On Friday, December 12th, Brooke Linden chaired a meeting on the Aditi grid to discuss the upcoming Viewer-managed Marketplace (VMM) changes, which are currently undergoing beta testing on that grid. With her were core members of the Viewer-managed Marketplace development team, comprising:
- Baker Linden has been working on the back-end of the web service for the project
- Merov has been working on the viewer updates
- Sklar Linden has been working on the updates to the SL marketplace itself
- Steeltoe linden is one of the Lab’s user experience designers
Also in attendance from the Lab were Xiola Linden, lead community manager, Jeremy Linden, who is responsible for the VMM Knowledge Base documentation, and Kurt Linden from the Lab’s QA team.
The meeting was intended to gather feedback from TPV developers and merchants on the existing status of the VMM changes, as they are presented on Aditi and through the VMM project viewer. However, and for whatever reasons, attendance was somewhat low (and I plead guilty to this myself, being unable to attend), with the majority of non-Lab people attending being from TPV and viewer code development and support.
The meeting was recorded by Chakat Northspring, while Baker Linden produced an audio recording of the meeting as well.
I have embedded the video below for reference – my thanks as always to North for providing it. It is followed by a summary of the core areas of discussion as shown in the recording, with particular emphasis on the Q&A session. Time stamps are provided so that comments can be heard in full for those preferring to read rather than listen, but do keep in mind the first part of this article is a summary, not a transcript.
Also, please note that there was a region disconnect issue at around the 32:40 mark which lasted a number of minutes. during that time the video (and voice) kept running until people re-logged, after which there was a very brief discussion. As the meeting disbanded shortly after the required relog from the disconnect, with the exception of a brief note on accessing the Aditi test regions, coverage of the meeting in this article ends at the time the disconnect occurred.
The first half of the meeting [04:57 onwards] deals with how VMM will function from the user’s perspective. Most of what is discussed is covered in my overview of the VMM beta and the VMM project viewer. as well s the Lab’s VMM Knowledge Base article. However, as a very brief summary of key points:
- VMM doesn’t replace the marketplace, but improves aspects of managing inventory and Marketplace listings
- With it, items can be delivered to customers directly from a merchant’s inventory (including items which are No Copy to the merchant), eliminating the need to upload items to the Marketplace servers or use Magic Boxes in-world
- VMM allows basic listing operations to be performed from within the viewer: creating a listing, assigning a new or updated item to a listing, amend listings, remove items from a listing, and unlist goods entirely
- VMM does this by replacing the Merchant Outbox with a new panel, the Marketplace Listing Panel (a hidden system folder within inventory)
- Merchants can easily “migrate” existing Marketplace listings with items to be delivered by VMM in a simple 3-step process.
[20:00] There had been a number of questions raised through the Merchant’s forums etc., as VMM has been announced, and these were addressed during the second half of the meeting, and are presented here for interested parties:
Will Third-party viewers be supported VMM?
Yes. TPVs were advised of the VMM project ahead of the beta test launch, in order for them to have a heads-up that viewer-side changes would be coming, and to provide them with information on the VMM API on the SL Marketplace site.
It has been indicated that VMM will be subject to a long transition period. Has that changed?
[20:39] Brooke Linden: That has not changed. We’re expecting to go to beta [on the main grid] after February 14th . We’ll have a period where people will try it out, which will be at least a month. Then we’ll have a period of time where we’ll let people do manual migrations, if they would like to.
When we come out of beta, Magic Box users will have to do manual migrations, unfortunately. As we did with direct delivery, we don’t have a way of getting things out of the magic boxes easily. But the listing creation process is really quick, and you’ll be able to associate items you put in the Marketplace Listings panel with an existing listing, and we have a process that is explained in our Knowledge Base article to tell you how to do that, and we’ll also be producing videos to explain how things work.
[23:18] Is this going to be part of the inventory floater, or is this going to have its own floater panel?
[23:25] Brooke: This has its own floater panel, much like the Merchant Outbox does today.
[23:32] But is it part of the inventory?
[23:34] Brooke: It is part of the inventory, but it will not be visible in the inventory floater … That’s the goal there.
[29:30] Brooke (responding to a further question on the panel): The plan is to have it be separate, and there are various reasons for that … It makes it really clear what your Marketplace items are. so you have to really decide to open that floater in order to modify things. We’re doing everything we can to prevent you from accidentally changing inventory on a listing without realising it …The first time you make a change to something, like dragging an item in, we’ll tell you [that] you’re making a change to an active listing …
So if there are things that you all do, that you feel we should be warning you about, please let us know. We tried to catch them all, but I’m sure we missed some.
[Note: in the current project viewer, dropping an item into the Marketplace Listing Panel causes its associated folder to be displayed in the inventory floater’s Recent tab until the user logs-out. This has been reported to the Lab, so hopefully, in the interests of further reducing the risk of accidents / confusion, this will be rectified in a future update to the viewer.]
[24:26] Will this support No Copy [to the merchant], No Modify and Transferable items?
[24:30] Brooke: Yes it will. That’s what the stock item folder is for.
[26:43] (Light-hearted question: Will you be supplying a Direct Delivery Burning bear?
[26:46] Brooke: Would anybody like one? … Maybe we’ll take a look at making that happen!
[24:38] Why do you limit the number of items you can sell on the Marketplace to 200?
[24:42] Brooke: We actually don’t limit the number of items you can sell on the Marketplace … we limit the number of items you can sell in one listing to 200. So if you want to sell more than 200 items in one listing, you have to put some of them in boxes. But we don’t limit the number of listings you can have.
- [25:09] There has been feedback that the error messages given in the VMM Knowledge Base article are not as clear as they might be. The Lab will be reviewing all messages and support items, so this is still a work-in-progress. If there is a particular error message or element of wording related to VMM that could be clarified, please submit a project JIRA
- [26:05] Some feedback expressed at the idea that the Lab expect people to test functionality for them. The Lab isn’t; the idea is to engage with merchants and ensure that when VMM is delivered, merchants have experienced it and understand how things are changing, and help the Lab to understand how they can make it work better for everyone
- [28:25] In relation to the above, what the Lab would like to find out is whether there are additional questions, is there anything that people are worried / concerned about in what they’ve seen so far with VMM, and what are the things people like about it (so that the Lab makes sure they keep them or keep doing them if they are process-related) – please give feedback via the feedback forum thread, not this blog! (the Commerce Team is more likely to read comments there rather than here!)
- [36:51] Currently, there is a problem on Aditi whereby, if you log-into the beta using the VMM project viewer to a non-VMM enabled region, then teleport to any of the test regions, on opening the Marketplace Listings panel, you will be told you must sign-up to the beta – even if you have previously been testing VMM in the test regions. To correct this, simply re-log directly into a VMM test region (ACME D; ACME E and ACME F)
- A further VMM meeting will be scheduled for January 2015. I’ll endeavour to carry notice through this blog when it is announced, and Firestorm will endeavour to provide a MOTD notification as well, in order to help spread the word.
- VMM beta testing announcement
- VMM feedback announcement and thread
- VMM project viewer release notes and download
- VMM Beta Knowledge Base article
- VMM FAQ
- VMM JIRA project
- VMM API wiki page
- VMM Aditi test regions: ACME D; ACME E and ACME F
- Viewer-managed Marketplace: beta testing and a look at the project viewer
- VMM articles in this blog