Developer Release Notes--April 3rd


#1

Hey Skrittizens,

It’s been a while since the last proper dev update, but we have been busy. Today I want to share some good news and new updates with you all.

First up, we haven’t released a mobile beta update for a few months, but as we’ve recently teased, a new update is coming soon. We took to heart a lot of recurring feedback and a few months ago decided to abandon our unified client route in order to make a new mobile-centric client that runs on iOS and Android. That took a lot of time to do, and while the current build still lacks some polish and details, we feel it is a vast improvement over what we were able to deliver before. We started this mobile project with goals of a robust offline mode, performant writing canvas, and an overall more modern and native feel. So far we believe we have achieved these goals. Our tentative plans are to release a build of the new beta later this month.

Secondly, while this was technically added in the last release, we also want to highlight our new practice pad, which is the 2.0 version of the legacy scratchpad for those familiar with it. It’s a project we fully intend to expand more in the future. If you ever wanted to show someone how to write a character or quickly or linearly review a few words, this is a great way to accomplish that. Here are a couple links to try out:
ZH (simplified): https://skritter.com/practice/zh/上,中国
ZH (traditional): https://skritter.com/practice/zh/上,中國
JA: https://skritter.com/practice/ja/好き,日本

Right now we don’t have a UI yet to help you build up the links, but the pattern goes:
https://skritter.com/practice/(language code: “zh”|“ja”)/(words or characters you want to study separated by a comma)

2.3.8 updates and improvements
We spent some time addressing some Japanese-only issues, especially around vocabulary creation, and additionally made some detailed improvements to smooth out some workflows while studying and using the site.

  • Fix Chinese character font not displaying correctly
  • JA: prevent romaji/latin-character only entries
  • JA: generally improve vocab creation and guidelines, add more examples when there is an error
  • ZH: prevent vocabulary being added without tone markers (remember to use 5 for the neutral tone!)
  • Update website reading prompts to re-focus input after completion to better allow for corrections after submission
  • Practice Pad mobile improvements and text updates
  • Fix touch events sometimes not working on some prompts on the website
  • Add more informative daily auto-add target reached popup for the website. This popup can be hidden by clicking “Don’t show again” rather than clicking continue. A less-intrusive toast-style popup will replace it.
  • Increase initial add rate of items for new users so they have more to study initially on the first day
  • Minor UI and copy updates

Future short-term goals

In our next website update, we are planning our most massive improvement to the queue review order on 2.0 we’ve ever done. Our goal at the end of next month is not just to eliminate some bugs and common complaints about the order, but to make 2.0’s review order feel better than any previous Skritter clients have.

Additionally, for both the website and the mobile betas, we will be deploying new curated graded sentences for HSK 1-3 vocab for Chinese and JLPT 5 vocab for Japanese. Here’s an example:

HSK 1: 的
old:

图书馆的书要凭借书证才能借。
圖書館的書要憑藉書證才能借。
The books in the library can only be borrowed using an identify card.

new:

这是我的书。
這是我的書。
This is my book.

HSK 3: 为/為
old:

上海被称为东方的巴黎。
上海被稱為東方的巴黎。
Shanghai is referred to as the Paris of the East.

new:

妈妈为孩子们做饭。
媽媽為孩子們做飯。
The mother made meals for the children.

JLPT 5: 一緒
old:

ご一緒したいのですが飛行機代が払えないのです。
I’d like to go with you but I can’t afford the plane fare.

new:

一緒に行きましょうか。
Shall we go together?

We’ve taken care to make sure HSK 1 words use HSK 1-level vocabulary and the HSK 3 sentences use HSK 3-level vocabulary, etc. This is an ongoing project that we plan to expand to include more vocabulary. Also, all the new curated sentences have native speaker audio :notes:

Let us know what you think, study hard, and keep skrittering!


About the Skritter 2.0 Web category
#2

#3

When you said “We took to heart a lot of recurring feedback and a few months ago decided to abandon our unified client route in order to make a new mobile-centric client that runs on iOS and Android.” did you mean you will not be using html5 for the apps or that the html will not be the same for Android and iOS due to browser differences or that you won’t be supporting the browser on the desktop? Could you please clarify?


#4

Hi, our mobile client is now a separate project. The website’s code remains the same, but future development on it will only be focused on web use cases (e.g. having an internet connection, larger screen). The only code shared between the new mobile client and the website client is some underlying business logic around stroke grading and other under the hood stuff that we want to be identical between clients. Like many modern apps, this project is a hybrid of native code and web technologies.


#5

Hi! I was just wondering if you also have a new URL for adding words to Skritter. The old one was something like:

https://skritter.com/vocab/api/add?lang=zh&word=%E6%88%91

Thanks! Mark


#6

Hey, we don’t have a new route for that, but for now you can still use the old one. Something of the form https://www.skritter.com/vocab/api/add?lang=zh&word=%E5%9B%BD&trad=%E5%9C%8B&rdng=Guo2&defn=country
The rdng, defn, and trad parameters are optional.


#7

Thanks Michael. Regarding the add api, in the case where I have traditional characters but no simplified, should I just populate the “word” query parameter with the traditional characters and omit the “trad” parameter?

Also, do you still recommend using skritter.cn from within China?


#8

I just looked through the code and did a quick test.
https://legacy.skritter.com/vocab/api/add?lang=zh&word=%E9%86%AB%E7%94%9F (醫生) seems to work. There’s some code to determine the character set. It tries to be smart about whatever you give it, and since there’s less ambiguity with traditional characters, I’d say you’re probably safe just supplying the trad version for the word parameter and it’ll give you the vocab you want.

You can try the .com website, but the great firewall has been known to cause issues because we use some Google services for data. If you encounter timeouts and problems loading data, then I’d recommend using the .cn.


#9

Thanks again. Out of interest, is there an equivalent to https://skritter.com/practice/zh/上,中国 for opening the Android app at that character?

Alternatively, you could add an intent-filter to your Android app to automatically open the Android app rather than go to the browser (when the link is clicked). This would also work when the user clicks on such a link in a web page on their Android browser.


#10

I defer to @SkritterMichael and @josh about the complexity of making this behavior work, but it actually sounds really, really awesome!

Perhaps an inclusion in v2 or v3 of the Practice Pad


#11

An intent or some sort of special link is a cool idea, but implementing it right requires some thought. On social media posts, etc. we’d have to provide another set of links, half of which would do nothing on the web (if we’re splitting trad/simp for Chinese, that’s 4 separate links!).

Currently, the web practice pad is pretty adaptive and you can use it on your mobile device of choice. We have plans to improve the practice pad’s functionality, like making an “add this vocab to my account” button. But in the future it would be nice to have some integration to the mobile app proper too so there’s not a weird split between functionality.


#12

I think there is a way to have the app open when the user clicks on your existing link.

Alternatively, it would be great if you could set up a standard intent filter (e.g. skritter:/practice/zh/你好) allowing 3rd party Android apps to open Skritter app at a specified character. For my current slow internet connection, it typically takes 20-30 seconds to open using the skritter.com practice link, so an app would presumably be faster (and potentially not require an internet connection?)?


#13

Sure, that is a good case for having it. It’s definitely something we’ll look into, but I wouldn’t count on it landing in the next release.


#14

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