BringCast 4 public beta updated for Windows 10 Anniversary Update

It’s been rather quiet around here of late, primarily due to work being the focus as well as other general distractions from life.  For me the work in question has been shipping the Windows 10 Anniversary Update which went live at the end of June.  Mark has been busy being a new Dad 🙂

The good news is that the Anniversary Update has a ton of new end user and developer features and we now get to take advantage of the latter in BringCast.  To that end we’ve spent the last couple of months working on an update to the BringCast 4 public beta that specifically targets the Anniversary update.  A big focus for this update is stability and polish.. we’re now focused on shipping and the good news there is that this build is now feature complete.

Looking back through our source control system, we’ve made 1175 checkins since July fixing bugs and adding features.

So what’s new?

Improved Playback Stability:  This is the biggest item that has simplified the code and drastically improved stability of Playback.    For the developers amongst you we’re now using the Single Process background model which you can read more about here .

Improved Import Export workflow: increasingly we find ourselves listening to and watching podcasts across a number of different devices.  Since we don’t currently have a cloud backend (more on that in a future post) we wanted to offer an improved workflow with OneDrive.  Using the new import / export workflow accessible in settings it’s now possible to save and restore all your subscriptions, playlists, the state of what’s listened to and not as well as what’s downloaded.  It’s ease to restore back to the exact state that your in on a new device.  Items you downloaded before will be automatically downloaded again.

Improved Onedrive Login:  Coupled with the above, we’ve made it easier to log in to OneDrive by moving to using integrated authentication which means you can simply pick a Windows Live ID that you’ve already used to sign in on to OneDrive and use that to store and retrieve your podcast database for backing up or switching between devices.

More stuff is now free:  Looking at the number of podcasting solutions in the store, we decided that more functionality that was previously behind an in app purchase should be set free.  So now downloading, unlimited playlist items are all part of the free product.  That’s much better 🙂

Visual Layer goodness: We’ve added aspects of the new Visual Layer both by default in the app as well as behind an experimental setting.  If you turn that on you get more stuff.  Along the way we’ve also made a ton of performance improvements for example in page navigation.

  • Buffering is now indicated by a dynamic lighting effect
  • Drawer has a glass effect behind it
  • Listviews have a stagger animation
  • Connected animations are present between subscriptions and feed details
  • Layout animations are shown in subscriptions and on the player page for transport controls.

Adaptive UI: We’ve started to dip our toes into the water of adaptive UI.  There’s a ton more to do to make the UX better take advantage but we’ve started this effort.

Show notes display are back:  We took this away in the last update and now show notes are back in a new pop-up window.

Better telemetry: to help us identify and fix issues in deployment.  ‘Nough said.

Notable Bug fixes: reliability with downloading and playback but we’ve literally fixed err 88 bugs in this update.

So that’s what we’ve been up to.  Please feel free to download and play with the beta here.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/bringcast-4-uwp-public-beta/9nblggh5pm5q

In the next post we’ll talk about the release plan for BringCast 4 and what comes next.