Raccoon v3.x has established itself as a popular method of downloading apps from Google Play for various reasons. However, it is not without some shortcomings of its own and the underlying technology imposes limitations. Therefore, the v4.x branch will be a complete rewrite in order to address several issues.
- The user interface
- Raccoon v3.x builds upon Java Swing. Which unfortunately hasn't seen much polish from Sun/Oracle in the last years and starts to look increasingly old fashioned. Creating a modern and consistent cross platform look and feel is next to impossible. Worse yet, Swing focuses heavily on traditional desktop UI elements (buttons, checkboxes, lists, short text labels,..) but is ill equipped for displaying document type data (formated text, links, images). Racoon v4.x will therefore build on top of Apache Tapestry instead of Swing. It will still be a locally running app, but it will then be controlled from the webbrowser. Have a look at TradeTrax to see how this works.
- Bringing it to the phone
- Currently, usability of Raccoon is severely crippled by the fact that the user has to do everything from a desktop computer. While Raccoon 4.x will still stay a desktop application, it will, thanks to Tapestry also be network aware, making it possible to search for apps from the phone and more importantly, also directly copying them over to the device via WLAN. There will no longer be a hassle with USB cables or swapping SD cards. The web frontend will bring Raccoon to every device you own and best of all, nothing beyond a web browser needs to be installed there to make that work (Again, have a look at TradeTrax.
- Get more social
- Google is "the search engine" company. Sadly though, app discovery on Google Play is horrible. Their ratings/installs based approach results in a feedback loop that favors well known apps and starves newcomers. Raccoon v4.x will tie in with the quid pro quo recommendation mechanism of List My Apps, which focuses on social recommendations and favoring less well known apps.
- Add more translations
- Currently, Raccon is available in english, german and polish. this excludes a lot of users who don't speak one of these three languages.
In order to make Raccoon v4.x a reality, community support is required. In particular, adding more languages to the user interface is not a one man job. Even if you know next to nothing about writing software, you can still contribute:
- Tell your friends about Raccoon on Facebook, Twitter or Plus
- Write (a review) about Raccoon on your blog
- Make a video tutorial on youtube.
By bringing attention to the project, you expose it to a wider audience and as such to more people who will bring in their talents. You also make developers feel their work being appreciated and therefore give them a reason to continue improving it.