Firestorm: counting down to the next release

firestorm-logoThe Firestorm team are working towards  their next major release. This has been in the works for a while now, and will represent a significant step forward for the viewer, as it will bring it up to parity with  the Lab 3.7.26, and also includes a number of cherry-picked fixes and updates from the more recent maintenance fixes, etc..

This means the viewer will include updates such as the revised snapshot floater, as originally re-designed by Niran V Dean as a contribution to Linden Lab, together with additional effects filters; the new Avatar Hover Height capability, the latest updates for HTTP pipelining and fastpipe changes, plus the recent AIS v3 changes, and much, much more, including numerous updates and improvements made by the Firestorm team and  from other TPVs.

Preview Testers Wanted

Beta versions of the release have been undergoing assorted tests for the last several weeks. However, prior to it reaching a formal release status, the team want to expose it to more extensive testing among users. To this end, a call has been put out through the Firestorm blog requesting more people to consider joining their Preview group.

Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the revised snapshot floater (as developed by Niran V Dean), complete with an expanded set of default filter effects
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the revised snapshot floater (as developed by Niran V Dean), complete with an expanded set of default filter effects

If you are a Firestorm user and have a good working knowledge of the viewer, do please read the blog post and consider joining the Preview group. However, do keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • You will be required to give feedback on any Preview release you receive. This includes being prepared to report them through the Preview group and raise bug reports on the Firestorm JIRA – if you’ve never filed a bug report before, you can find guidelines on the Firestorm wiki. There is also a Reporting Bugs class which may also help
  • Please, do not join the group simply to get your hands on shiny new versions of the viewer – not only will this defeat the object of trying to test the viewer and uncover any issues possibly missed during QA and beta testing, you could find yourself running a viewer than has bugs, etc., and for which you cannot get assistance through the normal Firestorm support channels
  • Please do not share any links you are given to Preview versions of the viewer to people outside of the Preview group. Again, this defeats the object of controlled testing, and it runs the risk that if there is a significant issue with the viewer, then it means limiting the impact of the issue is that much harder (if not impossible).
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: Avatar Hover Height
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: Avatar Hover Height

The Current Release Plan

As it stands, Firestorm hope to ramp-up to a formal release over the next few weeks as follows:

  • A further release to the Beta test group ready for the week commencing Monday, April 13th
  • If no significant issues with this release are found by the Beta testers, it will be released to the Preview group for wider testing
  • A further release is then likely to be made to the Beta and Preview groups for final testing and assessment.

Assuming nothing major is found to be a problem with the second preview release, a formal release of the viewer will then be made – potentially around three weeks (ish) from the date of this article.

Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the Preferences floater has been completely overhauled and sub-tabs / options rationalised for easier use
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the Preferences floater has been completely overhauled and sub-tabs / options rationalised for easier use

It is possible that when it is made, the formal release will be classified as a “Public Beta”, rather than a “full” release. Part of the reason for this is that there are a number of further updates coming out of the Lab – such as the new Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) functionality, once it has cleared its beta testing – and the Firestorm team will want to incorporate these updates as soon as they can into a follow-up release, allowing for the Lab’s own release schedule.

However, whether a “Public Beta” or a “full” release, I’ll of course be providing an overview / review of the viewer once it is available to everyone.

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