Z-Net I v1.2 Beta Progress

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It's now been 1 week since I released the v1.2 Beta on IRC. Such a release has proven effective at keeping its use limited to a smaller number of users, and to users who can actually provide feedback. It's hard to say though if there are to few users for testing. The amount of bugs found since 1 week ago has been small, and most of those were from me. However I'm thankful to say that the feedback on the advancements over v1.1 and zbattle, while limited, has been positive. Of course the additions and refinements should make the program better then it was previously, but you just never know how well something will be received until people tell you.

My original plans were to move to another stage of beta testing today. Forum beta, website beta, I don't know. But those plans have been postponed. But this is due to a late addition to the code that I want to finalize. Yesterday I decided to take my 3rd stab at adding encryption to Z-Net I. Over Z-Net I's life I have made many improvements to its security, and even now it's mostly at a point were someone would have to be actively trying, and under very specific circumstances to disrupt ZNI operations for other users. But still I've never been completely happy with its level of vulnerability due to knowing that encrypting its communications would make it so much more secure.

My 3rd go at adding encryption has yielded results finally! I now have a build of Z-Net I that is working with protocol messages fully encrypting and decrypting properly. To most users this will sound boring and of little reason to care. It's not something like adding a feature like the Ignore & Allow lists, a Chat Lobby, or making the GUI look more apealing. When all is working well, users won't see any difference since it's all behind the scenes stuff. But to me this is a huge step for ZNI, and I've very happy!

What it does mean for users that they might care about though, is just there being less of chance of pathetic trolls with no life being able to disrupt users ability to play, socialize, or whatever. But I guess there's another thing as well. When Z-Net I v1.2 is officially released as a non-beta, and not a moment sooner, I can open up the Chat Lobby to normal IRC clients. This means that the chat room pointed to on the site will change and be shared with the one used by ZNI. So even when you're not using ZNI, you can still socialize with its users. This will be another big step for increasing the community!

However, I may not open up the chat room to everyone right away, or even at all. There are still some things to consider. I won't explain it all, but doing so could damage things. And I also have to consider rules for non-ZNI IRC users too. Either way, I'd rather be able to do something and choose not to, then not be able to and think I might want to. So the situation will be better off.

For now my plan is to do some private testing of addition of encryption, to make sure everything is working correctly. Then I'll have to consider modifying the protocol due to some bits no longer being needed. My hope is to do this soon over the next couple days and roll out a new version to replace the one obtained on IRC. And if all goes well, this time next week will see v1.2 move to the next stage, whatever that may be.

In closing, since I'm bumping the post down now, if you are interested in helping test the beta, if you haven't already done so, read the post below to find out how to download it.


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