#apeappslauncher

Posts and pages on Ape Apps tagged with #apeappslauncher
I mentioned before that changes were on the way for the Ape Apps Launcher, and today the online beta is available so that you can check out what those changes are.

Ape Apps Launcher v2.0.0 is going to be released for both Desktop (as it is today) and as an installable Progressive Web App. Behind the scenes though, both editions of the Launcher are going to be based on the Progressive Web App code, which means that I will be able to make updates to the Launcher without having to rebuild and upload binaries for the actual Desktop host applications.

To check out the beta and keep up on the progress, head here:

https://www.apewebapps.com/launcher.html

The Launcher is not yet installable as a PWA, but it will be soon. This URL will be the permanent home of the Ape Apps Launcher going forward.

In addition to the standard Launcher, I am developing another launcher called Ape Web Apps TV Mode. This is designed to be used with a gamepad and on devices that are connected to a television, such as an entertainment P, an Android TV/Fire TV device or through a console web browser. Ape Web Apps TV Mode is still a ways off, but it will give you quick and easy to control access to every Ape Apps that offers full gamepad support. It is sort of like the Ape Apps Launcher version of Steam Big Picture mode. You can see the early development work here, just make sure you have a gamepad set up.

https://www.apewebapps.com/tv.html

That is all for today. I am a bit stalled on My Colony 2 updates until I can get the new version of the Launcher finished, because there is some new code coming to the next My Colony 2 release that will break the current version of the Ape Apps Launcher, so I need to get the new one done ASAP. So I hope to get the native desktop edition of the new launcher done next week some time.

Until then, enjoy!

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
5d ago
A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I was considering discontinuing the Ape Apps Launcher and most of my native desktop applications in favor of directing users towards the Progressive Web App (PWA) edition of my apps and games.

The Ape Apps Launcher was first released in early 2018 using Electron, and was initially created because there were a lot of capabilities required by my apps that I was just not able to deliver through the web browser. In the last 3 1/2 years though, a lot has changed. Both Microsoft and Google have gone all-in on PWA's, and between the two of them, they make PWA's installable, offline capable, with almost the entire native all feature set on nearly every platform. Because of this, it no longer makes sense to put in all of the hours and effort required to maintain the Ape Apps Launcher and the native Desktop host platform, when their entire purpose is now integrated natively into every major platform.

That said, the Launcher does offer a few things not found on my website, and also provides a nice place to access everything Ape Apps from one single desktop application. I do recognize how handy it can be for some people, so going forward I plan to "sort of" keep the launcher going, but with a bit of a twist.

The Ape Apps Launcher itself is going to become a Progressive Web App, which you will be able to install on any device, even mobile. I will still maintain the native download edition of the application, but it will basically be a wrapper for the PWA. This will allow me to continue providing the capabilities of the launcher, but without having to maintain the separate Web App Core codebase for Electron. It also means I will be able to make updates to the Launcher itself without having to upload new binaries whenever I want to publish a change.

Similar to the new PWA launcher, I will also be releasing another PWA called Ape Web Apps TV Mode, which is sort of like the launcher except built with a 10 foot interface and can be controlled entirely using a gamepad. This is designed for computers connected to a TV (like home theater PC's) and gives a console-like interface and access to all of your Ape Apps games and applications. You will even be able to use the Ape Web Apps TV Mode launcher on gaming devices like the Xbox One/Series S/X, which will be getting the new Chromium based Edge soon, along with full PWA capabilities, or on Android TV devices. Below is an early-build screenshot of the TV Mode launcher.


You can think of the TV mode launcher as basically an Ape Apps gaming console that runs as an app within existing devices/consoles, and should give you access to the entire Ape Apps library on any television (you can also just use it on a PC or Phone if you have a bluetooth gamepad connected and prefer the interface).

