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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.