Firestorm Dynamic User Interface (DUI): it’s a real prototype

firestorm-logoOn April 1st, the Firestorm team released and April Fools video in the spirit of their 2013 “Firestorm Mobile” hoax.

As fun it was, there was a secret within the joke which many – including me – missed at the first watching of the video, largely because we didn’t follow the suggestion and manually type the URL at the end of the video into a web browser.

For those who may have missed things, and to provide a frame of reference, I’m including the video in this post as well.

Jessica Lyon contacted me just after I’d published a post on the Firestorm and Catznip April Fools and gave me a proper “Gotcha!” So, having taken the time to stay quiet on the matter, as Jessica requested (and in order to go wipe the egg from my face!), I’m here to say, as many Firestorm users have been poking me about over the last 24-hours, that the Firestorm Dynamic User Interface isn’t a joke. It’s here. I’m using it. What’s more the Firestorm team have now blogged to confirm it.

The viewer,Firestorm is available for download for Windows only, and will run on both Second Life and OpenSim.

It really isn't an April Fools - Firestorm really does allow you to move some floaters outside of the viewer window!
It really isn’t an April Fools – Firestorm really does allow you to move some floaters outside of the viewer window!

Now, the viewer – as Jessica and the team wish to express loud and clear – isn’t the finished article. It’s currently experimental, and as such, subject to unpredictable behaviour. It is not recommended for use as a primary viewer.

There are also some other points to note:

  • Not all of the floaters in the viewer may be capable of being pulled out of the viewer window. Those that can appear to float “above” the viewer window, rather than “in” it
  • Not all of thefloaters work smoothly at this time, and may be subject to jumping and / or, flickering, and options on menus associated with them may not be accessible as a result. There may be other issues, such as:
    • You cannot drag / drop items from the Inventory floater in-world
    • Conversations in the communications floater tabs may not scroll soothly
  • Floaters outside of the viewer window cannot be resizedYou cannot resize those floaters which can be moved outside of the viewer window
  • Torn-off menus cannot as yet be floated
The conversations floater can be pulled out of the viewer - but if you detach a specific IM tab, it will bounce back into the viewer window and cannot currently be dragged back out
The conversations floater can be pulled out of the viewer – but if you detach a specific IM tab, it will bounce back into the viewer window and cannot currently be dragged back out

Discussing the viewer with me after pointing out I’d been had with the April Fools video, Jessica said:

The intention is that we want to release this code in the hopes that ALL open-source developers out there, TPVs included, will pick it up. fix it, improve it, expand its capability and most importantly SHARE it with one another. It is my hope that this may become a catalyst to renew interest in viewer development among inactive developers and that ultimately this will open a whole new realm of possibilities for SL viewer technology moving forward.

We will not be assigning the gentleman’s agreement on this… it’s too important to make this about credit. I don’t care who releases it first as long as the code is shared equally. We will also work on improving it, but I think this should be a community effort.

Having detachable floaters like this has been one of the Holy Grails for the SL viewer, and has long, and oft been requested. However, the Lab has generally taken the view that to get something like this working would take a considerable amount of effort. The Firestorm’s team work is therefore very much pre-proof-of-concept, as their blog post on the matter indicates:

Firestorm DUI is little more than a very early proof of concept that a dynamic user interface is in fact possible with Virtual World viewers … our very own Nicky Dasmijn managed to come up with this in a relatively short amount of time, and we hope that it will translate to this functionality being available in a reasonable amount of time …

So, if you haven’t already taken it for a test-drive, and remembering the Firestorm DUI isn’t a release, and there may be issues with using it, and that it is not supported by Firestorm at this point in time. So again, when using it, please do not use it as your primary viewer.

Please don’t report any issues with the viewer here; I’m not a part of the Firestorm team, and cannot help you. As mentioned above, the DUI viewer is currently unsupported!

Lab formally announces SL Share 2 project viewer

secondlifeOn Tuesday April 1st, I previewed the new SL Share 2 project viewer, which has options to share messages and photos with your Twitter account, and upload photos to your Flickr account. The viewer also includes updated photo capabilities for Facebook sharing (as well as a new Facebook Friends tab).

