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Run Power: Move Settings to Web App for More Features?

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  • Run Power: Move Settings to Web App for More Features?

    Hi everyone, this poll is for current and prospective users of the Run Power data field, which brings you Power in Run Mode, with 6 fields, zones and alerts.

    I'm considering moving all app settings from Garmin Connect to a web app, so that watches like FR235, Vivoactive 3, 645, 735XT and 935 can get some of the nicer features only available in 645 Music and Fenix 5 Plus.

    I'd like to know how many people think this is a good idea. Please vote if you have an opinion, and leave a comment if you have more feedback.

    Please read the second post for more details.
    Yes, please, I want more features!
    No, I want my settings to stay in the GC app
    Not sure
    What's Run Power???
    Last edited by FlowState; 01-07-2019, 07:58 PM.

  • #2
    Right now the data field has varying levels of functionality depending on your watch. (e.g. 235 vs 645 vs 935 vs Fenix 5 Plus). Memory is tight, and the settings are pretty complicated, which takes up a lot of room in the app.

    I would like to bring more features to "lower-tier" watches such as 935, 645 and 235. To do this, I would like to move all the app settings to a web app, which would generate some code you could paste into the GC app settings. You could also paste the code from GC back into the web app to see your current settings.

    For example, this way it might be possible to bring features like FIT recording to 735XT, Vivoactive 3, 645 and 935. Certainly smaller features like “colors for more than 5 power zones” and adjustable alert thresholds (frequency, max alerts) would become possible for those watches.

    I would deploy the web app in such a way that:
    - You could save it and use it offline at any time in the future
    - Anyone else could host it

    I would probably leave the settings in GC for "top-tier" watches such as 645 Music and Fenix 5 Plus, with an option to use the web app.

    The web app would be optimized for mobile. Since Garmin Connect already requires an internet connection to change settings, the only additional step/requirement would be to paste code between the web app and GC.

    I'd like to know how many people think this is a good idea. Please leave a comment if you have more detailed feedback.

    I can't make any promises, but if there's sufficient interest and no vehement objections, I'll look into it and see if it's feasible.

    - You get great new features
    - The web app can be much more user friendly than the simple Garmin Connect settings.
    - Could possibly save multiple "profiles" in the the GC settings, so you could have 4 different setups to choose from (for example).

    You would lose your existing settings
    - You need the web app to view/change settings
    - You need to copy-paste some weird code from the web app to the GC settings. (Although I promise there will be a big, prominent button to copy the code)
    Last edited by FlowState; 01-07-2019, 08:58 PM.


    • #3
      GC on iOS at least is very glitchy. Sometimes it just throws me out without any reason in the middle of changing data field settings. Usually copying a string is fine when I know the first attempt will likely fail, but for multiple settings I rather go to Garmin express because of this. So keeping this in mind the user experience with multiple settings might be even better. At least on iOS, haven't tested Android for awhile.


      • #4
        JTH9 I think the user experience would be much better, because I would be able to selectively hide settings that aren't relevant (like zones 6 through 10 if you only have 5 zones), and hopefully provide a better way to have lap alerts or custom zone names/colors besides typing in a list. Selecting metrics could also be better, although I'd have to try a few things out.

        I just hope people don't mind copying settings back and forth. I'll have the web app remember your settings, so hopefully that'll help. (Hopefully there won't be any need to copy your settings string back out from GC to the web app).

        And at least on the higher end watches, I would be able to provide "multiple settings profiles".

        The two things that I'll probably leave in the GC app settings is ANT+ ID and FIT recording, since those are pretty important.

        Yes, GC iOS does kick you out and it's very frustrating. I'm pretty sure it happens when GC auto-syncs. So one workaround is to force a sync before you edit settings, then go and edit your settings as fast as possible (jk, you probably have a few minutes at this point >_>).

        I'm doing some prelim testing and I can't make any promises, but I'm pretty sure I can bring the following to all T2 and T3 watches. This means Vivoactive 3, 645, 735XT, Vivoactive HR and 935:
        - Adjustable alert frequency
        - Colors for >5 Power zones
        - Cadence colors
        - Recording

        What's not clear is whether I can bring NP and rolling averages to the T2 watches (VA3, 645 and VAHR), but I'll try my best.

