Blogging about Royal TS/X, Royal Server and Royal Passwords

User Interface Updates in Royal TS V5

A couple of weeks ago we released the beta of Version 5 of Royal TS for Windows. In this blog post we want to introduce a couple of things we changed in the user interface. We are still tweaking and optimizing V5, so there’s a good chance that some of the things might change or look a bit different.

Royal TS UI Color Scheme

1. General User Interface Changes

A “lighter” User Interface

As you can see in the screenshot above, Royal TS V5 now looks a bit “lighter”. If you look at the Navigation panel header, the tab header and even the split-line between the Navigation panel and the Dashboard tab, you will notice thinner lines and a more compact, flatter layout.

SVG Icons

We also made a huge effort to update all the icons we use in the user interface (even those coming from the plugins). All icons are now SVG based which means they are now vector based and not pixel based anymore. Back in V3 and V4 we needed 11 different pixel based images for each icon and use the appropriate size, depending on the DPI setting on Windows. This was already a huge improvement and made look Royal TS’ icons crisp and sharp even if you set your DPI setting to 200% (192 DPI) but it was also very hard to maintain. Every time we had to add a new icon or change an icon, we had to generate all the 11 variants of sizes up to 256×256 pixels.

In V5, all icons are now vector based SVG icons and will be scaled automatically based on the DPI setting. This also means that scaling up your display to 300 or more percent, will be no problem and all the icons will still look great!

There are no more “Skins”

Royal TS V2 up to V4 allowed you to switch to different skins and some skins also had different color schemes. Different skins also meant different styles and a dedicated “look-and-feel” for each skin. There were all sorts of skins available (like Office or Visual Studio inspired skins) but the reality was that depending on the skin we had to tweak a lot of our UI. This was a maintenance nightmare. We decided to drop the skins feature because most of the skins had one major flaw: most skins were pixel based which means that even when our icons look great, the rest of the UI does not. We decided to focus our efforts to the vector based skin and made sure Royal TS is ready to run on the high resolutions screens which are getting more and more affordable.

2. Introducing Color Schemes

On the View ribbon tab, there’s a new drop down button called “Color Schemes” with 4 built-in schemes: Default, Light, Dark and Black. This is pretty much what Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and many other apps are offering nowadays. The Default scheme is the one you see in the above screenshot. This might change as we plan to still do some tweaking or maybe do a competition to let users submit color schemes we consider as our default scheme.

3. Custom Color Scheme

Now it gets interesting! Clicking “Custom…” in the Color Schemes dropdown shows the dialog you see above in the screenshot. Here are a couple of interesting things:

  • The drop down at the top allows you to choose from many, many pre-defined color schemes right out of the box. Once you selected the color scheme, hit the “Copy” button to copy all the color values from the selected scheme to the property grid. This way, you can quickly get started with a predefined scheme and tweak the colors as you wish.
  • Clicking on a color will show a short description at the bottom where this particular color will be used.
  • There are also “Icon Colors” available. Tweaking these colors allows you to set the colors used by all the icons in the UI. This way you can make sure that a black color in a black skin still has enough contrast to look great.
  • To get a better feel for the scheme, hit the Preview button to see how your current color scheme will look like.

In our usage statistics we see that roughly 10% of our beta users are going for a custom color scheme. That’s really impressive because we didn’t announce this feature yet.

4. Share your Color Schemes

The “Share” button allows you to share your color scheme with other users. We create a special link which instructs your browser to open Royal TS’ Color Scheme editor and set the color scheme for you to try. Click this link to try it. In case you have an older version of Royal TS installed after you installed the newer one, your browser might open the older version which doesn’t support color schemes. In this case you can still just copy the link into the clipboard and use the Copy drop down button to apply the colors to the property grid.

That’s it for now. We really hope that the updated look and feel is appealing to all of you. We also hope that the color customization options are a welcome addition. Please let us know what you think about these changes and if you like them or not.

To download the Royal TS V5 beta, follow this link.



Use a PowerShell Logon Script to Pre-Configure Royal TS Settings

Recently we got an interesting support request where a customer wanted to prepare the application settings, which are usually available in the Royal TS UI through View -> Options,  using a logon script in PowerShell.

