Project Shining: project viewer released for new HTTP Library

A part of the Shining project is to improve the underpinning HTTP messaging that is crucial to simulator / simulator and simulator / Viewer communications. As commented upon in the notes from the TPV/Developer meeting on July 13th, the initial focus on this project is to provide an initial texture fetch library for the viewer, together with a “wrapper” that will allow further http code enhancements to be added over time.

On Friday July 27th, Linden Lab made the initial code available within an LL project viewer (SL Alternate Viewers). The availability of the code, and LL’s plans / hopes for it were discussed during the TPV/Developer meeting also held on the 27th July. The discussion can be heard in full on the meeting recording, the key points from which have been summarised below.

During the discussion, both Oz and Monty Linden (who is leading the project) had the following to say:

  • The code is currently free-standing, although there will eventually be server-side protocol changes made to better support it (as well as further capabilities to be added to the libraries), which should further improve robustness and overall performance
  • Even without the server-side changes, the Lab hopes that the code itself will make things “a little bit better” for those using older routers, particularly Linksys WRT routers (Monty indicated server-side work would most probably be required to improve things for people using Belkin G-series routers)
  • While  the libraries are close to what is expected to be the “final” code (barring bug-fixes, etc.), it is unlikely they will be integrated into the Development Viewer for at least the next two weeks. The reason for this is two-fold:
    • The code needs to be merged-up with 3.4.0
    • Integration is dependent upon what kind of experience is had with the code “in the field”
  • LL hope that people will use the project viewer, and TPV developers will integrate it into experimental releases of their own, so that greater feedback (via JIRA entries, etc.) can be obtained in terms of:
    • General experience reports – completeness, reliability, robustness, improved rezzing, etc.
    • Whether the new code is helping to ease the strain faced by the likes of Linksys WRT routers, and what (if anything) it is doing to people’s home networks
    • (From the TPV developers themselves) design comments on the code itself, whether it is felt things have been missed, if there are issues in integrating the code into TPVs, etc.

Again, note that the code is currently only related to textures; the “more ubiquitous” uses (as Oz has previously put it) of the new http library within the viewer have yet to be implemented, so HTTP inventory, etc., is currently unchanged.

Oz asked the question (of Monty), as to whether it would be a problem if TPV developers were to convert some of the additional HTTP functionality for use with the library. Monty didn’t see any major issues, other than the new library introduces the concept of a policy class, rather than the current global priority scheme, and this has not been fully implemented as yet, because it is not required in this first pass. However, additional functions could share the policy used for HTTP textures, and that would “still be productive”. Monty further indicated that there is a “to do list of intent” included in the code as a file, which TPV developers can look at if they are minded to look at committing to some of the work themselves.

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12 thoughts on “Project Shining: project viewer released for new HTTP Library

  1. I tried this and it was horrific. Froze my computer and kept giving me malware warnings. It took me repeated tries to uninstall and it gave me frame rates of 8 as opposed to 70 on the regular SLV3.
    If they use this viewer it will kill me from using SL as the SLV3 official viewer is the only viewer that works for me on a powerful, brand new computer. The Lindens need to stop screwing things up!

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  2. Ziggy, chill out! This viewer is experimental, its purpose is to get feedback in order to track down problems. You’d be more constructive if you sent feedback with a detailed report of the problems you had with it instead of blaming the Lindens. C’mon, get real!

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    1. Crashing my computer and not letting me uninstall it is more than a problem, it was more like a virus than a viewer. I am just sick of getting something on SL working right and then some new bugs or crap come along and screws it all up! I quit using Firestorm because of this and thought I could count on the Official Viewer to be my savior but if this is a new code they plan on showing down our throats then we are all going to find ourselves locked out of SL eventually.
      Same with this pathfinding nonsense…all this crashing and issues just to see some prim rats prance along the floor.
      You get real!

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      1. It looks like you downloaded a completely different viewer than me, Ziggy. I had the opposite experience! (see below)

        Granted, I guess that this approach now needs a lot of feedback from all different types of environments, so that LL tweaks the HTTP queues — as they promised to do.

        I’m just curious, what bandwidth settings did you use? Have you tweaked those on Preferences?

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          1. Ziggy

            Please do not resort to personal insults when replying to others; it simply is not necessary. I don’t have many “rules” for this blog, but two of them are that people remain civil towards one another, and another is that they refrain from overly foul language.

