Within the Snowstorm project many things come up. Some make it into the viewer and some don’t. Discussion in the group is along the lines of what should change and why, what features should be added and how will they work, what isn’t working for people and why. This article is about some of the things under consideration, being fixed, fixed, and/or added. You’ll learn all sorts of little bits about the viewers.
The feature request Storm-34 was recently implemented. You will find it in KirstenLee’s S21 and the Lab’s 2.5 Beta. This is the feature that adds your favorites to the list of places you can log into. So, it is no longer just ‘Last Location’ and ‘Home’.
But, how many times have you seen an interesting place on the login screen and wanted to know where it is? Kirsten’s viewer places the region name on the image. One can use it to log into the region. The same feature is being suggested for SL viewers.
You may not know that the images used on the login screen are basically backgrounds in a web page. The information on the screen can be links. With a little bit of work we should be able to have a SLURL on the page that will let us visit the region shown in the picture.
Storm-844 – There are places where the buttons in the SLV2 display these words reversed, ‘Less’ shows when ‘More’ should show and vice versa, particularly in the Media player. While these may sound trivial, mistakes like this can be confusing, especially for new peeps.
Wiki Entry on Code Contributions
I follow the wiki, so I can see all the changes being made to it. On average there are about 50 to 100 changes per day and often more. One of the recent changes was to the page describing how to submit code to the Lab for inclusion in the viewer. So, if you have a problem with the viewer, just code up a fix and submit it… sure thing. Huh?
Compiling Your Own Viewer
If you really want control over your viewer you roll your own. You can get copies of the viewer code and compile your own viewer. There are ongoing conversations about how well that works, or doesn’t, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. As problems are found they are corrected, or at least effort is devoted toward resolving the problems. There are some problems for those compiling on Windows. I’m not sure whether they are fixed or ongoing. So, if you plan to roll your own, dig into it.
STORM-829 Viewer 2 does not parse /me in Instant Messages. This problem has been around for some time now. But, how to fix its behavior in SLV2 is a matter of discussion. Should the /me parse change the text to italics or not? Should it be highlighted in some other way? Or should it just be plain text? And when the IM goes to email, how should it be handled?
There is concern the change to Web Profiles will break lots of business oriented tools. For some time several work-around methods have used the old web page profiles. The pages are different and that will likely break the tools designed to use the old web pages.
Some do not see content creators being unable to mine world.secondlife.com for user keys, groups, profile pics, and etc. on their out-world servers as a critical bug… others do. The Lab has never supported page scraping to get data for use in SL. So, the Lab is not going to see this as a problem they need to fix. So, don’t bother complaining to the Lab.
This should be a reminder that use of unsupported items and features and dependency on them is risky. Use such work-arounds at your own risk.
Looked at another way, the old JIRA’s asking for some of these things to be fixed is what is driving the changes. New features should fill in for the page scraping. But still, a number of resident made tools will have to be rebuilt.
And What Tools Might be Dependent?
You have likely been somewhere and been offered some type of reward or payment for having a pick in your profile. The way that was handled was by scraping the old profile pages to see if you had the Pick in your Profile. Businesses did this supposedly because it affected SL search results. Some think that no longer works, so this can go away. They say it like they know how SL search works. I’m convinced SL search doesn’t work, so they can’t possibly know.
Whatever, to get information into search the Lab has to get the contents of their databases out where it can be indexed for search. If the Lab is to become the merchant for virtual content, this stuff has to be accessible to Google. That is likely part of the reason for this Web Profile change.
Whether Picks influence search or not, they do influence me. I check profiles. I find all sorts of interesting places and things in people’s picks. So, there is some advantage to businesses beyond being in search.
The size of the Profile window is an issue for some, like me. It is too large. It appears to have been designed more for use in a browser than in the viewer. There is discussion about what size it should be. I would love it if the viewer would look at whether I am using an internal or external browser and open the profile in that browser.
KDU is the image compression/decompression software used by the Lab. KDU gained notoriety during the Emerald Viewer scandal. Recently the Lab upgraded to a newer version of KDU and tweaked it for Second Life. It is now in use in the 2.5 Beta viewer. The Lab says it is 30% faster. But, they are not done with it. There is still work being done on it.
Drag & Drop Sharing
STORM-447 is about not being able to select multiple objects and drag/drop them for sharing. I suppose people do that… I’ve always done a single item or folder at a time.
Customizable Viewer Layouts
STORM-2 – This project is progressing. The layouts may be saved in to a folder named after the user. So, layouts will be per user or per avatar. Also, there is an idea that layouts could be shared. A teacher might share a layout for building with her building class students.
Pending Give Inventory Objects Lost On Login Failure
People have been wondering where items they bought or were given were going as they never got them. This bug explains how some items are being lost. If your login fails, somehow the viewer clears the incoming inventory items. Now that is a bummer. STORM-526
Incorrect Start Up Warnings
If you have ever had your viewer crash on start, it may have lied to you about the reason it crashed. Effort is underway to improve the error messages. See VWR-24317.
Recover Landmark from Trash
If you ever tried to recover a landmark from the Trash folder by using the right-click menu, you will know it didn’t work. I never ran into that problem. Hopefully the fix is in the viewer you are using now.
STORM-243 – Discussion continues on whether the viewer should popup a notice advising you that you have entered a region running on a different server version. Some feel the information is useless. Others want to add more information to make it more meaningful. I think it is the Dolphin Viewer that does that now, which makes it useful to me.
I suppose to most residents the information has little meaning. Only those that keep up on the server upgrades and release channels upgrades would know what switching simulator versions might mean. So, some think having a debug setting to turn the notices on or off is a solution.
Display Names ???
DN-202 – Display Names sometimes show as ???. Work is being done to correct that. The new People API has a cache and a cache timeout. When the People API returns an error and the cache is empty the viewer would show ???, I think that is how they described it. It also seems it cached ???, which then stuck in the cache and made it look like the name had been resolved. So, the viewer would stop asking for the name and you were stuck with ???.
Now the viewer asks the legacy name system for the name when the People API fails. So now, the viewer should not present the name as ???. However, values from the legacy system are not cached. So, the People API will be quickly triggered for a new request until it gets the Display Name. So, seeing ??? should be a very rare occurrence now.
STORM-236 – Some people would like to be able to remove the Speak button. We can control other buttons, so why not this one too? I’m for removing it. There is discussion about having it auto-hide if the user has voice turned off. It looks like this will happen.