Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Jasmine: First Look

This blog will be about my experiences evaluating the Jasmine release of OpenCroquet (ie: The Croquet Project) for the CITRIS IT & Humanities Project. I am just relating my impressions & observations, in no way to I speak for the Croquet development team.

I first attempted to evaluate a pre-release version of TeaTime 4 or 5 months ago & found it unacceptably fragile. I then spent some time with SolarCroquet, which had been used for creating all the demos that the Croquet team has been showing for the last year. I found solar a little rough, but basically stable, and a joy to use compared to TeaTime. Unfortunately work on Solar had stopped in preference to TeaTime, so the odds of ever getting the bugs that were in Solar fixed seemed slim. I decided to evaluate other approaches.

Fast Forward to now. The Croquet team has wisely decided to split their efforts: TeaTime has become MadHatter, and continues as a research branch; SolarCroquet has been brought back from the dead, gotten all the TeaTime advances that can be safely backported to it, polished considerably and just released to the public yesterday as Croquet0.1 aka Jasmine. Very exciting. The plan seems to be to ripen the advanced networking features in MadHatter, and move them into Jasmine once they are stable, while attempting to maintain upwards-compatibility.

Honestly, the most exciting change I have seen so far is that a week ago the dev team started using a bug tracking system. This shows that they are serious and it is a great way for the rest of us to see what they are working on, their rate of progress, etc. The U of Wisc guys have also set up a Croquet wiki (croquet/any0ne to access (0=zero)), which is a great idea, but so far no one is using it.