VR Juggler 2.0 Beta 1 released

Introduction
------------

As the VR Juggler 2.0 release manager, it gives me great pleasure to announce the the long-awaited release of VR Juggler 2.0 Beta 1. This release represents four years of work by a varied group of developers and the results of feedback from countless users who tried out early alpha and pre-alpha releases.

Since VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4 was released in May 2004, many, many bugs have been fixed, and existing features have been enhanced. Much of the progress is the direct result of users who reported bugs and/or provided patches to fix problems that they found in the code. Those efforts are greatly appreciated; they form the foundation of successful open source software.

As usual, you can find binaries and source code on SourceForge. It is recommended that you visit the VR Juggler download page on http://www.vrjuggler.org for details on new requirements since VR Juggler 1.0:

http://www.vrjuggler/vrjuggler/download-2_0.php

Presently, there are not as many pre-compiled builds available as with previous releases due to the time of year. More builds will be made in the coming days, and we will announce them as they become available.

Significance of Beta Status
---------------------------

What does it mean for VR Juggler 2.0 to be in beta release? It means that we feel that the code has reached a point of maturity and stability that it is ready for wide-spread use, but we know that there are still going to be some bugs cropping up. We want people to try out the code and let us know about any problems that are found. Doing so will help ensure that the VR Juggler 2.0.0 release is a success for everyone.

Reaching beta status also means that the development process is shifting into bug-fixing mode. The user-visible C++ APIs are now frozen and will not change. The configuration files are now also is a frozen state and will not require any updating from now up through the final 2.0.0 release. All of this will make it very easy to update from one beta to the next all the way till 2.0.0 is released. Upgrading will mean simply installing a newer VR Juggler release and recompiling C++ applications against the new version.

NOTE: The Java API is not yet frozen to allow VRJConfig to be enhanced further for the 2.0.0 release. Any changes to VRJConfig will not affect configuration files or require any updating of configuration files. The changes will be to improve the user interface and to ease the configuration process.

VR Juggler 2.0 Release Timeline
-------------------------------

The following is the current timeline for the VR Juggler 2.0.0 release:

* VR Juggler 2.0 Beta 2: January 14, 2005
* VR Juggler 2.0 Beta 3: February 14, 2005
* VR Juggler 2.0.0: March 4, 2005

Remember that the more bug reports we receive, the better the 2.0.0 release will be. After VR Juggler 2.0.0 is released, development will begin on VR Juggler 2.2, which will include more new features that did not make it into the 2.0 release series. VR Juggler 2.2.0 will be released six months or a year after VR Juggler 2.0.0.

Features Since VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4
-------------------------------------

* Enhanced usability of VRJConfig including some new high-level editors
* Simplified configuration for the Ascension Flock of Birds and MotionStar Wireless drivers
* DirectInput joystick driver for Windows
* New device input types gadget::String and gadget::Command that can be used for processing speech input
* Microsoft Speech API driver for Windows

For information related to all the new features since VR Juggler 1.0, please refer to the Discussion Area on our web site.

http://www.vrjuggler.org/twiki_public/bin/view/Juggler/VrjFeatures

As a reminder, the VR Juggler 1.0 math library has been replaced by the Generic Math Template Library (GMTL), found at http://ggt.sourceforge.net/. This library offers improved speed and flexibility in the math code.

Porting from 1.0
----------------

We have worked to address problems with VR Juggler 1.0, both in the design and in the implementation. We have also taken advantage of advances in C++ compiler technology to make the code faster, simpler, and more robust. To learn about updating VR Juggler 1.0 applications, refer to the porting documentation:

http://www.vrjuggler.org/twiki_public/bin/view/Juggler/MigratingToVrjTwo

This is a Wiki page, so everyone can contribute additional information and/or tips as necessary.

Updating from 2.0 Alpha 4
-------------------------

Carefully review the release notes
(http://sourceforge.net/project/shownotes.php?group_id=8041&release_id=292372) to see what has changed that affects applications and configurations since VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4 was released. The porting documentation contains more details relating to those topics. There are a few things worth noting that a relevant to all users of VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4:

* Configuration file updates: All VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4 configuration files must go through a two-step process to update them for 2.0 Beta 1 use. First, use an XSLT process with the file $VJ_BASE_DIR/share/vrjuggler/data/xslt/2.0a4-2.0b1.xsl to perform updates that VRJConfig cannot perform automatically. Second, load the new files into VRJConfig for automatic updating. Users of CVS versions of VR Juggler since 2.0 Alpha 4 must follow this process, too. Refer to $VJ_BASE_DIR/share/vrjuggler/data/xslt/README.txt for more details.

* Custom definition file updates: All custom .jdef files made for use with VR Juggler 2.0 Alpha 4 must be update to version 3.1 of the .jdef file format. Use an XSLT processor with the file $VJ_BASE_DIR/share/jccl/tools/xmlupdate/jdef_3.0-3.1.jdef to perform the update. Refer to $VJ_BASE_DIR/share/jccl/tools/xmlupdate/README.txt for more details.

* The contents of the /ClusterJuggler Guide/ have been moved into the VR Juggler /Programmer's Guide/. The documentation has been updated and extended to reflect the current state of the system.

* The contents of the Sonix /Programmer's Guide/ have been moved into the VR Juggler /Programmer's Guide/.

Authors of VR Juggler applications should review the following:

* GMTL compiling issues: Users may experience problems compiling code against GMTL 0.4.5. Refer to the following for information on what to do to fix the compile problems:

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=9550350

* The Sonix class 'sonix' is now in the snx namespace like the rest of the Sonix classes. Change calls to functions in the 'sonix' class to use 'snx::sonix'.

* gadget::EventWindowInterface was renamed to gadget::KeyboardMouseInterface.

* The method vrj::OpenSGApp::getSceneRoot() was renamed to vrj::OpenSGApp::getScene() to match the other scene graph-based application object base classes.

* vrj::OsgApp has been updated to require OSG 0.9.7 or 0.9.8.

Posted by Patrick Hartling 2004-12-28

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