So that it was is in store for the Launcher. There will not be any more work going in to the current Electron build of the application, as I move all important code directly to my server. If you are currently using the Ape Apps Launcher, it will automatically be upgraded to the new PWA-hosted edition once it is ready, so there is nothing you need to do. And I will make a separate post/announcement when the TV launcher is complete and ready for use.

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
1mo ago
The title says it all, I am considering discontinuing development on the Ape Apps Launcher.

I originally created the launcher in order to fill in the missing capabilities that were not available to my apps on Ape Web Apps when run from within a browser. Since then though, the situation has changed considerably. Every app on Ape Web Apps is now fully and easily installable as a Progressive Web App (PWA) on Windows, Linux, MacOS, and even Android through either Chrome or Edge. Once installed, the apps all have native file system access for saving, and can even automatically launch by double-clicking on their associated file types (such as .vpp files) when the #file-handling-api feature is enabled in about://flags (soon to be enabled as standard). Installed PWA's also work without a live internet connection.

The only real remaining benefit on the Launcher is the system try access to friends notifications, but I do not think that by itself is enough of a reason to continue to develop the thing, and I do have an idea to replace that as well.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of work required to maintain the Ape Apps Launcher, and at the end of the day it only has about 300 active users during a given week. In addition, both Windows and macOS give out security warnings and require users to jump through extra hoops just to run the thing after downloading, since I am not paying for a signing certificate for the thing.

At the end of the day, Web Apps are becoming far more capable, and I think that the Launcher is largely obsolete at this point. My proposal is to discontinue the product, and in its place, offer a small Ape Apps browser extension for both Chrome and Edge that will help fill in the last remaining pieces, such as friends list management/notifications, account management, etc.

So anyway, I wanted to through the idea out there to make sure there wasn't going to be a public outcry over the loss of the Launcher. If everybody really loves it, then I can keep it around. But it does save me a ton of time to not have to keep the Launcher up to date, and I think installed web apps are the way of the future anyway. Basically, it's the same thing that the Launcher does anyway, and as I mentioned earlier, I think I can close the remaining functionality gap with a simple browser extension.

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
1mo ago
Ape Apps have been available on the Windows Store since all the way back when Windows Phone 7 first came out back in 2010, and indeed pretty much the entire Ape Apps catalog is available to download from the Windows Store. That said, if you are a Windows 10 user, I would suggest that the Windows Store versions of my apps are your worst option, and would instead suggest three superior alternatives.


The Windows Store editions of my apps are written using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). The promise of Microsoft's UWP platform was that you could write an app once and it would work on Desktop, Phones, and Xbox. First Microsoft ditched the phone. Then they ditched their ad network, so you could no longer monetize free apps. Finally, the platform has been pretty stagnate over the last few years, with updates and improvements virtually non-existent.

The biggest issue with UWP for me is the WebView, since the vast majority of my apps utilize it. UWP's WebView is still based on the now depreciated non-Chromium based Edge, which hasn't been updated in years and no longer conforms to the latest web technologies and standards. There is evidently a chromium based WebView coming soon, although for Desktop Win32 apps. According to Microsoft's published roadmap, the timeline for this new WebView to hit UWP is "Planned for a future update," aka maybe never.

I do still publish software to the Windows Store, only because it offers reasonable discoverability and payment processing, but it is getting harder and harder to enable feature parity between my Windows Store apps and those found on other platforms. Well not just harder, it's actually impossible at this point. For these reasons and more, I do not actually recommend that anybody download or install my software from the Windows Store, or if you found one of my apps through the Store, please consider migrating over to one of the following superior options.

#1 - Install the Progressive Web App

On a desktop computer, whether it's Windows, Mac, or Linux, the Progressive Web App (PWA) editions of my applications from Ape Web Apps are now, in my extremely informed opinion, the #1 way to enjoy any Ape Apps game or application. I am even leaning towards it being the best solution for mobile (both Android and iOS) as well. The only exception to this is my app PDF Document Scanner, since web apps still cannot directly access hardware image scanners. Other than that, I do not have a single app on the Windows Store that is better than it's counterpart on Ape Web Apps.

