Reskinning Apps for Mobile
#1
While I have been advocating for fresh new mobile apps and a community contributions repo specific for mobile there is a second way to populate mobian with useful apps, it also is a nice quick shortcut.  We need the working app ecosystem which have made Debian a useful daily OS for decades now.  Daily driver app ecosystem = more everyday users = exposure = even more users = more diverse devices(and i2c addons) designed with FOSS drivers in mind = a wider choice on pricepoint and HW features.

Reskinning desktop apps is a major contribution to making Mobian and pinephones(as well as other compatible devices) daily driver useful.

Resizing desktop apps optimized for HD desktops is not enough.

Most of the desktop apps in the Mobian and Debian universe are already in the repos but are nearly useless even with a stylus as the capacitive touch interface is designed for fat human fingers so between 8-12 mm is the smallest a 'touch' to the touchscreen can be, even the resistive screen seen on very old phones and devices required a stylus and good eyesight to navigate chrooted desktop apps.
Almost all of the apps in the FOSS Linux/Unix universe are modular, they can have a second mobile friendly skin contributed to the git and once approved pushed to unstable and then onward.
I look forward to a day when most Debian(and most FOSS distros who follow) packages in the repos has an easy option in the UI or a trigger in the .deb to switch to a small touchscreen skin making those apps usable on mobile and small embedded devices.

Debian has taken a big step in fostering Mobian as an official fork, let the Mobian leak into Debian and standardize inclusion of a mobile friendly alternative GUI.  there will be more use cases than we think and it will place Debian as the best and most flexible choice for mobile and embedded systems, hopefully displacing the current non-free option of putting Android on every refrigerator, phone, treadmill, and TV, or at least taking over the DIY space and diverting those person-hour hacking and customizing resources to the FOSS cause.
This is what I had hoped for years ago with Ubuntu Touch and convergence, we have full native x11 now, no wonky unfamiliar libhybris hacked interfaces for drivers or surfaceflinger.  The real apps you are used to using on desktop with a mobile skin on debian repos.

There is still a need for users writing mobile specific apps and web apps, as is an easy path to entry contribs repo solution to host these; but  we have thousands of excellent apps which only need a useful mobile skin!
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#2
@biketool I'm sorry, but you are not saying anything new here. Everyone wants this, but very often it's not possible. Many apps have badly written UI and it's impossible to make changes to it without rewriting major parts of the application. If it's an Electron or GTK app (I don't know about other frameworks), it's usually not too difficult to make the UI mobile friendly if the UI is written properly. There are many apps like that already.

I'm sure you've seen many desktop applications with outdated or terrible UI. They are often like that, because the UI code is badly written and changing it would require a lot of work. It's not because no one thought about changing it. Not always at least.

If you want something done about this, you should talk to the developers of a specific app and tell them about specific problems you would like to be fixed.
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#3
(11-22-2021, 06:07 AM)beta-user Wrote: @biketool I'm sorry, but you are not saying anything new here. Everyone wants this, but very often it's not possible. Many apps have badly written UI and it's impossible to make changes to it without rewriting major parts of the application. If it's an Electron or GTK app (I don't know about other frameworks), it's usually not too difficult to make the UI mobile friendly if the UI is written properly. There are many apps like that already.

I'm sure you've seen many desktop applications with outdated or terrible UI. They are often like that, because the UI code is badly written and changing it would require a lot of work. It's not because no one thought about changing it. Not always at least.

If you want something done about this, you should talk to the developers of a specific app and tell them about specific problems you would like to be fixed.

Some do some don't, the example which lead to this post is Kodi; it is more a collection of plugins than a single app; all it would need is a few keyboard or android gestures emulated and it would work well with the default skin, or it needs a reskin which I also have planned to investigate.  This is more about starting a discussion that needs to move over to Debian and Mobian to normalize a mobile UI in the whole catalog, a journey starting with the first step.
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#4
The unfortunate reality is that this likely won't happen unless Linux Mobile really takes off big. For the apps I've made programming the UI is by far my least favorite part and can be super finicky and annoying so I don't exactly have the motivation to program someone else's UI because I don't like doing it and I know I'm not the only one.
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#5
(11-23-2021, 10:21 AM)ragreenburg Wrote: The unfortunate reality is that this likely won't happen unless Linux Mobile really takes off big. For the apps I've made programming the UI is by far my least favorite part and can be super finicky and annoying so I don't exactly have the motivation to program someone else's UI because I don't like doing it and I know I'm not the only one.

I like it and it's one of my favourite parts. But there aren't any shortcuts here as @biketool seems to suggest. There is no simple reskinning. This requires real development and it will take a lot of time.
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#6
(11-23-2021, 10:21 AM)ragreenburg Wrote: The unfortunate reality is that this likely won't happen unless Linux Mobile really takes off big. For the apps I've made programming the UI is by far my least favorite part and can be super finicky and annoying so I don't exactly have the motivation to program someone else's UI because I don't like doing it and I know I'm not the only one.

My experience is to get a CLI program working and then, if I have to, I write or use an existing API and then make a UI to plug into that. 
Having only worked on DIY level stuff I had assumed that everyone tried to follow that method with an API and separate GUI, doesn't it get difficult to write and troubleshoot code as a massive glob if you cant take apart and test parts discreetly?
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#7
So some apps can be reskinned easily others not.
I know that Kodi has a very easy to script for skins UI, as does XMMS/Audacious.
What other FOSS X11 apps have an easy to reskin UI?
We need to assemble a list.
  Reply


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