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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
- (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
- (done) Test and improve the robustness of the old engine, make it very stable (I’m talking Blokada v3.4 stable, or better)
- (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.
- (done) Announce the Stage 1 of the public beta of Blokada v5 for Android. It will be announced only to users on our forum.
- (done) Gather feedback, make more improvements.
- (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.
- (done) Monitor stats and feedback, let it spread out for a while. Evaluate that the reception is positive, and the conversion is better.
- (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.
- (done) Go through the entire internal beta / public beta / public launch cycle again, with the new engine.
- (we are here now) Migrate the Google Play users to v5.
- Make Blokada 5 the official release, and downplay Blokada 4. Publish Blokada 5 to all our channels.
- Open source Blokada 5.
- Reimplement other functionality, that was present in Blokada 4, but is not present yet in Blokada 5, yet it is desired by users.
- 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.
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
- All the more advanced Blokada 4 features, like custom lists, custom dns
How to test?
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com - just mention what issue is it about)
- Making screenshots and sending here is also good if you noticed an UI problem!
Just so that you know how it should look on your device.