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Stacks for Instapaper version 2.1

September 25, 2011

The new version of Stacks has been submitted to the Marketplace for certification. I hope that it will be certified before or shortly after the rollout of Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango) which should happen early next week for some operators.

What’s new in this version?

Some bug fixes:

  • The Font setting couldn’t be changed. It was due to a bug in the ListPicker control of the Silverlight toolkit. I applied a patch (10247) since I suspect that the final release will be too late.
  • When the user comes back to the bookmark page after sharing it or seeing the page in IE mobile, he/she will get a blank page. It’s now fixed.

New features:

  • I added an option to send me the last exception raised and not handled. There’s also a debug info screen in the About page which contains other information like the number of bookmarks etc..
  • Since the bookmark is from the Internet you can follow links to external (and not necessarily mobile friendly) webpages . Now you can add them to your Unread folder directly without leaving Stacks.


I blogged about improving the reading experience with the help of the RichTextBox control. I talked about the limitation of the control and specially about the maximum size. One solution would have been to paginate the bookmark. But since it comes in HTML I need to clean it beforehand and build the corresponding structure (Paragraph, Run, Image, Quote etc.) . And after comes the big problem: how do we know when to break the page? I must use a fixed-size font (New Courrier) and it’s not the best for reading. Even with this font I can’t control the word-breaking algorithm. So even if know the maximum number of characters in the page I can’t be sure that it corresponds to the actual number for a particular page and I don’t mention the problem with images etc.

I looked at the code of existing applications (with the help of the extraordinary XGENO Marketplace explorer). The most famous is the Kindle which as I thought is using a custom control. The other one is the New York Times which uses a WebBrowser control. But for these two apps the content is well-formatted in advance. Instapaper is used to bookmark any kind of content, most often long articles but also technical ones with pictures, diagrams. So I decided to keep the WebBrowser control and successfully fixed some issues like the zoom in/out which, cleaned a little bit of the CSS.

If you have other concerns with the app or ideas to improve it, don’t hesitate to share your feedback on this UserVoice page.

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