News

SSL problem on earlier versions of Android

It has been brought to my attention that the hosting service may require Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or above, and not Android 4.0 (KitKat), as previously stated.

This is because of a bug in SSL support, in earlier versions of Android. The site switched to SSL some time ago, because of pressure from Apple and others.

We may try to fix this, or we may take the opportunity to implement Material design. The statistics are now 11% of Android 4.4 users, and 5% of users running earlier versions of Android.

Any device purchased in the last 5 years should be OK.

Update

A user has submitted the following error message:

File I/0 error: javax.net.ssl.SSLProtocolException: SSL
handshake aborted: ssl-0x605cba30: Failure in SSL library,
usually a protocol error
error: 14077410:SSL routines:SSL23_GET SERVER HELLO:sslv3
alert handshake failure (external/openssl/ssl/s23_clnt.c:74-4
0x5f16c6fd:0x00000000)

I have found a possible fix. I will give it a go, but I do not understand it very well, and I have no idea whether it will work.

Later

I managed to test the patch on an emulator, and it works! So I will be rolling it out shortly as version 6.2.2.

Aftermath

  • The patch is perfectly reasonable, even if I do not fully understand it. The important point was that I was able to test it on an emulator.
  • The fact that the patch is only necessary on older versions of Android suggests that they may not be quite as well supported as newer ones.
  • With 16% of users running Android 4.4 or earlier, the stats still do not justify ditching support for it.

WordPress 5.0

The site has been upgraded to WordPress 5.0.

  • Word on the streets was that it was not going to be released until the new year, so it will be interesting to see how the WP community reacts to that.
  • There was a new version of the parent theme Twenty Sixteen, but I had carefully followed the guidelines and created my own child theme, and there were no problems upgrading it.
  • There is also a new theme Twenty Nineteen, but it doesn’t have a sidebar. The site is designed around a sidebar, and I don’t think I will be able to use it.
  • Most of the fuss is around the new editor, which I am using for the first time. These are early days, but it does not look like a big deal to me.

WordPress 5.0

WordPress is due to be upgraded to version 5.0 on November 27, 2018. It is slated as a major new release, but there is little that will affect the overall look and feel of WordPress sites:

  • There is a new block editor, that WP pompously calls Gutenberg. Lots of people are grumbling about it, but I do not anticipate any problems myself, and it will not affect the site directly.
  • There is a new official theme called Twenty Nineteen.

This site uses a heavily customised child version of the Twenty Sixteen theme. I had issues with the Twenty Seventeen theme, and there was no Twenty Eighteen. I will check out the Twenty Nineteen theme, but given the investment I have already made in the current theme, I would be reluctant to switch. The main motivation would be responsiveness, i.e. the ability to work on smaller screens. But the current site looks OK on my elderly Nexus 4, with its 4.7″ screen.

Just to clarify, the main website runs WordPress, but the hosting service does not.

SMS and call log permissions on Android

Old Contact Menu
Old Contact Menu

Android is clamping down on apps sending SMS messages, and accessing the call log. I can understand the reasoning behind this, but it means that the Sales Manager will suffer collateral damage. The deadline for compliance is January 9, 2019, but I intend to release a compliant version of the app ASAP, probably over the weekend.

The features that will be pulled are the SMS and Call Log options on the Contact menu on the Customer screen, as shown on the screen on the right.

iOS progress

I have bought an iPhone 5S on eBay, which I hope will serve as my new test device. The last one I bought had not been reset properly, and I had to send it back. The iPhone 5S is the oldest model that still runs the latest version of iOS.

In the meantime, I am working my way through a cloudkit tutorial, and have I discovered that I may be able to test iCloud apps on the simulator as well. If all goes well, the new release should be ready by the end of the month.

Although iCloud support is the most pressing issue, the most important one in the long run is an analogue for the navigation drawer in iOS. That will involve redesigning all the existing storyboards, and I am hoping that my new development system will help with that.