        For T0 and T1 (230, 920XT, etc.), recording might not fit, but hopefully I can add alerts.

        Either way, I will be able to bring new features to every tier of watch. It's just not clear exactly what those features will be, yet.

        The amount of app memory wasted on settings (including strings that are only ever displayed in GC) is actually pretty breathtaking....
        Last edited by FlowState; 01-08-2019, 12:09 AM.


        • #5
          More features would be great! Also, the self-hosted app will remove dependance from you (in a case, you lose interest and do not want to pay hosting bills anymore).
          Also, as JTH9 noted, the garmin mobile is really a PITA for complicated UI (no help, no autocomplete, no hiding of unusable options, random drop outs, etc).
          Nice and simple config app can make life easier.


          • #6
            genarius thanks for the feedback. I agree with you 100%. Ironically, the simplicity of the Garmin Connect settings does make it hard to present complex settings in a simple way. Well, it's not really ironic, more like completely expected, but whatever. I have another app with lots of settings that I use on the regular, and even I don't like changing my settings. It would be nice to be able to separate long forms into pages, which is exactly what I plan on doing.

            I did notice one person voted No already. This is totally legit and I can understand why there would be resistance, but let me reiterate:
            - It will be mobile-friendly
            - It will remember your last settings
            - You will always be able to copy settings from GC to the web app, to look at them
            - GC already forces you to have an internet connection to change app settings
            - I will leave ANT+ ID and FIT recording in the GC settings
            - This way I can explore the possibility of having multiple settings profiles
            - I can include a "help link" in the GC settings which will take you directly to the webapp

            So the only cons are:
            - You lose your settings once
            - You have to copy settings code (one string) from the web app into GC (this could be a pro if you have lots of settings)

            I'm planning on hosting on Github if all goes well. So people will be able to clone the webapp locally. I will also download all external resources, so you don't have to worry about some CDN URL expiring in 5 years.
            Last edited by FlowState; 01-08-2019, 05:54 AM.


            • #7
              is there another data field that uses a separate web app? curious to see what this would look like. i didn't even know that was a possibility.

              and when you say copy settings from the web app to GC, are we talking one giant setting string or multiple? just trying to understand the flow better. basically, will the user have to copy multiple settings between apps each time they want to change something or is it once no matter how many settings are changed?


              • #8
                alextran there is DIY data field, but it’s not quite the same. That one is more out of necessity, since what it does is impossible in GC:
                (Unlike that app, I would only have one string. And I would have a button to automatically copy the setting.)

                Yes it is one giant setting string. Just press a button to copy one thing, and paste it into the GC settings.

                The GC settings page would have a help link to take you directly to the web app, too.

                To ease the pain I would
                - Remember your settings in the web app
                - have an import button so you could always transfer your settings from GC to the web app (although you shouldn’t have to since they would be remembered)
                - try to make the web app as user friendly as possible. (Multiple short pages, hide irrelevant options, have nice colour pickers and no more typing lists by hand unless that’s what people want.)
                - possibly have multiple profiles (maybe 4) although I would have to assess the memory impact on the lower tier watches

                So the flow would be:
                1) Open GC settings
                2) Tap ? Icon
                3) Change settings in web app
                4) Press button to copy settings string
                5) Go back to GC and paste string. I guess this part is annoying when you already have an existing string, although there might be a way around this.

                If some people are opposed to this, I suppose I could make a new version of Run Power that uses the web app, and leave the current app alone.

                But I’d prefer not to because it would be confusing for users and more work for me to maintain. But if that’s anyone’s preference, I would like to hear it.

                Honestly, I hate using GC to change more than a handful of settings, but I can understand not wanting to have to go somewhere else and do an extra step.

                Anyway, before I do anything I will release a preview of the web app so you can all see what it would be like.
                Last edited by FlowState; 01-09-2019, 04:23 AM.


                • #9
                  I am reponsible for the No-Vote

                  Perhaps a mistake, but I only use Garmin Express for managing CIQ.


                  • #10
                    I don’t think it’s a mistake. I just wish the settings in Garmin Connect weren’t so bloated and simplistic, because they really limit what apps can do on the less advanced watches.

