WEBVIEW current situation...

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  • So, C3 does not build a native app and for games to run on android they need not only to have something called WEBVIEW installed, it has to be updated... I released a game on the play store and got many users saying the app does not install... I have received one screenshot and it is indeed the webview issue, since the game is for the Brazilian market and most of the users don't speak English, they just think the app is broken or even that is some kind of virus, which is simply terrible...

    I have even released a Web Version of the game for testing, and again some testers tried playing it online and again the webview message... They have a not-so-old android versions, they go all around the internet with the browser doing all sort of stuff, but cannot run a simple html5 game...

    I am aware now that C3 Team has tried to contact Google to make things easier for the users on this thread: issuetracker.google.com/issues/133202038 But google doesn't post anything for almost 2 years now...

    I have no idea how many users gave up on trying the game simply because they didn't know what the webview message was, and when you see it it just kills the whole expectation, it is something very abnormal too see after installing successfully a new game... Most users wont bother to report the problem and some will even just leave a negative review...

    I might start selling commissioned games soon and I am not confidant and ready to tell clients that the game I will sell them might not work initially for some of their customers or that they will need to install a second software to play the game... For me this is the biggest hindrance using C3 right now...

    What could me done to move this forward? Is that webview message something from google or scirra? I mean, at least that message could be more user-friendly and translate depending on the users location...

    Also, is this Webview just necessary on Android? How does IOS handle that?

    Cant Scirra program a built-in message that will pop-up during the first run of the APK if Webview is now installed/updated on the user's phone? How heavy is Webview? Couldn't we have the option to have a "webview" package ready for installation automatically when it is missing on someone device?

    Image creating a game for kids, how frustrating that is going to be...

    I also read something on a blog saying: "Many versions will show Android System Webview as disabled on default as its best for the device. By disabling the app, you can save up battery and the background running apps can perform faster."

    If having Webview enabled on an android phone, and some or most will come with is disabled because IT IS BETTER FOR THE DEVICE, why will someone continue to insist on using it?

    I'm on the verge of renewing my yearly subscription to C3 and now I'm just very confused if I am investing my time on the right tool, specially if I want to sell games how will I "sell" the webview thing to customers??

    I also think Scirra should be more clear about the necessity of webview for mobile gaming on android, it is not mentioned even once on the manual: construct.net/en/tutorials/building-android-apps-apks-19

    It should be also mentioned more that Construct 3 doesnt build native apps, as what it does is to "wrap" a browser game into a playable apk or something, and webview is the key to make it work... This is something to big to try to hide away... It crushes your heart after doing some hard work, having everything working fine and then "oops you dont have webview", most users are just ready to give up and go download something else!

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  • The Android System Webview is installed by default on all Android 5.0+ devices. It also needs to be v57 or newer - i.e. if it's had an update any time since 2017 - any time in the past 4 years - it will be able to run Construct games.

    Why any number of devices out there wouldn't meet this criteria is simply a mystery to me.

    If someone says to go and disable system components of Android, firstly that is not actually a good idea, and secondly that means the user manually broke the app, so there's not really anything we can do about that. The 'WebView not up-to-date' message does include instructions on how to fix the problem, but they're in English, so I guess maybe that's a hurdle. It's hard to comment further without understanding what's really happening. I'd have thought that by now, 99%+ of Android devices would meet the above requirement.

  • Ashley I assume Webview is something directly related to Chrome, right? Many people don't want to use Chrome anymore for its big memory use and privacy concerns... I only use it because I want to make sure I can test my games as most of users would, but does this mean only people that use google chrome as the default browser can play games build on C3? If someone has chrome disabled and uses firefox, for example, they wont be able to open an .apk built on C3? If that is right, it is very concerning...

    And how does IOS handle that situation? I believe Apple doesnt use webview at all right? Can Safari run C3 games without the need of another system application?

    And you'd be surprised on many older models are being used on the market... I myself still have a 2015 Moto G3 because it is a great phone. I have bought a Moto G8 Play assuming it would be better and it has 3 cameras but the photos are really terrible! I created a big feed on reddit about it and a lot of people agree that newer models/tecnologies doesnt really mean better usage/quality. I had to return the brand new Moto G8 Play and still using my Moto G3... I also have a Samsung Tablet for testing...

    We cannot underestimate the masses and how they use their devices, we need to make sure we can build the most compatible and ready to run as possible for the market... 5% to 10% of users getting the error and leaving negative reviews is simply too much to risk...

    Google seemed to be moved by your request, cant you guys try to pressure a little bit more? The "fix" suggestions on that thread seemed good and not too complicated but they just abandoned it all...

    So it is a fact that the webview error is still a thing and should not be ignored just because in "first world contries" everyone has high-tech devices... The whole purpose of C3 appeal a lot to amateurs and enthusiasts dev that will definitely start with an "amateur" level of users using all sorts of devices...

    Please don't let this matter escape from your task list because it is still relevant.

  • I also read many posts saying that Webview can come as disabled by default, not that they instruct the user to do it... Making things even more complicated. The install/update webview page is very ugly and if cannot be read the user simply runs from it. I also believe that even users who can read english will also avoid on clicking the link to update webview, because they didnt need it for any of the games the were playing before, so why would they trust a link on an indie game from a small dev? Seeing that webview update page feels unacceptable for me and for the market.

