Feeds

Rap for KitKat in crap app wrap trap flap: Android 4.4 is 'meant to work like that'

Even Notepad can manage text reflow

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has rebuffed users and devs calling on the internet king to reinstate text wrapping, broken and replaced in Android 4.4 aka KitKat.

The problem is that text displayed by web browsers using the WebView component isn't automatically laid out to fit on the screen of devices running the mobile OS, forcing users to zoom out squint at tiny letters or scroll from side-to-side to read the words in full.

The issue came to light in November 2013, in this thread over at code.google.com. User Anthony (the rest of his details are sensibly obfuscated by the forum) puts it simply: “There is no way to make web pages in Android WebView wrap text properly as there was in all previous versions of WebView.”

As a result, on many sites, the user has an unenviable choice to make: “With wide viewport [on], user must scroll side-to-side to read content. With wide viewport [off], page renders badly and often makes content unreadable. Workaround is for user to physically change orientation of screen to landscape and hope that screen is wide enough that hidden content is given enough of a place to render.”

Kit Kat Browser fail

"It's broken" says the user ...

Reddit on KitKat 4.4

..."It's just fine" says Google

Google seems irrevocably committed to the change that broke text wrapping – the deprecation of NARROW_COLUMNS and SINGLE_COLUMN layout options in KitKat.

Responses from the web advertising giant on the forum thread are straightforward: since its Android OS engineers deprecated those layout options, there is no issue. KitKat is working-as-intended, so there's nothing to fix. Google says devs need to use the new setUseWideViewPort(true) and setLoadWithOverviewMode(true) options, and in its support, it posted the above image of Reddit.

As well as browsers, devs are also complaining that the lack of text wrapping is hurting other apps such as HTML-based e-book readers.

Some of the developers in the discussion say that text reflow still works on the Opera browser, but The Register has not attempted a KitKat-plus-Opera install as a test. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.