Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by lonelyinardwick on Sun May 20, 2012 8:55 pm

I remember what Graymac said right after the introduction of the system that he liked the concept but the mechanism wasn't as convincing. That's why I second to joeyfjj, I know it wasn't easy when developers were packing up their content to the system. The problem was the addition of extra files for the system meant additional effort jumping through and all over various folders and programs, the submission was even worse as it would use up more of Michelle's time into accepting new content, she would have used that time for what would have been further development. I wonder why the MD5 tag was there too, I know it's to make the files unique but.. users don't search content by MD5.

My idea is to add an extra menu/section for developers in the 'managed content' tab of the development version or something similar to help ease the effort. Windows-form will be scrapped in the main program, a separate cross-platform tool is probably the only optimistic way.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by alvinhochun on Mon May 21, 2012 3:57 am

I'll like 3.

The current Managed Content system, unless you want to improve it, cannot accept "alternative packages" with the same name. So I think that using an archive that packs managed contents inside is the best.

There shouldn't be ANY technical problems, as the current system already uses tar archive. It's just packing that tar archive together with the "metafile" (perhaps the package metafile) which shouldn't be difficult.

.NET Framework internally provides compression (don't know whether mono does).

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Dexter on Mon May 21, 2012 8:30 am

Reading this and seeing people are not able to stick to one option (yet again), I think I'll just keep the downloads on my website and post announcements about. The good old way.

Of course, every option has its pros and cons, but these issues will always be there and I am afraid nobody of us will fix them.

I hope the people who know and like my work will have the spare 10 seconds to reach my website... and the same might well apply to newbies powered by curiosity and enthusiasm.


Last edited by Northern Line on Mon May 21, 2012 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling check)

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by graymac on Mon May 21, 2012 10:44 am

Even IF i put material into some kind of 'managed content' system, it would still be downloadable from my website.
The more I read the remarks posted on the subject of 'managed content' the LESS enthusiasm I have for it. Every extra paragraph of tecno-talk cements another course of blockwork on the wall of resistance. There should be more useful thing to spend time and effort on, not this dead duck.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Quork on Mon May 21, 2012 2:03 pm

That "techno talk" is mostly about realisation inside the program, something that neither concerns nor interests you Wink That's exactly the basis of my proposal: You do your packages as you already always did, you upload them as you already always did, and you publish the link as you always did. The whole "techno talk" is about how the program can automatically install the package, as this is a major opportunity for a newbie to screw their folder structure up if they have to install manually as today. My first time with OpenBVE is not that long ago, I perfectly well remember I had my problems as well. And I consider myself a PC-affine person, and experienced with freeware progs having similarily "easy" installation procedures. Look at it this way; as you state, those whole discussions about programming etc. are not your world at all, and what those experienced in that matter consider a straightforward, easy solution for you is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. The same way it's with the current installation way; you and most experienced users consider the current system easy and straightforward. Along the lines of 'there is a simple and exact folder structure, what's the problem with this?'; I do myself, for myself. But for those who haven't worked with this for months and years, it is not. First time one tries to install an addon, one sits in front of that archive and looks on it like a calf on a train.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by joeyfjj on Mon May 21, 2012 2:19 pm

Quork wrote:But why? I don't see the sense of country and company listing, this is, in my eyes, an open invitation to chaos. We need a feature to download and install addons through the program; but I think, this should happen inside the "LegacyContent" folder, not through that strange new system. Graymac exactly wrote what we need: Anything, as long as the dev does not need to learn some new complicated system noone knows how well it works.
I'm referring to the importable openBVE addon packages that openBVE can open to install the content itself, instead of the user doing the unzipping, and not the country-city-operator listing.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Quork on Mon May 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Okay, but still, what's the sense of having some new sort of packages? Zip files are already well processable in any way. Some new addon package type would only provide chaos, for zero gain. I have not the slightest clue, what positive aspect it would have to rename the zip files. Only negative ones. While basing the managed content system on zip files as they are used for years already allows not only a GUI-installation for the user without the dev needing to learn anything new at all, but even it would make old packages automatically useable!

