I’m happy to report that InstaDesk 2.2 has finally been released (note 2.2.1, which fixes a couple of 2.2 issues is already out, too). InstaDesk 2.2 was a very difficult and time consuming release and I’m kind of proud that it is finally out. For this release, I did a lot of research to measure download speeds, and Instagram server communication in order to squeeze every tiny last bit of speed out of it. Previous InstaDesk releases were always a bit sluggish, which was due to two reasons. The first one was simply that the Instagram servers can be a bit slow, especially during the working hours of the US, when 50 mio people use the service. Second, though, there were also certain parts of InstaDesk that needed to be rewritten or heavily optimized. I’ve been wanting to work on that for a long time now. I’ve initially started with these rewrites and optimizations for the 2.0 release but had to postpone it because it was way too much work and would have moved the 2.0 release several months back. So instead I decided to continue with the current infrastructure and release 2.0 as well as 2.1 for several important user interface features and changes, and after that take a couple of months to rewrite everything in order to speed things up.
In addition to the great speedups that InstaDesk 2.2 contains, there’re also huge memory gains since I rewrote major parts of it to utilize a new memory management technology from Apple called ARC. I’ve waited a bit longer than other Mac app developers to integrate ARC since I wanted to try it first in a couple of smaller projects in order to better understand how it works and make less errors once I start working on InstaDesk. In general, I’m pleased with how things worked out (note: there were some awful memory problems in 2.2 that I’ve sinced fixed in 2.2.1; these ware solely due to the ARC transition and sadly didn’t appear at all during beta testing).
This release also contains a fair set of new features (albeit small ones) and lots of bug fixes. I’ve also changed the user interface to be less skeuomorphic so that it doesn’t try to look like a photo album anymore.
With this really hard and difficult release out of the door, I can happily concentrate on adding new features again. There’re several things that I’ve been wanting to implement for a long time now. There’re a couple of really cool features in my todo list, and I can’t wait to implement them because I’m really looking forward to using them myself.
I’ve also taken some time off and worked on the website in order to bring it up to par with the current InstaDesk versions, list more features, display a beautiful comparison table to easier educate potential customers about all the InstaDesk benefits, and updated the FAQ with more questions that I often see in customer mails.
Finally, for the 2.2.1 release, I also had to fix a couple of issues that prevented some people from sharing albums with InstaDesk albums. I’ve since started to rewrite major parts of that site so that it looks nicer and has more features. I hope to make this really cool InstaDesk feature more attractive in the near future.
I just pushed InstaDesk 2.1.1 into Apple review. This is a minor release that contains only two bug fixes, but these fixes were for major problems.
With the introduction of the new Mayfair filter, Instagram changed the behaviour of the filter property in the data that InstaDesk receives. This, together with a not-so-smart behaviour in the InstaDesk code, let it to not open Mayfair images in the detail view. This relesae fixes that issue.
Some users had an issue where InstaDesk would never log them into Instagram, and instead hover forever in the ‘Signing into account’ view. This has also been fixed and tested with some users who had the problem. The changed worked for all of them.
All the other changed planned for the next release were not ready yet or were not tested heavily enough, which is why I decided to postpone everything that I’ve developed so far into 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 (depending on whether any other important errors suddenly pop up).
Thanks for your support,
Today, InstaDesk version 2.1 got released. This release is all about the details. It features small enhancements throughout the app, is faster and improves stability. Naturally, it brings some new features, but the focus is on many small enhancements instead of few big ones.
Let me review some of the new features and enhancements.
The comment system received a lot of love in the new InstaDesk release. The feedback that I got from users clearly indicated that many people utilize InstaDesk to communicate with their followers. After all, replying to comments, or commenting on images is much easier when one can type on a full keybard. In order to help you there, the new InstaDesk has many small new features that makes it easier then ever to be organized when being in touch with followers or friends.
Reply Status: Everything you reply to from within InstaDesk will be saved, so that you can easily see which images you already replied to.
Star Comments: If you are the kind of person who first reads all comments, and afterwards goes and replies to select few, you can use the star system to star individual comments and come back to them later. This works only on your own images though.
Comment Search: Do you want to see only select comments from a certain user? Or only certain comments that write about a certain topic? The comment bar includes a search field now, that searches through the comment texts and usernames.