On Wednesday April 2nd, the Lab officially announced the launch of the project viewer with a blog post which reads in part:

This SLShare update will allow you to share your Second Life experiences beyond Facebook. Twitter and Flickr sharing is just as quick and easy, complete with specific options relevant to each social network.

For Flickr, you will be able to name and add a description to your image. We have tagging capabilities so you can ensure other users can find the images you want to share. Maturity settings are a requirement for Flickr, so we’ve made it easy for you to set this right from the Viewer.

As noted in my preview, the viewer includes new photo processing capabilities, which the blog post describes thus:

This update will also introduce a set of post-processing filters that you can run your pictures through to create cool one-of-a-kind images! The new filters were inspired by the images posted to Flickr by Second Life Residents. With more than a million uploads, most of them enhanced by some post-processing, we thought it would be great to include this feature right in SLShare. These filters will work regardless of which social network you choose to share your Second Life pictures to.

But it doesn’t stop there. For those more technically savvy, we designed this feature to be modifiable by our users. If you’d like to create your own filters, check out the wiki page on this for more information.

The Twitter floater and preview pane, showing one of the preset photo filters applied - users can also customise the filters
The Twitter floater and preview pane, showing one of the preset photo filters applied – users can also create their own filters for inclusion in the floaters (Twitter, Facebook and Flickr)

As noted in my preview, the project viewer can be obtained from the release notes page, which includes download links to the Windows, Mac and Linux versions (as does the viewer’s entry in the Alternate Viewers wiki page). or by following the link in the Lab’s own blog post.


SL projects updates week 14/1: server, viewer updates

SL Server Deployments

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest news and updates.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday April 1st, the Main channel received the server maintenance package deployed to the Magnum RC in week 13. This package comprises:

  • Crash mode fix.
  • Fixed a rare case in which certain users were unable to log in (BUG-5130)
  • Fix for a case in which multiple scripts in the same prim calling llTakeControls() with heterogeneous ‘accept’ and ‘pass_on’ parameters would not receive a control() event correctly in some cases (BUG-5281)
  • Updated LSL syntax file to use a new schema (fixes STORM-2000) related to a viewer in testing and apart of STORM-1831.

As the roll-out progressed, there were reports on the forum thread that some regions are having a double restart. After investigating the issue, Caleb Linden reported: “I got the word from engineering that the double rolls were manually triggered by accident but they shouldn’t compromise the sims’ performances once up. This only affected a small group of regions.”

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday April 2nd, all three RCs should receive the same maintenance update, which incorporates the bug fixes deployed to the Main channel and which also sees AIS v3 support returned on the Magnum RC, after it was disabled / removed in the week 13 deployment. There seems to be yet more confusion over that actual status of AIS v3 server-side. and whether this means it will actually be enabled on all three RCs, or just re-deployed.

SL Viewer Updates

The SL Voice RC returned to the release channel on Monday March 21st, with the arrival of version This viewer pulls in Vivox 4.6.x libraries instead of 4.5 for improved voice stability and to address Mavericks issues (download and release notes).

the Sunshine / AIS v3 Rc should return to the channel later in the week if all goes according to plan.

SL Share 2 Project Viewer

As I’ve reported here, on Tuesday april 1st, Linden Lab released the SL Share 2 project viewer, version This includes:

  • An option to connect to Twitter and upload tweets  / snapshots from in-world to your Twitter account
  • An option to connect to Flickr and upload snapshots
  • An updated Facebook floater with revised snapshot upload tab incorporating the features found in the Flickr and Twitter snapshot uploads, and a new Friends tab.

An interesting element in this viewer is the use of filter effects which can be applied to snapshots, and which allow users to add their own filter options.

Group Chat and Group Bans

There’s little to report here, other than:

  • At the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday April 1st, Simon Linden said of the most recent group chat test, ” We had a good group chat test last week that gave me a few more things to fix. They weren’t new issues, but showed some more ways the current system can fail. So it was a good test.” It’s not clear whether this means the testing will now move to Agni and a selected group with a large number of users, or whether there will be further Aditi testing first.
  • With group bans, and as reported last time on the subject, Baker Linden is busy repairing the code that want broken / lost during a merge process and trying to make sure everything is back together and working properly,