HippoRemote Blog

Buy HippoRemote for iPhone and iPod Touch!

HippoRemote Pro 3.1

with 2 comments

It took me longer than I expected to finish the update, but HippoRemote Pro 3.1 has been approved by Apple and is now available in the App Store!

GESTUREPAD

The focus of this update is the gesturepad. I added the gesturepad to HippoRemote back in version 2.0. I wanted to make controlling your computer feel more iPhone-like. On the iPhone, we interact with apps primarily through flicks and swipes. Taps are less frequent and repeated tapping is downright alien. I’m not saying that tapping is bad, but it feels far more natural to swipe through a list than to repeatedly tap an arrow key.

The gesturepad enabled this more natural usage and it was fantastic, especially for apps and websites designed around simple control schemes, like Hulu Desktop, Clicker.TV and YouTube Leanback. For more complex apps, however, using the gesturepad would quickly become a struggle. Apps designed for remote controls with lots of buttons were just not a good fit for gesturepad control. It was simply too hard to squeeze in all the necessary controls.

With the 3.1 update, I’m addressing the issue by adding modes to the gesturepad. Take the new Windows Media Center gesturepad as an example. There’s now an arrowpad mode for swiping through menus and lists. Once you’ve selected something, you tap a button and switch to playpad mode. Now, your flicks and swipes skip you forwards/backwards or fast forwards/rewinds the video. It feels completely natural and is so easy to do that you don’t even need to look down at the device in your hand.

For Boxee, XBMC, and Plex, I take modes even further. Because these three apps share a protocol for communicating their status, the gesturepad can detect whether you’re browsing through your media library or watching a movie and switch modes automatically. It’s totally awesome.

But that’s not all. I also added the ability to customize which controls are assigned to which gestures. You can do this on the fly, directly in the app. So if you don’t like the default controls, you can tailor them to your specific preferences. Just tap on the settings icon in the gesturepad and edit away. And if you’ve linked HippoRemote with your Dropbox account, all your changes are automatically backed up to the cloud, ready for syncing to your other devices.

UPDATE YOUR PROFILES

New users will get the enhanced gesturepads right away. But if you’re updating to 3.1 from a previous version, you will need to update your profiles as well. To do this, go to the profile selection screen, tap on the action button in the upper right, and choose to add profiles. This will take you to our online profile library where you can download the latest profiles to your iPhone.

The gesturepad isn’t accessible from every profile. I’ve found that it makes the most sense for controlling apps that rely heavily on the arrow keys. For apps that rely on mouse control, HippoRemote’s trackpad is still the way to go. But I could be wrong! If you think a particular profile could benefit from a gesturepad, the great news is that you can take advantage all the profile editing features in HippoRemote to add one yourself!

ONE MORE THING

There is one other pretty significant new feature in HippoRemote Pro 3.1. You can now assign buttons and macros to access URLs. This is quite useful for a couple things.

First, I think this will be really helpful to EventGhost users. Instead of assigning keyboard shortcuts to your EventGhost actions, you can instead map them to URLs using the web server plugin. No more worrying about keyboard conflicts with other apps.

Second, you can use this feature to control other non-PC devices on your network. For example, if you have a networked AV receiver that powers your speakers, you can create macros to control the master volume. Super super useful.

Creating one of these macros is pretty straightforward, just put the URL you want to access between some brackets like so:

[http://{IP address of device}/some_url]

If you want to target the computer that HippoRemote is connected to:

[http://localhost/some_url]

And if you want to send an HTTP POST command, just add a space after the URL and then your POST body:

[http://{IP address of device}/post_url POST_BODY]

This feature is still experimental and like all things involving networking, there are many potential gotchas. If you run into any issues or have questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

WRAP UP

That just about covers the two main features in the 3.1 update. However, as with every update to HippoRemote, there are a ton of tweaks, fixes and behind the scenes optimizations. The full list of changes is below.

I hope you like the changes I’ve made. As always, I’m eager for any feedback you may have. The best way to get in touch with me is via the email address on our support page (http://hipporemote.com/support). Or drop me a line on Twitter (@HippoRemote).

Enjoy and happy HippoRemoting!

=====

MAJOR NEW FEATURES & CHANGES:

  • Overhauled Boxee/Plex/XBMC gesturepads. Download updated Boxee/Plex/XBMC profiles to enable the new features.

    • The gesturepad listens to feedback from Boxee/Plex/XBMC and automatically adapts the controls to what you are doing – navigating menus, watching video, or listening to music.
    • Controls can be edited directly in the app by tapping on the gesturepad settings button.
    • Edits are synced to Dropbox.
    • Smoother animations and performance.
    • More efficient network usage.
  • Overhauled gesturepads for other profiles. Download updated profiles to enable the new features.

    • Gesturepads can now have multiple modes. Tap or swipe icons to switch between them.
    • Controls can be edited directly in the app by tapping on the gesturepad settings button.
    • Edits are synced to Dropbox.
    • Gesturepads will now display any wallpaper you’ve selected.
  • Macros now accept URLs.

    • Send HTTP GET and POST requests.
    • Send requests to your programs on your PC, like EventGhost.
    • Send requests to other devices on your network, like network-enabled AV receivers.

OTHER ENHANCEMENTS & POWER USER SHORTCUTS:

  • Added an action button to the profile selection screen. Tap it to activate the profile editor, manage favorites, add new profiles, or delete unused profiles.

  • Added a macro to toggle splitscreen keyboard: [KEYBOARD:SPLIT]

  • Swipe to quickly switch between keyboard’s arrow keys and function keys.

  • Long press on profile button to launch current app.

  • Added caching to make button pads load faster, particularly on older devices.

  • Added optimizations to enable smoother animations throughout the app.

  • Added advanced trackpad settings for customizing 2, 3, and 4-finger trackpad actions.

  • Increased repeat rate when buttons are held.

BUG FIXES:

  • Fixed issues when used in conjunction with a hardware keyboard.

  • Fixed potential crash when editing a newly created macro.

  • Fixed issue where a favorite could not be reordered to the bottom row.

  • Fixed issue where a macro could not activate a named gamepad.

  • Gamepad edits now properly sync to Dropbox.

  • Other small, miscellaneous tweaks and fixes.

May 13th, 2011 at 11:18 am

2 Responses to 'HippoRemote Pro 3.1'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'HippoRemote Pro 3.1'.

  1. Is there going to be an iPad version soon ??

    Vassilis

    17 May 11 at 2:37 am

  2. Where is the iPad version?

    H

    14 Jun 11 at 11:28 am

Leave a Reply