Android, Releases

Cryptnos 1.2.1 for Android Released

March 3rd, 2011 | Comment?

I am happy to announce that version 1.2.1 of Cryptnos for Android was released today. This is a minor release and it remains functionally compatible with previous Cryptnos for Android releases, as well as with 1.2.x of Cryptnos for Windows. I’ll call it minor because it doesn’t introduce any new functionality, but it does include a number of major user interface enhancements that make it well worth the upgrade. You can get the latest version from the Android Market or from the download links on the Cryptnos for Android page.

I’ve been tinkering with another project lately (which I’m not ready to reveal quite yet), and in the process I’ve learned a lot about tweaking Android layouts. This new project requires a lot more sophistication in its layout, so I’ve had to expand my knowledge in this area quite a bit. Cryptnos was my first real Android app and unfortunately that shows in its UI design. Some comments in the Market show that you guys have noticed this as well. I thought it was high time the app received a face lift by applying my new UI-building chops.

Most of the UI changes are subtle, but important. I’ve tweaked font sizes and padding and rearranged a number of UI controls. Perhaps the biggest change in this category is the character limit/length restriction box on the New/Edit Parameters activity. Rather than a text box, this now uses a drop-down box or “spinner”. This offers tighter control over the accepted values for this field. Since cryptographic hashes produce fixed-length results, we can easily predict how long a given Cryptnos password will be (assuming there are no other modifications applied). However, different hashes produce results that are different lengths, so the same constraints won’t necessarily work when the hash algorithm is changed. Now when you change the selected hash in this form, the spinner changes its list of values so it always has values within the accepted range. On top of this, there will always be a “None” option to indicate no length restriction is set. This should be less confusing than the old “zero or blank” instructions used previously.

While we’re on the topic of UI enhancements, I fired up the brand new Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) emulator primarily to see what Cryptnos would look like unmodified. It was functional, but definitely not optimized for the new display requirements. So after a bit of research, I created a whole new set of UI layouts especially for Honeycomb. Cryptnos is still targeted at Android 1 and 2, so it will not take advantage of some of Honeycomb’s more advanced features like Fragments and the Action Bar. However, it does now use Honeycomb’s new “holographic” theme and the layout has been optimized to make better use of the larger tablet screen. These changes are completely invisible to users still on Android 1 or 2 and only appear when Cryptnos is installed on 3.0.

Finally, we’ve added another file manager to the recognized list: ES File Explorer. I’m happy to see this one added as it happens to be my personal choice of file manager. (I especially like how putting it in Bluetooth mode turns on an OBEX FTP service, which makes moving files wirelessly from my laptop a cinch.) This brings the total of recognized file managers up to three. I searched the Market for other file managers and looked at quite a few of them, but none of the others I found have documented Intents for picking files and folders. As previously mentioned, if there’s a file manager app that you’d like to see added and the developer publishes public intents for file selection, let us know and we’ll look into adding it. If the app doesn’t publish file selection intents, please contact the developer first before bringing it to our attention.

As always, please let us know your thoughts on Cryptnos and share your suggestions on how to make it better.

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