New Desktop App

A New Desktop App Is Coming

We are releasing a new version of the Desktop App which will replace the current one for the Google Chrome Browser (Chrome App). The reason is a discontinued support for Chrome Apps on Windows and MacOS (see below). So please go to https://photosynq.org/software to check out the new Desktop App. If you have any issues, please let us know and write to support@photosynq.org.

What’s New

First and foremost we tried to make the new app work in the same way as the old one, so you can immediately feel comfortable using it. Further, we have fixed issues, improved the workflow, added compatibility and better support with the latest Firmware and added some new features.

The new Desktop App on Windows and MacOS
The new Desktop App on Windows (right) and MacOS (left)

General

  • QR codes and barcodes can now be scanned with a webcam to answer questions
  • More and better keyboard shortcut support
  • Drag ‘n drop for images
  • Images can be previewed inside the app
  • More native look and feel depending on the OS you are using
  • Faster search inside the app
  • Instrument Settings available through the app
  • The instrument console has been moved to a separate window
  • Instead of tags, measurements in the notebook are now sorted by name and experiment

Protocol Editor

  • Ctrl/Cmd+Space will bring up Commands and Hardware configurations in the Protocol Editor (advanced view)
  • Code folding and code can be displayed more compact
  • Hover over commands to get a description of their function
  • Search and replace, search hits are highlighted along the scrollbar

Macro Editor

  • The Macro Editor supports protocol sets introduced with the last firmware update (1.23 or later)
  • Code folding
  • Non linear fit for exponential decay
  • New functions to access parameters in protocol sets
  • Search and replace, search hits are highlighted along the scrollbar

Installation & Updates

  • An executable one click installer for Windows
  • Drag ‘n drop installation from a disk image on MacOS
  • Updates will be automatically downloaded and installed

What will Change

There are only minor changes for you as a user. Instead of the Chrome Store, now you have to download the new Desktop App from our website (https://photosynq.org/software). Updates are downloaded automatically and you only have to confirm installing the update.

Making the Transition

The transition to the new app will be easy. After you installed the app, just sign in with your PhotosynQ account and all your Projects, Protocols and Macros will be synchronized. No need to do anything else. In case you have measurements saved in your Notebook, you can transfer them following these steps:

  1. Open your old app and select the Notebook from the side bar.
  2. Select all the measurements you want to keep and select Export from the Action menu.
  3. Open the new app and select File->Import Notebook… from the menu.
  4. Select the file you just exported and click on open to import all measurements.
  5. And… you are done!

Windows, Mac and Linux Support

Windows

If you are using Windows, you just download the app and execute the installer. It will automatically install the app and add a shortcut to your desktop. Updates will be automatically downloaded and installed. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, you have to download and run the Windows serial installer to connect an instrument, if you haven’t already done it.

Mac

If you are using a Mac, just download the app, open the disk image and drag ‘n drop the app into your applications folder. Updates will be automatically downloaded and installed.

Linux

The Linux version is currently at an early developing stage. If you are interested in helping us by testing the app, please drop us a line (support@photosynq.org). Due to the framework we are only providing installers for Debian based distributions like Ubuntu.

TL;DR

The great features of Chrome Apps were amongst others, their small size (about 3mb), the easy way of installing them, the sandbox they were running in and the automatic updates and push notifications.

So, why exactly do we abandon the existing app?

A while ago, Google announced, that Chrome Apps in their current form will be discontinued by mid 2018 for Windows, MacOS and Linux and will only kept for ChromeOS. Nevertheless, Chrome extensions will remain available. Those are pretty similar to apps, yet they have one big issue, they don’t have all the APIs available that we need and as a consequence don’t allow communication with serial devices. This means, that we will no longer be able to use Google Chrome apps / extensions to take measurements with PhotosynQ instruments like the MultispeQ.
As a consequence, we started to build a new app that is not depending on the Google Chrome Browser infrastructure any more. We are using the popular Electron Framework that is used by apps like Atom, Slack, WordPress, Skype or Visual Studio Code and allows to build cross platform applications using HTML and JavaScript as well as Node.js packages.

If you have questions or need support, please check our forum or send us an email to support@photosynq.org.

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