If you don't care about other options and want the best experience, just close the article now and go install one of the PWA's.

I personally use the Progressive Web App editions of all of my apps on both my desktop and my smartphone. I don't even mess with the app stores except for publishing. The lone holdout for me had been local filesystem access, and now that it's fully implemented on both Chrome and the chromium based Edge, I have virtually no reason to install native clients on any of my devices. The best part is if that issues arise, I can publish updates instantly without having to wait for app store approvals or possible rejections. The PWA editions of my apps are always automatically up to date, can work offline, always get feature and bug fix updates first, and are never subject to app store rejection or approval wait times. They also take up the least amount of space on your device, and install just like a normal app with their own window and icon.

The bottom line - if you are using a native version of any of my apps on any platform, but especially on Windows 10, I suggest checking out it's PWA counterpart on Ape Web Apps, and especially try installing it to your homescreen/desktop. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

#2 - Get the Ape Apps Launcher

The Ape Apps Launcher is a desktop application that gives you access to the entire Ape Apps software catalog with a single download. It's free, frequently updated, and it works great on Windows, Mac, and Linux.


The best part is, similar to the PWA, the Ape Apps Launcher automatically keeps all of your games and apps up to date. It also serves as a hub to all Ape Apps services and gives you notifications (optional) when your friends are online or playing games. And if you are a hold over from PDF Document Scanner on the Windows store, the launcher can do image scanning with an optional plugin, too.

#3 - Native Desktop Client via the Ape Market

If the options above do not fit for you, a handful of my apps also have native desktop clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux available from the Ape Market. These are functionally similar to their Ape Apps Launcher counterparts, the difference being that their data is bundled with the download package, whereas the Launcher downloads and updates applications on the fly. You can think of the desktop client as a stable release that you do not have to update if you do not want to (although they also support auto-updating), whereas the Launcher will update everything for you automatically.

Conclusion

Regardless of which path above you choose, one thing I cannot stress enough as that the Windows Store UWP editions of my apps are your worst option and should probably be avoided. They are principally there to attract new users through Store discovery. It's sad for me to say, because I initially really likes the Universal Windows Platform and where they were going with it, until they started abandoning it a little bit at a time.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you've made a purchase or a premium upgrade to any of my Windows Store apps, that purchase will be honored for the same app on all of the above alternative options. All you have to do is log in to the Windows Store version with your Ape Apps account at least once in order to activate your premium license. The same applies if you are using one of the mobile app store editions and which to migrate over to the superior PWA...

#apeappslauncher #pdfdocumentscanner
bastecklein
4mo ago
As mentioned before in this thread, double-clicking on the Ape Apps Launcher file in the downloaded package will sometimes result in the following error on certain Linux distributions:


If you are interested in the technical reasons this is happening, you can look here, but this thread will give you instructions on how to easily get the Launcher up and running on Ubuntu or any other distribution.

First, right-click on the 'Ape Apps Launcher' file and select Properties. On the Permissions tab, select 'Allow executing file as program.'


Next, open a terminal window at the location of your Ape Apps launcher file, and launch it the standard way using the following command:
./'Ape Apps Launcher'
Finally, to make things easier in the future, once the launcher is open, click on the Settings icon, and then click on the 'Create Entry' button under the Launcher Shortcut section.


This will add an Ape Apps Launcher icon to your activities screen/programs menu etc (depending on desktop environment used). You can then pin it to your dock of choice if you like or launch it just like any other application on your system. From this point on, the launcher will be ready to go and will auto-update itself when needed, so you never have to worry about the above steps again (until you reinstall your system, of course).

I realize it's a bit of a pain, but I think us Linux users are used to that, and it's really just a one-time thing.