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      2. Ziggy,

        If you are persistently encountering issues of this magnitude, I can only suggest you:

        a) Check the JIRA and see if anyone else has reported similar issues recently, and if not (or if you can’t find one matching your symptoms), then
        b) Open a JIRA, stating the precise nature of the problem: what it is, when it occurs, when the outcome is, any noticeable symptoms prior to it occurring (such as your viewer freezing, your screen flickering, etc.) before any crash occurs, etc.

        When filing, make sure you include the fact you are using the HTTP Project viewer in the JIRA title, and include all available data on the version, your in-world location and your hardware.

        Most of this can be easily obtained by going to HELP in the viewer, then clicking on ABOUT SECOND LIFE; this will open a pop-up window containing the information you need, and a button you can use to COPY TO CLIPBOARD. All you then need to do is paste the information into your JIRA entry and add information on your router: make, model, etc.

        Doing this will help alert LL to issues with the project viewer – which is what they are specifically requesting – and allow anyone else experiencing similar problems to you to file their feedback as well.

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        1. @Ziggy, thanks for the “bimbo” but considering that I am Italian the proper form to address my gender is “bimba”, and that is a term of endearment in my language. But I am sure you didn’t mean that.

          I am sorry for snapping at you but frankly I am so tired of all the moaning and bitching that so many SL users inflict to the community at large. I know too well thre are many reasons to complain, I did my share. It is the form many use that leaves a lot to be desired.

          Incidentally, I have tried this experimental version and have not experienced any of the problems you mentioned. As a matter of fact, I noticed a small improvement with texture load time. I hoped this version could help with a problem I believe has to do with my router that plagued me for months, unfortunately that is not the case.

          Considering that this viewer is an experimental version, that other people’s experience is different than yours and that the Lindens ask for feedback because it is impossible to get things right at first ry with all the combinations of hardware out there, it would be wise to check things, how others deal with the viewer and give a hand by reporting your experience instead of start complaining right away. I can understand the frustration of trying a program and see that nothing works but switching to “automatic bitching mode” doesn’t help anyone and ultimately doesn’t help you. This “bimba” gets it, always did. I am sure you can get it too if you think about it for a moment.

          I send this as a reply to Inara because I see no reply button at the bottom of Ziggy’s comment. Inara, sorry for this little spat. I guess I am getting more grumpy and less tolerant to complaining serving no useful purpose.

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          1. WordPress is being a pain with the REPLY button with this theme. The button seems to arbitrarily vanish in nested replies. I’ve reported it to WP-dot-com, but no response from them.

            Thanks for your reply to Ziggy. I’ve yet to try the project viewer with either of my routers (both are netgear, one a few years old), but will do so soon.

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  3. Thanks for the heads-up. After reading this, I tried the new HTTP viewer on two separate instances. First, with my old laptop on a ‘new’ router, at a friends’ place. It worked well. I couldn’t say if it works ‘better’ or ‘worse’, but there was this feeling that things were a bit snappier (I attended a very, very busy event in a place crammed full with alpha’ed textures and sculpties).

    Then, when I returned home, where I have a Linksys router (who would imagine that something which was on recommended lists for small offices, and by no means the cheapest router on the shelf, and carrying the weight of Cisco, would now be considered ‘incompatible with Second Life because of poor implementation’?!?), I tried again. This time I saw a dramatic increase in the speed of downloading textures. It was definitely very, very impressive! It has been a long time since I saw the bandwidth climb to 1.5 Mbps (on spikes) and remain sustained at 0.7-1 Mbps or so while the whole sim downloaded. Again, I visited very texture-intensive places with a clean cache. There is no doubt that there was an improvement. Overall performance after everything was loaded seemed to be ‘usual’ for a 3.3 viewer — which means, rather good!

    For me and my perpetually outdated hardware this comes as a wonderful surprise. The 3.3 performance boost plus working shadows made my day and restored my confidence in LL’s development team. 3.4 is even better. The HTTP tweaks seem to make the initial downloading of all textures in a newly visited region a completely new experience.

    I can’t even imagine what will happen once I buy a new computer and router (which won’t happen in the next months or years!) and get a fibre connection. With these kinds of improvements, I might become part of the class of SL residents that are baffled why others complain about lag or antiquated-looking rendering 🙂 SL, for the users with top-of-the-line hardware, is a completely different experience — and it just got better and faster, faster, faster.

    WTG, LL. I’m really looking forward to where Project Shining will lead us to.

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