FillLPG for Android is Dead

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OnTheFenceDev
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FillLPG for Android is Dead

#1 Post by OnTheFenceDev » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:16 pm

Hi All,

Just to formalise the fact that the FillLPG for Android application is now considered to be 'End of Life' and will not be receiving any further development or maintenance efforts.

You can read more details here > https://www.onthefencedevelopment.com/f ... r-android/ but suffice to say that without control of the main data source I cannot effectively move the app forward.

It will remain on the Play Store as long as the FillLPG website is running and the app can access it.

Just so you know, this is not a call to arms or a beg for reviews and ratings - the decision is made. Use it while it's there but be aware that it could go away at any point and that this will be out of my control.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#2 Post by Gilbertd » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:22 pm

I know it's your way of earning a living and we are all grateful for the work you have put in keeping this forum going and getting it updated, but why do people need an app? I'm one of the strange breed that actually likes Windows Phone and tried the app for that two or three years ago. It didn't work well.... My current phone runs Windows 10 and it doesn't work on that at all. I've also got an Android tablet which I could install the app on but haven't. Why? Because my phone has Windows Edge and the tablet has Google Chrome, both perfectly functional browsers and I can use either to connect to the Filllpg website directly. If, as your explanation says, the app can't show opening times when the website does, then what is the advantage in using it anyway? Or is it just that those that haven't been using computers since a PC meant an IBM XT running DOS3.1 like I have, want everything handing to them on a plate? Some apps seem to be no more than a shortcut to a website with a pretty icon anyway.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#3 Post by OnTheFenceDev » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:06 pm

I hear what you are saying but the website isn't a great experience on the phone as it wasn't designed for smaller displays. Sure, it will work but it will be sub-optimal.

Mind you, it depends on how often you think you would need to access the data. The app will provide you with updates and you don't have to login each time you want to use update a price.

The Windows Phone version of the app wasn't one of mine and I heard it wasn't that good.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#4 Post by Brian_H » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:24 pm

The windows phone one wasn't that good - and again as far as I know it doesn't even work anymore (its still on my phone, but I think it broke around the time i upgraded it to windows 10), Even so it had a number of issues, and wasn't able to provide the price updates and such that the Android app could do.

Richard - The android app is very handy for me as you have an offline database, so even without a network connection provided the map can be seen you can get it to show you your current area, pass details of a station either via coordinates or postcode to another app for gps reasons, update prices and see what prices stations around you have, etc. I don't have the option to pull out a laptop every time i want to look for where i can fill up, nor do i want or need to carry around a tablet, the website is just about usable on a tablet, it really isn't on a phone as its just not designed to be used like that.

Completely understand where Dave is coming from - unfortunately Richard (filllpg not Gillbertd) appears to have vanished from any contactable means and if his website goes down, the app becomes useless as it has no data source. Given noone knows whats happened there, the website could disappear at any point making further efforts to update the app wasted. Given he hasn't been on here since 2015 and the last contact I can see from him was in 2016 I'd guess hes moved onto other things, as tends to happen. There is actually a couple of issues with the website - try adding a new station and using the map to see what i mean, that message is something Richard H needs to fix.

Trouble is even to get the app to speak to a different data source, you need someone to do the various bits of coding to make it work on that data source, As well as hosting it. The current website domain registration is registered until June 2019, I'd suspect unless contact is made with Richard that it will then fall off the internet unless he has it set to renew. Thats not to say the hosting itself won't vanish before then, I don't think that info is easily accessible by anyone.

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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#5 Post by i860 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:45 am

Is such a shame that is dead i am using it quite a lot filllpg.

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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#6 Post by LPGC » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:55 pm

You spelled it out clearly that this thread isn't a call to arms etc Dave @OnTheFenceDev.
But especially in the light of what @Brian_H said above it would be great if you could save Filllpg in the same way as you saved this forum. ;-)
Thanks again for saving this forum.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#7 Post by Brian_H » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:43 pm

Trouble is, as the way I read it, Dave just doesn't have the data, nor technically the rights to do with it as he sees fit. The only person who can do anything as far as the actual data is concerned is Richard H, who has for all intents and purposes disappeared. Its also Richard that has provided the hosting, coded the website and made the API work behind the scenes, you'd either have to recreate that data and some sort of API (a task I would imagine Dave could do given time to do so, but probably not something he has the time to do for nothing, particularly when he hasn't got an LPG vehicle to make use of the app himself anymore either).

The real crux of the issue is he is getting flak for something he can't do anything about - I'd suspect the problem with the person complaining on the play store is something that is wrong with their phone in some way, either a corrupted install (highly possible on an older phone where odd faults start occurring) or something they have done to it (ticked wifi only or similar, blocked permissions or similar sort of problems). Trouble is with a review like that your lucky if you can actually get a response from the reviewer afterwards, and their skills can be somewhat limited. I've left similar reviews for a couple of apps, but in both cases they were pay by phone parking apps that just didn't work - Commercial ventures have no excuse here, and deserve the 1-star reviews when you can't even use them (particually when there is one option only given where your parking, and the leaders in this respect - Ringgo and Paybyphone are miles ahead of the competition, and just work!)

