Blokada 5 for Android: Beta

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well.

Update: Blokada 5 is now out of beta and it’s available on our homepage. Check the roadmap below to see what are next steps. Send logs to hello@blokada.org if you experience any problems with Blokada 5.


So after quite a positive feedback on the release of Blokada for iOS, I’ve been working intensively for the last months on porting it to Android.

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If you are using Blokada Plus, please make sure you take note of your account ID before updating! Read more

What are the goals of Blokada 5?

  • Have a more intuitive, and simpler UI and UX
    • Eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed some users reported
    • Eliminate the misunderstanding between the free and plus accounts
    • Improve the navigation to not cause cognitive dissonance
  • Have the same look and feel for both Android and iOS (while respecting platform specifics)
  • Address the tricky longstanding problems of Blokada v4, like:
    • Slow startup / switch on-off
    • Problems with staying alive
    • Obscure bugs
  • Rewrite and simplify the codebase to allow for a more robust code:
    • Easier to understand and find your way
    • Less bug prone, more predictable
    • Cut out bloat and legacy stuff that accumulated over the years
    • Easier to make contributions, possibly in the form of plugins

As you may imagine this is a lot of work, so the process will consist of several steps, and I’ll be evaluating it step by step.

The Blokada 5 roadmap

  1. (done) Prepare a minimal usable version (early preview) of Blokada 5 for Android, following closely the functionality of the iOS version, but using the old (but rewritten) engine from v4
  2. (done) Test and improve the robustness of the old engine, make it very stable (I’m talking Blokada v3.4 stable, or better)
  3. (done) Based on the internal testing, gather a list of fixes and missing bits, absolutely required for the (basic) version of Blokada v5 that are required before making a public beta. Fix those things.
  4. (done) Announce the Stage 1 of the public beta of Blokada v5 for Android. It will be announced only to users on our forum.
  5. (done) Gather feedback, make more improvements.
  6. (done) Proceed to Stage 2 of the public beta, where Blokada v5 will be available on blokada.org alongside v4. It won’t be promoted in other channels, or the updater, just an apk download.
  7. (done) Monitor stats and feedback, let it spread out for a while. Evaluate that the reception is positive, and the conversion is better.
  8. (done) Port the new engine from iOS to Android, make it work for both platforms. Compare the versions with the old and the new engine, expecting better max speeds, and as good stability.
  9. (done) Go through the entire internal beta / public beta / public launch cycle again, with the new engine.
  10. (we are here now) Migrate the Google Play users to v5.
  11. Make Blokada 5 the official release, and downplay Blokada 4. Publish Blokada 5 to all our channels.
  12. Open source Blokada 5.
  13. Reimplement other functionality, that was present in Blokada 4, but is not present yet in Blokada 5, yet it is desired by users.
  14. Celebrate the new year of 2030, since it just started.

As you can see, this is quite a lot of work, but I believe it’s going to be worth it. :wink:

What to expect from Blokada 5 beta?

  • The UI known from iOS, that is completely functional.
  • Light mode and dark mode (changeable in app settings). UI adapting reasonably well to your font size setting, and your screen size. App usable on tablets (not perfect).
  • A fast switch on and off, fast app startup, in both free and plus modes.
  • A fast and reliable behaviour when switching networks (wifi / mobile / airplane) or having bad network connectivity, device sleeping, doze mode, etc.
  • App never dying, if you enable “Always on VPN”.
  • App starting on boot, if you enable “Always on VPN”.
  • The “Blocked connections without VPN” option working fine (but only in Plus mode - it’s not possible technically in free mode, since it’s not a real VPN).
  • Ability to see and share log (the dots icon, top right)
  • Language choice (configurable in app settings)

The biggest missing bits as of right now

  • Pause feature (that is present on iOS)
  • Smart lists and cool features from Faedrak
  • Wildcards
  • All the more advanced Blokada 4 features, like custom lists, custom dns

How to test?

  1. The app will install in place of your existing Blokada 4 (or Blokada 3), and you will loose all settings and counters. You will not use your account ID.
  2. Just start it, use it, abuse it. Report everything that you find and believe is a problem. Ask questions, there is no stupid ones!

How to report back?

Just comment on this topic! Good things, bad things, everything.

  • If you experience a problem something that is not easily visible or obvious, please attach log (you can send it to me privately, here in DM, or on Telegram, or on email hello@blokada.org - just mention what issue is it about)
  • Making screenshots and sending here is also good if you noticed an UI problem!

