6

If I start the Android app without an active internet connection, it just shows the spinning loading circle animation forever:

Screenshot

I think it should do something more helpful, such as showing a message that internet is needed, or maybe showing a cached (and potentially old) version of the feed instead of nothing. (Showing a cached version would also allow offline access, as well as speed up starting the app when internet is slow or flaky)

The achievements panel also has the same problem.


I've found that if the app has been launched before (with internet, in the last few hours or so), it will show the blue "Loading SE sites" screen (even without internet), and then go to the feed (it must be caching the list of sites or something), and then it will have the problem described in the question. If it is launched for the first time without internet and has not been started for a while (~12 hours or more, not sure) it will show an "Internet required" dialog at the "Loading sites" screen.

I've also found that of you go to Ask Question, enter a title and some body text, and then hit "preview", all without internet, it will show you a completely different question title in preview area than what you entered, with a blank preview area. An "Internet required" dialog might be a good idea here too.


I'm using the latest version from Play Store, Android 4.4 (CyanogenMod) on Samsung Galaxy S1.

  • Sometimes reproduced (Nexus 6, Android 6.0.1, SE app v1.0.78 beta), but I think you need to clarify the case more, because the app will show the message when there's no internet on the splash screen (the blue screen with SE logo and 'Loading Stack Exchange sites' text). Anyway, I believe the app currently doesn't have offline access at all (no data cached). – Meta Andrew T. Jan 9 '16 at 17:16
  • @Andrew: Forgot to mention that: I've found that if the app has been launched before (with internet, in the last few hours or so), it will show the blue "Loading SE sites" screen (even without internet), and then go to the feed (it must be caching the list of sites or something), and then it will have the problem described in the question. If it is launched for the first time without internet and has not been started for a while (~12 hours or more, not sure) it will show an "Internet required" dialog at the "Loading sites" screen. – JonasCz Jan 9 '16 at 19:18
  • Related, maybe dupe: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/256627/… – ShaWiz Jan 9 '16 at 20:44
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    FWIW this is a regression, it seems to have been brought on when I added Hot Questions into the feed (and redid the tablet feed) -- I'm investigating, it definitely should be showing an older cached feed (if possible) or an empty state. – Kasra Rahjerdi Jan 13 '16 at 18:54
5

First pass at fixing this is in any version greater than 1.0.80, currently only on the beta tier.

I fixed the regression that was causing the infinite spinner to show if you opened the feed without any internet connection. This now properly tries to show a older page of the feed (if it has one), and shows an error message. I want it to also have a nicer empty state than just a blank white page (aka this proposal), but that requires more thought than I can give it right now.

The actual error here was that when I chained the network call to get the feed and the network call to get the list of hot questions I didn't think through the error states well. It's possible for either of those calls to fail but still return something from their caches, and hey if we got something I don't really care if it failed or not, I wanna show it!

-6
  • If know what's Stack Exchange, you obviously know that it needs internet.
  • If you see that app doesn't load, you obviously know that you have some problems with internet.
  • You don't seem to have problems understanding whether you have internet connection or not. If you do have internet connection but the app doesn't load, blame Kasra (doesn't appear to be the case though).
  • Dated feeds are rubbish, don't you think, think again if you don't.
  • => any point?

    Galaxy S1 (?) FTW (!)

  • 1
    I disagree. I think outdated feeds are better than no feeds all, especially since updates are only a pull-to-refresh away. Also, not everyone is aware that SE app always needs internet, or that their internet conction isn't working at that moment. – JonasCz Jan 9 '16 at 16:08
  • @Jonas How are they better? I don't see any point in non-relevenant info. – nicael Jan 9 '16 at 16:17
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    This isn't any less a bug for us knowing SE needs 'net, so this is a fairly unhelpful way to respond to a genuine bug report. (It also reads to me as fairly rude, but maybe you didn't intend that.) This bug isn't even obscure: mobile internet can drop out sporadically, especially while on a bus or train, so if we open the app and our internet's dropped out, we'll run into weird bugs like this one. (It's easy enough to not notice it's dropped out, or for the connection indicator to give us false impressions until the app opens, or for simple bad timing to happen.) – doppelgreener Jan 9 '16 at 16:48
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    app is very different than the site. All apps I know do show a friendly message when the connection fails. (Except Stack Exchange) – ShaWiz Jan 9 '16 at 20:41

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