Update, Thursday, December 4th: Black Dragon 184.108.40.206 bug fix update released on Wednesday, December 3rd.
It’s been a busy week for Niran V Dean and his Black Dragon viewer, with no fewer than four updates between Thursday, November 27th and Tuesday, December 2nd.
The first of these updates – which lifted the viewer from version 220.127.116.11 to 2.4.1 came on Thursday, November 27th, and was quickly followed by two bug fix updates, 18.104.22.168 on the 27th and 22.214.171.124 on Friday November 28th. Then version 126.96.36.199, also a bug fix update, appeared on Tuesday, December 2nd.
The major part of these updates, appearing in version 2.4.1, is a complete overhaul of the UI. Gone is the ability to place toolbar button up in the top left of the menu bar area, the ink blots surrounding floaters and panels, etc. Instead, the UI presents a look heavily influenced by Valve’s Steam client. The result is a striking, charcoal grey finish to floater and panels, on which the white text shows up somewhat better than it did with the previous UI, together with bold white lines denoting fields, input boxes, etc., and individual headings to sections within a floater or tab highlighted in blue, all in a manner that works quite well.
There are a few immediately noticeable “Niran-isms” on display: the Favourites bar, for example, is now above the Navigation bar, rather than under it, as with most viewers. There’s also a nice incorporation of the notifications icon into the navigation bar area as well, over to the right of the screen. And, of course, the Dragon menu single point-of-access to the viewer’s menu tree is retained.
Given this release was an extensive overhaul of the UI, 2.4.1 and its subsequent releases didn’t bring too much in the way of new features to viewer, which is unsurprising – there’s work enough involved in getting the UI sorted for a release. There were a few issues following the initial 2.4.1 update – hence the release of 188.8.131.52 through 184.108.40.206, but looking at the release notes, most of these seem to have been nips and tucks rather than major “oopsie” fixes.
In terms of LL code updates, Black Dragon 2.4.1 through 220.127.116.11 see the viewer again reach parity with the Lab’s viewer, including implementing the benchmark viewer code and HTTP pipelining (I believe).
As always, for a full breakdown of updates, please refer to the Black Dragon change log, which lists changes from the most release release (in this case, 18.104.22.168) on down.
I did encounter a couple of minor problems with the viewer – although these may well be operator induced. Setting neither the “Show Network Stats” and “Show L$ Balance in Statusbar” options in Preferences > Interface seemed to do anything for me. I was particularly keen to try the latter, as I personally find having my account balance displayed in the Inventory floater nothing short of the PITA. But, other than these, the – admittedly brief – drive I did take with the viewer revealed nothing exasperatingly unpleasant or unexpected.
Overall, and interesting and clean UI update; one which I personally prefer to the last outing.