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by lonelyinardwick on Mon May 21, 2012 3:55 pm

Well, I think there's no easy choice to this. A Thumbs.db would only allow Windows to identify how thumbnails are displayed per user definition, same applies to Google Picasa which helps them identify where the photos are, a windows registry is only going to reference where everything is and how they're displayed such as the image of the Windows Orb, I think there is little choice but to add an extra tag on each subfolders manually or through executable. Though as long as the hierarchy is in place, then the rest could be automatically done from an executable or word template.

As for the submission, all I kept thinking was pretty much the same mechanism as Michelle's, although we could be a little more flexible here. Maybe on the download progress bar, a information message would show up if user participation is required for hosting sites such as Mediafire. A centralised database requires the content to be submitted somewhere, that's the whole point. What Michelle would have received all submitted content through email, we could instead do a "star-network" submission, what I mean is this: The author can submit content on a community-managed database similar to the Verified Downloads forum, whilst "search bots" or ppl acting as one would go around to various verified websites in a check-for-updates manner, and perhaps send multilingual guidelines to authors if they get their hierarchy wrong. If the central server fails, we all still have the option of the old-fashioned way and be able to download from the author's websites and install offline (because mechanisms for the main program are still stored locally), place on the view database "out of order" or something. If the content author's websites are down, well that's theirs to deal with.

Just my idea, I'm only trying to be as optimistic as possible but there's a system to this. In my opinion, openBVE and its community are still under-developed. Michelle may have not done the implementation to your liking, but I presume there were limited support to help her do so efficiently/optimistically.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Quork on Mon May 21, 2012 4:24 pm

You still haven't explained, why you need any additional file at all. Every package should have the folder structure of OpenBVE's "LegacyContent" folder. This way every package is automatically unpacked simply into "Application Data\OpenBVE\LegacyContent" and everything is where it needs to be. What do you need metadata for?

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by lonelyinardwick on Mon May 21, 2012 4:35 pm

Much of it is going towards being listed and displayed in the database, the additional files (maybe only one file is required) would act as tags. A tag per route, object, rolling stock, dependencies, etc. I mean.. if the folders have correct folder hierarchy, maybe we wouldn't need as much "tags".

Your second point, metadata, MD5, something to make the content unique and never be a clash. You never know there may be cases of 2 different contents under the same name and same source.

"You can't carry multiple carrier bags, if you haven't a stable handle."


Last edited by Wongie2009 on Mon May 21, 2012 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by joeyfjj on Mon May 21, 2012 4:37 pm

Quork wrote:You still haven't explained, why you need any additional file at all. Every package should have the folder structure of OpenBVE's "LegacyContent" folder. This way every package is automatically unpacked simply into "Application Data\OpenBVE\LegacyContent" and everything is where it needs to be. What do you need metadata for?
The idea of Managed Content is to have openBVE manage your content for you, without a user having to worry about folder structure, or where %APPDATA% is. It also allows a easier way to be notified of updates, and to install add-ons and updates.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Quork on Mon May 21, 2012 5:10 pm

Yeah, and that concept failed due to the devs needing much to do, and due to the classical folder structure being killed. We can have update notification without this way of managing. It is enough to group the addons by the hosting site. You know, just like
* celtictrainsim.com
- BWR.zip - not downloaded yet
- IWR.zip - downloaded on 20. May 2011, current version 20. November 2011
* timbuktusim.to
- Pack1.zip - current version installed
* arcticbve.net
- Pack1.zip - not downloaded yet

This way, it is no problem if the packages are named the same way. And if every package sticks to containing the whole folder structure, you need no metadata whatsoever. The local installation of OpenBVE would keep some text file or csv file or anything else, where it notes, for itself and without anybody needing to do anything about that, homepage, package name, download date, checking the download date against the file date of the uploaded package, thus checking if there is a new version. I think csv would be the best, just like, for the above example
celtictrainsim.com,IWR.zip,2011-05-20
timbuktusim.to,Pack1.zip,2012-01-04

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by lonelyinardwick on Mon May 21, 2012 5:21 pm

CSV doesn't sound bad, some file allowing comma-separated value for the database.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by Drag0nflamez on Mon May 21, 2012 7:21 pm

Wongie2009 wrote:CSV doesn't sound bad, some file allowing comma-separated value for the database.
And we're already using it for like, everything...


for the time being, of course.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by phontanka on Mon May 21, 2012 10:20 pm

I would prefer option 3. It sounds just great! It keeps installation easy for users, which is the main point of a managed content system and doesn't depend on a central server.