I thought it would be a good idea to share this in a blog post because there are one or two caveats to watch out for but first, here’s the script:

# import the powershell module to get access to the cmd lets
Import-Module "C:\Program Files (x86)\code4ward.net\Royal TS V4\RoyalDocument.PowerShell.dll" -Force

# create a store
$store = New-RoyalStore -UserName $Env:USERNAME

# path to the app document
$appDocPath = "$Env:APPDATA\code4ward\code4ward.RoyalTS.UserPreferences.config"

# open the app document
$appDoc = Open-RoyalDocument -Store $store -FileName $appDocPath

# set all the options
$store.Options.DontShowDocumentModifiedNotification = $true
$store.Options.DontShowMaintenanceExtensionNotification = $true
$store.Options.DontShowRestoreConnectionsDialog = $true
$store.Options.DoNotCreateDashboardOnStartup = $true
$store.Options.DoNotShowGettingStartedPageOnStartup = $true
$store.Options.SuperStartPageBehavior = 0
$store.Options.AutoStartDocumentMode = 3

# here we need an array of strings with the full path to all the docs we want to open automatically
$store.Options.AutoStartDocumentList = @( "FullDocumentPath1", "FullDocumentPath2" )

# this saves the document as "*.rtsz"
Out-RoyalDocument -Document $appDoc -FileName $appDocPath
Close-RoyalDocument -Document $appDoc

# now we need to delete the old .config file and rename the .rtsz file
Remove-Item -Path $appDocPath
Rename-Item -Path "$appDocPath.rtsz" -NewName $appDocPath

Now to the two caveats:

  1. The property AutoStartDocumentList must be set using a string array – even if you only set one path.
  2. When you invoke the Out-RoyalDocument cmdlet, the file will be “*.rtsz” but the extension for this particular file must be “*.config”. That’s why we have the last two lines of code (Remove-Item and Rename-Item) in the script.


Royal TSX and macOS 10.14 Mojave

Update 6 (2018-10-17):
The issue mentioned in the previous update has now been fixed and released as part of Royal TSX 3.3.2. If you’re using macOS Mojave, please ensure that you’re running the latest version of Royal TSX available from our website.

For the best experience and full Mojave compatibility, including dark mode, please consider giving our public beta of Royal TSX 4.0 a try.

If you’re still running into issues with Royal TSX on macOS Mojave, please contact us!

Update 5 (2018-09-24):
Happy Mojave day everyone! We worked hard over the last couple months to ensure Royal TSX will be compatible with macOS Mojave once it’s released to the public.

If you’re already using macOS Mojave or plan to update later, we strongly suggest to update to the public beta of Royal TSX 4.0 which offers full Mojave compatibility (including dark mode).
In case you decide against updating to the beta, please ensure that you have at least Royal TSX 3.3.2. Every prior V3 release will have issues when run on macOS Mojave.

There’s still a known issue in a third party library that we’re using in Royal TSX (the mono framework; link to bug report) which results in Royal TSX showing various visual artifacts. If you run into any of the following issues, please let us know:

  • Visual artifacts when resizing window
  • The stoplight buttons (close, minimise, full screen) go missing when hovering over them
  • Incorrect/missing animation when entering or exiting full screen
  • Inability to expand or collapse navigation panel (sidebar) items
  • The navigation panel (sidebar) appears fully black
  • Any view that offers a scrollbar stops being able to be scrolled
  • CoreAnimation errors logged to Console.app

A workaround for this bug is included in the latest Royal TSX 4.0 beta. We plan to include this workaround in V3 as well once we gather enough feedback and can release it with confidence.

If you encounter any of the mentioned issues or have other feedback related to Royal TSX on macOS Mojave, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Update 4 (2018-07-23):
The first public beta of Royal TSX 4.0 which will offer full Mojave compatibility (including dark mode) is now available. Please give it a try and let us know if you encounter any issues! Thx!

Update 3 (2018-07-16):
A new Royal TSX beta update (V3.3.1.2) is out now which attempts to resolve the scrolling issue. If you give the beta a try and still encounter the issue, please let us know! Thx!

Update 2 (2018-06-20):
Unfortunately, DP2 doesn’t fix the crash when scrolling the navigation panel. We’re still investigating what’s causing this. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t responded to our bug report yet.

Update 1 (2018-06-15):
The first Royal TSX beta update (V3.3.1.1) is now out which somewhat improves compatibility with macOS 10.14 DP1. Specifically, a bug has been resolved that caused the application to crash when closing Remote Desktop connections. Please note that the problem that causes the app to hang when scrolling the navigation panel is still unresolved.

Original post (2018-06-14):

Hello early adopters,

now that the first developer preview of macOS 10.14 Mojave has been released, we wanted to give you a quick update on Royal TSX’ compatibility with the new OS.

Like with every beta OS, we want to remind you that we do NOT generally support beta/developer preview releases and we do NOT recommend to install OS betas if your daily workflow depends on Royal TSX. However, it’s obviously in our own interest that our products are compatible as soon as possible. For more information please see this KB article.

