[APP][2010-09-04][v1.2.0] ArkSwitch: the task manager, upgraded!

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Arktronic

Retired Recognized Developer
Dec 5, 2006
823
63
There are many task managers floating around out there, with lots of neat features and great UIs. I've been looking for a good replacement for the HTC Task Manager home screen button that no longer works properly in Windows Mobile 6.5.x, and I've been unable to find one I really like. So I made my own!

SCREENSHOTS AND DOWNLOADS ARE >>HERE<<

ArkSwitch can be opened from any screen that has the top bar visible - I tried to make it simple yet unobtrusive.
You can click the text of an app to bring it to the foreground, click the icon to view the App Info screen, or click the "X" image to close it.

Please see the changelog in the second post.

Important info for chefs and customizers: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=8002276&postcount=733
And a quick CAB to disable the Close All confirmation dialog.

I ASK FOR YOUR HELP:
If you are using ArkSwitch in your ROM, please post a message here telling me so. I would really like to know. Also, if you make themes, please post them here for everyone else to enjoy. I would appreciate that.

Also, if you're a developer and would like to help with implementing any features, I'd be glad to accept your patches, changesets, etc. :)

HOW TO USE:
1. Install the CAB.
2. Either reboot (it will run on startup) or start it from the start menu --> Tools.
3. Click the left half of the top bar (or other area if customized) to bring it up.

CUSTOM THEMES:
SimpleGloss Blue | Dusk | NinjaBlack | Purple Pimp | SRG | Hacienda | Showtime7


Why doesn't ArkSwitch show process memory information anymore? Read the answer here.

Historical notes:
v1.0.0 --> 350
v1.0.1 --> 1700
v1.0.2 --> 2739
v1.0.3 --> 1582
v1.0.4 --> 2831

If you'd like to donate, please use the following link:


CodePlex page | Download link
 
Last edited:

Arktronic

Retired Recognized Developer
Dec 5, 2006
823
63
ArkSwitch has been tested on VGA and QVGA by myself, and WVGA. It should work on FWVGA as well, although I don't think any WinMo device with that resolution exists at this time.

CHANGELOG:
[v1.2.0]
- FIX: Shortcut creation (was fixed in an unofficial v1.1.4a release earlier)
- ADD: Quickly killing the foreground app by "scratching" the activation field!
- ADD: German translation
- ADD: More registry tweaks, including one to disable the "Close All" confirmation
[v1.1.4]
- FIX: Couple of bugs with the new process mode
[v1.1.3]
- FIX: Much better stability in general
- FIX: Better handling of frozen apps (thx MichyPrima)
- CHG: Theming now allows for resolution-aware dynamic image selection (see config.xml for more info)
- ADD: Global memory info is back
- ADD: Process listing - swipe horizontally on the main task list page to see it (thx MichyPrima)
[v1.1.2]
- FIX: Crash/freeze in certain situations
- REM: All memory reporting features, probably only temporarily
[v1.1.1]
- FIX: Stupid crash encountered in some unique situations
[v1.1.0]
- FIX: Some apps/windows not appearing when they should be
- CHG: Running as high priority in order to be able to close misbehaving apps
- ADD: THEMING SUPPORT!
- ADD: Source code :)
[v1.0.4]
- FIX: Double tmail.exe (and others) listing in certain situations
- CHG: Reverted back to X button instead of OK button for the main ArkSwitch screen
- ADD: Memory usage percentage
- ADD: Experimental memory usage efficiency index on the App Info page
[v1.0.3]
- FIX: Various QVGA issues
- FIX: Free/total RAM refreshing when closing apps (more info)
- CHG: Icon rendering now does proper transparency
- CHG: ArkSwitch's main window X button is now an OK button so that other apps don't try killing it
- ADD: Internationalization support (more info)
- ADD: Activation field location customization
[v1.0.2]
- FIX: Overlap issue with certain themes
- CHG: gwes.exe and shell32.exe are now hard-excluded (i.e., not a choice)
- CHG: Close Task button is now Close All
- ADD: Manila to default exclusion list
- ADD: Options screen
- ADD: Color-coded free/total RAM info on the bottom
- ADD: Read app icons from start menu (caveat)
[v1.0.1]
- FIX: Resize icons that are too big
- FIX: Always open ArkSwitch when executed after it's already running
- ADD: App details screen
- ADD: Exclusion functionality
- ADD: Standard app mode (see below)
[v1.0.0]
- Original version


