Giving Firestorm a Try

This evening I got brave and downloaded the new Phoenix Firestorm beta. It's quite a while since I last looked at Linden Lab's own v2 viewer, which I really didn't like at all, so, despite all the assurances from the Phoenix team that Firestorm didn't suck like v2 does, I was fully prepared to hate it.

I prepared wrong.

As well as it being nice to finally try things like web-on-a-prim (see above), and wearing multiple items of clothing on the same layer (finally! jacket-layer shirt with a jacket-layer vest!), there's a few other things in it that I'm really enjoying.

The big surprise is the new layout for chat and IMs. That was one of the things I really hated about v2 when I first tried it, the way that chat and IMs worked made no sense, felt all wrong, was horribly untidy. But the Firestorm crew seem to have got it spot on (or v2 has moved on a lot and works the same and I don't know 'cos I've not used it since). I'm also liking the dock system (which does come from v2, of course) that lets you undock and redock -- the way that works now makes a lot of sense.

There's a lot that isn't right yet too, of course. I think it's fair to say that Firestorm is a touch builder-unfriendly right now. Some of the handy tools that we're used to in Phoenix aren't there (yet), and I'm unconvinced by the white background for the script editor. Also, the script editor seems to save too fast (no, really, I mean it -- it seems to say that the script has been saved way before it can have been uploaded and compiled). On top of that there's handy things like spell-check that are missing.

But... it's a beta. There's still work for them to do. They acknowledge that there's still work to do. I'll be keeping it on my machine and using it, on and off, as well as updating when new versions come out. We know for sure that v1.x viewers will be killed off at some point so I feel that easing myself into the world of v2.x viewers is a sensible thing to do.

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