Host Flash™ version 2.5.0 has been unleashed to the world. Release date 23rd January 2016. This release fixes one bug, removes informational dialogues, has a cleaner directory structure, introduces a new program auto update feature and heralds in the Community Whitelist Installer.
Not major release in code changes but an important release for Host Flash™ user convenience.
The Host Flash™ Update Feature
The new program update feature lets users update the Host Flash™ program automatically without need to personally visit the Host Flash™ website or the GitHub repository.
The update feature automatically downloads and overwrites the following files
- README.md, and
Host Flash™ automatically restarts and runs a ‘post update’ program to ensure all updates are properly installed. These updates could be file structure changes or the download of additional files. An informational dialogue is shown to explain program changes when Host Flash first runs after an update.
Updates overwrite files and may move files around. Any version rollbacks need to be competed manually. No back up of overwritten files is made.
The decision to update can be set as a saved configuration as with any other Host Flash™ configuration option.
Community Whitelist Installer
We recently launched a collaborative whitelist project for Host Flash™ users to recommend hosts that ought not to be in the hostname blocklists downloaded from hosts source providers. This is part of phase 2 in the Host Flash™ development plan.
Host Flash™ currently ships with a sample custom whitelist.txt and a custom whitelist-wild.txt file. These sample files will be removed in Host Flash™ version 3.0.0 to be replaced with by the Community Whitelist Installer.
Version 2.5.0 introduces a Community Whitelist Installer which automatically downloads and installs whitelist files that contain hostnames the Host Flash™ user community recommend to not block. This installer is run from within the Host Flash™ program.
The whitelist files downloaded by Host Flash™ do not replace existing custom whitelist files. Hostnames in the Community Whitelists are merged with whitelised hostnames stored in any existing whitelist files.
The decision to install or update whitelist.txt and whitelist-wild.txt with the Community Whitelists can be set as a saved configuration for reuse in Quick run mode.
The custom blocklist.txt file might also be replaced by a separate installer. The decision about this is still up for deliberation.
Directory Structure Changes
Version 2.5.0 has a modified directory structure. The structure was changed to facilitate user friendliness.
The following files have been moved into the new ‘custom’ directory within the Host Flash program directory:
The above files are automatically migrated from the Host Flash root directory to the Host Flash/custom directory after Host Flash™ 2.5.0 is initialized. A warning message is displayed before the files are moved. This message provides opportunity for the files to be manually copied before their migration to Host Flash/custom. The files are moved as soon as the message is cleared.
Fewer Information Dialogue Messages
Information dialogues that explain what Host Flash™ is and how Host Flash™ blocks access to websites have been condensed to a single brief message box. Instructions, help and information can be viewed in the readme files that ship with Host Flash™ and on the Host Flash™ website. The new information dialogue explains where to find help and background information. This change is to facilitate easier use of the Host Flash™ program.
Host Flash™ had a bug that needed to be fixed. Not a major bug but one that could prevent Host Flash™ to execute. We fixed the bug.
Host Flash™ checks all its software dependencies are installed that displays warning messages where dependencies are not found or critical error messages when a missing dependency prevents Host Flash™ execution. Host Flash™ issues on screen dependency installation instructions when necessary.
One of the software dependencies is p7zip. This can be installed as p7zip or p7zip-full. The software dependency check would fail when p7zip-full is installed on a system. Host Flash™ cannot properly function without p7zip.
The new software dependency check tests for 7z, which is the feature Host Flash™ actually requires of the p7zip package.