See only certain comments: On your own images, there’s also an additional filter now, that allows you to set it so that you can only see replied or unreplied, stared or unstared comments.
Emoji Popup: On Lion and Mountain Lion, there’s a new Emoji Popup now, that allows you to insert Emoji into your current text as fast as on iOS.
Comment Templates: There may be certain comments that you’re writing very often, examples include “Thanks for the kind words!” or “Glad you like it!”, or “Of course it’s beautiful, this is Spain!”. For these cases, youc an now define comment templates. These can easily be placed into the comment box, which frees you from writing the same comment again and again.
Fast User Preview: Oftentimes, you want to see if a user is worth following, but you don’t want to jump from the current comment list right into his profile. For such situations, InstaDesk now includes a Fast User Preview. Simply click the small ‘User Icon’ below the avatar image, and the Fast User Preview will open and will show you details about the user.
The previous release already allowed you to easily log into multiple accounts, though you had to re-enter the username & password everytime you intended to switch. This was primarily due to technical and privacy reasons. However, many people wished to be able to automatically switch back and forth and with 2.1 we found a way to achieve that while also even increasing privacy. Now, you can add multiple accounts, and each account will automatically be saved, and switching back and forth between them will not require you to login again. So now it is really easy to use multiple Instagram accounts with InstaDesk. Even more, we also added a new privacy option that automatically deletes all accounts when you quit the app. This way, when you loose your Mac, or when multiple different people may use it, quitting the app means that nobody will be able to log into your account.
InstaDesk introduced the Favorite Friends feature really early. I myself realized that I had followed so many people that it was sometimes difficult to at least see what my close friends had posted. Favorite friends started as a solution to this problem that I had. Now, InstaDesk introduced something similar for tags. More and more people that I know start tagging specific images for specific occasions with a tag. So it is only reasonable to be able to subscribe to this tag to see any updates that happen. Favorite Tags are displayed in the sidebar and are updated every so many minutes to reflect the new amount of images that were posted under that tag.
In order to comply more with the user experience of the current iPhone / Android Instagram app, the search has been changed to a unifieds earch now. One button allows you to search for users, for tags, or within the current list of items. This is only a small change but again something many, many users requested.
This version introduces many small and subtle changes throughout the app. Examples are that the blue bar can be hidden now, that double clicking the imag ein detail view will close detail view, that the ‘Requests View’ is optional, or that the toolbar has more buttons now. For a full listing, have a look at the changelog.
So, that said, I really hope you like this release. The next one is already close to being finished and it will finally bring the first wave of localizations.
I’m excited to report that InstaDesk 2.0.2 is finally released. While the version bumb might sound minor, this release is actually quite big. It doesn’t bring too many new features, but I’ve spend the better part of the last couple of weeks in contact with lots and lots of beta testers to make 2.0.2 a very very stable and bug free release. It fixes many bugs, be it stability problems or major and minor annoyances. Even better, with this important maintenance release out of the way, I’m going to concentrate on 2.1 which will bring several new features that I’ve been wanting to implement for quite some time now.
But back to 2.0.2: Even though the changelog will tell you everything there is, I still thought I’d highlight some of the most relevant changes here and fixes here..
Picture Sync: On June 1th, Apple required all Mac Apps to adhere to a very strict security guideline called sandbox. This security guideline makes it impossible for a Mac App to access any of the user’s data; i.e. no Desktop access, no Documents folder access, now Downloads access.. you get the idea. For an app in order to still access these resources, Apple offers certain ways to do so with the user’s consent. So for the 2.0 release, I had to rewrite the Picture Sync in order to adhere to the guidelines and still allow it to write data to the selected sync folder. During this rewrite, some bugs sneaked in which made the Picture Sync work only with flaws.
The good news is that 2.0.2 fixes all these issues, and even introduces a couple of new features:
There’s a new ‘Sync Now’ button, which triggers sync right away.
There’s a new progress indicator that shows the time it takes until all pictures are synced.
InstaDesk now also syncs the picture published date. So the file creation date on the harddisk is equal to the date when the image was taken / posted to Instagram.
It has been tested under Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion in the Sandbox and it works flawlessly.
Several users have asked for a way to see in the follow screen whether somebody you’re following is following you back. Version 2.0.2 introduces this feature. Now, if a user is following you back, the user picture will display a small yellow triangle in the bottom left corner.
