Android app store options

(Andrew Manning) #1

First off, kudos to all the Discourse developers and the community that supports it! For years I have participated in Discourse-powered forums, primarily in the FOSS communities, and recently I started a Discourse server of my own for my local neighborhood to supplement our Yahoo Groups email listserv system ( see how diplomatic I was there? :wink: ). I continue to discover features like hidden gems as I explore it from an admin perspective. But on to my topic:

I am in the tiny minority of people who use Android without Google services, and unless things have changed since this post, I understand there will not be an F-droid app option. However, are there any plans to release the app on the Amazon app store in addition to the Google Play store? I don’t know how much additional work that takes, but I’m sure people like me would appreciate it.

Is Discourse App Available on F-Droid?
(Joshua Rosenfeld) #2

The latest release of the app can be found on GitHub. Users without access to Google services can install the APK manually.

DiscourseMobile/releases at master · discourse/DiscourseMobile · GitHub

(Andrew Manning) #3

Thanks for the link and swift response! Unfortunately after I added my Discourse site, I got the error message about requiring Google Chrome stable. I believe that is only available through the Google Play store, so I suppose I’m out of luck for now. It’s not a deal breaker for me, because the mobile web interface is so great on Firefox that, when combined with the email notifications, I have the functionality I need on my Android phone.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #4

You can download the Chrome APK from many sites on the internet. Here’s one: Chrome Browser APKs - APKMirror

Sidenote: I have no idea if other Google services are required for Chrome to work, but that’s the full APK.

(Andrew Manning) #5

I’ll have to check that out, thanks. This brings up another question for me: is this dependence on the Chrome app technically equivalent to using that browser to access the Discourse site via the web interface? Some people like me deliberately choose not to use Google software because we do not trust the software to keep data private and not share information with Google, including our Discourse site credentials and site data. I noticed for example in a recent version of Google Chrome, buried in the preferences was a setting that by default sent all your passwords to Google. You could ostensibly disable this, and maybe it doesn’t send the information if you are not “signed in”, but only the most naive at this point think Google products are trustworthy in terms of respecting privacy. You shouldn’t have to dance around checking every nook and cranny of settings after every update to ensure all your “opt-out” settings weren’t “reset” or whatever.

In this sense I suppose it is best not to offer the Discourse Android app any other way than the Google Play store as long as it requires Google Chrome, because then those choosing to install it have already chosen to trust Google and there is no risk of someone being inadvertently misled.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #6

Yes. The “app” only handles notifications - opening a site via the app simply loads the site via Google Chrome. You’d need to fork and modify the app to remove this reliance - and then have a different browser on your device to display the site.

(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #7

For you, using Firefox + Add to Homescreen (avaliable in latest Firefox) + push notifications plugin will give the better Google-free experience.

(Stephen Chung) #8

If it is any consolation at all… You are actually not that much of a minority, or even the majority. Many Android users are in China, and they have to live with no Google services, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Dropbox, no nothing. No Chrome for example.

(Andrew Manning) #9

Thanks for the tip, @Falco. I installed the push notification plugin and found the buttons necessary to enable it.

Reading more about push notifications led me to discover this from Mozilla support page:

Firefox for Android uses a combination of the Mozilla Web Push service and Google’s Cloud Messaging platform to deliver notifications to Firefox for Android.

Ha! I may research this more at some point but sometimes you have to know when to move on…

@schungx: no, that is no consolation at all, for many reasons. But I would prefer to keep the discussion focused on the technical questions if you don’t mind.