Ideas re libsecondlife

In general, GUIfy all the application programs, examples, etc. that don’t actually need to be console type programs. “Dos box” style programs look like dinosaur age stuff to people nowadays, so if you want to show someone an example of the good things that libsl code can be used for, it will look more impressive if it doesn’t look like it is running on Fred Flintstone’s computer.

* Features for proxy type programs:
– add text to speech, with ability to select scrolling text or which IM sessions to read outloud
– filter the IM chat out from the scrolling text display so the only thing in the normal scrolling text display is local proximity based chat.
– save the contents of each script or notecard that you have in an inventory folder to a text file on your hard drive

* A complete viewer, a full replacement for secondlife.exe, could do what secondlife.exe and the proxy programs do plus:
— allow user to easily select a visual style for the interface that looks like the user’s visual style for their operating system; i.e., in my case, interface that looks like “Windows Classic”
— ability to adjust font size, typeface, colors, and transparency in as granular a way as practical
— use something like splitter controls to divide the screen into different  sections for the world view and various interface elements like  dialog boxes, inventory windows, etc. so that you can use the interface without blocking the world view and constantly
having to move one part of the interface out of the way of other parts of the interface.
— a sleek horizontal property bar, similar to the one in CorelDraw, that displays and allows editing a large number of properties in minimal screen space, to replace the always in the way needing to be moved Object Editor

Accessibility Features:
— Text to Speech – lots of folks would like to have the text read out loud – this can be useful for those with impaired vision, might be useful for those who don’t read well – it can also just be fun. Even lousy sounding voices like MS Agent voices can be useful.

— Speech to Text input – the current version of secondlife.exe drops characters that come from the Naturally Speaking voice to text program – so without having to actually write any speech to text code, just making sure that the keyboard input system works with Naturally Speaking, ViaVoice, and other common voice to text programs would be a boon to those who are keyboard impaired.

— Customisable interface – allowing users to select font size, typeface, color, background color, etc. is not just to let people make it look nice, it is a matter of functionality for many users. I just lately had to explain to someone how they could adjust the size of the text in the IM windows, not because they wanted it to look nicer, but because they are legally blind and can’t read the text in it’s small size as fast at it appears. They were grateful for my help. Folks in similar situations would benefit greatly from an interface based on a recognition that we can’t all read small text or text displayed in black letters on a dark gray background, or text which blends partially into it’s background because the button the text is displayed on has useless shading in it in order to make it look like a medicine capsule.

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2 Responses to “Ideas re libsecondlife”

  1. John Hurliman Says:

    These are all very good ideas for talented programmers out there, I hope every one of them gets taken up at some point. This kind of stuff is the reason we are working on libsecondlife. However, the libsecondlife team itself doesn’t have the time or resources to work on these projects. Looking at the description of the library, we have a fairly narrow goal: “To provide a network layer abstraction for Second Life”. In other words we’re providing glue for other programmers to hook in to the SL world. The code we write doesn’t have a GUI, or a customizable interface, it doesn’t even run in a console window. The examples are intended to be bare bones demonstrations to programmers on how libsecondlife works and how to add it to their own programs.

    I still think all of your suggestions have merit though, and one way to work towards that would be showcasing the code that people are writing with libsecondlife. The most widely-used libsl program right now is called SLeek; a very cool chat program that is constantly updated with new features, and there’s no mention of it whatsoever on libsecondlife.org. We need to change that.

  2. Sue Baskerville Says:

    Here’s another idea for a feature to add to a complete full-featured client: ability to select metric or feet and inches for dimensioning objects.

    I realize the libsecondlife project is aimed at low level functions. Fancying up the demo and test programs to make them be useful and prettier applications can be done by folks other than the ones working on the low level core library.

    It would please me to have thousands of users making use of a libsecondlife based program like SLeek everyday, with a nice “powered by libsecondlife” showing up each time they use it.

    Speaking of SLeek, I wonder how much trouble it would be to add columns to the inventory display to show the creator, date acquired, and whatever other useful information can be extracted.


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