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On May 17, around 12pm UTC, the Stack Exchange app for Android couldn't load anything (the feed, questions, notifications). Perhaps it's related to SE data center's switching IP affecting SE API, I can't tell. The problem is, there's no visual indicator if the server is "down" or problem with your connection. When I tried opening the app, it became very sluggish:

splash screen freezes black screen!

The spinning indicator froze, followed by black screen of unresponsiveness

Pressing the back button while on black screen froze the app (related to UI thread). After a while (around 30 seconds), it went to the feeds. Same thing happened:

trying to load the feed...

Trying to load the feed... (note the light blue spinning indicator)

After a while again (around 30 seconds)... the loading stopped, and there's nothing shown!

empty feed

It looked confusing. The app didn't crash, but it didn't load anything. I thought there's a problem with my connection (at that time, I was using 3G), but I could browse other sites. Force-closing and reopening the app didn't fix it. After checking with the Taverners, there's when I found out that there's a server issue (mentioned above).

Avid SE users may realize to check StackStatus or its Twitter feeds, but I don't think general users will know that, and instead thinking "this app is broken!".

Other than improving the responsiveness when the app cannot connect to the server, I propose to show an informative message on the feeds when it fails to load, maybe similar like this:

stackstatus on app

StackEgg image is courtesy of Stack Exchange

Uh oh, it seems there's a problem when trying to connect to Stack Exchange server.

Tap here to try again, or check StackStatus.

Tested on:

  • Stack Exchange app: v1.0.62
  • Connection: 3G and WiFi
  • 1
    Huge +1 on this. Thanks for putting all the effort you did to make this request, it'll definitely be implemented. – Kasra Rahjerdi May 18 '15 at 18:07

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