Friday, May 15, 2015

Lift-off for V1.4

APHound v1.4 development has been slow to get off the ground this month but I’m finally moving it along. The slower start is just down to one of those Micro ISV realities – having two jobs. The bulk of your time is still taken up earning a living, which fortunately for me means doing the thing I enjoy most - software development, and most of your “free” time is taken up with your Micro ISV.

But hey, any excuse to code!

So, v1.4. The main driver for this release is to add support for 5GHz Wi-Fi. I’ll also be finishing off the support for 802.11ac which I started in v1.3. The changes to detect 5GHz, and 802.11ac capable, access points are already up and running and the initial information display and RSSI tracking is good. Next up is handling the channel allocations.

The Trello board for v1.4 has a few other things on it – internal download of updates, additional fields on the access point information tab, some internal refactoring and a couple of minor bug fixes – but the slower than normal start and the desire to keep up the, roughly, monthly release cycle might push some of these things in to v1.5.

The other item of note this month is that I started the first Google AdWords campaign. I purposely waited until I had a couple update releases complete before I undertook any form of advertising since I knew there were some improvements I wanted to make before I was happy with APHound.

The initial AdWord stats are much better than anticipated and, after a few tweaks to the ads and the keywords, the traffic to the website has grown massively. I’ll let the first campaign run its course then sit down and look at the user/website interactions which will help drive the next website update.

Monday, May 4, 2015

V1.3 Released

APHound v1.3 is now available.

This release was, primarily, to add the extended access point information tab but it also includes a number of additional enhancements and fixes.

New Features

  • Added a new tab to show extended access point information for Plus Edition users.
  • Added the capability, for Plus Edition users, to vary the time between Wi-Fi scans.
  • Added the capability to display 40Mhz wide channels on the access point list and channel charts.
  • Added the display of Co-Channel and Channel Overlap counts for Plus Edition users.

Enhancements

  • Display the MAC address on the bars on the channel charts.
  • Reduced flickering on data lists.
  • Selected interface is now remembered.
  • Selected access point is brought to the front of the channel charts.
  • Numerous internal enhancements to improve the responsiveness of the user interface and the handling of data.

Defects

  • Fixed issue where supported data rate information could contain duplicate values.
  • Fixed issue where hidden access points could be displayed with a zero MAC address.
  • Fixed issue where the presence of a 5Ghz access point could cause APHound to crash.
  • Fixed issue where the channel chart doesn’t always show all access points.
  • Fixed issue of out of range value being used for the allocated channel on the access point list.
  • Fixed spacing of adjacent channels on the channel totals chart.

Visit the APHound website for full details.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

APHound V1.3 – Code complete…phew!

V1.3 turned into one of those releases that sometimes comes along – so much fun (is that wrong?) that there was always room for just one more thing. But I finally stopped and reached code and test complete. I just have the help file and website changes to do and it’s good to go.

I did add the new Access Point Information tab, which was the main point of the release, which contains a little more information than the access point list for each access point. It allows access point data to be displayed side-by-side for comparison.

Looking at the Trello board there’s also a bit more in this one, such as:

  • A couple of bug fixes
  • A good chunk of refactoring
  • Support for channel bonding/40MHz channels
  • A co-channel and channel overlap count
  • User selectable scan intervals

I finally took delivery of a 5GHz, and 802.11ac, capable access point and USB dongle which allowed me to do some initial testing to identify the changes required to support 5GHz networks. That looks pretty good already and it’ll form the basis of V1.4.

I had a good look through the APHound Trello board to try and plan a bit further out. There was enough detail to plan not only V1.4 but also V1.5 and V1.6 too. But enough of that, I need to get V1.3 out of the door first.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

APHound V1.3 in full swing

Progress, so far, on APHound V1.3 in April is proving to be much better than V1.2 was in March. The development of this release just seems to be flowing a bit better.

Looking at the Trello board for APHound there’s a bit of a mixture in this release. A few minor bugs fixes, a new feature and tab for the Plus edition and a chunk of code refactoring in preparation for future changes.

The new feature/tab is for displaying more detailed information on each access point and to allow side-by-side comparisons of the data from multiple access points.

I’m also hoping to squeeze in the display changes for access points which can utilise secondary channels.

Refactoring wise, there’s some more efficient data handling and interpretation of the data returned from the scans along with improvements in string and display scheme handling which will enable future customisation.

I also, finally, ordered 5GHz kit to allow development of support for 5GHz access points. I haven’t fixed which release that will appear in but a quick scan of the Trello board would place it in V1.4/V1.5.

Back to it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The sloooooow month.

A period where the output from development slows happens from time to time. Usually it’s down to the optimistic developer under estimating a task, unexpected bugs or some external time soak. This month has been like that, but with an added “planning to put too much into the next release” tagged on.

To stick to the “release early, release often” mantra I’ve decided to release the one new feature I’ve added over the past few weeks. It’s a new chart which shows the channel allocation and signal strength of each reporting access point.

I had this chart in an early version of APHound but decided against releasing it because I could never get enough clarity in the display of the data when the number of access points grew. It just looked jumbled. But I was tweaking the colour and opacity of the bars in the chart and I think it now looks good enough to release.

This feature will be for the Plus version only since I’ve decided that version needs more to differentiate it from the Free edition.

All going well I should have a new release out this coming weekend.

Monday, March 9, 2015

V1.1 Released

Bugs. Only it was the flu that delayed the v1.1 release rather than something in the code. Still, APHound v1.1 was released last night and is now available for download from the APHound website.

The main aim of this release is to finish off some features which didn’t make the launch version and to address a couple of small defects.

New Features

  • Added a “Last Seen” date and time to the access points.
  • Added a new split-bar to the window to allow for better use of the display area.
  • Added a pop-up context menu to the access point list for more check/uncheck options.
  • Added access point grouping.

Enhancements

  • Improvements to local data storage. This was primarily the introduction of SQLite which will be required for future features.
  • Retain access point information on screen rather than remove them after they stop appearing in scan data.
  • UI change to make the access point list a little better looking and to add some functionality to it.

Defects

  • The installer wasn’t setting the application version information correctly.
  • Occasionally an access point would remain on the charts even when de-selected.
  • Include channel 13 and appropriate spacing to channel 14.

All of the changes apply to both the Free and Plus editions.

Work now starts on v1.2 which, looking at the list of potential changes for inclusion in the release, will be more focused on the Plus edition.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Towards v1.1

I’m approaching the end of the third week post-v1 launch and I’m still pleased with where things are.

The website stats took a slight dip towards the end of last week but they’re now back up and showing steady day on day increases.

I’d opted for a sort of “soft release” for V1 since I knew there were a couple of things I’d rather have in place before kicking off any AdWords campaigns or sending out more information far and wide. Those things will be addressed in V1.1 which is now code/feature complete. The initial soak tests to check memory and resource use are done too.

I’d originally intended to release APHound v1.1 towards the end of February but with a fair wind it looks like this weekend might be possible. The changes for v1.1 open up some exciting (well I think so :) )  possibilities for v1.2 which I’m really looking forward to getting started on.