TODO/WISH LIST FOR FUTURE VERSIONS:

  • Possibly add Alt-Tab-like functionality for switching to other apps using a HW button
  • Add free or used RAM percentage, in parentheses or configurable
  • Possibly take over X button to close apps instead of minimizing? Maybe even the start button?
  • As possible alternative to the above, have second activation field that kills foreground apps
  • Prevent ArkSwitch from turning on when device is locked
  • Possibly add an icon bar for common tasks on top?
  • Suggestions?
WILL NOT LIKELY HAPPEN:

  • Making ArkSwitch into a service - it's pointless - see this post
WM6.5 compatibility mode:
In case you don't want ArkSwitch to take over your top bar, you can disable that functionality and thereby have it function as a standard app. In this mode, the original WM6.5 should also be fully functional. To enable this mode, either do it in the Options screen, or manually set the following Registry value:

[HKCU\Software\ARKconcepts\ArkSwitch]
TaskbarTakeover = 0 (DWORD)
 
Last edited:

Arktronic

Retired Recognized Developer
Dec 5, 2006
823
63
Yes, you can use the program with softkeys. You can select apps by using the D-Pad and then the left softkey to close it or the right softkey to open a menu which will let you switch to it, close it, view the about screen, or quit ArkSwitch.

The only way to "remove" ArkSwitch from the top bar is to close it. One of the main reasons I chose the top bar is ease of access. If something else goes there, then this app can't be accessed easily anymore. I've never used WkTask, but from what I'm reading about it, it looks like the two apps would be incompatible with each other, sorry :(

P.S. I speak Russian as I'm originally from Ukraine. Please don't use CP1251 for Russian encoding, US browsers don't like it ;) Unicode is better.
 

toadlife

Inactive Recognized Developer
Aug 19, 2008
1,208
1,012
Lemoore, CA
Rows were overlapping eachother.

The the program crashed when I chose exit from the menu and I was forced to soft-reset.

Runnning WinMo 6.5 on a Touch Pro 2
 

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pavel-auto78

Member
Nov 20, 2009
15
0
Yes, you can use the program with softkeys. You can select apps by using the D-Pad and then the left softkey to close it or the right softkey to open a menu which will let you switch to it, close it, view the about screen, or quit ArkSwitch.

I was wrong in my question. Can I put the launch ArkSwitch on softkey?
(My english very bad, isn't it?)
 

thepolishguy

Senior Member
Dec 3, 2009
1,250
190
Ivanhoe CA
working good

so far so good on my Whitestone (Imagio) 6.5

1. question- is my regular taskmanager (upper most right hand corner) still supposed to function? bc i loose the little icon and get no response from pressing there. wasn't sure from your description if they both were supposed to function at the same time.

2. my device is wvga and i did not have overlap issues like a previous post.

3. the x's all work good and switching between apps works good.

4. pressing softkey\menu\quit arkswitch exits the program and it has to be restarted. "X"ing the upper right minimizes? is that correct?

5. oh yeah- and touching the upper left is working good to open ArkSwitch.

6. Thank you. I have been looking for a simple solution for a finger friendly task manager.
 

jodeltje

Senior Member
Jun 21, 2008
590
53
Really quick program, working pretty good!

I do have 2 requests though, which would make it perfect :D

I am on a 6.5.3 wvga device and I have some icons overlapping the text... maybe you can crop/stretch all icons to a specific size?

and another request, could you implement a way to exclude processes from showing in arkswitch? like start.exe etc?

Really well done so far!

I was wrong in my question. Can I put the launch ArkSwitch on softkey?
(My english very bad, isn't it?)

point the button towards \..\program files\arkswitch\arkswitch.exe that works for me.

