iOS 3.0 released


#1

Rocket.Chat is proud to announce a new release of its iOS native application, version 3 now. This update has been in the pipeline for a few months already so we are looking forward to hearing what you think!

Highlights include:

  • New UI;
  • New Onboarding Experience;
  • Themes;
  • Sorting & Grouping;
  • New connection status, not intrusive;
  • Manage members from a channel;
  • Bug fixes;

A major redesign of user experience

We completely redesigned the experience users have when they open the iOS application. Now, the first thing users see is the list of chats sorted by activity (more on that later), meaning that access to all the information is easier than ever! To open a new chat, simply tap on it on the list.

If you’re a Server Administrator, please make sure you’ve the setting “Store Last Message” in your server enabled. You can find it under Administration -> General -> Store Last Message.

New iPad experience

Now on the iPad you can see the whole list of conversations at the same time you talk to your colleagues and you can also use the iPad in multitask envorionment with a delicious experience!

Offline usage

Having a reliable internet connection will always give users the best experience using the app, but we know that this is not always possible and sometimes the app is needed on the airplane or in-between very unstable connections.

We believe user experience should not be affected by this, so we changed the way the app handles internet connectivity. Now, when the app is waiting for a connection, users will see a small text on the title of the view indicating the current connection status; and users will still be able to navigate in the app and send messages while offline.

If a user was connected and received a message just before losing their connection, they will now be able to read the entire message when they enter the room. We believe this change will provide a smoother experience for users on a daily basis.

Quick Actions

If you’ve a device with 3D touch support, now you from the icon of the app you jump straight to the server or conversation you want to go in much faster!

Theming

Now users can choose between light, dark and black themes. This project was developed by Samar Sunkaria as part of a GSoC 2018 project.

This set of themes was chosen to optimize the look and feel of Rocket.Chat on iPhone and iPad, especially the black theme for the iPhone X. Samar will continue to work on more themes, more improvements on the app and a few integrations between the mobile apps and the server.

User Details screen

Users can view all user details: timezone, roles, name, status and more! Users can even start a new conversation with others by pressing the “Message” button below the avatar.

Sorting & Grouping

With all these layout changes, we thought we had to include the option for users to sort the list by activity or alphabetically, and to group it by type. Users can also group favorites and unread chats will always come first at the top of the list.

We believe that the best default experience on mobile is to remove any grouping and to instead sort by activity, but the choice is yours now!

Statistics

  • Pull Requests: 152
  • Issues Closed: 80
  • Commits: 1.183
  • Files Changed: 728
  • Inserted lines: +20,610
  • Removed lines: −7,895

Contributors

Thank you all for helping us on this release! :tada:

More information

You can see more information about the release here or the in our blog post.

Also, you can download the app here.

:star: Please, if you enjoyed the update, leave us a positive review in App Store!


#2

Congratulations for the update. But frankly speaking, I’m less than thrilled with the new UI. I know this is a .0 release, but these are my issues:

UI of Channel list - new vs- not new

It’s really hard to tell wether there is a new posting in a channel or not. Yes, its bold - but barely visible:

One of these channels contains new messages. But which one? Hint: it’s #offtopic. The indicator of new messages needs to be way more “in your face”.

UI of channel list - channel icons

I disabled the channel icons on my chatserver, for they bear no additional meaning and just clutter the user interface with colour and form. So: how do I get rid of those in the new iOS client:

A user/server-settings option would be perfect, I guess.

UI of Channel list - compact view

We have more than 30 channels in our chat. With the new UI I can see only 8 of them on one page - there is lots and lots of negative space. Please give us an option for a “condensed” channel list view, just like in the desktop app.

UI of Channel list - consistency to webview and desktop

The color settings for the sidebar on the new channel-list ignore the ones I’ve set server-wide for the webview and the desktop app. Why? I like the “dark sidebar, white content” view very much. The new themes are “all white” vs. “all dark”. Please consider an option to take over the colors I’ve set server-wide.

UI of Channel list - sort by activity

I like the new options for grouping and sorting the channel list, good job. But there seems to be a bug in the “sort by activity” view - channels with the newest postings appear on the bottom on the list, it should be on the top? This might be a server issue, though - we’re running 0.64.2

UI of messages - swipe gesture

As I already pointed out here, the swipe gesture to get back to the channel list from a channel is not in line with iOS UI standards. Right now, it’s like this:

with a tiny small swipe-area on the user icons. On iOS, it should be like this:

With the hole message-area as a swipe-left target.

UI of compose message window

take a look at this:

there is a spelling-suggestion for the word “broken” underneath that cant the reached (the barely seable bubble).

Conclusion

Again, thank you very much for your awesome work. I know you invested lot’s of time in this release, so this might feel like a letdown. I figure most of the issues I pointed out could be fixed with option settings, so your vision on “how it should be” stays alive, but power-users like me and my team can have a more “pro” setting for everyday (hour, minute) usage where every gesture and (touch)click counts.


Improving the onboarding of new servers into the ecosystem of mobile clients
#3

I can see your frustration on this and I wrote few words about my frustration also here. Basically, having the setting Store_Last_Message disabled by default is a huge mistake for the new ecosystem of Rocket.Chat and should be enabled by everyone. Please enable that and you’ll be able to see the list with the last message text, the unread indicator (on the date for channels, because there’s no way for the clients to know how many messages are unread in groups/channels today) and the sorting will make much more sense to you.

Thanks for pointing that, I just created an issue for that and we’ll figure out how to deal with it.

You’re suggesting that one view stays dark and one stays light? We tried this options and it really doesn’t feel right in mobile, because you’ll only see one content instead of two at the same time (like on the web).

Please, see my comment about the Store_Last_Message, enabling it will change your life forever.

Great suggestions here! Just added one issue about that: https://github.com/RocketChat/Rocket.Chat.iOS/issues/2007.

Thanks, also created a new issue for that: https://github.com/RocketChat/Rocket.Chat.iOS/issues/2008.

I appreciate your honest feedback with all these screenshots and good ideas. Please, enable the setting Store_Last_Message in your server and try again, you’ll have a whole new experience with the app.

To enable it, just go do Administration -> General -> Store Last Message (turn it on). After that, all new conversations are going to start appearing different on the app.


#4

Heavens. I already figured something like this, given your screenshots looked entirely different from mine :-). I already blamed my not-up-to-date server.

Hence this setting is so important for the look and feel of the client - maybe you should add a notice in the release-notes? Especially considering the fact that the settings dialog itself gives no information at all what this switch does:

which reads (in German): “store last message. Store every last message”.
Where? For what purpose? What will change if I do/do not?

And thanks again for the fast response and the GitHub issues. You guys rock.


#5

I’m glad you figured! Great feedback, will add that to the release notes, blog posts and everything else :smile: