FX File Explorer: a "desktop-class" file/media manager for Android

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  1. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.85 is out. This is only a bugfix release. At this time major work is ongoing to implement Search and Root-related features, but neither of those features is quite ready for prime-time just yet.

  2. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery VIP Member

    I can't wait for the root features! Keep up the great work, Tod!
  3. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Hello all,

    It's been too long since this thread has been updated, and FX has evolved quite a bit since the last update. As of yesterday, FX 0.116 is available.

    Added features include:

    • The user interface aesthetics/theme have been updated.
    • Network shares can be browsed via SMB (Windows Networking) workgroup browsing and mDNS discovery.
    • The indexed search feature is now available.
    • Added support for anonymous SMB (Windows Networking) connections.
    • SSH connections can now use public key authentication.
    • Added support for streaming media (audio and video) via SMB, SFTP (SSH), and FTP.
    • A "conventional" multiple select mode is now available in addition to the "swipe-to-select" feature.
    • The root module is now available. This will be a paid add-on, but free for beta testing. See Root Access for FX File Explorer | android.nextapp.com for download instructions (requires latest version of FX).
    • Corrected bugs, improved performance.
  4. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery VIP Member

    Oh sweet, FX got root!! :D Tod, what are you going to charge for the paid version?

    For the Text Editor part of the app, can you make that an add on download? I don't really need that at all and I rather that it doesn't come bundle with the FX app.
    tliebeck likes this.
  5. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Regrettably it's not practical to package the text editor separately. In my opinion, this is probably the most significant weak point in the design of Android's application architecture. There's not a means for one application package to directly extend or invoke code from another. This is why you'll mostly see "unlock keys" for add-ons in the Android market except in cases of themes or add-ons that provide new user interfaces components (Android "Activities") that can stand alone from their base application.

    FX has a filesystem abstraction layer that enables its components to work with both local and network resources. When you press "Save" in the editor, it informs the edited "file object" that it should write itself to its storage location. That may only involve writing a local file to an SD card, or it may have to authenticate with a remote server and upload it. In the case of editing a file as root, the write operation will have to be tunneled through a privileged (su) shell.

    All that said, the editor could be built as a separate APK. To do so would require a great deal of work, including development of a means to allow external applications access to the FX file abstraction layer through the fairly limited API provided by Android for these purposes. Such a design would need a security model as well to prevent a theoretical malicious application from being capable of writing files as root or to your network bookmarks (in the name of FX). And where there might only be 50 KiB of editor-specific code, the editor APK would likely be 500 KiB - 1 MiB in size if it were a standalone item.

    Regarding pricing, there will be two modules, one for the network/media functionality (likely called "Plus", "Pro", "Elite", or whatver) and the other containing offering root access. It's important to note here that root access is not simply a privilege escalation, but a lot of entirely new and specific functionality, e.g.:


    Pricing is officially not set until release, but for reference SystemPanel and WebSharing are each $2.99.

    Attached Files:

    Roze likes this.
  6. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery VIP Member

    Thanks Tod for the explanation. So you are planning 2 different paid version of FX? One includes only the network function and the other includes Root?

    I think the $2.99 is the sweet price point for most people.
  7. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Correct, but the media catalogs are also in the paid "pro" version. You can still use things like the image viewer in the free version, but the "Images", "Videos" and "Music/Audio" items won't be present on the home screen. If you want to see the free version's capabilities, just uncheck the first option in the Settings, "Full Version Features".
  8. scooterinmn

    scooterinmn Well-Known Member

    Tinkering with this one and I am really liking the UI. Very nice.
    I think that being able to browse my dropbox folders, like bluetooth or network folders, would be VERY handy and set you apart from the other guys!
  9. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Cloud storage support is in testing and should be released quite soon. Dropbox, Box (Box.net) and SugarSync are being supported.
  10. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.125 is now available. This release adds cloud storage support including Box (Box.net), Dropbox, and SugarSync. Media streaming is supported from cloud services, although it of course may be limited by the cloud service's available bandwidth.

    This release also adds support for archival and extraction of tar/gzip and tar/bzip2 files (in addition to zip files).


    Attached Files:

    scooterinmn and Crashdamage like this.
  11. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    I just updated the original post with current screenshots, the originals were quite a bit out-of-date.
  12. KaosStorm

    KaosStorm Well-Known Member

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, your file explorer is shaping to be an essential Android app. Keep up the good work and cheers.
    tliebeck likes this.
  13. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.127 is now available!

    This release is mostly minor bugfixes.

    • Fixed scrollbar position bug (please test)
    • Clipboard is now removed the moment a file operation is started involving it, rather than when that operation has completed.
    • Clipboard now shows root location of its contents.
    • Fixed bug where tapping notification of running transfer operation could reset state of open windows under certain conditions.
    • Operations in the operations activity can now be viewed in detail by tapping on them. You can also open the containing folder of copy/move/download operations from the operations activity.
    • Filenames are now shown (in some media players) when streaming media.

    At this point I would especially appreciate minor detail or even "nitpicking" bug reports. FX is fairly close to 1.0, and though it may be a "beta" the intent is to maintain release-level quality. A few annoyances here and there can really degrade the user experience, so if you see something that bothers you, please let me know!
    KaosStorm and Crashdamage like this.
  14. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    As I sit waiting for 7am to buy Google I/O tickets, I figured I'd post a preview of the next update. :D This is not out just yet.

    This update will restructure the network section (FTP, SSH, and SMB servers) into a single entity, similar to the current version's cloud storage. The network section was simply getting too large, and I noticed a good number of novice users being a bit puzzled about it. It was only going to get worse when WebDAV is eventually supported.


    The network views (both cloud and the combined SMB/SSH/FTP "network" view) can now be viewed by category. This will be the default (alphabetic is still available from the "View" menu).


    Also being added in the next release is the ability to bookmark network locations (including those on cloud services).


    Regrettably you're going to lose all of your saved bookmarks due to database changes. I unfortunately may have to reset network connection information as well (not certain on this just yet).

    Attached Files:

    Crashdamage likes this.
  15. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Version 0.137 is now available.

    The SSH, FTP, and Windows (SMB) connections are now grouped into a single "network" item (similar to the way cloud connections are grouped). The network and cloud views can be viewed alphabetically by server name or categorized by type.

    This release adds major improvements to the bookmarking system. Bookmarks may now be added to network and cloud locations. You can create bookmark groups (select "New Group" when creating a bookmark). You can also choose to add bookmarks directly to your Android homescreen (currently adding bookmarks to the homescreen must be done from within FX, the ability to add them *from* your homescreen will come later).

    My apologies for the inconvenience, but all NETWORK CONNECTION AND BOOKMARK INFORMATION WILL BE DELETED with this update. There was a bug in the database definition in the old version.

    The text file viewer now features character encoding autodetection. The text editor is still limited to UTF-8 only (this will be corrected in the future, but couldn't make the timeline for this update).

    This release has a permissions change (create shortcuts) so it will not auto update.
  16. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.144 is now available on the market (just uploaded, may take 30 minutes or so before it becomes generally available.)

    Changes in this release:
    • ImageViewer now supports opening previous/next images by swiping vertically.
    • Fixed bug with creating Tar archives (without compression).
    • Support for creating and decompressing single files using BZIP2 and GZIP (without TAR).
    • Improved progress feedback creating and decompressing archives.
    • Improved handling of over-recursive file operations (errors/warnings).
    • Improved memory management/out-of-memory scenario handling for text editor.
    • Media server (for streaming media from network locations) will now shutdown in 15 seconds if the screen is turned off. Some media players will continue retrieving data even when they are not playing anything, causing the media player to needlessly drain the battery (and largely blame FX in battery usage statistics).
    • Added "Close All" button to Windows menu. Tap-and-holding on this item will now FX's user interface to completely shut down (any background file transfer operations will continue).
    • Better handling of soft enter key in password dialogs for some phones/tablets.
    • Added relevant information to "Details" screen when viewing a filesystem root.
    • Confirm delete checkboxes can now be disabled in the settings.
    • Fixed issues with hanging operation dialogs for operations that executed near-instantaneously.
    • Character encoding support for text editor.
    • Additional bugfixes.
    Roze likes this.
  17. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.152 is now available.

    This release adds Google Drive / Google Docs support. This feature is part of the cloud storage package, which will be in the paid version but is of course free during beta.

    When downloading Google Docs files (i.e, Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations created by Google Docs or imported to it) you can choose the file format of the download. Available formats include Microsoft Office, OpenDocument (OpenOffice/LibreOffice), PDF, plain text, HTML, and more.

    For example:

    In 0.152, files will by default be downloaded in Microsoft Office formats. This will be configurable in a future release. Files will automatically be renamed with the correct extensions at time of download.

    FX may eventually gain support for viewing certain types of Google Docs documents, but unfortunately this feature is broken on mobile platforms in Google Docs at present in some cases (e.g. text document viewing). I need to hit up stackoverflow and find out if this can be corrected.

    In addition to Google Drive support, this release improves the image viewer a bit, specifically with regard to dragging, zooming, and switching between images. The updated version should be less prone to switching images on accident, and a few bugs have been corrected with regard to multiple touch zooming.

    And finally we now have support for refreshing local directory information automatically when files are updated as a result of background operations or by other applications.

    This release was uploaded moments ago, so it may take 20-30 minutes before the market allows it to be downloaded.
    Roze and Crashdamage like this.
  18. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery VIP Member

    Tod, when do you think that FX will be out of beta? Are there more features on your list you still need to add before then or just bug fixes?
  19. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Release will likely be fairly soon. There are certainly more features to be added, but at present there are few that are critical for 1.0. The future features list is still very long, but most of it will be happen post-1.0.

    FX has essentially been "held back" in beta for entirely non-technical reasons...to keep everything free to attract more users and provide more time for promotion. Regrettably the Android market search algorithm no longer seems to allow new products to rise to the top and be seen (or we're doing it wrong). But what worked for SystemPanel (market popularity) is not going to work here. FX currently has the second highest rating after Root Explorer in a search for "File Explorer"...but it is listed 19th. Searching for "File Manager" places FX at 55th (it recently progressed past a "wood theme" for another file manager. :D)

    This is not an unsolvable problem though, and in the interim everyone gets to use all the features of a not-really-beta file manager for free.
    glassmancheck and Roze like this.
  20. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery VIP Member

    I can't complain there!!! lol. Thanks for the explanation and quenching my curiosity.
    tliebeck likes this.
  21. TheyCallMeBT

    TheyCallMeBT Well-Known Member

    This looks spectacular. I'm about to install it, and very likely uninstall Astro.

    Edit: Oh, this is just lovely. Works as you'd expect a file manager to. Astro is now uninstalled, and FX now occupies the spot it did on one of my homescreens. Thank you for your work on making a great app, and I'll look into possibly buying your paid version when it leaves beta. And I'll also be sure to post any bugs or feature requests here.
    tliebeck likes this.
  22. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.154 is now available for download on the Google Play Store.

    This release is a maintenance update, its primary purpose being to solve some reported bugs and implement some user-provided suggestions.

    • SSH: Fixed crash with some SSH servers.
    • Root: Permission editor can now be opened from details view (root and SSH).
    • Root: Option to hide non-root System catalog when root is enabled. Long-pressing on root System catalog now has option to open it without root when this option is enabled.
    • Google Drive: MD5 hashes are now displayed in details.
    • Music/Audio: Individual album view now has option to sort by name or track number.
    • Music/Audio: Significantly improved performance (e.g. scrolling) when album art is enabled.
    TheyCallMeBT likes this.
  23. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Yet another performance and bugfix release...0.158 is out whenever the Google Play Store feels like propagating it to all the servers.

    • User interface responsiveness improved when scrolling through directories containing large numbers of images.
    • Slightly faster loading of local file directories containing hundreds of items.
    • Fixed bug where cut/copy operations with very large selections (i.e., several hundred selected items) would not start.
    • Redundant soft menu key disabled for ICS and Honeycomb devices.
    • Fixed bug where large images were not displayed in Image Viewer on ICS and Honeycomb devices.
  24. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    0.162 is now available on the market.

    This release again focuses on aesthetic improvements, UI responsiveness, and incorporates a fair number of fixes as well.

    Those who like black text on white backgrounds will be happy that these configuration settings now display as expected, e.g.:


    (Black bar on right side is a DDMS screenshot artifact).

    I'd ask again that folks please submit bug reports at this stage. If you ever see FX *CRASH*, it's especially important....it should of course never do that. Even occasional crashing is not okay, regardless of what you've come to expect from other software...it should NEVER CRASH. Please e-mail bugs (or just post here) if it does.

    Additionally I'm very interested in any reports of not being able to connect to network or cloud servers.

    Thanks again for testing/reporting bugs/suggesting ideas, really appreciate it all!
  25. tliebeck

    tliebeck VIP Member VIP Member

    Hello all!

    Release 0.167 is now available. The improvements include:

    • Multithreaded I/O.
    • Network I/O Performance Improvements.
    • RAR Archive Extraction (UnRAR)
    • Archive extractor now offers “Extract to Folder” option.
    • Fixed bug w/ streaming videos over SSH connections.
    • More UI improvements/fixes for light colored background in file views.
    • New application icons.
    • General bugfixes and performance improvements.

    As usual, it has just been uploaded and thus may take the Android market an 30 minutes to an hour to make it available.

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