Another new feature is that the detail view now contains a reload action in the action dropdown to reload the comments of an image.
On the feed view, something that bugged many users was that it would do the auto reload while they were scrolling down the feed and comment on pictures. The auto-reload would cause them to loose their current scroll position so they needed to scroll down again. The new version fixes this by only auto-reloading if the user is at the top of the feed.
In Mountain Lion, the Notification Center integration is better now. Clicking an item from the Notification Center will also remove it from the news list in InstaDesk. Deactivating notification support in InstaDesk will also remove all remaining notifications from the Notification Center. Also, support for the new Mountain Lion sharing system. Currently, Mountain Lion doesn’t support Facebook sharing. Until this is working, the old InstaDesk sharing mechanism and the Mountain Lion sharing mechanism will be displayed side by side (click the ‘more’ button to access the Mountain Lion sharing in the share dialoge). When Mountain Lion adds Facebook Sharing (presumably this Fall) InstaDesk will switch to the new system completely.
Lastly, on Lion and Mountain Lion the comment list has received a huge, huge speedup. It’s really a lot faster now. In addition to that, I also fixed several drawing issues where sometimes comments wouldn’t be displayed (this affects all platforms).
There’re many more changes, including several small graphical enhancements and retina enhancements, but I won’t list all of them now.
Most important (next to the Picture Sync bug outlined above) is that I fixed several issues with the Favourite Friend syncing. The 2.0.1 version caused stability problems on some systems (i.e. InstaDesk could crash), it also didn’t always add a new favourite friend (or only after restarting the app), it would also sometimes not update the new image count for a favourite friend correctly. All theses issues have been fixed.
The news system also got a fair share of bugfixes. In 2.0.2 it should work more reliably especially if news are added to older items and you have a huge amount of images.
Finally, I fixed several issues where InstaDesk would crash or freeze due to memory problems or graphics problems.
In addition to that, there are numerous other issues that have also been solved, just have a look at the changelog once it has been released.
That said, I hope that it will go through Apple review faster than the past two releases. Version 2.0 took almost one month to get through review, and 2.0.1 took around 2 1/2 weeks. Before that, 1.4.3 and 1.4.2 usually took 3-5 days.
As some users have already realized, I’m always actively listening for feedback. I have a lot of things planned for InstaDesk, however if you have a good idea or want to know if something could be implemented, just contact me, I’m always listening and always replying. I really want to make InstaDesk the best Instagram experience there is (of course, minus picture management and uploading since Instagram doesn’t allow that).
I just pushed InstaDesk 2.0.1 to Apple review. It brings lot of bug fixes for problems that didn’t appear during the 2.0 beta testing phase. All in all, based on the feedback I got from customers so far, 2.0.1 should be more stable and a bit faster (again!) than 2.0.
After the desaster with the Instagram outage that lead to lots of unfair reviews (even though it wasn’t InstaDesks fault since it was Instagram that went offline), I hope that InstaDesk 2.0.1 will excite people about the fantastic 2.0 release.
However, even though it is mostly a bug fix release, I nevertheless managed to sneak a couple of important additions in, that didn’t make it into 2.0 due to time constraints.
InstaDesk 2.0 stayed in Apple review almost one month. When I initially uploaded it for review, my plan was to take a bit of time after release in order to work on Mountain Lion compatiblity. However, since the 2.0 review took almost a month, and since Mountain Lion is about to be released, I decided to cut some corners here and add basic Mountain Lion support in 2.0.1 while adding full support in the next big update. This means that InstaDesk 2.0.1 will run on Mountain Lion, and it will support the new Mountain Lion User Notification Center as a Growl alternative.
What it doesn’t support is the system-wide share service. This will be added in the next update.
I pushed InstaDesk 2.0 into Apple review before the retina release during WWDC2012. I had hoped that I’d done everything right for retina support, but I hadn’t. I had created high quality version of all pictures, and I had taken care to use code instead of graphics in all situations. However, there were some additional retina adjustments necessary that I didn’t learn about until WWDC. This has been done now, and retina InstaDesk looks awesome.