EDIT: well, the button doesn't work all the time, I think it has something to do with what program is in focus or something...

guess that adds a 3rd request... sorry to a pain in the ass
 
Last edited:

Arktronic

Retired Recognized Developer
Dec 5, 2006
823
63
looks great! but QVGA please ??
I still have my old Hermes. When I have a chance, I'll flash a WM6.5.x ROM on it and get that working. It's on the TODO list :)

Rows were overlapping eachother.

The the program crashed when I chose exit from the menu and I was forced to soft-reset.

Runnning WinMo 6.5 on a Touch Pro 2
Obviously you didn't read my first two posts. This application is NOT for the original WM6.5! Only for 6.5.x, where the start and X keys are on the bottom of the screen. However, if you'd like to use it as a regular task manager started by a hardware button or something similar, that could be done in the future through an options screen, which is also on the list.

I was wrong in my question. Can I put the launch ArkSwitch on softkey?
(My english very bad, isn't it?)
Please see above. And if you're not sure if your English text is good, you can also say it in Russian next time :)

so far so good on my Whitestone (Imagio) 6.5

1. question- is my regular taskmanager (upper most right hand corner) still supposed to function? bc i loose the little icon and get no response from pressing there. wasn't sure from your description if they both were supposed to function at the same time.

2. my device is wvga and i did not have overlap issues like a previous post.

3. the x's all work good and switching between apps works good.

4. pressing softkey\menu\quit arkswitch exits the program and it has to be restarted. "X"ing the upper right minimizes? is that correct?

5. oh yeah- and touching the upper left is working good to open ArkSwitch.

6. Thank you. I have been looking for a simple solution for a finger friendly task manager.

1. ArkSwitch does not touch the right half of the taskbar at all. I'm not sure which task manager you're using, though.

2. Right, because you're actually using WM6.5.x as opposed to toadlife...

3. Great, that means I can say WVGA works! :)

4. Correct. Would you like me to add an "Are you sure?" dialog when quitting?

5. Yay!

6. You're welcome :D

Really quick program, working pretty good!

I do have 2 requests though, which would make it perfect :D

I am on a 6.5.3 wvga device and I have some icons overlapping the text... maybe you can crop/stretch all icons to a specific size?

and another request, could you implement a way to exclude processes from showing in arkswitch? like start.exe etc?

Really well done so far!

point the button towards \..\program files\arkswitch\arkswitch.exe that works for me.

EDIT: well, the button doesn't work all the time, I think it has something to do with what program is in focus or something...

guess that adds a 3rd request... sorry to a pain in the ass
Hmm, I guess if an icon is bigger than I tested with, it would overlap. I'll add that to the list. Can you give me an example of which app(s) had overlapping icons please?

Excluding processes is already on the TODO list.

Yeah, starting the program multiple times doesn't always bring it to the front. You have to have opened the ArkSwitch window at least once before it could do that. I'm not sure why that's happening; I'll look into it some more. It's definitely a bug that should be fixed.

Possible X of windows mobile (down right) = close ?
I'm not entirely sure how to do that, actually. If any WinMo devs with experience on this would like to point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it ;)


Thanks for your feedback, everyone!
 

Arktronic

Retired Recognized Developer
Dec 5, 2006
823
63
Are you sure that the overlapping icons are the customized ones? Because it looks like JWMD only changes the start menu icons, while ArkSwitch looks inside the actual EXE to find its icon.
 

jodeltje

Senior Member
Jun 21, 2008
590
53
Are you sure that the overlapping icons are the customized ones? Because it looks like JWMD only changes the start menu icons, while ArkSwitch looks inside the actual EXE to find its icon.

oops your right, it shows the original icon... it was task manila... the program...
 

thepolishguy

Senior Member
Dec 3, 2009
1,250
190
Ivanhoe CA
working for me on 6.5

I still have my old Hermes. When I have a chance, I'll flash a WM6.5.x ROM on it and get that working. It's on the TODO list :)


Obviously you didn't read my first two posts. This application is NOT for the original WM6.5! Only for 6.5.x, where the start and X keys are on the bottom of the screen. However, if you'd like to use it as a regular task manager started by a hardware button or something similar, that could be done in the future through an options screen, which is also on the list.


4. Correct. Would you like me to add an "Are you sure?" dialog when quitting?
!

A. I misunderstood "for 6.5.x" as meaning 6.5 and above. Just to let you know i am running plain old 6.5 and my start button still works in the upper left corner.

