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  • RockApp Launches 2.0


    We wrote about Rock Your Phone back in March when they launched, as an alternative/jailbroken AppStore. Yesterday they launched 2.0, and it comes packed with a host of new features and improvements. They're positioning themselves as a complete jailbroken package management solution, from paid to free packages. They actually list all packages from all default Cydia sources now (with depiction pages intact, which is something Icy never did which ticked off Cydia repo maintainers like us and BigBoss).

    Opening up the main screen of RockApp shows (among other things) a "Rock compared to Cydia/Icy" screen, which lists some of its big differences with the two other players in the jailbreak package management arena. Speed-wise, RockApp has done some interesting things to increase performance. One such item you'll see is their Rock Central tech.

    Rock Central basically means the Rock servers watch the default repositories Packages files (those repos being ModMyi, BigBoss, Saurik, Ste, ZodTTD, and iSpazio), and keep a current combined list at all times. Then, when you open RockApp to check for updates, instead of querying each repo's Packages file for updates, Rock Central is checked to see what updates are new since the last time you updated, and only those changes are downloaded to your device. This results in faster load times for updates. You can of course add custom repo’s which are not listed by default. Initially the RockApp will query that repo directly but if enough users add it to their list it will be added to Rock Central to improve performance.

    They put together a comparison of performance for some of the major functions. Their numbers seem a tad off, I will admit - "Updates Loading" for Icy shows at 5.7 seconds, but it takes me over a minute. It's also important to point out Cydia is searching names, descriptions, and ID's (as does RockApp)- Icy only searches names.



    One thing I like (now don’t get me wrong I love my themes) is the ability to customize the view a bit. One of the most common places to go in Cydia is the What’s New tab to see what new apps and updates have been released. The problem is there are so many themes the apps get lost in the list. In settings for RockApp you have 3 options, show Apps Only, All Packages or add a toggle to the bottom of the What’s New window so you can choose on the fly. Along those lines you can also “edit” the Categories tab and hide categories you don’t care to see, similar to Cydia. Additionally, the RockApp sorts the lists by sections, Apps, Themes, Ringtones, Apps AddOns, Repositories, and Other. As this could get confusing when trying to find a specific category, you can “pull” down the categories list (like in the Mail App) to discover the search bar. Finally there is a “Compact Cells” mode (the default) which lists many more packages per screen. If you like the descriptions larger than just turn it off in Settings. In all, the RockApp presents the apps in a pretty logical way according to typical use for installers.

    Another welcome feature coming to Rock Your Phone in 2.0 is Rock Backups. This only works if you have an actual Rock ID (not required to use RockApp, but required for purchasing - like Cydia requires either PayPal or Amazon info). The service essentially takes a snapshot of all the apps you've installed, and associates it with your Rock ID. Then, if you get a new device, or have to restore your iDevice, etc - you reinstall Rock, put in your Rock ID, and simply restore from Backup - it will download all the packages you had before, with the option to deselect packages you'd not like reinstalled. You can keep up to 5 separate backups, and lock them if you'd like one to not be overwritten (default is new backups overwrite old ones on the same day, and after backups have reached 5 total).



    Because RockApp is connecting to the default Cydia sources (the major sources of jailbroken packages), you'll see a wide variety of apps/themes in RockApp now, mostly what you're seeing now in Cydia, with the addition of a little over a dozen apps which are unique to RockApp. Presented a bit differently, the name, rating, and "Install" button (uninstall/update/reinstall if its already installed on your device) are always on top, and the packages depiction is below and scrollable. Interestingly, Cydia Store packages ARE included, but of course don't work - they bring up a clever error message asking you to email the author of the package and ask them to put it in the Rock Store.

    A nice thing - when you install a package, you can simply minimize the installation window (which itself is "prettier" than the Cydia installation screen - you can also see the log output like Cydia normally shows in this screen’s “Log Detail”). Additionally, when installing apps that require a restart, the Rock App will prompt you for a restart. If you choose not to, it’ll restart on exit (allowing you to install and uninstall multiple apps without having to keep respringing – this really cuts down on time managing your apps).



    The package display is nice - a little more AppStore-esque than Cydia's light-weight Googleish results, with ratings being a noticeable difference. RockApp is missing the repository source in the package listings as well. Reviews are also tied to your Rock ID, so users cannot easily spam the service. You're allowed to also sort by Top Rated, which will be more useful as the user base grows.

    Cydia has been slated to get a comments/ratings system for a while now, but is on hold while saurik designs a solid and secure identification method - anonymous comments and ratings are nothing but trouble. Rock solves this issue with their Rock ID, unique per iDevice.

    All in all, RockApp is getting a healthy dose of TLC from its developers, and the results are impressive.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: RockApp Launches 2.0 started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 115 Comments
    1. trevorrawson's Avatar
      trevorrawson -
      I'll have to give it a shot!
    1. Tinman's Avatar
      Tinman -
      Looks good.

      But alas, not good timing. As many of us are holding off on updating to 3.1 till a jb is out, I for one am not going to venture into a new app store like solution till that happens. Oh crap, of course I will.

      Still, I'd much rather hear about 3.1 jailbreak!



      --
      Mike
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      It's a shame they still have very little to offer the jailbreak community with regards to applications you can only get from them.
    1. nickh's Avatar
      nickh -
      Rock app only gives me issues time after time, Im staying well away! Nice write up though
    1. fatsnake's Avatar
      fatsnake -
      wait so this is a replacement cydia?
    1. BHSPitMonkey's Avatar
      BHSPitMonkey -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      It's a shame they still have very little to offer the jailbreak community with regards to applications you can only get from them.
      That isn't a shame; That's how it should be.