When seeing the screenshot, you will notice that the quality of the Instagram pictures is not as good as the quality of the interface. Instagram offers three image resolutions: 150x150, 306x306 and 612x612. On non retina displays, InstaDesk uses 150x150 for the small icon view, 306x306 for the big icon view, and 612x612 for the detail view. On retina screens, it would make sense to use the 306x306 for the small icon view, the 612x612 for the big icon view, and the 612x612 again (maybe in a scaled variant) for the detail view. However, I decided against this since it would also double the bandwith requirements of InstaDesk and thus slow down the speed of the app by 50%.
That’s InstaDesk 2.0.1. In addition to the above, it will also contain several small enhancements based on direct user feedback after the release of version 2.0.1.
Let’s hope that Apple releases it faster than 2.0.
>> Also Read: How the Instagram severly outage hurt InstaDesk ratings
Just one week ago, InstaDesk had had solid 4-5 star ratings in all App Stores for the bast couple of months. Then, Instagram went down, and suddenly the one star ratings came flowing in.
What happened was, that just days before the Instagram outage, InstaDesk 2.0 had been released. Many people were just about to update to version 2.0. They installed version 2.0, and the only thing they got was a non-working login screen. Of course, this wasn’t InstaDesk’s fault, instead Instagram didn’t work anymore due to a Amazon AWS outage. But many people believed that it was InstaDesk at fault here and went off to the App Store to write a one star review.
Even worse, some people tried to use Instagram on their iPhone afterwards, and thought that the InstaDesk 2.0 update had disabled InstaDesk on their iPhone too, since it didn’t work anymore.
After one day of hiatus, Instagram came back online, and all is well again. Well.. almost everything. The bad reviews are still in the store, and even worse, they’re keeping people from updating to 2.0 since they effectively tell people that the 2.0 update is borked - which it isn’t. This situation is not only affecting InstaDesk due to low sales, it is also affecting users all over the world because they’re not updating to the newer and better InstaDesk 2.0.
Apart from that, InstaDesk 2.0.1 is around the corner and will bring several bug fixes for small issues that I didn’t catch during the InstaDesk 2.0 beta test.
If you like InstaDesk, and if you like the new 2.0 update, please, please write a nice App Store review so that the sad situation that the Instagram outage brought can be shifted a bit. Even more important, do it so that other InstaDeskers can enjoy the 2.0 update.
Cheers & Thanks,
After several months of hard work, InstaDesk 2.0 is finally ready for prime time. It features a completely new UI that gets rid of the cruft and the unnecessary complexity of the old version. Even more important, it is a clean slate to build upon. This means that there’re many exciting things in the pipeline, and this is the start.
This is a huge update with a completely revamped UI, new features, bug fixes from the old version, and in general a more solid codebase. Almost all parts of the code had to be touched in order for all this to be implemented. This is also reflected in a completely new icon that I really hope people will like.
The interest for Instagram apps has grown quite a bit over the past months, which resulted in a quite sizeable InstaDesk userbase. Since this version introduces many new features and changes so many existing ones, I’m almost confident that the one or other thing broke. InstaDesk 2.0 has gone through a long beta test period. Nevertheless, there’s probably the one or other bug in there. So if things don’t work as expected, hit the contact link and send me a mail.
InstaDesk 2.0 contains a plethora of new features and changes. Here’s a rundown:
Completely redesigned. InstaDesk 2.0 has a complete new layout that fits much better into Lion and Mountain Lion. Almost all parts of the interface have been changed to accomodate for the new layout and fit better with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. The icon has been changed, too, to celebrate version 2.0. I hope you like it. The new redesign uses more smooth animations and fancy shadow effects. On older machines, some of this can be turned off in the preferences.
Multiple user support. InstaDesk now lets you easily switch to a different user. By clicking on the account icon in the top left.
The detail view now supports a ‘mini gallery’ that shows you all other images in the current selection. You can navigate it either with mouse or touchpad gesturs, or with your mouse wheel, or by clicking and moving like you would click and move the scrollbar paddle.
Images can now be downloaded simply by dragging and dropping them on your desktop or any folder on your Mac. This also works with multiple selections.
Introducing a new Follow / Follower view that shows you all persons in a list. This is faster to navigate than the old view, displays more information, and even allows you to select multiple persons and follow / unfollow them at once. Also, you can sort by specified fields simply by clicking the headers of the table.