                    Okay, I guess the only reasonable thing to do is to create a second app Run Power+ with more features but you need a web app to configure it. That way it’s your choice. But there’s really very little room in Run Power for changes now except for the fanciest watches.

                    I don’t see any downside to this approach except more work for me, I guess. Expect to see a preview web app in a few days.


                    • #11
                      the no-voter thanks you for the understanding and your neverending engagement in your developement projects....
                      much appreciated


                      • #12
                        No worries. My goal is to try to make useful apps that are a bit different than what's already available on the store.

                        I don't know what watch you have, but maybe you can try Run Power+ one day and see if the additional features are worth the hassle of the web app. That is, one day when I actually release it. This time it won't be a 5 minute job :P. (Followed by a 15 minute bug fix....)
                        Last edited by FlowState; 01-09-2019, 03:48 PM.


                        • #13
                          Here's a little preview of what I've been working on.




                          • #14
                            Right now I can share the following rough development status for Run Power+.

                            Nothing is set in stone, especially new features.

                            (Probable) New features (by tier):

                            T0 (230, 235, 630, Vivoactive): 10 zones, FTP, + ??? (still evaluating what can fit here, and what will be the most useful thing to add)
                            T1 (920XT, Fenix 3): 10 zones, FTP, Power Alerts (tone/vibes only)

                            T2 (VAHR, VA3, VA3M, 645) and
                            T3 (735XT, 935, Fenix 5):

                            - FIT activity recording (Current power, lap power, average power. No lap or session max)
                            - Color Cadence
                            - Color Power for up to 10 zones (was previously only 5)
                            - Custom alert frequency (previously fixed at 30 seconds)
                            - Custom alert limit (previously fixed at 3 times)
                            - Custom Power Zone colors
                            - Custom Power Zone names -- I'm sure 10-zone Palladino users will welcome this. There will be a button in the web app to automatically set the names (one of the many things that the web app makes possible).
                            - Theme color (previously removed)

                            T4 (645M) and
                            T5 (Fenix 5 Plus, 5X):
                            Nothing to report here, but you'll still get nicer settings imo. I will probably add multiple settings profiles to these tiers at least, as it's the #1 requested feature for almost every data field (although it usually comes in the form of asking for clones.).

                            Despite what I said before, I'll probably be removing the GC settings from T4 and T5, as well, to avoid duplication of effort and to ease future maintenance/support.

                            Settings that will remain in GC:
                            - ANT+ ID
                            - Record Power to FIT

                            - Custom Metric A settings
                            - Custom Metric B settings

                            You may have noticed that the mid-tier T2/T3 watches are getting the most new features. This isn't a coincidence as:
                            - They were close to the memory limit
                            - They have the most to gain by removing settings from the app, for technical reasons I won't bore you with.

                            After this is done, VA3, VAHR, 735XT, 935 and 645 should have most of the features that everyone needs.

                            Having said that, there's practically unlimited room in T4 and T5 for new features. Except, of course, that custom metrics will probably never come to T4, because that feature is huge.

                            But new metrics could be added to T4/T5 probably indefinitely. (Of course in reality there'll be a point when you don't need any new metrics....)

                            I know that some people would like to see some features from that "other Power field", and all I can say is that there's room for lots of new features on the T4/T5 watches. They are not even close to being maxed out with Run Power.

                            But it will have to wait until after all of this.

                            It's just my personal preference, but right now I'm focused on bringing new features to the low and mid tier watches, so the app can be useful to more people.

                            Open questions:
                            - Whether rolling metrics (e.g. NP, 3s power) can be added to T2
                            - Whether T0 can get anything useful.... (maybe HR/Power colors?)

                            The work itself is pretty straightforward, but some of it is pretty tedious and there'll be a lot of testing required, so don't expect this to be released any time soon.

                            Although this part is obviously being driven by my personal preferences, any comments or suggestions are welcome.
                            Last edited by FlowState; 01-12-2019, 01:24 PM.


                            • #15
                              On a related note, I don't know if there are any 230/235/630/VA users reading, but if you could only pick one new feature from the following, what would it be?

                              - Alerts (tones/vibes only). Keep in mind workouts cannot be supported due to Garmin platform limitations
                              - Power/HR colours
                              Last edited by FlowState; 01-12-2019, 01:25 PM.