Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Web Page on a Prim!

Update 25 Sep 2006: I managed to max out my month’s allocation of snapshots in less than 24 hours. I have sent the site developer some funds and service should be restored shortly.

If you could look inside of my brain (perish the thought) you’d see all sorts of random parts tumbling around, bouncing and bumping into each other from time to time (but not that often — I am pretty sure there’s plenty of empty space inside). When those parts bump into each other, some sparks fly, an idea is generated, and sometimes I end up with something interesting.

A bunch of people in the Second Life community have been interested in having what they call “HTML on a Prim.” The ubrowser has apparently been used to create a prototype of this feature but to date it has not emerged in a production release of the Second Life client.

Earlier today a couple of those random parts in my brain intersected and I realized that I could do a simple and crude version of HTML on a Prim, building on the work that I had already done to create Text on a Prim. As noted in a previous blog entry, there are lots of ways to create a graphical snapshot or thumbnail of a web page without too much trouble.

So, here’s what I’ve got:

Web Page on a Prim Web Page on a Prim

Appropriately enough, I am showing the Second Life home page in the screen shot. I am also wearing a cool new shirt that I found at Designs by Adri (Don’t worry, this won’t turn into a fashion blog anytime soon).

If you want to try this out, go here and then send the URL on channel 3 using a command like “/3 http://www.amazon.com”. Right now it takes 5 to 10 seconds to fetch the remote web page, generate the image, and get it uploaded to the client. Not instant, but not too bad either.

If you are standing in front of the Developer Relations Outpost and are wondering where these things are, they are on the roof!

So what’s next? I am planning to get some decent land and to start selling Text and Web prims sometime soon. I still need to figure out how to embed self-updating scripts in the objects, design real APIs, and all sorts of fun things. Maybe I’ll take a couple of vacation days next month and whip this into shape. This is one of those fun topics where each thing I do begets 10 more ideas, and the biggest challenge is simply focusing on doing a couple of things really well instead of trying to do everything all at once.

Your ideas, comments, feedback, and questions are all welcome, preferably as comments to this post. You can also go in-world and join the group that’s called “Text On a Prim / Web Page On a Prim.” I’ll send regular updates to that group, including solicitations for beta testers.

Dang I’m tired, but this was worth doing.