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Android: last "back" should minimize to cover instead of "closing" Android runtime

asked 2014-03-14 21:30:54 +0300

tokaru gravatar image

updated 2014-07-18 15:33:16 +0300

When on the first view of the Android session and tapping the back button once more, the Android runtime closes and its cover disappears. It is obviously still running in the background, at least previously openend apps are still open when starting it again.

IMHO it would be preferable to minimize Android runtime to show its cover when hitting "back" on the first view. It would be more intuitive with regards to Android usage patterns (being able to restore the app from a list of open apps) as well as to Sailfish's navigation concept (where closing a native app is always done with a dedicated gesture).

Since the handling of Android app covers has been changed with version, the problem still exists, but an intuitive solution is just a single step away. With Android apps handling now having a nearly native feeling, we could simply do one of the following to make this consistent:

  • Minimize to cover instead of closing the app (my preferred solution)
  • Hide back button when there is no previous page to navigate to (not sure whether this is feasible)
  • Replace back icon with close icon (X) when there is no previous page to navigate to (not sure whether this is feasible)
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Thanks for pointing this out, maybe this is even a duplicate, but I don't know the implementation so I cannot judge this.

tokaru ( 2014-03-14 22:00:11 +0300 )edit

I'm voting yes. I don't know how many times I closed the android layer by accident and in confusion because I'm not counting how many times I pressed "back". It's very much related to the link from @ovekaaven, if the implementation allows better management and overview of the android apps. And the android apps should be closed when we actually want to close it, instead of running in the background.

spacenewt ( 2014-03-14 23:36:39 +0300 )edit

If on Android you press the back button too often, you also move the app into the background – without any warning – and end up on the Android home screen. The same you see on Sailfish: The Sailfish home screen. So current implementation is consistent with the OS being mimicked. (What do you expect to see in the cover once the last Android app has been "closed"? An Android home screen?)

I would regard it as a fault of Android, that closing an app does not close it but just pushes it into the background, where eventually it is closed by the OS when the resources are needed by other apps. Alien Dalvik should not change the Android behavior just because Sailfish behaves more sensible.

PS: I am tempted to put this into an Answer instead of a comment ...

jgr ( 2014-03-15 00:57:01 +0300 )edit

@jgr, I think it is an answer, maybe not a fix, but an answer to why it works this way.

spacenewt ( 2014-03-15 01:18:47 +0300 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2014-07-18 16:47:27 +0300

00prometheus gravatar image

updated 2014-07-22 22:33:46 +0300

My answer is to integrate Android apps to be as Sailfish-like as possible. I am mostly agreeing with the OP, just presenting the suggestion unambigously and perhaps a bit more clearly.

I see no reason to keep the broken Android style (app is pushed to background, paused, and allowed to die at some random moment). Instead let's Sailfishify it properly!

  1. Back button acts as back button within app
  2. Swipe from side pushes to background, but app is never killed. It continues to run normally.
  3. Swipe from top kills app unconditionally
  4. Long press on app card allows it to be killed unconditionally
  5. Back button at top level does nothing!

We have dedicated Sailfish methods to close an app and to push it to background, so there is no reason to bring in methods from the Android world to do those operations. At top level, there is nothing to go back to, so the back-button is simply greyed out (or made into a circle, or something). The back button just becomes an in-app button to do a back-operation, but it has no special system meaning.

EDIT: I edited point 5 from the back-button pushing to background into the current suggestion when I fully realized how to Sailfishify Android apps. This way it becomes perfectly simple, with all apps working the same way (the Sailfish way), and no Android influences at all on how to manipulate apps.

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answered 2014-04-08 21:16:41 +0300

SaimenSays gravatar image

updated 2014-04-08 21:22:59 +0300

Here comes my porposal how to solve it. I will write it as answer, so you are able to vote.

There should be displayed a close butten (e.g "X") instead of back button if base window of android app is reached. So user is informed about what will be done on next press. He can decide to close or use swipe gesture to put it in background only.

Motivation: Some android apps do not handle Back button consistently. They stay in main window, also displaying not home screen. So for me it often hapens, that I press back and close the app unwanted. Because android and sailfish have different functional concepts it won't be possible to solve all conventions.

Edit: Don't know in which states the other apps are if back button is pressed and VM is closed? Maybe a compete rework of VM behaviour is needed...

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Asked: 2014-03-14 21:30:54 +0300

Seen: 1,125 times

Last updated: Jul 22 '14