Thursday, January 08, 2009

iTimeZone 1.2 Feature Complete

iTimeZone 1.1 was released on Tuesday October 21, 2008. Work was started quickly on iTimeZone 1.2 with the intention of turning it around very quickly. The only planned feature for 1.2 was Change Top City. A couple of software updates to 1.1 (1.1.1 and 1.1.2) slowed down 1.2 a little, but the plan really came apart due to completely unforeseen events. Here's what's changed:

Change Top City
When iTimeZone 1.0 was designed, the intention was never for the top city (the one that the time wheels show the date and time for) to change in the app. If the user wanted to change the top city, they would change the Date & Time city in the iPhone/iPod touch Settings app and iTimeZone would match it. This will be talked about more in an upcoming iTimeZone 1.1 post-mortem, but during 1.1 development it became obvious through internal usage and user feedback (thanks all) that changing the top city had to be in the app.

In iTimeZone 1.2 users can double-tap any city in the list to make it the top city, but there's a catch. The time wheels (which is a UIDatePicker control) don't always calculate correctly the date and time after changing the timeZone property, which iTimeZone has to do when changing the top city. This is one of the unforeseen events I mentioned,and a bug has been filed with Apple (#6452008). Hopefully Apple fixes this issue in a near-term iPhone OS release, or I might have to investigate alternative ways to implement the time wheels. In the meantime, I have chosen to handle this condition by alerting the user once per iTimeZone session when the top city changes about the issue as shown in this screenshot:


UI Tweaks

 1.11.2Changes in 1.2
Main with Cities
  • Country Flags. A popular request, makes it easier to quickly ID a city.
  • Bold Fonts in the City List. Makes it all easier to read and pop.
  • Weekday on City Date. Whenever a date is shown in the city list, it now had the short day of the week
  • Shrunk the city cell height. Made it just a tad smaller so the top line of the fourth row is visible.
  • Faster Scrolling. Doing all drawing manually instead of letting controls lay themselves out on screen.
Add City
  • Back Navigation. Removed the city's time zone so that the screen title was better positioned
  • Automatically put focus in the search box and loaded the keyboard
Add City - Search Results
  • See Full State/Region and Country. Each cell has two lines, state/region and country can be seen without abbreviation, while emphasizing city name
  • Country Flag. Top aligned with the city name
  • Faster Scrolling. All drawing done manually instead of laying controls out by themselves
Main Edit
  • Custom Drawing in Edit. Removing the day/night icon to focus user's attention on the delete and move icons.
City Detail
  • State/Region Added. For completeness
Settings are in the Settings App
  • Always Show Dates. If you don't like seeing Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday when the top city's date is today's date, then this is for you. The default as with past releases is OFF.

What's Next
iTimeZone 1.2 has been testing and is in App Store review, which hopefully won't take too long.