Cryptnos Online 1.2 in the Pipeline

March 22nd, 2011 | Comment?

Just wanted to drop a quick note that I’m in the process of making minor updates to Cryptnos Online which will eventually bring it up to version 1.2. The changes are relatively minor, but they do introduce a few changes I’ve been planning to make for a while. Actually, the changes bring it a bit more in line with the recent release of Cryptnos for Android 1.2.1, which had minor improvements to the UI. I eventually plan to bring some of these changes to Cryptnos for Windows when I have the time.

The primary change is the move from free-form text boxes to drop-down “select” lists for both the hash iterations and length restrictions parameters. For the length restriction, this was largely a move to reduce confusion for the user as well as to limit the possible values entered for the field. Rather than ask the user to leave the field blank for no restriction, there’s now a “None” option always at the top of the list, followed by a series of numbers ranging from 1 to the maximum length of the Base64-encoded hash. Since the length of the hash changes when the hash algorithm changes, this means the valid range of numbers for this field changes as well. Rather than have confusing warning dialogs when the user enters something wrong, I elected to just rebuild this drop-down whenever the hash algorithm changes. It seemed to work very well from Cryptnos for Android 1.2.1 so it seemed natural to bring this change to the other platforms.

The move to a drop-down list for the hash iterations box was something I debated on quite a bit. Currently in Cryptnos for Android 1.2.1, this is still a text box (which the OS restricts to only numeric input). I’ve felt for a while that a drop-down list would have been clearer here as it would only allow a specific set of values. The caveat, however, is that for the accepted range of values there would have to be 500 individual entries in the drop-down, which shouldn’t be a problem for most browsers but still isn’t the most efficient way of doing things. I might change this back to a free-form text box later if I feel it doesn’t work out. Another option I’ve considered for Android and Windows would be a slider control, but that’s not a valid form element in HTML. (Maybe I could emulate one with a horizontal scroll bar.)

So far, the tests are working great in all the browsers I’ve toyed with, with one major exception. Apple Safari on Windows is not dynamically updating the length restriction drop-down like all the other browsers are. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but sadly it just doesn’t seem to be working consistently. Historically, one might think Internet Explorer would be the incompatible one, but so far IE 7 and 8 are working swimmingly. (I should be downloading IE 9 soon to test with it.) Beyond this, only the cosmetic and quirky issues previously reported on certain platforms remain, so it looks like the move to production will be smooth once I iron out the Safari issues. Safari is the only reason I haven’t moved this to the production URL just yet, and if worse comes to worst I’ll just have to declare it as unsupported.

The production version of Cryptnos Online currently remains at 1.1, and I’ll make sure to announce in the Releases feed when 1.2 is ready for prime time. In the meantime, I invite anyone brave enough to give 1.2 a try to come and kick the tires and let me know if you encounter any issues. You can always find the current development (non-stable) version of Cryptnos Online at the following URL:


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