In the case of 10.14 DP1 we unfortunately have to report that Royal TSX is NOT compatible at the moment. Royal TSX randomly hangs/freezes when scrolling the navigation panel (sidebar) as well as other list views. While we’d love to fix whatever is causing this, we haven’t been able to track down the source of the problem yet.

We filed bug reports with Apple and hope that whatever is causing the hangs gets fixed in one of the next developer preview releases of macOS Mojave. If you would like to help us get this resolved, please also file bug reports with Apple. The more reports/dupes they get the more likely it is that the issue gets resolved.

Thx for your understanding,
The Royal Applications Team



Microsoft’s March 13, 2018 updates and Royal TSX

Update March 14, 2018:
A new version of the FreeRDP plugin (V3.3.6) that fixes the issue is now available. You can install the update as usual via “Royal TSX – Check for Updates…”.

 

On March 13, 2018 Microsoft released updates for several Windows versions that include a fix for a security vulnerability in the Credential Security Support Provider protocol (CredSSP, also known as Network Level Authentication or NLA).
You can learn more about the vulnerability and associated patch here.

The respective updates that include this fix are…

Unfortunately, the security update breaks compatibility with 3rd party Remote Desktop clients which use the open source library, FreeRDP. We’re already in touch with the FreeRDP developers and hope to have a fix available soon.
You can follow the developments on the FreeRDP project’s Github page.

In our testing, affected Windows operating systems include Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Workarounds

Until a proper fix is available for FreeRDP, here are some workarounds to keep you connected to your remote systems:

  1. Use Microsoft Remote Desktop
    Microsoft’s own Mac RDP client doesn’t seem to be affected by the problem, so it’s probably your best bet until an update for Royal TSX is available. You can get it on the Mac App Store.
  2. Uninstall the Windows update
    Uninstalling the Windows update (or putting it into the “Absent” state) that contains the security patch will allow you to access the system using Royal TSX again.
  3. Disable NLA
    By disabling the requirement for NLA on the server side and forcing Royal TSX to connect with TLS encryption instead you can also work around the problem.
    Here’s how to:

    1. Connect to the remote host using Microsoft Remote Desktop
    2. Run “SystemPropertiesRemote.exe” (or manually open “System Properties – Remote”)
    3. Disable “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended)”
    4. In Royal TSX open the properties of your RDP connection and switch to the “Advanced – Authentication” section
    5. Disable “Network Level Authentication (NLA)”
    6. Enable “TLS Encryption”

We’re really sorry for any inconvenience caused by this and will update this article as soon as new information becomes available.



Royal TS 4.2 Release

Today we’re glad to announce that another feature packed release of Royal TS (for Windows) is available! Version 4.2 contains lots of cool new features, various improvements across the board, many bugfixes and even a new object type that’ll help you stay organized.

So lets dive right into what’s new:

To-DoSupport for To-Do items

Since we’re already making your life easier by providing you with the tools to manage all your remote connections, we thought it would only be logical to also help you manage your day to day tasks. So starting with this release, you’ll be able to create To-Do items right in Royal TS, add a title and description for them and when the time has come, mark them as completed.

4-2-Release-01

Double-click a To-Do item to edit the description:

4-2-Release-02

File Transfer ConnectionsFile Transfer Connections

File Transfer connections also received several noteworthy updates in this release. Here are some of the highlights:

  • In SFTP connections you can now edit the permissions of files and folders:

4-2-Release-03

4-2-Release-04

  • Live Edit automatically uploads files when the file is changed locally (double-click a remote file to start editing it).
  • We’ve added support for viewing and changing permissions (right-click and select “Permissions”).
  • It’s now possible to select a different credential when running into authentication errors while connecting to a server.

Other improvements

Other notable new features and improvements include:

  • Restricted Admin mode for RDP connections:

4-2-Release-05

  • Import of mRemoteNG 1.75 documents is now supported (without passwords).
  • We added support for Date and Time replacement tokens in Key Sequence Tasks and Command Tasks.
  • Support for bookmarks in notes.
  • Extension to the “Connect with Options” menu to override a secure gateway or directly connect without a gateway.
  • Ability to specify a template using the command line.
  • Terminal (Rebex based) and File Transfer supports now Elliptic Curve Cryptography (Ed25519, NSTP, Brainpool and Curve25519)
  • PuTTY version 0.70 with support for ChaCha20 cipher.
  • A basic download manager for the Chrome browser plugin.

Of course, this is just a quick peek at some of the highlights in this release. More detailed information and the full changeset (including bugfixes) is available in the release notes.

Also, check out the updated System Requirements page. Royal TS V4.2 and later now requires .NET Framework 4.7.