      What's a shame is that we have another crippled half-implementation of APT to tiptoe around. I'll accept Cydia's longer wait times for the fact that it actually does its job correctly.
    1. tattoojack's Avatar
      tattoojack -
      see, to me, this just stinks of government involvement.

      this along with facebook would be an end all, be all weapon against people as a whole.
      They could access your phone in ANY WAY!!!

      read the national security act.

      just because the phones have gotten more advanced doesnt mean the government doesnt intend to know what you are doing.
    1. sucram6791's Avatar
      sucram6791 -
      i just updated to this
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Can anyone explain:
      WHY would I use this before Cydia?
      (except for the apps that are Rockapp specific)

      Concerning the Backup Feature: Does this work for ALL Cydia installed packages? I don't need to add sources, repos etc etc?
    1. salayyad's Avatar
      salayyad -
      i got into this mainly because of intelliscreen but now they got all the stuff that cydia does which is sweet. i was able to delete an app i downloaded through cydia in rock. i like the design better and it loads pretty quick. also add the desktop client to it makes it even sweeter. it also has a built in back up, we'll see how that works after i upgrade to 3.1... overall its a nice alternative.
    1. skeels's Avatar
      skeels -
      BHSPitMonkey: I know your experiences with Icy and I absolutely agree. We have implemented APT very very well - in fact, we have even resolved circular dependencies that Cydia can't handle. If you have any specific examples - it would help back up your statement.

      ThePlague: It's faster, more visual, more options, less battery, less mb downloaded for the same data. Why would anyone want to use Safari/Firefox over Internet Explorer (cough) ? The backup features is for all apps - if you don't install the repos or add them manually - it'll give you an error that it can't find that app. Good point though - it might make sense to restore the repositories first - and then do the backup. Currently, you might have to "press" it twice.

      Nickh: Every app has bugs - I agree. Our history shows a clear record of fixing bugs very quickly. We also have consistently built auto error handling into our platform, and I specifically wrote the first to do so on the iPhone Independent App platform with IntelliScreen (precusor to MobileSubstrate's safe mode) IntelliScreen - First iPhone Auto Disable. Give it a try - if you don't like something - I'll see it's fixed
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Psuskeels:
      Ok thanks for answering.
      One thing was a bit unclear though, does RockApp actually backup also the repos/sources?
    1. BlackWolf's Avatar
      BlackWolf -
      I have to say, I'm pretty impressed.
      Though I really admire what saurik does for the jailbreak community (just look at the recent ECID update of cydia - sweet idea really!) I always thought that cydia hat some major flaws, like that you can't NOT respring/reboot when cydia says you have to. or that you have to go through tons of themes in the list of updated apps (I don't even have winterboard installed for god's sake!). or the very ugly installation screen (I agree, it doesn't make cydia less usable, but it's just ugly ). While cydia performs noticably better on my 3GS compared to the 2G oder 3G, it's still pretty slow.

      I tried rockApp and it seems to be pretty good so far. It has a lot of those little features that I always wished cydia would have, like backups, ratings, that you can use the app while something is installing (very cool!), stuff like that.

      three notes to the developer, as he seems to be wandering this forum:
      1) the install button sometimes overlaps the ratings, for example in the detail screen of the "Popup Blocker" app (when it is not installed). I think putting the install button below the category of the app, like it is after you installed it, would be better. my opinion though.
      2) Could you implement an option that makes installations automatically slide down after you pressed confirm?
      3) I would really like to see redesigned install/update/reinstall/uninstall buttons and I, personally, think the rating-stars would look better without the mirror-effect. But that's just eye-candy I admit

      other than that: great work! When I updates to 3.1 I will consider using rockApp as a cydia substitute. In one way it hurts me because cydia has always done the job very well, on the other hand rockApp has some features I just don't wanna miss.
    1. snowl's Avatar
      snowl -
      I have heard bad things about this, but seeing all the features it has, and now has cydia repo's and Rock Central, I'm downloading right now!
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Quote Originally Posted by snowl View Post
      I have heard bad things about this, but seeing all the features it has, and now has cydia repo's and Rock Central, I'm downloading right now!
      Back 6 months or so when RockApp was released alot of people had big problems with it, but then it soon got stable and I haven't heard of such problems since then. I've had no problems whatsoever.
    1. Zehlek's Avatar
      Zehlek -
      How do i Get this? All I see is 1.14.8 in Cydia
    1. marko911's Avatar
      marko911 -
      i c the same thing 1.14.8 i dont c the 2.0 any ideas why ?
      mabye if i install this version there will be an upgrade latter on ?

      thank you in advance
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Install the one from cydia, then you'll get an option to upgrade from within the rockapp itself.
    1. Napoleon_PhoneApart's Avatar
      Napoleon_PhoneApart -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
      Looks good.

      But alas, not good timing. As many of us are holding off on updating to 3.1 till a jb is out, I for one am not going to venture into a new app store like solution till that happens. Oh crap, of course I will.

      Still, I'd much rather hear about 3.1 jailbreak!



      --
      Mike
      Hear, hear!
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Can I uninstall the Rock app without having to re-jailbreak my phone if I decide not to want to have it on my phone anymore?