Second Life Chat/IM Log Format

The newer SLV2’s, since the Display name versions, use a new chat/IM log format. The previous logs have been plan text files. The LLSD type files are basically a type of XML file. There are advantages and disadvantages to changing the format. Whether or not it is a good thing for you, the change is here. 

How to Read LLSD Log Files

Most of us do not have a program associated with the LLSD file type. The file can be opened by any standard text reader or word processor. Treat it as a text file. The problem is the added clutter. Here is an example:

{‘from’:’Smavish Flagman’,’from_id’:u025a9c9e-b129-42ae-9d39-3d91d1ea4520,’message’:’That\’s what happens when you rush things after a 13 hour day’,’source_type’:i1,’time’:’2010/09/01 10:22′}

{‘from’:’Smavish Flagman’,’from_id’:u025a9c9e-b129-42ae-9d39-3d91d1ea4520,’message’:’It\’\’s time to start!!!’,’source_type’:i1,’time’:’2010/09/01 10:22′}

{‘from’:’Smavish Flagman’,’from_id’:u025a9c9e-b129-42ae-9d39-3d91d1ea4520,’message’:’Alrighty then, let\’s \’kick out the JAMMS\’. It\’s that time again. Pot Luck Tune-age tonight, hopefully nothing smells funny! Perhaps some musical surprises tonight, and definitely a good time to be had by all. I may even let you in on why JAMMS is spelled that way. Couples dance ball, singles dance ball. New dance floor by Kerry. \nPresented by the beautiful Smavish and the brilliant NosadPolly. (Did I get that right?)’,’source_type’:i1,’time’:’2010/09/01 10:22′}

(Names changed to protect the guilty)

This is not the easiest thing to read. However, those of us that work with formatting XML type files know this is a minor problem. We can add a style sheet and make this print in about any format we want. Creating and adding the style sheet is not going to be fun, easy, or what was it?

Don’t assume the Lab is done with this process. Either the lab will build in an external viewer or a third party will make one. So, soon it will be easy enough to read the files.


There are advantages to using this format. Not apparent to the residents is the complexity of implementing text logs with the new Display Names. Text files are too limiting. An XML style LLSD provides;

  • Easy to export from the viewer – all the code is already in a central location
  • Easy to transform into a trivial viewable format via an XSL transformation into HTML.
  • Easy to convert into Wiki-markup, again using XSLT, for upload of chat logs to the Wiki.
  • Easy for various 3rd-party tools to rely on.
  • Slightly more complex for a human to read directly, but not bad if the line breaks and indentation are lint’d.

See: Second Life Viewer – VWR/VWR-23451

See: Display NamesDN-181

Leyla Linden explains the change was made to allow the addition of more data to the logs in the future without complex programming changes to everything based on them. Basically they did it to ‘future proof’ for anticipated changes.

Reading these logs back into the chat windows is greatly simplified and faster using LLSD format. Text files would be a drag. Plus the text files would have to change to work with the new chat dialog and Display Names. So, the logs were going to get mucked up no matter what. This format will give us way more options. The future potential is great. For now it is a pain until the Lab provides a reader.

Form the Open Source Email List it doesn’t look like we have a choice. Omitting this change would impede too many of the changes coming to SL. It would cause too much viewer code bloat. So, this is not something residents get to yay/nay.

However, what the final log or log reader looks like and the type of information included in the files is open to discussion and recommendations. Also whether there is a plain text output option also seems to be open. Vote in the JIRA’s.

3 thoughts on “Second Life Chat/IM Log Format

    • You are right. It seems to be up in the air how the file is going to be output. I’ve seen some real XML examples of the file and other examples using this more JSON appearance. I grabbed this out of my Mesh Project Viewer and then did not correct the article.

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