Problems with dropping managed content completely

Dropping managed content completely would be bad for newbies. On our local forums we have seen loads of newbies having problem with copying stuff from the zip archives to the right folders. A lot of them couldn't understand the BVE directory structure - even though we have detailed documentation in Hungarian. Most of these guys didn't come back. And Luigi wrote about similar users from Italy, so I guess this is everywhere. Thus easy installation must remain.

Problems with current managed content system

Keeping the current managed content system makes no sense if there is no new content. And there is no new content. Doing all the work for this is meaningless.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by leezer3 on Tue May 22, 2012 8:45 pm

I've been expounding option 3.5 for a while now Very Happy
In essence:
* Allow management of alternate repositories, and release the tools necessary to create these.
* Create a self-installing package format (Not difficult). Don't worry too much about descriptions or anything similar for the moment, just get the sim to put things in the right place. I've got about 90% of the code cooked up to detect an archive's structure and put the files in the right place, so you could probably build an extractor that automagically deals with 'legacy' content too.
* Relax the licencing requirements considerably. At a *minimum* allow the main FSF compliant licences, but I'd be happier with a repository that allows copyright content too.

Cheers

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by leezer3 on Tue May 22, 2012 11:23 pm

Sorry to create an additional post, but this is semi-important Smile
Please consider creating a build using OpenTK (I can run one of these off easily enough if required)-
Starting with version 0.9.9-2, OpenTK is compatible with Tao.OpenGl, Tao.OpenAl and Tao.Platform.Windows.SimpleOpenGlControl. Simply replace your Tao.OpenGl, Tao.OpenAl and Tao.Platform.Windows references with OpenTK and OpenTK.Compatibility and your project will as before, while gaining advantage of all OpenTK features."
Amongst other things, this should give us some important security fixes (Although I'm by no means certain anyone would choose OpenBVE as an attack vector), and I would hope some performance improvements too.

http://www.opentk.com/

Cheers

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by alvinhochun on Wed May 23, 2012 4:20 am

I've asked Michelle about this and she rejected.
BTW I don't really see any advantages with the OpenTK.Compatibility. OpenTK itself gains a lot of advantages with the Object-Oriented approach, but just replacing the reference from Tao to OpenTK has nothing to help with improving the readability of the code.

And hey why do you Off Topic?

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by leezer3 on Wed May 23, 2012 4:52 pm

alvinhochun wrote:I've asked Michelle about this and she rejected.
BTW I don't really see any advantages with the OpenTK.Compatibility. OpenTK itself gains a lot of advantages with the Object-Oriented approach, but just replacing the reference from Tao to OpenTK has nothing to help with improving the readability of the code.

And hey why do you Off Topic?

It's highly important, and not off topic really- We're discussing small ways to make the current OpenBVE build 'better', in terms of a small amount of maintenance.
The Tao framework has not recieved *any* updates or security fixes since 2009. This leaves us open to any number of OpenGL (And other Tao libraries) security holes that have since been patched upstream.
OpenTK is maintained, and call compatible with Tao, and unless OpenBVE is using some completely esotoric implementations, I can't see any reason why a sensible programmer wouldn't make the change.

I can't speak for Michelle's reasons, but this is a change I would **strongly** reccomend making, and which is extremely easy to do.

Cheers

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

Post by alvinhochun on Wed May 23, 2012 5:03 pm

Well actually I would also recommend switching to OpenTK, but not just replacing Tao with OpenTK.Compatibility. It should be rewritten to gain the good points of the Object-Oriented feature.

And why it's off-topic... because we are talking about managed content in this thread. You could be starting a new thread talking about this.

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Re: Short term work - What should happen to managed content?

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