[Architecture] A few notes from Google I/O....

Steve Lee steve at opendirective.com
Mon May 23 07:50:32 UTC 2016

Thanks for the clarification. Sound like some good applications as you suggest.

It does appear the UX is better defined than for progressive web apps. Though this is android only.


On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 12:36 AM -0700, "Tony Atkins" <tony at raisingthefloor.org> wrote:

Hi, All:
The integration between web apps and apps is handled using "app links".  By default, a plain old web link is handled by the browser.  A web site can provide a particular settings file in a well-known location that indicates what apps are allowed to intercept links to the site.  You don't have to have control of the apps you allow, you can list anyone's app as appropriate.  However, the reverse is not true.  Although anyone can indicate in their manifest that they handle links to your site, but the app will only be allowed to intercept the link if your site has the app's details in its settings file.  "Instant Apps" extends this, my understanding is that when you visit the site, the list of allowed apps on the web site is read, and you are presented with a single-click link to temporarily install an allowed app.
However, the app doesn't only have to intercept links to the web site.  It can do anything else a normal app can do.  So, for example, clicking on the results of a first discovery tool to download your settings could result in installing the GPII Android app, which would do lots of other things besides intercepting calls to download preference sets.
As there is a path to promote an "instant app" to be just like any other installed app, the "sandboxing" part of the equation is more about how far you can take the user without asking them to commit to installing the app for real.

On Sun, May 22, 2016 at 5:45 PM, Steve Lee <steve at opendirective.com> wrote:

That's an interesting idea. I'll explore it some more. I had thought it had only related to native web apps. With progressive web apps giving a better launch experience for web.

Steve Lee

Sent from my mobile device Please excuse typing errors
On 21 May 2016 13:11, "Gregg Vanderheiden" <gregg at raisingthefloor.org> wrote:
Very interesting 
I added the UX group
This has lots of implications for our work.  Not for adaptive AT - because it is sandboxed.   But for having alternate interfaces to web sites - that are easier to use etc. 
Is it correct that the instant app would only be able to work for the website in question?   Or would it work more broadly.   It seems it would work more broadly or else it could just be done already in javascript - no?   (Part of this will be answered by your “what APIs it has access to..”  question — because this is going to be more than javascript does.   
hmmm.   will be interesting to learn more. 


On May 20, 2016, at 3:39 AM, Tony Atkins <tony at raisingthefloor.org> wrote:
Hi, All:
Colin pinged me about my impression of Google I/O, which took place this week.  I am finally catching up on the blogs and announcements, and thought I'd share a few things with the group.
First, I wanted to point out the accessibility improvements in  Android N.  First, the user side:

In this release, they will add a first class screen magnification option, which works with all existing apps.  The welcome/setup screen also now includes controls to turn on a range of accessibility tools including the magnification controls, Talkback (their screen reader), and other options.
There are also improvements on the developer side:

In Lollipop, they added support for physical switches.  With Android N, they are adding a new API that should make it easier to build eye-tracking software and other alternatives to using the touchscreen.
They have added the concept of  an "Instant App", which is a native app that can be downloaded and run without installing it:

Their demo is of a user clicking a link on a web site, being presented with the option to view the content with the site's app, and then having the site's app load the content.
For my own app, I have been thinking of create a catalog of picture board configurations online, targeted to different communities, for example, children with Autism and adults with difficulty speaking have very different needs.
By configuring the app to handle links to a particular site, I can set up a pipeline where clicking a particular link in a web catalog results in a configuration change in the app.  This is already possible for users who have the app installed.  "Instant apps" would let users who are deciding whether to use the app at all try it out with a particular configuration in a single click.
To avoid making a user click through a bunch of permissions checks, "instant" apps are sandboxed.  I couldn't find details about what APIs are exposed within the sandbox, but I have signed up for the developer beta for my own app, and will share what I learn with anyone who is interested.
I will have the Android N preview with me in Toronto if anyone wants to try it out.

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