    I didnt dig much of the below posts, but they seem to discuss about webview as being disabled by default:

    android.stackexchange.com/questions/190174/android-system-webview-is-disabled-and-cannot-be-changed

    "I updated my Nokia 8 to Oreo 8.1 beta, and while going through some settings, I noticed that Android System WebView is disabled by default, and cannot be changed.

    Why is it disabled?"

    Note that the above mention ANDROID 8.1 !

    reddit.com/r/AndroidPreviews/comments/4dzcrj/android_system_webview_disabled_by_default

    support.google.com/work/android/answer/7506908

    "Android 8.0 Known Issue: WebView issue on work profile

    Android devices with work profiles running Android Oreo (Android 8.0) may be affected by the following known issue. "

    I guess the rabbit hole is deeper than you believe Ashley... It surpasses Android 5 by a lot... There's a whole market/public outside your current bubble that are affected by this.

    No offense of course, and I know your best interest is to make things run as smoothly as possible. Please get back to this issue as it looked like you were concerned before and that things were going to be improved. No reply from google since 2019 is very offensive... Play Store and the gaming industry benefits a lot from Construct, these demands cannot be ignored.

  • The Android WebView does not require Chrome. The Android System WebView is a separate pre-installed app that auto-updates. It does not matter how old the device is: so long as it has Android 5+, it supports the auto-updating Android System WebView, and so long as apps have had the chance to update since ~2017, it will be up-to-date. So it doesn't matter if the device is from 2015 or whenever - if it has Android 5+, and apps have had the chance to update in the past 4 years or so, it's supported. Again, I have no idea how any number of devices could fail to meet this requirement, or why any significant numbers of people would have the WebView disabled.

    Construct has been exporting Android apps this way since 2018, and such problems seem rare, so it does seem like a small number of devices are affected, although perhaps they are concentrated in certain markets. I'd also point out that the scale of distribution can magnify problems: if an app works for 99.9% of users, and you distribute it to 500k users, it will be broken for 500 people. So you might get a few hundred complaints and think there's a huge problem, but actually it's pretty small relative to the scale of distribution. You could also easily have comparable problems with native software, e.g. if some graphics driver bug crashes the game for <1% of users. Getting software to work for exactly 100% of users is really hard, no matter the technology.

    A huge range of apps, even native ones, require the WebView to work properly: mail clients, fitness apps, hybrid apps, all Cordova apps... if the WebView doesn't work, it will actually break tons of apps, including a wide range of non-Construct apps. So anyone who has a disabled WebView will probably have loads of other problems too.

    I think to complicate the matter some Android versions actually could use Chrome to serve the WebView if it was installed, which is why the Android System WebView could appear disabled on those devices, because Chrome was taking its place. If Chrome was removed, the Android System WebView presumably reactivates and takes over providing the WebView. This should all be working fine but complicates the picture when trying to figure out who has a disabled WebView, whether that actually breaks anything, and whether Chrome is required (it's not).

    The iOS equivalent is WKWebView, which is built in to the system and updates with iOS system updates. I don't think it's possible for it to ever be disabled.

    Google seemed to be moved by your request, cant you guys try to pressure a little bit more?

    Lots of people seem to think that we have loads of influence over Google. We don't. I file issues like the ones mentioned and regularly bring up issues affecting us whenever I get the chance to talk to anyone from Google. Believe it or not, a huge international megacorp does not rush to fulfill every whim of a small British software company with a handful of staff. I genuinely think it is more likely that they will act on these things if a large number of affected users are all also filing issues and also raising the problem. The more independent voices they see talking about a problem, the more likely they are to consider it a priority.

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  • Thanks Ashley for the info and good clarification. I have received an "official" count of 34 complaints... Yes by your math this is just a spec of dust but for someone just starting to release creations to the public feels like a lot. That number of course is the people who made some effort to report the issue, so I'm sure there are more out there. Those were from downloads on the play store and people who tried to access the web hosted version of the game. Maybe from around 60k visits + install attempts from what I could count... Didnt to the math but thats way more than 0.01% I guess I'll just assume that is part of the "business" for now... I don't know if I maybe should even leave a message on the play store listing and and a comment on the website with instructions about webview, in case it happens, would make it look even more amateur...

    I still think there is something else going on, maybe people don't enable auto-update or something, I received messages from people in the Us and Germany with the webview problem. C3 won't even build an .apk for android versions older than 5.4 so I'm sure these reports are not from people with older systems than that...

    If I see more people on the forum talking about it, I'll share the link to the issue being filed with google, cause indeed we should be fighting for it... With a little effort they can make the "experience" of installing/updating webview much more user friendly. They have done with others applications such as AR that updates automatically in case the user doesnt have it.

  • 34 our of 60k is 0,000567 . that error level is not high regardless of app/game/service or whatever you try to sell to people.. :)

  • Oh I actually meant 6k installs and visits (in 1 month) my mind was probably inflated by the 500k number Ashley proposed haha... I know it's not much, but if that's going to be scaled up, it will add up and at least I got to be prepared to handle the complaints...

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