Anyway, I hope this information is helpful, and if you don't have the launcher on your Linux system yet, you can get it from the link below. It is available for both x64 and ARM processors (such as Raspberry Pi devices):

https://market.ape-apps.com/ape-apps-launcher.html

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
5mo ago
Ape Apps Launcher v1.6.3 is now available for all platforms and includes continued improvements to the platform. This thread takes a look at some of the new features added to a launcher, and a glimpse at what's to come.

Firstly, the context menu for your installed apps has been revamped. Now when you right-click on one of your installed apps, you have new options available, including a shortcut to all of your apps saved data. On Windows, you can add a launcher shortcut to the desktop or start menu, and on Linux you can now create application launchers for your individual apps which should work in Gnome, KDE, XFCE, and probably others.


New settings have also been added to the Windows and Linux clients to better tie the launcher in with your operating system. You might remember a few months ago that changes were made to the Launcher and other Ape Apps desktop applications that removed the self-installer package which automatically created desktop and start menu links for the launcher. Now if you go into settings, you can manually recreate those links.


Windows users also have the option to automatically start the Ape Apps Launcher in minimized-to-tray mode when booting their PC.

Deleting an app from the launcher now gives you an additional option to clean up all app saved data from your PC.

Other changes are going to be coming to the Launcher in the months ahead, leading up to the important release of My Colony 2. When you are logged in to your Ape Apps Account, instead of being taken to the all-available apps listing screen, there will be a new personalized home screen giving you information about your entire Ape Apps account and let you see what games your friends are currently playing, with one-click join game access on supported games (such as the upcoming My Colony 2, and current multiplayer games like Epic Advanture, Colony Wars, and Death 3d).

Another feature that will be making it's way to the Launcher is the ability to view live streams. Several Ape Apps games include streaming capabilities, such as My Colony, Antiquitas, Gone Rogue, and Hell and Back, but it is difficult to know who is streaming and when. A new streaming section will be added to the Launcher showing all players who are currently live-streaming their gameplay (unless they opt out of public listing). Players will also have the option to customize their streaming channel and even add a PayPal or Bitcoin address so that people can "tip" their stream (Ape Apps will not be a "middle man" or take a cut from any tips, it will be direct from user to user).

The Launcher is also getting a new TV mode with gamepad support. Many Ape Apps games already support gamepad, but the launcher itself does not. This mode is intended for users who have PC's hooked up to their TV, so that they can easily play games like My Colony (and MC2) on the big screen. Along with the new Launcher support for Linux on ARM, this can also be used with Raspberry Pi devices. I am also looking at adding a way to link local video folders to the launcher so that you can easily view and play your personal movie collection while in TV mode. This is a feature that I personally want, which is the main reason for it's development... 🙂

Anyway, those are the plans for now. Users for the Ape Apps Launcher have probably noticed an increase in update frequency over the last few weeks, and this is probably going to continue as the Launcher continues to improve and serve as the best way to enjoy Ape Apps software on your desktop. You can find download links for Windows, Mac, and Linux below:

https://market.ape-apps.com/ape-apps-launcher.html

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
5mo ago
For several months, the Ape Apps Launcher for Windows has contained a setting called RAW/Text printing, which I have never bothered to explain to anybody. Today I have put together a video demonstration about what it is and how it works.

Basically, the RAW/Text printer option of the Ape Apps Launcher allows you to print to old (or new) impact or dot matrix type printers. It should also work for point of sale or receipt printers as well. Using the additional Resource Sharing option on the launcher, you can also print to these printers over WiFi using an Android or iOS device. It's just another neat little feature available in the launcher. Check out the above video for a full demonstration.

#apeappslauncher
bastecklein
2y ago

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Welcome
Ape Apps, LLC is an independent software development company founded in 2010 by Brandon Stecklein. Over the years, Ape Apps has published over 400 apps and games across various platforms. You can get in touch with Brandon on Twitter or by leaving a post on his wall @bastecklein
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