A few days ago, we were treated to a lovely look at what Tasker, the highly-customizable Android automation app, could look like if it got a nice facelift. Unfortunately, this was done by the Android team and was not representative of any real work being done by the developer. As it turns out, though, the developer behind said application is working on a holo conversion. There are quite a few obstacles to deal with in the meantime:

I started working on a holo conversion about a week ago coincidentally, with half the goal being use of the holo conventions and half replacing under-the-hood deprecated APIs for dialogs etc.

It will probably not be a complete rehash like the video but Honeycomb+ users should feel more at home.

A major difficulty is keeping backwards compatibility, Google's compatibility library has big chunks missing, the main reason I have done nothing with the UI till now. It needs a certain critical mass of 3.0+ users in case I have to abandon new-feature development for pre-ICS users. Still undecided on that one.

Obviously, what this means is that, while we can expect a nice new revamp to the Tasker app, it's going to come with some costs. There is a huge difference between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich and, as the dev points out, a lot of APIs are going to be removed by Google. At the moment, with the bulk of Android users still on 2.3, it's going to be a big decision to move forward from here on out. Unfortunately, Tasker is a bit more involved than most apps, so updating with a new UI isn't the only thing that needs to be done to ensure compatibility across all versions of Android.

What this also means is that when the new version does come out, Gingerbread users will not be seeing the fruits of this labor. As Pent (the developer) explained:

Sorry pre-ICS people, I've hit a road block and I'm not going to be able to keep pre-ICS backwards compatibility.

The problem relates to support for Google maps, they havn't given complete backwards compatibility. I can show a map but in the same activity (scene edit, location edit) I can't use the backwards-compatibility library for the new style dialogs as well as the 3rd Party backwards-compatibility library for the action bar.

It may be possible with the just-released Google Maps API v2, but then I have to wait for it's (maybe) integration into the 3rd Party compatibility library and spend a good while converting Tasker good to the v2 API, which is dramatically different from the v1 API.

Sorry that I lifted your hopes a few pages back, it seemed back then that everything was doable. I've spent a lot of hours trying to keep backwards compatibility. In the end, if Google had supplied the libraries it would have been possible.

So we're back to the pre-ICS people only getting bugfixes I'm afraid.

This is disappointing for those stuck in Gingerbread-land, but such is the price of progress. Things haven't really changed dramatically for Android since version 4.0 - the platform has remained largely consistent - so hopefully apps like Tasker won't have this problem again. Still, those of you on 4.0 and above will be happy to know that you'll get your update. Even if it doesn't look exactly like the Android team envisioned it.

Source: Google Groups