.

I want everyone to understand that GCA is on its 3rd year of development. Alot of ups and downs. Its not based on any launcher project to exist, its code is 110% original and is a very unique experience. If we want that experience to grow and further itself, i need a way to fund the project and time i want to invest in. The Pledges got us to where the launcher stands now, imagine a constant flow of income? Regular updates, security updates, new features on a regular basis, more device and platform support, just all positive. With my life going in all sorts of positive directions, my projects are actually not exactly important to whom i interact with on a daily basis so making sure my time is invested carefully, i can fight a battle between my personal time for app development and time invested in family and work.

Current list of paid features

  • Adaptive Icon Fallback Type 1
  • Adaptive Icon Fallback Type 2 (there could be a type 3 in development…)
  • Icon Provider (allowing to manually choose custom icons)
  • Custom Icon Provider
  • Dynamic Badges
  • Fluent backgrounds
  • Fluent text shadows
  • Shift Companion Page
  • People Lock
  • Options for Adaptive Splash Screens
  • Pledges
  • Themes
  • And more to come

As a reminder, some of the higher tier features do cost more than others but if you purchase a pledge of premium or greater value, they all drop to a standard discounted price.

Some features may appear during weekend prime time at a discounted price as well, some features may even be on a timed release window for events.

I hope no one takes this approach negatively, GCA has been available for 2 years to try on Google play and we’ve had the insider preview available to users to try everything free. I would only hope you had the time to try everything out and decide what features you’d like to have.

These will also have a preview mode so you can see a demo of the feature first before buying it.

See you all around!