B. The ArkSwitch button works as well in the upper left corner.

C. Maybe 6.5 compatibility explains why the original task manager doesn't function with ArkSwitch?

4. I would definitely would not want you to add an "are you sure". I hate those.

Hope the feed back helps and is not annoying.
 

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  • 7
    Theming will be implemented in the next version, v1.1. I think that's a big enough feature to warrant an increase in the minor version number :)

    EDIT: Just noticed pnxsinned's MobileSpeedTest signature. Those guys aren't generating their results very securely:
    1121081337.jpg
    ;)
    2
    There are many task managers floating around out there, with lots of neat features and great UIs. I've been looking for a good replacement for the HTC Task Manager home screen button that no longer works properly in Windows Mobile 6.5.x, and I've been unable to find one I really like. So I made my own!

    SCREENSHOTS AND DOWNLOADS ARE >>HERE<<

    ArkSwitch can be opened from any screen that has the top bar visible - I tried to make it simple yet unobtrusive.
    You can click the text of an app to bring it to the foreground, click the icon to view the App Info screen, or click the "X" image to close it.

    Please see the changelog in the second post.

    Important info for chefs and customizers: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=8002276&postcount=733
    And a quick CAB to disable the Close All confirmation dialog.

    I ASK FOR YOUR HELP:
    If you are using ArkSwitch in your ROM, please post a message here telling me so. I would really like to know. Also, if you make themes, please post them here for everyone else to enjoy. I would appreciate that.

    Also, if you're a developer and would like to help with implementing any features, I'd be glad to accept your patches, changesets, etc. :)

    HOW TO USE:
    1. Install the CAB.
    2. Either reboot (it will run on startup) or start it from the start menu --> Tools.
    3. Click the left half of the top bar (or other area if customized) to bring it up.

    CUSTOM THEMES:
    SimpleGloss Blue | Dusk | NinjaBlack | Purple Pimp | SRG | Hacienda | Showtime7


    Why doesn't ArkSwitch show process memory information anymore? Read the answer here.

    Historical notes:
    v1.0.0 --> 350
    v1.0.1 --> 1700
    v1.0.2 --> 2739
    v1.0.3 --> 1582
    v1.0.4 --> 2831

    If you'd like to donate, please use the following link:


    CodePlex page | Download link
    1
    Dont know if its the right way... But I had similar problems. I made the app catch mouse moves to, and then made a "margin" around my "press and hold area" If mouse move coordinates was outside the margin I considered it as a mouse up...

    It worked OK on 6.5 but with the thinner 6.5.3 bar it is a hit or miss with about 30% false events. (and I have an omnia 2 with resistive screen, so I imagine its worse on the hd2)

    what I finally went with was that the timeout timer canceled the press and hold without doing the action I wanted to be done. I use different vibrations on mouse down/up and on the timeout so I get it if the action was canceled or just failed.
    I can mail the code if your interested, buts its not exactly rocket science...

    Good luck, and thanks for a great app!
    //Gunnar

    Thanks, that's good info. I don't suppose you want to submit a patch? ArkSwitch is open source, you know ;)
    1
    What WM considers a "system application" is governed by multiple factors. Suffice to say, when ArkSwitch's UI isn't open, it should not be auto-killed by the OS.

    The source code is available on CodePlex; please see the first post for the huge link to it.
    1
    It has AMeBa and uTask, aye.
    For AMeBa I put <device>\Program Files\ArkSwitch\ArkSwitch.exe on the exclusion list, is there any others I would need?
    For uTask there is a list of things it won't close but I can't see a way to add ArkSwitch (or anything for that matter) to it. Anyone know if I have to add to this one, and if so how?

    That's what you want for AMeBa. I'm curious though why you are using both AMeBa and uTask. I thought they did pretty much the same thing...

    I don't use uTask, but I'm pretty sure it has an exclusions list. If it's not in the options, you'll probably find them in the registry. I believe it uses process names and not program names for exclusion though.

    Also, I've found that ArkSwitch can get killed if my free ram drops below about 33MB. How much free memory is your device showing?