Flaming Durtles is now live on the Google Play Store! Grab it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.the_tinkering.wk
What is it?
- A native Android app that uses the V2 API. No web view, you have to create a V2 API key on the WK site and put it into the app to get it to work.
- Fully searchable and browseable subject database.
- Full support for lessons and reviews, including using and modifying your own notes and synonyms.
- Offline support with automatic sync whenever the device comes online (only needs to be online once a month to check subscription status, although frequent syncing is recommended).
- Efficient operation with a minimum of waiting, digging into menus, swiping, … Just tap a button and get on with the lessons and reviews with no fuss. Uses “lightning” mode as well, so with each correct answer you move on directly to the next question without further interaction.
- Fully uses the data from the API, so any new subjects or changes to existing subjects are picked up automatically without needing an app update.
- Notifications when new reviews pop up.
- Doesn’t require a Japanese-capable keyboard to be installed.
- Supports Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and up.
- Light and dark theme
In addition, I have brought over some features from popular UserScripts. A native Android app can’t use UserScripts, but I did implement a number of features inspired by them. And I am of course open to suggestions for more, depending on how much demand there is for it and how much work it would be.
These features include:
- 24h timeline on the dashboard
- Reorder, including the option to give priority to ‘overdue’ items
- Meaning and reading back-to-back
- Reading before meaning / meaning before reading
- “Ignore”, “Undo” and “Skip” buttons
- Anki mode
- Self-study quiz with a handful of filters, including leech training
- Pitch info
All of these are optional and can be enabled/disabled in settings.
What is it not?
- It doesn’t look particularly pretty.
Basically, I’m absolutely no good at what passes for ‘modern UI design’, and this is my first crack at writing an Android app (I’m more of a backend Java type of developer). The UI is meant to be simple, fast, and compact, putting all necessary information together efficiently and not giving a flying rodent’s posterior for how pretty it looks. That’s how I like it, and if you’re looking for a more modern, fancy-looking design, this app may not be for you. I’m open to suggestions for UI improvements, but I take a no-compromise attitude toward it being simple, fast and compact.
How complete is it?
All of the features listed above are present and fully working as far as I have been able to test. The worst of the problems have been worked out a while ago, and I have been using the app for my own lessons and reviews for a couple of months now, so you can expect to properly use it right from the start for your everyday offerings to the almighty Crabigator.
You may run into some unexpected problems, and there are many possible additions and improvements I could make in the future. But there are no blind spots anymore, and no “under construction” signs or missing menu options. I consider this a proper, feature-complete release build.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Some kanji characters look different from the web site.
A: Different fonts may show characters in different ways, but what’s most likely happening is that your device is showing Chinese variants of characters instead of Japanese ones. As far as possible, all UI elements are properly tagged with the Japanese locale, but this may not work on all devices. One workaround is to configure Japanese as a second language on your device. It doesn’t have to be the default language, just one of the extra ones. That will tell Android you want to see the Japanese variants.
Q: My keyboard doesn’t work properly or acts weird.
A: For the quiz questions, it’s important that the keyboard doesn’t ‘spoil’ the quiz. So I set a few options to prevent your keyboard from giving away the answer via ‘helpful’ suggestions. But that doesn’t work too well with some keyboards. Have a look at the keyboard input settings in the app. You can tune exactly what options are used by the quiz question input, and if you play around with these settings you can get any keyboard to work with this app.
Q: Can the app show a kana keyboard for reading questions and a QWERTY keyboard for meaning questions?
A: No, unfortunately not. For security reasons, Android does not allow an app to choose a different keyboard. Only the user can do that. You can switch manually for every question, but I can not do the switching for you. I would love it if Android would provide a safe way to give some hints about this to the input method system, but until it does there is not much I can do about this.
There is one possibility that may work for you, but it doesn’t work on all devices. If you use a keyboard that can handle both ASCII and Kana input (such as gboard), you may be able to get an automatic layout switch with these settings:
- Enable ‘force ASCII keyboard’ for meanings, disable for readings.
- Enable ‘visible password’ for meanings, disable for readings.
Then, on your first reading question in a session, switch to your Kana layout. If you’re lucky, the keyboard layout will now automatically switch for the rest of the session. This doesn’t actually switch keyboards, but it may trick the keyboard into switching layouts for you.
Q: Where are the Ignore, Undo and Skip buttons?
A: They are not enabled by default. If you want to use them, you’ll need to enable them under Advanced settings -> Other. They’re called Special Buttons, there are three of them, and you can configure each to behave however you like.
If you have the sideloaded version installed, you’ll have to remove it to be able to install the store version.