Why My Little Wallpaper sucks (from a developer perspective)!

Posted Februar 21st, 2012 in Android, General and tagged , , , by ov3rk1ll

Every other day I get emails telling me that something in the live wallpaper is not working or glitching or some other kind of broken. Every time I get such a mail I get very annoyed. Not because someone is telling me that my app is broken. I’m thankful for the feedback and if the message is at least a bit informative, I can work with it.

The thing that annoys me is the face that every bug report reminds me of the huge mess this wallpaper is…

The biggest Problem is that MyLittleWallpaper is a port of an Java Swing application that is a port of a Windows VisualBasic application. Although the biggest part of the current version has bigger parts taken from the VisualBasic updates.

However, Android uses Java so it shouldn’t be that hard to get a other Java application to run. Sadly it really isn’t that hard and sadly this is exactly what I did.

I took the Java code, throw it into the Android Live Wallpaper Framework and hoped for the best. The result of that is what you are all using today: An Android version of an application that was never intended to run on a phone. On Java Swing you just put a gif file on a window and the underlying framework (Swing + your OS) takes care of the animation. You just move the window around the screen and you are done.

On Android you can’t put a “window” onto a Canvas and let something else to all the work. More important, Android does not have a working way for decoding and drawing GIF-files. Those two things were the only code I did put into the existing Java code. And every time I (or you) found a bug I somehow worked my way around the code to fix it somehow.

This led to one inevitable result: The code is a huge mess!

There is another reason for the messed up code that is not entirely my fault. VisualBasic only has a pseudo object oriented code style and the author of the Java application ported this pseudo OOP over to his application and so did I in the Android app.


For me I currently only see one way of making the app an app I can continue to improve and implement any new feature. I’m going to entirely rewrite the app to full OPP style and with the (not-) underlying framework in mind. The result should be a more stable and easier to edit app. And more stability is what this app needs the most.

Of cause this will take some time, considering I now have a full-time job and other rl stuff that need my attention. This post is intended to tell all of you that there still is development but not to announce any release date.

There will be a release, I just can’t tell you when.

(English might not be my native language but I can assure you that my texts in German are not better at all)

One Response so far.

  1. S~C sagt:

    Sounds like a really major undertaking. It should come out well though.

    The only suggestion I have right now would be: is it possible you could reverse the changes you made in the latest patch? If it works like that, it should go back to being smooth and non-blinky. Rarity’s couch animation was the only one that weirded out, and that’s acceptable. For every pony to blink when changing actions is almost intolerable. If you could downgrade the version back to the smoother previous version and let it sit there until you get this re-construct done, I think everyone would be able to wait more restfully. I know I would.

    Thanks for the info.

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