For selected views, there is now a ‘Load More’ menu entry, that allows you to load all, or a huge amount of items at once.
Selecting images has been changed from Single-Click to Double-Click. This makes it easier to select a set of images and act upon it (Liking, Slideshow, etc). You can get the old behaviour back by changing it to Single-Click open in the Preferences. You can select multiple images by drawing selections with your mouse, or shift-clicking individual items.
When you select a couple of images you can now press L to like them all. This is limited to up to 25 images.
Retina support throughout the whole app.
The sort setting is now being saved per view.
Updated to the new version of Growl but also made sure to still support older systems.
The icon view now features a right-click menu which lets you act upon one or multiple selected items.
In the Tagview, there is now a strength indicator for the related tags. This makes it easier to see how strong the relation between the current tag and the related tag is. If you hover over an indicator, it will give you the numbers in a tooltip.
The comment fields now save current comments as drafts until they’re being posted or until they’re manually removed. When quitting InstaDesk, they’re lost though.
The comment field now contains a character counter so that one doesn’t accidentally hit the Instagram comment length limit.
For private accounts, there is now a “Requests” view that allows you to allow / deny / block requests.
Changed the “Like” heart icon to be smaller so that it can’t be accidentally clicked anymore. The old, big, icon can still be re-activated in the preferences.
From the Userview, it is now possible to block or unblock a user.
There’s a new indicator that shows you whether a user is following you (small yellow triangle in the bottom left)
Updates from any of your favourite friends are now indicated by a white star in a red triangle in the right bottom corner.
Completely enabled everything to make InstaDesk run in the App Store Sandbox.
If one clicks on an already selected item in the left navigation list again, it will jump back to the top of the currently selected stack.
InstaDesk now remembers the size of the comment list in the detail view.
Switching images in the detail view should be faster now.
When the reply button in a comment cell is clicked, the @user is now correctly appended, caring for existing spaces and inserting new spaces when necessary.
Made the scrolling in large comment lists happen quite a bit faster.
The display of the location of the image has been cleaned and reorganized.
The indication for new images from favourite friends is stronger now
With Growl Mist all users, even these without Growl, can now have InstaDesk notifications for actions
Created new background images
And many more fixes and smaller changes.
InstaDesk 2.0 was a herculian effort, and I’m really excited about and looking forward to all your feedback!
It took a bit longer than I expected, but InstaDesk 1.4.1 has finally been released. The delay was mostly due to an error that suddenly appeared around mid January and started to grow from there. The error in question only affected some users, but these couldn’t log into Instagram anymore. They were getting a ‘CRSF Forbidden’ error. InstaDesk 1.4.1 fixes this issues and much more. It also brings a couple of new features. Among them, two things that were requested quite often:
Prevent accidental liking: You can now deactivate the small white heart that appears when you hover over an image. This should prevent the accidental liking of images that some users repeatedly reported.
Download type: You can now define the filetype when you download an image from InstaDesk.
In addition to that, InstaDesk also includes a new slideshow feature, where the slideshow automatically reloads the images in the background while it is running. This means, that when you’re watching a slideshow over your feed, if new images are posted to the feed, they’ll automatically appear in the slideshow.
I just updated the InstaDesk website in order to push a couple of new features.
There’s also news on the InstaDesk front. There’re a couple of small bugs that I didn’t identify before shipping 1.4. I’m currently working on 1.4.1 as a bugfix update to remedy these various issues. It should be done within the next 1-2 weeks.
I finally managed to install a blog in order to have a platform to inform about upcoming features, and other interna. I’ll also try to write about more detailed InstaDesk features here.
I’ve spend the last couple of months working on 1.4 and bootstrapping a business based on InstaDesk (and a couple of other projects). This means that I’ll have more time to invest into InstaDesk now. Expect a lot of interesting things and fantastic features to come up in 2012.
In addition to this blog, I also opened the instadesk account on Instagram. This will host feature previews too, but also polls and more. Your following would greatly be appreciated.
For direct communication, there’s either the @instadesk twitter account which I will always monitor and try to reply as fast as possible, or the contact sheet here on this site which goes right into my inbox.
Finally, in January I’ll work hard on 1.5 which will bring several long awaited features as well as a first interface overhaul.
Looking forward to an exciting 2012,
Thanks for all your support!