Last time we heard the publictransport applet was being re-written was almost a year back now. Since then, it has indeed gone through some sorts of rewrite, but at the Randa meetings, 2017, this has taken a whole new course. Since the time I began porting the publictransport dataengine, to be used with a new QtQuick frontend, more and more applications have adopted the use of Kirigami , to create UI that is friendly across devices of various form factors.
The initial plan was to write a plasmoid around the publictransport dataengine, but after some quick discussions during this past week with Marco Martin and Eike Hein, it was clear the real usecase of this application would be on a handheld device anyway. It hence made more sense to scrap the rewrite to a plasmoid and rewrite as a Kirigami application altogether with the aim of being used in mobile devices, specifically the Plasma Mobile.
In this regard, some amount of work has been carried out in making the UI more flexible to be deployed on a mobile. Check out the three screengrabs attached below.
In addition, because the application doesn’t have any specific dependency of it’s own, other than KDE frameworks, Plasma and Qt5 obviously, it can in theory run out of the box on a Plasma Mobile. Further, I did catch hold of Bhushan Shah for a brief time and we did try running the application on the phone. As expected, the UI looked as it should, but we ran into some configuration troubles with the dataengine and were unable to show any data on the screen. No surprises for guessing, manual configuration is hard enough, but to have do it on a mobile screen/keyboard is obviously not ideal. Nevertheless, the building blocks seem to be in place and I’m hopeful with a little more time and effort, the application can be up and running soon.
The Randa meetings culminate tonight and once I get back home, to dedicate enough time and effort is indeed the biggest challenge I can think of, more than any of the technical challenges in themselves – of which there are plenty. It only goes to highlight the importance of such sprints/meetups which allow developers, who don’t necessarily have time in their daily life to work on software that is available to everyone for free and in this regard, please consider donating to the Randa meetings fundraiser so that similar productive sprints continue being organized in the future.
It’s pretty late right now and I’ve been down with a terrible fever and cold since midweek, which has hindered greatly in any potential progress I could have made. Thanks to the wonderful people around me, not least Mario our friendly host and Adrian De Groot, both of whom had some medicines in hand to keep my fever under check, I didn’t have to sleep the whole sprint to recover.
Last but not least, the code written this week has been pushed into “wip/kirigami” branch of the publictransport repository and I’d be happy to help assist anyone interested to start contributing to the same. There is also an IRC channel, #kde-publictransport on Freenode where you can reach out to me or Eike Hein(sho_) and start helping out.
Aaand, if you’re wondering if all we did was just sit inside a room and churn out code, you couldn’t be any further from the truth. Here are some albums that captured the beauty around us.