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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. Judgenot's Avatar
      Judgenot -
      Where do I download it from?
    1. skeels's Avatar
      skeels -
      ThePlague: It does backup repos that are installed - not manually added
      BlackWorld: Great to here - I've addressed that Install button issue before - but obviously there's still a gap.. will get it right this time 2) Already implemented (See screenshot on first page). Under Manage -> Settings -> Minimize on Confirm (let me know if alternate wording would help here) 3) Feel free to provide any sample images. We are looking for an easy way to completely theme Rock (without the overhead of Winterboard).
      CaptainChaos: Yes - you can uninstall Rock without having to rejailbreak if you no longer want it on the iPhone.

      All - Sorry - yes you have to install 1.14.8 via Cydia and then upgrade to 2.0. This is while we investigate 2.2 compatibility with the RockApp 2.0.

      One more minor note that's not clear (we'll be releasing a new update to rectify this): To MAKE a backup, you need to install/uninstall (make a change) - that's when a backup is made. It'll prompt you the first time.

      Thanks for the feedback!
    1. Simtech's Avatar
      Simtech -
      Quote Originally Posted by theplague View Post
      Ok thanks for answering.
      One thing was a bit unclear though, does RockApp actually backup also the repos/sources?
      Yes, all repo's / sources are backed up as well..
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Is there any chance that backing up the manually added repos will be supported in an update?
      PkgBackup obviously does this.
    1. kkiran's Avatar
      kkiran -
      Looks nice but what sense does it make when highlighting this just when iPhone 3.1 is released and not jailbroken?
    1. theplague's Avatar
      theplague -
      Quote Originally Posted by kkiran View Post
      Looks nice but what sense does it make when highlighting this just when iPhone 3.1 is released and not jailbroken?
      What about the backup feature for one?
      I guess alot of people would want their jailbreak apps backuped and restore them easily once their on 3.1.
    1. andypropaganda's Avatar
      andypropaganda -
      I plan on jailbreaking as soon as the 3.1 jailbreak comes out, and I must say that this looks like a great alternative to Cydia. I'll definitely be checking this out.

      Makes me pretty excited to jailbreak, especially considering all the stuff available now because I haven't jailbroken since my original iPhone 2G back when you had to do it manually and we only had installer.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      Sounds good. I'm getting it now
    1. kwickone's Avatar
      kwickone -
      Wow, that UI is AWESOME! Great work psuskeels! I was wondering where you were off to for a while....looks like you were busy!
    1. MaxRabbit's Avatar
      MaxRabbit -
      This a superb application! I won't be able to go without the backup function now, it'll make upgrading my iPhone so much easier!

      However, I have problem; I can't review apps. When I go to submit, I get the error: "you may only post one review per package". I'm signed in, and have never reviewed those applications before.
    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      the major things i hate with cydia is the load time and no way to sort or show ratings with the apps - i will give this a try
    1. h.abdulhamid86's Avatar
      h.abdulhamid86 -
      Quote Originally Posted by psuskeels View Post
      : Give it a try - if you don't like something - I'll see it's fixed
      Hey, I have a request. I would love to see SBSettings toggle to enable/disable Tlert on the fly. That would be REALLY awesome for me. Especially if I need to let someone use my phone, I can quickly disable Tlert so the cannot view my messages while they are using it. Then quickly re-enable it when I get it back.

    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MaxRabbit View Post
      However, I have problem; I can't review apps. When I go to submit, I get the error: "you may only post one review per package". I'm signed in, and have never reviewed those applications before.

      i made a review for bigboss categories and my review loaded the next time i opened the app (
      i would like to see the "nickname" in the user profile instead of entering it in for every review) - so far i have nothing but good things to say about this app - SUPER FAST! - the UI is brilliant - the ability to sort by ratings/release date/ alone makes it worth while

      not sure about the desktop app yet however
    1. nhoj_yelbom's Avatar
      nhoj_yelbom -
      Quote Originally Posted by nickh View Post
      Rock app only gives me issues time after time, Im staying well away! Nice write up though
    1. z6joker9's Avatar
      z6joker9 -
      Is there a way to clear a notification of an update without downloading the update?
    1. TheOnlyest's Avatar
      TheOnlyest -
      As I dont give a ratz azz about ratings, all I can say is AWESOME!!! Ive had Rock on my phone since Extensions was released, and I have never had a single issue with it, or the apps ive bought!

      The UI is gorgeous, and the landscape mode kicks arse! I cant wait to see how the restore function works!

      Competition promotes innovation, and Rock just became a MAJOR player in the jailbreak world! 5-STARS and 2 THUMBS UP!!!
    1. skeels's Avatar
      skeels -
      z6joker9: Good idea - will look into it
      TheOnlyest: Thanks
      Silent: Thanks
      MaxRabitt: Hmm - Can you try again and PM me your IP address - i'll see if i can figure it out from there.

      All Regarding Backups - They are taken when install/uninstall (make sense, right? . However, we have noticed the user need to take one on demand - so we have added a prompt for when you enable backups (to ask if you want to create a backup now).

      Thanks for the feedback!
    1. keysloser's Avatar
      keysloser -
      Actually I find that any new players are welcome in the jailbreak community...
      After all it gives us a freedom of choice and competition motivates all sides to come up with nice new features.

      Personally I am sticking with Saurik's Cydia since I find it delivers what I want and it's rock steady (no pun intended) and healthy for my iPhone and my nerves (nothing more frustrating than crashes and conflicts)

      Cydia's Pkgbackup is a lifesaver and is working excellently (I think back at those days I had to do multiple manual restores of packages and sources and am surprised with the patience I had)

      Guess time will show if Rock Your Phone will be running next to Cydia on my iPhone (Icy never got that far) since with the new 3.1 fw all developers have a lot of work ahead...
    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      just noticed after i updated the app - the ratings do not sort correctly
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      i tried rockapp several times, but only got problems, so for example when installing somnthing the 3GS freezes (the installion does not end) i must manually press some buttons and then i can not restart the phone for about 5 Minutes or something. Somtimes only itunes-connection helped me. So this was allways pure horror.
      So we will see if this is better now. I will wait.