Posts tagged ‘pipe character’

After the 1st February blues

Now that the SL glitch that broke the PhotoStage’s scripts has been solved, we can spend some time explaining exactly what happened.

Linden Lab announced an update of the server code on 31st January. This was applied as a rolling restart, which caused no apparent problems other than the sims going offline for a few minutes as it is usual. However, the server update changed something that was not documented, announced or advertised. Before the update, the Description field of any prim could contain many characters, including (why not, one could ask) the character called a pipe “|”. This character is often used by scripters and programmers as a delimiter, i.e. used to separate blocks of text or values from each other. The Description field of prims is also used frequently as a common place where data can be shared by multiple scripts running in a single prim. Finally, I must point out something that is pretty evident, but apparently needs pointing out (you will see why in a minute): when you put some text into the Description field of a prim, you expect it to stay there, unchanged, until you (or somebody else) changes it. This is just common sense.

After the update, things changed. You can still put a pipe character into the Description field of any prim, but that character is automatically and silently converted to a question mark “?”. Imagine that your script puts the text “hello|there” in the Description of a prim; next time you look at it, it will show “hello?there”. As you can imagine, having characters changed by SL under the hood, silently, and without your permission, is not a good thing. Your script relies on finding some text there and, instead, it finds something else. As a consequence, what used to work before doesn’t work now.

I am going into rant mode now.


2 February 2008 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment


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