Today I’m pleased to announce the release of TouchSearch version 3.1. This is the first major release of TouchSearch in the past six months and brings with it all the shiny new features I’ve been working on.
First and foremost, everything you love about TouchSearch v2.2 is the same in TouchSearch 3.1, and everything you didn’t like about 2.2 is better in 3.1. Well, maybe that is a little ambitious. However, 3.1 will open your eyes to all the things you never realized you wanted that were missing in 2.2.
Let’s start out with the changes:
A new search engine format
Okay, maybe not the flashiest new feature, but the most improved part of 3.1 is the stuff you don’t see (really?). Yes, really. The new search engine format is vastly superior to the one in 2.2. For starters, each search engine is self-contained, meaning that the format allows the addition of a whole ton of new functionality (like downloading additional search engines, I will be talking about this later). Additionally, search engines are installed to /opt/ now, so no room will be taken up on the rootfs (in fact almost all of TouchSearch now installs to opt)). The new format now makes more advanced error handling possible as well… which brings me to my next improvement.
Better error handling
Version 2.2 of TouchSearch was pretty finicky, if I say so myself. If the wind blew the wrong way (meaning, maybe, you inputted a search engine incorrectly) it would crash. And crash badly. With big ugly black boxes — eek! Thankfully, those days are gone. TouchSearch v3 handles any problems with search engines gracefully — I haven’t found a way to crash it yet, but problems never do show up for me… anyway, it should be much smoother sailing for all of you.
Support searching different language versions of websites
This is probably the biggest improvement over TouchSearch v2.2 for non-US English speaking people: the ability to choose whether to search Google.com or Google.de, en.wikipedia.org or ca.wikipedia.org, amazon.com or amazon.fr, or any number of other countries/languages. This was another major reason for updating the search engine format.
Support for downloading additional search engines as Addons
TouchSearch v3 supports the installation of search engines as addons via this page at touchsearch.org. This gives you the ability to easily add any engines available there, and I add new ones all the time!
Enhanced search interface
I’ve been trying to make searching the web really easy. At first, you needed to switch search engines via a desktop button (the “plus” button). I thought that maybe people needed an easier way, so I made the QuickBar. Now I’ve one-upped myself and introduce the new “Enhanced” mode for the search dialog. Now you can select a few of your favorite websites and have them always appear in the search dialog. See below:
If you are lazy like me, you are going to love this. Trust me.
Improved “Add search engine” interface
The old interface was confusing. It confused me and I made it (I’m guessing most people’s reaction was something like… what the heck is “Query?!?”). Thankfully, the interface is much simplified and, hopefully, much improved. I did have to indulge myself and add one feature to it, though. Now you can have TouchSearch automatically create an icon for the new search engine based on the name. I got tired of having to create icons for my custom search engines, and thought maybe you did to.
All the other things I won’t mention
Of course, there were a boatload of little bugs that were fixed and minor improvements that were made, but I won’t mention them here. I’ll leave it up to you to try to find them (or you can read the update changelog, one or the other…).
Now you are probably wondering, “How can I install this update?”. Well, I just uploaded it to extras-devel and even more recently promoted it to extras-testing. The testing page is here.
Meaning, if you want to get your hands dirty and jump right in and test this new version, it’s ready to install from -testing. If you’d rather wait for a stable version to hit you local Extras repository, that’s cool too (it’ll be a little while, though; testing is 10 days at the minimum).
If you do test it out, please vote and leave feedback for it on its testing page. Thanks.
Here are some useful links for TouchSearch 3:
- Homepage: http://www.touchsearch.org/
- Testing page: http://maemo.org/packages/package_instance/view/fremantle_extras-testing_free_armel/touchsearch/3.1-1/
- Screenshots of new version: http://www.touchsearch.org/screenshots/
- Addons page: http://www.touchsearch.org/addons/
- Help/FAQ: http://www.touchsearch.org/help/
- Donate page: http://www.touchsearch.org/donate/
- Help on adding search engines: http://www.touchsearch.org/help/adding-custom-search-engines/