Major difference with the forum rescue is the forum admin was involved in the rescue to allow access to the required data, this isn't the case with filllpg sadly else it could probably be rescued.

Backup plan is to put the garmin csv poi file onto google maps and get to it that way - gives the location data, but none of the other useful bits the app does like pricing.

Its not dead yet, but the crucial point is if the website goes, the app becomes useless, as its data source for any new installs no longer exists, and existing installs become out of date.

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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#8 Post by OnTheFenceDev » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:12 pm

Brian_H wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:43 pm
Its not dead yet, but the crucial point is if the website goes, the app becomes useless, as its data source for any new installs no longer exists, and existing installs become out of date.
At the end of the day this is the crux of the issue - if the FillLPG site goes dark then the app becomes useless is the site is the central repository of the data. The app will continue to work with the last sync'd data but this will quickly become stale.

The difference with the forum rescue was, as Brian says, that the site owner was involved and granted me permission/access to relocate the site. On top of this it should also be noted that the forum software is open-source, freely available and maintained by a community of developers - meaning that updates are added and security issues patched. All I really need to do is to configure the hosting environment and apply the updates - this is due soon btw ;-)

The FillLPG website is a bespoke development by Richard H and uses a language that I am not overly skilled in. While rehosting it would not be a major issue (in theory) any future development would require a ground up rewrite - using my usual development stack. That said, this is not what I am proposing - at all - as I have a rather full plate at the moment.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#9 Post by LPGC » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:27 pm

Yes, I thought I'd just keep my last post brief...
I understand the mobile app relies on the data from the website and so if the website disappears so does the mobile app... So Richard H would have to be involved to keep the website running as it is or in any handover regards hosting / admin.
Contacting Richard H is the problem :-(
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#10 Post by Brian_H » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:06 pm

LPGC wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:27 pm
Yes, I thought I'd just keep my last post brief...
I understand the mobile app relies on the data from the website and so if the website disappears so does the mobile app... So Richard H would have to be involved to keep the website running as it is or in any handover regards hosting / admin.
Contacting Richard H is the problem :-(
Yes exactly that, none of the email addresses for him or slack are working for that, so nothing we can do unless he responds unfortunately.

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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#11 Post by Gilbertd » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:41 pm

He's popped up a couple of times as a suggested connection on Linkedin, I could try getting hold of him there. There is the other European site, https://www.mylpg.eu/lpg-prices-across-europe with an entry for the UK (https://www.mylpg.eu/stations/united-kingdom/) although the locations aren't always accurate and some sites are duplicated. The POI file for the rest of mainland Europe works very well though, I've got it loaded into my Garmin sat nav.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#12 Post by Brian_H » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:55 pm

That might be a good idea, I don't use Linkedin so haven't seen him on that.

I know about the other site, but as you say its inaccurate for the UK with a lot of junk data in there, and a lot of missing stations as well (a quick glance showed the few countrywide (now flogas account only) stations didn't appear to be there for starters, I did edit a few stations that were wrong on there, but theres so many errors its tedious doing so) I've used it when I was over in Ireland as at the time filllpg had no stations there and it did seem a bit more accurate there(that appears to be as much there aren't many to actually have on there as much as any other reasons). I think even the operator of that site is aware of this as there was a post on ideascale from them about possibly integrating the filllpg data onto their site.

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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#13 Post by FillLPG » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:49 pm

Hi All

Apologies for the lack of communication, unfortunately I've been very busy with a new job and moving house.

The website isn't going anywhere and work is always underway to ensure that the current version is working, including the update to make it work over HTTPS for added security and to ensure that Google don't wipe it off the face of the internet. I'm also still ensuring that users who have emailed me regarding issues that they have had with passwords and stations are replied to.

I'm continuing to pay for the hosting and the SSL certificate and I'm very grateful to those who have donated toward this costs.

I began rewriting the website from the ground up to include many new features that are required now the site has become international including working in any currency. Progress has been slow recently, but hopefully once I'm settled in my new house I can continue to work on it.
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#14 Post by LPGC » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:58 pm

Ahh good... Thanks Richard! :-)

I emailed Richard earlier today using the FillLpg site's webmaster address. But perhaps Gilbert got the attention on LinkedIn..

Will knowing that Richard will be continuing to maintain Filllpg entice Dave to keep the mobile app running? And when Richard and Dave are less busy lead to further interaction between the main site and mobile app to allow improvement of the mobile app?
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Re: FillLPG for Android is Dead

#15 Post by OnTheFenceDev » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:01 pm

Glad to hear that the site isn't going away anytime soon :-)

As mentioned above, as long as the site is around then the app will remain in the Play Store.
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