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OverBoard and ProSwitcher for iPhone updated: more activation methods [Impressions]

proswitcher and overboard update

The jailbreak apps Pro Switcher (free Palm Pre styled task switcher) and OverBoard ($1.99 iPhone Exposé) both received minor updates recently, but because of the lack of any version history, you’d be hard pressed to find out what exactly has changed. That’s alright, though, because I’ve written this post to share some of the team’s impressions of the changes we did discover.

First of all, you might want to add the Cydia source (tutorial here) “http://booleanmagic.com/repo” to your Sources list to make sure you’re pulling in the latest and greatest Petrich updates. The biggest changes this time around seem to center around more activation methods and the return of a Pro Switcher I had really been missing.

Pro Switcher-specific changes
The returning feature is the toggle to ignore default iPhone apps inside of Pro Switcher. This means that only non-native backgrounded apps will show up as cards, and this suits me just fine, because I keep the dock displayed at all times, and I can see all of the default apps there.
There are a few other little changes that were recently added to the mix, but it takes a little bit of trial and error to find out what they are. The toggle marked “Empty Tap to Close” simply means that you can tap anywhere on the screen to close Pro Switcher when there are no applications running (you’d have to press the Home button otherwise). The “Empty Style” list should affect the screen the comes up when nothing is running, but making changes to this area doesn’t seem to do anything.
The biggest puzzle, however, is the Become Home Screen -> Background option, which resides right at the top of the Pro Switcher settings. The three options within this dialogue are enabled, disabled, and background. The first two are self explanatory, but I’m still not sure what “background” means – it still looks like “enabled” to me.

New Activation Methods
Here’s the really cool part, which affects both OverBoard and Pro Switcher. Both apps already feature a number of different activation methods (home/sleep button, status bar, springboard pinch, etc.), but these newest methods might well be the coolest yet. The new options have to do with the volume buttons, the accelerometer (shake), and my favourite: swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen (springboard only, this doesn’t work within apps).
The swipe adds a huge amount of usability for me, since it allows me one-touch access to Pro Switcher or OverBoard on the Springboard without having to use the home button or springboard icon.
One extra touch I really appreciate is how the two apps are aware of each others’ activation methods. This means if you choose an activation method for one app (say, a double home button tap for Overboard) you can’t set Pro Switcher to activate using the same method without seeing a “would you like to override these settings?” prompt.

I’m really enjoying the quality of Overboard and Pro Switcher updates – especially since they’ve been focusing on new features, but also improving usability every step of the way. I’m especially glad I chose to try Overboard out at all, even though I already own Orbit. It’s turned out to be a swifter, and more full-featured solution than Steven Troughton-Smith’s so far.

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  • Although I agree a changelog in Cydia would be nice, this is one of the rare cases where I know the developer is constantly working hard at things and he DOES have the changes (at least for ProSwitcher and LibActivator) listed somewhere. You can see what he's doing with ProSwitcher and LibActivator on GitHub:

    http://github.com/rpetrich/libactivator/commits/m
    http://github.com/rpetrich/ProSwitcher/commits/ma

  • Although I agree a changelog in Cydia would be nice, this is one of the rare cases where I know the developer is constantly working hard at things and he DOES have the changes (at least for ProSwitcher and LibActivator) listed somewhere. You can see what he's doing with ProSwitcher and LibActivator on GitHub:

    http://github.com/rpetrich/libactivator/commits/m
    http://github.com/rpetrich/ProSwitcher/commits/ma

  • Excellent info, thanks sysrage! I had been googling around for a source like this before the article, and I'd even tried looking on the various links within Cydia, and now here it is 😀

  • though I will also add that the github comments are a bit harder to understand than the normal "here you are, users" descriptions we see on Cydia or other app changelogs.

  • Jeton

    Do you guys happen to know if other Cydia apps are (have started) using libactivator for their apps?

    I am especially interested in SBSettings to have these activation methods. I would shake my iPhone very often 😉

  • sorry, I only know of these apps.

    • There are plans for other apps to start using them, yes. BigBoss is working on it for SBSettings.

      • Jeton

        Cool, thanks for updating me on Sbsettings.

  • I just updated Pro Switcher on my iPhone 3G but can't find the new activation settings (shaking the phone for example).

    • Yeah, same happened to me later today. Turns out Rpetrich broke libactivator (chpwn's words – not mine). So he's working on fixing it up. To be expected , since it is a beta. If you'd like to fix the problem and go back to an earlier verison, just remove the Boolean magic repo from your Cydia Source, uninstall Libactivator (which also uninstalls Overboard/proswitcher), respring, and then re-install the apps. I can no longer swipe from the bottom of the screen to summon overboard, but I'm sure he'll have a fix up soon enough.