Sunday, July 04, 2004

Smartphone Transport Times v0.1 Done!

To those people who emailed and aked me in person how the smartphone app was going (thanks to both of you for your interest), I am happy to announce that the first release is done. Overall, I'm very happy with the finished product - it looks and acts like the other homescreen plug-ins that shipped with the phone, and I have found it useful in working out when the next train is.

The plug-in looks like:

Selecting the plug-in brings up a message box with more info:

The app ships with the timetable for trains between Martin Place and Cronulla, but it's pretty quick to enter your own public transport details (the file is installed to \Storage\Application Data\Home\tt.csv). It took me less than 10 minutes to enter mine. Make sure the data is is 24 hr format, and use the xx:xx format for all times - the parsing is pretty primative.

The timetable file also includes data that nominates how long it takes to get to the transport pick-up spot. If you are too late to catch up transport, but it hasn't left yet, the transport's time of deperature is shown in brackets, as can be seen in the home screen image.
V2 will include support for setting alarms to get you to work or home at a partcilular time, as well as multiple timetable support.

Installation is a simple matter of downloading the HME file, executing it in a file exporer or browser application(using the sytax file://\temp\tpttime.hme, where \temp is the location of the file in this case). Then select Start->Settings->Home, and adjust the Home screen layout option. The application installs five home screen definitions - "Windows Default - TT", "Windows Basic - TT", "Windows Simple - TT", "Large Font - TT" and "Transport Time". The first four are the standard layouts from my Smartphone2 with the Transport Time plug-in added beneath the time. The last layout has the MRU bar, the carrier/date/ time plug-in, and the Transport Time plug-in.

To add the Transport Time plug-in to another home screen layout file, add the following XML to its definition file (it will be called XXX.home.xml, where XXX will be something similar to the layout title shown in the Home screen manager):

<plugin clsid="{0C0F7EDE-B0BB-46e0-82C7-27752D3A3126}" name="Transport Timetable" height="40" refresh="1"/>

Heights of 20 and 40 pixels are supported (I haven't tested anything else), and refresh determines how often the screen is updated (in minutes). 1 is the maximum, but if you are extremely sensitive to battery use, you can bump this up. I've been running at 1 minute refreshes, and haven't noticed any decreased battery life.


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