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Version 2 of Stacks and beyond

September 20, 2011
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Hopefully in the next few days Microsoft and the different operators in the world  will release Windows Phone 7.5 a.k.a Mango to the general public. Stacks For Instapaper has been updated to benefit from the new features of the OS:

    • Supports fast-switching. Windows Phone 7.5 adds a better multitasking by keeping Apps in memory even if they are not used. Stacks will resume even faster now.
    • New storage back-end for better performance
    • Improved UI for light theme: new icons are used and the color of some titles has been changed in the “Folder” pages
    • Background tasking: synchronize your unread folder even when Stacks is not running. Every 30 minutes or so Stacks will fetch the new bookmarks and their content. There are some limitations like the number of apps using the feature, the battery level of your device etc..
    • Live Tile notification with number of new items when new bookmarks have been downloaded in the background

One area where there’s still room for improvements is the bookmark page. I do know that the browser control used in Stacks is not user-friendly enough (no scrollbar!) and has its problems. A brand new reading experience is coming in an upcoming version. I’m investigating several solutions and one of them is to use the new support for the RichTextBox control. With the help of the Run,Paragraph and InlineUIElement controls I would like to offer a Kindle-like UI. Since Stacks is a client of an existing API I don’t control the format issued by the service and I get no metadata about the content so it adds some difficulties (like the fact that the height of a control can’t be greater than 2000 pixels). But I’m not discouraged, more hacking along the way 🙂

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