I’ve spent most of the last weekend working on Sylence, and I’ve made a significant amount of progress. After doing some reading, I see no reason to use the Android 3.0/4.0 fragments tech in Sylence, and while I’m debating the idea of developing an application widget, I have definitely made some positive changes.

First and foremost, the biggest change so far is that in the dialog to create a new silence alarm, the date and time pickers aren’t initially visible. You will see the current date and time, and a date and time 45 minutes later. Tap the date, and you will be presented with the date picker. Similarly, when you tap the time, you will be presented with the time picker. I think this looks and works better than the old system, though it may be a little less obvious.

Also, the horizontal scrolling is gone in that dialog; the day of the week options for recurring alarms are now stacked vertically when recurring is selected, so when editing an alarm, you can immediately see which days are selected and which are not.

The next major change, although completely invisible, is the way that Sylence does the important work of checking to see if the phone should be silenced or not. Until now, a service has been running full time, sleeping for roughly one minute then waking up and doing a check before going back to sleep. As of the new version, the app will use Android’s AlarmManager to do this, which may save more power than the old way. (Note that the old way didn’t use very much power, but this way should use even less.) The caveat, however, is that in order to do its work properly and timely, the AlarmManager needs to obtain a partial wake lock to wake up the processor long enough to do its work; otherwise, the alarms won’t be triggered until the device is woken up by another program or by user actions. In order to obtain a partial wake lock, I had to add another new permission, WAKE_LOCK, to the list of permissions used by Sylence. Without it, I’d either have to go back to the old method or Sylence would only operate on its schedule while the phone was in use.

Another down side is that I’m adding more advertising to Sylence. I’m considering adding a “Pro” version back into the Android Market without the advertising, but I haven’t decided at this time.

I still haven’t gotten much in the way of feedback on Sylence at all, so I’m just doing things as I see fit, No ratings in the Market, no comments, no bug reports, no feedback. If you don’t like how Sylence is progressing, let me know. It’s the only way I can improve it, and right now is the best time to do that. There are still some changes I want to make before I release this new version, but if you want something in it, now’s the time to let me know!

Update 12/29/2011 2:59 am: Sylence 1.5 has been uploaded to the Android Market with new screenshots.

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