Screenshots

Just so that you know how it should look on your device.

10 Likes

That’s great news,
Thank you very much

:joy:

It’s looking promising in the screenshots!

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@Shieldmates have a look at the beta!

Also @Translators, @trust_level_2, @trust_level_3, you are all welcome to test drive the beta :slight_smile:

Thanks karol! Hoping to take this ride to stable version smoothly and quickly! Will let you know anything i find :smiley:

1 Like

Blokada v5.0.1 Internal Beta Preview

  • IPv6 handled (passsing through, but no adblocking - for that we’ll need the new engine)
  • A lot of reliability improvements around network connectivity problems, switching networks, airplane mode etc.
  • Should install alongside existing Blokada

You should expect the app to not affect your network connectivity at all. It should not cut out your Internet in any case, and it should recover very fast after any connection problems.

You’ll need to remove the 5.0.0 preview before installing this one.

Download link in my first post!

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Clicking on “Debug Options” causes a crash right now, either restarting the app and clearing everything where it’s now in an off state or completely closing it with the above true as well.

I was unsure whether to reply here or make a big thread so I just replied here for now.

Yes just report any problems here. The “Debug Options” button is actually crashing on purpose for now :P. I wanted to test what happens. They app should restart automatically, on some devices at least, and the crash should be present in the log.

I stoped & disabled v4 but i can’t install the beta.

I’m running Android One (pie)

Try restarting your device. Uninstall older preview if you have any. Redownload the apk. Which version of v4 Blokada you have on your device (from the website, or fdroid)?

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Blokada v5.0.2 Community Beta Preview

With this release, we are moving to the next step, which is Stage 1 of the public beta of Blokada 5 for Android. I am making the beta available to everyone on our forum. Newcomers, please read the first post, where you will find the apk link!

What’s new in Blokada v5

See the Goals in the first post, but in short, new UI (known from iOS) with simpler navigation, and rewritten codebase. We are aiming at a very high level of app stability connectivity, and so far it seems we doing very well with the v5.

Note that many features from v4 are not present yet in v5. They will be ported one by one as we go. The core functionality is there though, and the app should be already usable day to day.

What’s new in 5.0.2

  • Implemented app bypass section in Settings
  • Implemented Debug Tools menu for some beta-testing actions

How to give feedback?

Just post here, in this topic. Feel free to include screenshots if you have a problem. Also send me logs (privately) - the menu at top right has an option to do so. You may send them to hello@blokada.org

So from now on, everyone on our forum is welcome to install and test. @trust_level_1 and @trust_level_0 welcome!

2 Likes

I noticed a very minor appearance bug: Visit the blocklist tabs and notice that it’s set to highlights.
Now tap on all.
Tap on one of the lists which were hidden before to receive more information regarding them.
Leave the screen using the back button.
Notice how you can still see all lists but they’re now underneath the “Highlights” tab.
Just a visual bug. Nothing more.

3 Likes

4.7.3 F-Droid. rebooted, downloaded the new beta same thing, app not installed.

Oh yeah, if you use F-droid, then the preview cannot be installed alongside. They have different signatures.

2 Likes

I just installed v5. Opened the ‘Advanced’ section, in ‘ACTIVE’ there’s nothing by default, however, if I open HIGHLIGHTS and there check Energized and Goodbye Ads, Blu and and Standard are marked with a checkmark, for me it means they are active.
If I activate Phishing Army, it is shown on “ACTIVE” tab, however, if I get into Phishing Army, deactivate Standard and activate Extended, the Phishing Army goes away from ACTIVE tab even though that’s still active, but not with the default “standard” list.

2 Likes

Additionally, the “What is DNS?” doesn’t explain (here, on the forum) what is DNS and why a user needs a DNS server. It explains the ISP has one, but no reason where or for what that is being used.

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If you change configurations, the list becomes inactive. Yeah it’s not ideal.

The icons on the Activity tab are way too big, much bigger than the 3 lines of text. 7 entries are shown on my phone (OP7 pro), however there’s plenty of space.

If you add a host to the blocked list that is written as “Added to Blocked” (with capital B), but I can’t find a way to list the blocked hosts, thus, I assume that isn’t a name. On the main screen the “blocked” is non-capital.

If you bypass an app, the list jumps to the top.

3 Likes