Feature Preview: Mobile Control (PWA) and SongShow Plus 9.2
The mobile control feature for SongShow Plus has been reworked for version 9.2 and, fundamentally, it’s a significant change. The two previous iterations of the mobile control apps were deployed as native apps. In the first iteration, the apps were built using dev tools native to each platform (iOS and Android). For the second iteration, a cross-platform tool was used to build the apps deployed to iOS, Android, and Windows. For the third iteration, we are now using Progressive Web App technology.
Progressive Web Apps are designed to look and feel more like native device apps but are deployed from a website rather than through the platforms’ app stores.
The first version of the new mobile app, available now, replicates the capabilities of the previous app. However, new features and enhancements will be made in the future, particularly based on feedback from users.
There are a few differences between the mobile control feature of 9.2 and 9.1. With 9.2, the recommended way to make your projection machine available for mobile control is to register it when the mobile control feature is enabled. Once registered, users who use the mobile control app will then sign in with the organization account, or preferably, with their own account. Once signed in, a list of all machines for which they have mobile control access will be provided. Users then select the machine they wish to control, and they are on their way. This method supplies a level of security requiring authentication by mobile control users.
The previous app also had an authentication option, but that option authenticated to the Windows machine. With 9.2, a mobile control user will now authenticate using SongShow Plus credentials. Note that this does require that you invite users to your organization’s SongShow Plus account, then grant those users Mobile Control access from the Account page.
However, you can enable anonymous access to the machine which bypasses the need to both register the machine and the requirement to authenticate. If you allow anonymous access, you can optionally specify an access token that the user will need to enter when accessing the machine which supplies some added security.
To use the mobile control app, go to the SongShow Plus website then go to the Mobile Control page. There you will find a link to the latest version of the mobile control app.
The big advantage of using Progressive Web App technology on our end is that it simplifies the process of building and maintaining the app. When using the app stores, every update, including those that simply address minor bug fixes, requires a submission and review process, making the whole process of fixing bugs and adding features drawn out and time consuming. With this new approach, fixes and enhancements can be pushed out as soon as they are ready. Because of this, we hope that the new mobile control app is one that you all find useful.
FWIW, if you had been using the Android version of the 9.1 mobile control app, you may have noticed that they disappeared from the Google Play Store. This was not our doing. Apparently, there was some technology the apps were using that Google decided to make obsolete, so they removed the app themselves. This is another reason we would like to get away from using these stores since the store owners will arbitrarily remove apps at their own discretion.
I will note that the previous version of the mobile control app will work with SongShow Plus 9.2 and is supported as a deprecated feature.
Give the new mobile control app a try and let us know what you think!