Javelin and operating system updates

UPDATE 1: Javelin for iOS (a universal version, so iPhones are supported as well as iPADs) is now available on Apple’s iOS App Store and is iOS9 compatible

UPDATE 2 (revised 9th Jan 2016): Javelin for OSX 10.11 is available as via the Javelin downloads page on our website and is now on Apple’s Mac App Store. Javelin does work with El Capitan’s split-screen view, which you also invoke by pressing for longer on the green button and then choosing a screen half where you want Javelin and then another program for the other half.

And now for the full story…

As is ever the case, Apple and Microsoft continue to battle it out with ever more sophisticated updates (upgrades?!) to their operating systems. In nearly every instance this results in problems for end users who are brave enough to update their systems, especially for those “early adopters” who have not waited for the “updates to the updates” first.  The biggest problem for third party applications providers is the lack of backward compatibility with some of these updates. Comments on aspects of the most recent set that may affect users of our Javelin and Drumlin software products is provided below:

iOS 9: again, with essentially no notice (less than a week), on Sept 16th Apple released iOS9 on an unsuspecting public with numerous side effects – and as at 3rd Oct two OS updates to iOS 9 had already been issued by Apple and a new main version, iOS 9.1 was released on Oct 26th.

Where existing apps crash or fail to run at all, in most cases a simple re-install from the App Store will fix the problem – but the App Store app itself has had problems, so no guarantees there! Users who have updated to iOS9 and find the catalog facility results in their app exits suddenly or similar issues occur can resolve this by simply selecting the Grid/List icon on the home page and switching to the List view (see below).

homepagetoolbar

For most versions of the iOS software the grid/list icon shown above is always enabled, but for the Taxbooks app it is turned off as default, but can be turned on via the Settings app on iPADs and iPhones, as shown below:

Taxbooks-Settings

We have also had some users remove the existing app (deleting it and its files) and re-installing the current version of the app from Apple’s app store, and it then works again after re-authorizing their file or files … so it looks like some of the iOS9 library code is not fully backwards compatible.

Windows 10, and Win7/8 updates to 32/64 bit handling: at the end of July Microsoft released Windows 10, a major new version of its desktop operating system. As part of the move to Windows 10 changes have been made to the way entries in the registry are handled for 32- and 64-bit computers. Along with other changes this has meant we have had to create a new version of Javelin for Windows and Javelin Pro for Windows, specifically for the newer OS versions, including Win10. In addition, the so-called free upgrade to Windows 10 can result in a mess for end users, which takes a lot to sort out. In the case of Javelin, re-authorization will do the trick for most users after updating to the latest versions from our website, whereas with Drumlin, in most cases it works just fine but in some instances it is necessary to completely remove all traces of earlier installations and re-install the latest update from our website, and re-register if necessary (retaining your previous registration data from the apps/roaming/ folder should avoid this step). AdminApp is unaffected by these OS updates.

OSX 10.11 (El Capitan): Some users with OSX10.11 reported that they cannot authorize drmz files with Javelin on 10.11 systems – a version that resolves this is available on our website at: http://www.drumlinsecurity.com/javelindownloads.html and is now available on the Mac’s AppStore

The list of what’s new in OSX 10.11 is provided by Apple here:

http://www.apple.com/uk/osx/whats-new/

There is no indication in this list of changes in the way the operating system works. However, changes have been made to underlying features of OSX (and iOS9) which are described by Apple in technical notes here:

https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/mac/releasenotes/MacOSX/WhatsNewInOSX/Articles/MacOSX10_11.html

and tucked away within these release notes are details of a facility called App Transport Security (ATS). Essentially this introduces a mechanism whereby any application that asks for data from a standard web address starting with http:// will generate an error and may be prevented from continuing to work. Apple would like developers to switch to using https:// web addresses for anything that involves data retrieval. Javelin (all platforms) currently retrieves data from a standard http:// address during document authorization, although we may amend this shortly as our DRM servers all have SSL/https: support now.

… more on these OS updates as they occur!