Packaging Quixe and Parchment as an app

On Android, at least, I’ve noticed that Quixe is leagues ahead of any Glulx interpreter app, and I also like Parchment better than the available Z-machine interpreter apps.

It would be fairly easy to write a web frontend that allows a user to load a Glulx or Z-code file and then launches Quixe or Parchment, respectively. There are multiple ways of packaging such a website as an app for offline use, like Apache Cordova.

Thoughts? Has this been done and I’m just missing it?

Do you find web Quixe better than Thunderword?

Much better. For example, if I load City of Secrets in Thunderword, the title screen is too big and gets cut off, it is not stretched to fit. Then when you start the game and get to the first room, the compass doesn’t work. It all works in Quixe, though.

People have tried to do the web-to-app thing for a while. The current hope is HTML-E.

Granted I haven’t actually made an app out of it yet, but Quixe works fine in the mobile browser. At least better than Thunderword.

I find that quixe will spasm on the command prompt in android, with the keyboard going up and down four times. Maybe I should try a different browser, though; I’m using Samsung’s default browser.

Also, you can’t hide the keyboard. I just tried it out in chrome on android, and it’s true there, too.

I use SwiftKey as my keyboard, and it works fine when it’s undocked. Though it’s true that would be an issue for most users. It might not be too hard to fix whatever is happening in the Javascript to cause that.

I would love to see it fixed, actually. Would you be able to do that while wrapping it up?

It looks like I could use this to intercept the native keyboard hide/show events and suppress them. Maybe I could add a button to toggle the keyboard, instead, or something.

Although there’s nothing wrong with Quixe as the means to play IF in a browser, that doesn’t make a game into a mobile app.

As soon as you move onto mobile, there’s a different expectation. Suddenly, they want; a theme selector, a font selector, save to file, pictures, more pictures, animation, sound effects, icons and settings.

Settings, lots of them, with sliders, buttons and drop-downs.

and finger swiping, “why can’t i swipe right to go east?” etc.

“can i have my inventory in a sidebar?”
“can the text entry box have word completion like everything else on my mobile?”
“where’s the map??”
“if i click on a room, will it automatically route there”
and so on…

My theory is that HTML is fine for the text experience, but moving forward you’re into a world of hurt.

It would be cool if would autogenerate a Progressive Web App (a ServiceWorker and a manifest with an icon) for IFDB games launched there.

I had been planning on using a cache manifest, but now it’s deprecated technology. And service workers are hardly a simple replacement.

That’s surely the case for many people downloading individual games. But I would think that most people downloading an IF interpreter understand that these games were not written for a platform like that.

Apache Cordova is a very good approach, it easy once set up. The idea is installing the environment, make a www with the html5 code and add android devide to the project.
I did that for Ubuntu Touch and did a little tutorial. Just jump to ‘what now?’ and translate the install steps to your OS … ebfb4070d6

I finally tested this on an Android device; IMO the flickering keyboard makes the City of Secrets unusable in Quixe.

Rather than applying a special keyboard fix in Cordova, I think it would be better to fix the bug directly in Quixe or in GlkOte, Quixe’s JS-based UI library. That would fix it in the browser, too.

IMO, City of Secrets v3 is always going to be inherently painful on phone-sized screens. The game has a large map side pane as well as a big multiple-choice menu bar at the bottom of the screen. The v3 design is just not a good fit for phones.

Google Chrome browser should work well for running Parchment/etc based on my testing. Can we maybe make a video of what is not working? I can do the video if people want.

Don’t worry, working that angle, too. Submitted this issue yesterday.

Help from people with Android experience is welcome.

Specifically on the City of Secrets issue with Chrome browser on Android?

First off, I can donate you a tablet, I have an 8" Android 6 for the cause. PM me an address. No strings, even if you don’t bother with it (time priorities are subject to change), at least it was showing support for your long-standing IF efforts. Second, I know enough JavaScript I can try to hack around on the Input code and identify what is going on. Third, there are some free online emulators that Samsung, Amazon, and perhaps others offer. Heck, I think the Android Emulator SDK just added VNC support and some of us could personally host one.

Obviously Glk char or lIne input is the issue. Chrome on Android even has a remote (to your desktop development) mode for issues like this. … debugging/

Is there an online link people are using for City of Secrets? As the one on IFDB doesn’t have a play online link?

If we are talking about making an “App” that bundles a WebView with Quixe and Parchment for the community (please confirm) - I can get an MIT licensed project together up on GitHub within 2 weeks and publish a demo on the Google Play store. I’d ask for some help making a decent icon and testing it - but I can do it. It’s been on my ToDo list, also to support remote-if-demo RemGlk backends.