Today we’ve uploaded the first beta of FoxToPhone 1.2() to the Add-ons repository. We still plan to add an extra feature before releasing it as stable, but first of all this version requires lots of testing, so that’s why I’m writing this post to introduce you to the changes that we’ve done.
The most important part is that we have changed the authentication system to use OAuth like the Chrome extension, so we’re now using again the latest API. This will help us to implement any new feature that it’s added in the protocol, like a theorical PhoneToBrowser, but it has a real benefit right now: if someone tried to use FoxToPhone without the apk already installed and configured in his phone, currently the server was returning a generic “500 internal server error”, but now we get again the specific message that the device isn’t registered and can show you an instructions page.
But this change has one risk, several people have been claiming problems with ChromeToPhone since it changed to OAuth, and so we wouldn’t like to introduce such problems with FoxToPhone.
We’ve been testing FoxToPhone with several accounts, also with accounts that had the 2 steps verification enabled and they are working fine, but we can’t test every possible configuration, people might have strange things in their configuration, some hidden problem that isn’t obvious, and that’s why those OAuth problems (reported as “ChromeToPhone remains in a tab saying Connecting….” ) have surfaced just for some people.
So please, if you had problems with ChromeToPhone but FoxToPhone has been working fine so far, we would like you to please test this beta. If you have problems then please write back here so we can try to help you and find a fix that can help also other people. On the other hand if the new FoxToPhone works fine, then please also write back so we can know that we haven’t made any mistake and all our efforts have been worth.
That’s enough about OAuth, now the second change in this version: file transfers for everyone.
Previously we announced that there was a method in FoxToPhone to enable file transfers by setting a hidden preference. Due to time constrains (and also being tired after coding all the upload pane) we left that option hidden without a general option that can be easily used.
This past week I’ve resumed the work, ironed out some bugs and aesthetic issues with the upload pane and then searched for some public hosting, and found that min.us was the kind of service that we needed. It offers hosting of files without requiring to create first an account there, but you can register in order to get extra benefits, and their API was so simple that the most complex part of adding support in FoxToPhone was adjusting the preferences pane.
Of course, as the file transfer is using a 3rd party server we think that it’s better to stay disabled by default, but you can easily enable it in the preferences pane:
First open the Add-Ons pane and click on Options of Fox To Phone
In that dialog click on the “Server” dropdown and select Min.us, that’s all. You can keep using your own server if you put “Custom” and write the url in the textbox that appears below (if you already had set a custom server the dialog should show correctly that option).
After enabling that option you can right-click on the toolbar button and you’ll see these options:
When you select “Send files…” a file picker will open and you can select one or more files to transfer. They will be sent to the choosen server and then the link to get them back will be sent to your phone. A little issue with min.us right now is that the downloaded file doesn’t keep the original name, only the extension. Also if you are transfering pictures you’ll need to click once to view the original picture and then press long on the picture to use the Save option in the browser’s context menu.
If you select “Send folder…” in the context menu, then the selected folder will be zipped and that’s the file that will be sent to your phone, you can unzip it there with the app that you prefer to use.
Also, beside using the context menu, you can directly drag&drop files or folders onto the toolbar button and they will be transfered in the same way.
One last minor feature added in this release is that URLs that are too long and previously failed to be sent now are automatically shortened with goo.gl
As I said previously we haven’t finished with this 1.2 version, we want to add at least one extra option in the Server options, but as the current tests seem to be good we want you to test this beta version so you can give us your feedback about it. We’ll be glad to hear your comments, don’t be afraid to test this version it’s working fine for us and you can easily uninstall it and return back to the stable version available in the Add-ons site.