Codebook for macOS beta 4.2.0 - Interface Improvements

We have a minor version update being made available today to Codebook for macOS Beta testers, with several pleasant interface and behavioral improvements, discussed below. There are no changes to minimum operating system requirements or sync version compatibility (it can sync with Codebook 4.1, but not 4.0).

If you would like to be a Codebook Beta tester, please get in touch! Be sure to indicate what platforms you use (i.e. Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows).

Changes in this Version:

  • Adds a new, easier to use Add Field pull-down button to the Entry view in Edit mode
  • The Remove Field button is now disabled when no Field is selected
  • Updates Add and Remove Field buttons to use more common AppKit window style
  • Clears out any previously entered name in the Create New Label window
  • Refreshes the Preferences window interface
  • Adds a dedicated Updates tab to the Preferences window
  • Adds a new Release Channel setting for easily switching between Beta and Release updates
  • Adds a new View License window for looking up your license information (Codebook menu > View License…)
  • The Compact Database feature and menu item have been renamed Vacuum Database to correspond with current functionality
  • Fixes some keyboard event bugs in Secret Agent that prevented Run Default Action from working correctly in some cases

Add and Remove Field Buttons

So the Add Field and Remove Field buttons needed a refresh! They weren’t looking so great (compared to say typical Mac/AppKit controls, they were using a style not meant for main window content), and the Add control in particular was a bit of a misuse of the segmented control button. It was particularly not great for new users, and hid a certain amount of functionality that we would like to be more readily apparent.

Here’s what the old buttons look like:

The purpose of the minus sign button () is pretty clear, but what about the segmented plus button? What’s going on above is that clicking on the + segment will create a new field with the currently selected label, which is being shown in the left-side segment labeled “Password”.

How do you change the “currently selected label”, or rather, how do you create a field with a different label, then? Well, click on the left segment, and you get a menu!

This menu has two sections. The options at the top are for convenience, the rest of the menu is a list of all your Labels, ordered either alphabetically, or by frequency-of-use (see Preferences to toggle). When you click on one of the labels, a new field with that label is added to your Entry’s fields list.

And then something else happens! That label type becomes the selected label on the left segment of the add control.

That may sound convenient, but for a new user it’s not great. It may be helpful to step through creating a new Entry, perhaps a login for our local gaming store. First, I want to add an Email field, which isn’t the selected field, so I definitely have to use the menu:

When we select Email in the menu, an Email field is added to the record for us to fill in (or autocomplete with suggestions). The Add Field control now shows Email as the default field type if I were to hit the plus button. So we must use the menu again to get our next field, a Password field, which then sets the add button label to Password, and on it goes as we add different fields. This isn’t very helpful!

So, it’s an odd control, it looks a bit out of place, and new users (even experienced ones) have trouble understanding that if you click on the left-side segment you get a pop-up, and you pretty much always have to click for that menu.

In addition, those convenience options I mentioned at the top of the menu are hidden, but both make common tasks available:

  1. Creating a new label to use (you shouldn’t have to stop editing and go to Customize Labels to do this)
  2. Generating a new random password for a new account

Clearly these options have the same problem of being hidden as the rest of the menu, so it would be good to fix that up as well.

Thus, we have a new pair of buttons for Remove Field and Add Field in this version of Codebook for macOS. They use the more common button style, and the Add Field button has been adapted to a simpler pull-down menu. Just click on it to select a Label and add a field, create a new Label not already in the list, and to create a new random password:

A few things to note here:

  • The “New Label…” option has been grouped by itself at the top of the menu with its new title
  • The generate option has been retitled “Random Password” and also grouped alone, above the list of labels; It adds a Password field to your Entry, and generates a random value for it, based on your Password Generator settings.
  • If being able to rapidly create the same field type over and over again is still important to you, you can, use the keyboard shortcut ⌘+, it will add a field of whatever type you last selected
  • The Remove Field button appears disabled until a field has been selected in the Entry’s fields list

Preferences Window

Out with the old tabbed box style, in with a more modern tabbed window style (and color icons!)

Settings related to Check for Updates, including a new one for switching to Beta channel updates, are available on the new Updates tab in Preferences:

Got a License?

If you are running the direct build of Codebook for macOS (not the App Store build), and you need to view your license code, you frequently have to email us to re-send it, right? Not anymore! Go to Codebook in the menu bar and select “View License…” to display your information:

In case it isn’t clear I blocked out the display of my license key in that screenshot. :wink: