May News: Bundled Notes 2.0, rich content features, storage — and why the update is taking so long! Also, iOS details and more.
Hi everyone! Xavier here. I made a blog. If things go to plan I’ll share an update here once a month — even if it’s a quiet one. This’ll be a place for me to muse on current work, upcoming features, and go into more detail than I do elsewhere. There’s a lot to cover this month, so I’ll get started!
First: Bundled Notes 2.0, the rich content update
Though there hasn’t been a major update in over two months, a lot of work has been done. The update is under active development — in fact, image and link attachments can already display on the web-app today, there’s just no mechanism to add or upload them (yet). The development build of the Android app is more advanced: it supports attachments uploading and displaying, but it’s not quite ready for release.
The beta APK for BN 2.0 will drop in 6 days in the Telegram community, so stay tuned! For now, here’s a sneak peek at what it looks like:
So, why is it taking so long? Well, first of all, it’s been a big month for me! On the 11th of May I graduated from uni and moved out of home on the same day. It’s taken weeks to settle in, and Bundled isn’t my only work, so I’ve been very busy. Before May, April was a busy month for development, with the bulk of attachment functionality planned and integrated into the development Android build, and some support added to the web app.
Beyond the personal reasons, much of the delay is down to complexity, on all fronts: the attachments update isn’t simply about adding an additional feature, but working with an entire stack of new tools and administrative responsibilities, planning costs, security and robustness measures, and testing. Even today, I haven’t decided the storage limits for Pro users (there’ll be some, because raw data storage is extremely expensive, relatively speaking), or locked in the exact feature-set for day one.
So what’s coming? The main features are obvious: you’ll be able to upload and attach images, links and files to bundles, or attach them to specific notes.
But how will this work in practice? Well, for one, you’ll be able to start using Bundled as a fully-fledged link manager, automatically adding link previews when you share a link to Bundled or paste one into a note. Best of all: you can tag, sort and organise links — and their rich-previews — exactly like you would a regular note:
Images and files can be added arbitrarily to a note, as an associated attachment, or as a lone entry sitting amongst notes and other content. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to tag photos and files, and the sorting and searching system will account for file and image names. In the same way, you can remind yourself about a photo, file or link in the normal reminders system (which for now, is still Android only).
When you click on any attachment, the actions will be contextual — i.e. quick copy to clipboard, easy download options, and easy ways to view photos for relevant attachments. Also, though it may be basic in the first release, there’ll be a storage view, where you can see all the images and files you’ve uploaded, how much space they take up of your limit, and options to manage them.
One thing is for sure: it’s a big update, and it’ll be dropping officially for web and Android on the same day. The beta program will begin soon — though there may be an earlier, rougher alpha program — so make sure to join the Telegram so you don’t miss any announcements.
iOS & MacOS progress
I can’t give away too much detail here — but I’m in the process of getting help with the iOS version of the app. This’ll mean I can maintain support for the Android and web versions while that work begins, with the view that — all going to plan — an iOS developer can stay on board as a lead, permanently expanding the team for the first time.
Improving development speed & code
I have long term open-sourcing plans, and the web app will be the first candidate. With this in mind — and a general need to improve development speed vs. quality — I’ve spent a bit of time improving the local development environment for the app — moving to TypeScript as the default language, using Functional React Components by default, and even upgrading the local server to use React Refresh, so I can make changes to code and see them reflected in seconds in a browser on a second monitor.
Another thing I’ve been doing is more strictly following (and improving) my branching strategy, so I can more readily support released versions, rather than siloing myself to the next update. This is mainly about holding myself to account — it can be hard to maintain best practice when I’m the only dev!
Improving support, comms and expectations
Quite honestly, it’s hard for me to manage support questions, messages, posts and emails all at once. I’ve got to work on continuously improving here. The Telegram channel is quite active, but other chats are loosely organised between Reddit, Github and Twitter, and it can be hard to keep track of all comms. I don’t have an announcement here yet, but want you to know it’s something I’m working on!
This blog is one little part of improving comms. If there are other methods of engagement you’d prefer — say, even a Twitch stream, more writing, more active tweets, please let me know.
In the meantime, have a good day — and get vaccinated (if you can)!