Blog updates

Sunday, 12 September 2010

ChromeMarks - update 2010.09.12

An update to ChromeMarks has just been publish to the Market. Here are the highlights:

  1. We now use the credentials on your device to connect to your Google account. I've therefore removed the userid and password from the preferences completely. If you have only one Google account on your phone, the app will use that automatically. If you have more than one account, you'll have to choose which one to use. This meant quite a lot of changes, but ultimately is more secure and requires a bit less data to sync.
  2. As requested by a user, I've removed all the fixed pixel sizings and replaced them with density relative sizings. This means all the text should look significantly better - the urls for each bookmark were almost impossible to read!
  3. You can also long-press your "Search" button on your device to start the application. This gives another way into the app instead or always going back to the launcher. If anyone can think of other ways to open the app (e.g. a permanent notification?) then let me know.
  4. Another request - you can change the behaviour of the "back" button in the preferences - it will now go back/up a folder instead of closing the application. Until there are no more folders to go up, in which case it closes the app as normal.
  5. Some bugfixes - the method of working out the root of the bookmarks was amended. Chrome uses some hardcoded values to signal the "root" and I was trying to avoid the hardcoding and attempted to work it out automagically. I guess the only solution was to put back in the hardcoding as I got a report of it not working. Another fix was to ensure the ".." was always at the top of the page - if you had a folder with non-alpha characters in it's name, then it may have changed the ordering.
The change to use your device's Google account means I no longer need your password, but you do need to authorise ChromeMarks to ask the AccountManager to authenticate on your behalf. Again, no passwords are passed around and you have to authorise each service my app wants to connect to. Luckily, my app is only interested in one service - bookmarks. So this means I can't access your mail or calendar as you'll get a security warning if I were to try. This again makes the app more secure.

Another flipside - to use the device's credentials, this requires android 2.1 and above. So unfortunately users with 1.5 or 1.6 (or other more obscure versions) will no longer receive updates. I'm sorry about that, but I wanted to make this app more secure as a priority.

When you do your first sync with this version, you'll be prompted to confirm ChromeMarks as having access - you'll see this screen:

Click ok to continue. The next screen depends on your version of Android. If you have Froyo (2.2) then you'll see this screen - where the name of the application, your own email account and the name of the service it wants to access is listed [chromiumsync is the name for the "bookmarks" service]:

If you have Eclair (2.1) then you'll see the same information, but with less colours, less polish and a bit more wordy (!)

Once confirmed, the sync will continue as normal.

This change has meant the app now requires more permissions: GET_ACCOUNTS, USE_CREDENTIALS, MANAGE_ACCOUNTS and ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE.

The first three are require to get a list of your accounts, retrieve an authentication token and to invalidate an old authentication token if you haven't used the app for more than 2 weeks (ish). The last one is so I can check to see if there is an internet connection before you attempt a sync.

That's it for now. Do enjoy this release and continue to let me know if you have any problems or suggestions. There are a few more things on the TODO list as requested by you and they should get looked into within the next fortnight.


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