2018 SL UG updates #1/3: Web User Group and viewer

Grumpity and Alexa Linden host the Web User Group meetings on alternate Fridays at Alexa’s barn.

The majority of these notes are taken from the Web User Group meeting held on Friday, December 8th, 2017. These meetings are generally held on alternate Fridays, and chaired by Alexa and Grumpity Linden at Alexa’s barn. The focus is the Lab’s web properties, which include the Second Life website (including the blogs, Destination Guide, Maps, Search, the Knowledge base, etc.), Place Pages, Landing Pages (and join flow for sign-ups), the Marketplace, and so on and the Lab’s own website at lindenlab.com.

Not all of these topics will be discussed at every meeting, however, the intention within the group is to gain feedback on the web properties, pain points, etc., and as such is very much led by comments and input from those attending. Along with this are two points of note:

  • Specific bugs within any web property  – be it Marketplace, forums, Place Pages or anything else), or any specific feature request for a web property should be made via the Second Life JIRA.
  • Alex Linden provides routine updates on the Lab’s SL-facing web properties as and when appropriate, which can be found in the Second Life Web thread.
  • Note that the SL forums are not covered by the Web User Group, as the management of functionality of the forums falls under the remit of the Support Team.

Web Single Sign-On

Single sign-on (SSO) should have been implemented for most of the Lab’s web properties (e.g. sign on to your account dashboard and then visit the Marketplace using the same browser, and you should be automatically logged in there) – although there are some properties (such as the JIRA and the land auctions domain) which are not currently part of the SSO process. However, there seem to be inconsistencies in how it is working, with some reporting that:

  • If the log into their dashboard, they can access the Marketplace via the Shopping link OK, but if they attempt to use the Marketplace via a separate tab, they sometimes have to log-in again, or
  • They also have to sign-in to different properties when opening them in new tabs, even if already signed-in elsewhere.

Having very restrictive cookie settings could cause problems with SSO. There may be a specific order of log-in that is required for it to work, which the Lab will check. Otherwise those experiencing such problems are asked to write-up a details JIRA on the problems they are experiencing, and the domains where SSO appears to be failing.

Governance, Legal, Finance and Technical

Often at user-group meetings questions are asked around matters of governance or which may be related to legal / financial issues (e.g. fraud or alleged cases of fraud). All of these matters are overseen by teams outside of the technical personnel who attend the in-world meetings, and so  – while it may be frustrating for those raising the questions – cannot comment on or address such issues.

Marketplace

  • Blank folder names in listings: see BUG-9984 – this is still occurring, and the JIRA has been re-opened for comment, with a request that specific recent instances of the problem are reported (you may need to send an email to LetMeIn@lindenlab.com & request access to comment.
  • Variants in listings: this is a long-standing request – to allow things like colour variants of an item in a single Marketplace listing, rather than having to list the variants individually. This is something the Lab wants to address, although it is not on the short-term list of work they will be tackling, nor is it necessarily an easy thing to implement, but it is climbing slowing up the list.

  • Marketplace Demos: demos are a pain point for some users of the MP, in that they cannot be easily filtered out of searches, even when using boolean parameters. various ideas have been put forward over the years for better handling of searches / excluding demo items. However, most are difficult to implement successfully, simply because of the way the system can be gamed (e.g., boolean exclusion of “demo” can be currently gamed by people listing items as “d_emo” or similar). The Lab is aware of the pain points with demos and free item listings, but again, this are things which have yet to rise to the top of the list of improvements they would like to make to the Marketplace.

Feature Requests

Feature requests – raised via the Second Life JIRA – are the best way of bringing ideas to the Lab’s attention. These are reviewed an assessed (triaged) on a weekly basis. When raising a feature request, remember to state a clear user case: what the issue being addressed is, why it matters, how your idea improves things, an indication (the more detailed the batter) of how the idea can be implemented, and so on. If you’re proposing a UI improvement, then consider including mock-up images of whatever you are proposing; if it is possible to illustrate the idea clearly some other way, do that, and provide an explanation. Try to be as clear and direct as possible.

Place Pages

The Lab continues to tweak and improve Second Life Place Pages, the most recent addition being to the seach option, which now titles thumbnail images and descriptions of places matching the search criteria.

Place Pages search now titles results with thumbnails and descriptions

Other Items

  • The wiki search is currently broken: this is a known issue at the Lab and is being actively investigated.
  • Inventory & load times: The Lab hopes to do further work on inventory, looking to improve things like load times and overall inventory robustness. This work will initially focus on fixing some bugs and deprecating various old UDP messaging, mostly likely sooner in the year than later, before moving on to hopefully making it more performant.
  • Aditi inventory syncing: there is still an issue with synchronising Aditi (the beta grid) inventories with main grid inventories. The latest issues occurred just before Christmas and are still being investigated.
  • Re-activating old accounts: if yo have a Basic account you have not used in a number of years and wish to activate it, it is possible that its associated inventory has been place in what the Lab call “cold storage”, and could subsequently exhibit continued slow response times. If the account is to be regularly use, a request can be made to support to have the associated inventory for the account moved – although this must be done at a time when you are not using the account.
  • Keeping abreast of web property updates: Alexa Linden routinely posts updates on various SL web properties on the forums, where they can be seen and commented on.

SL  Viewer

On Thursday, January 4th, the Nalewka Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.0.10.330148. On Wednesday, January 3rd, the follow two viewers were updated:

The rest of the viewer pipeline remains as:

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Whystler’s wonders in Sansar

Sansar: The Whyst Garden

Whystler is a designer with an interest in architecture and history, as demonstrated by two experiences I’ve recently hopped through – The Bridge Room and Whyst Garden, the latter of which, at the time of writing, has been a featured experience in the Atlas.

The Bridge Room is a virtual puzzle – not an overly difficult one to solve, admittedly, but one which is still fun to visit. Whystler describes it thus:

Inspired by Architectural Fantasy drawings of the 17th and 18th centuries, this room of architectural monuments provides a challenge. Can you find your way from one end to the other?

Sansar: The Bridge Room

And so it is that on spawning, visitors find themselves within a great stone hall with high, vaulted ceilings, supported by great square columns, which descend not to a floor, but into water, the base of each column forming an artificial islands, some of which are connected to at least one of their neighbours by one or two bridges. As Whystler states, the aim is to get from the spawn point at the base of one of these columns to the far side of the room via the bridges and avoiding falling into the water (which will cause a re-spawn). Again, it’s not an overly taxing challenge, but the architectural design makes for an interesting and fun visit.

The Whyst Garden offers a beautiful build which might have been lifted from a history book. It presents a melding of renaissance and classic Greco-Roman architecture, all brought together in what might be the façade of a great house or public building or temple with a formal garden terrace set before it.

Sansar: The Whyst Bridge

What is particularly interesting about this build – besides exploring its various levels – is that it is entirely modular, as Whystler has attempted to explain in the limited amount of space in the experience description. Elements of the build can be found on the Sansar Store – the Draco columns (as seen in the image above) and basic blocks. However, this is far more modular in scale, again as per Whystler’s notes in the Altas description.

Visitors arrive on the far side of the garden area, and can then stroll past the large reflecting pool and then take the steps up one of the two wings of the building, then explore the building itself – note there is just the one way the mid-upper level.

Sansar: The Whyst Garden

This are two small, easily loaded experience which offer something to do, with The Whyst Garden in particular well suited to be photographed, if you’re interested trying out the Sansar snapshot capability.

Experience URLs