Monday, November 19, 2018

The first test version of the skill went out on the Teamwork portal this week. Results were both good and bad.

The positives were that there's a really great team of testers involved with all levels of technical ability which really helps in finding both technical and usability issues. Everyone who tested is very engaged with great feedback and helpful suggestions.

The negative is that, at the moment, it doesn't really work :-(

Releasing the skill to the wild revealed a few fairly fundamental problems;

  • An infinite loop condition preventing skill access to the LMS was identified and fixed
  • In some cases, the skill completely crashed users LMS, requiring a full re-install.
  • The skill does not exit correctly on LMS shutdown, requiring users to force-shutdown
  • There's an issue with a missing library preventing the plugin communicating with the skill over https

The upshot of the above is that while a number of users managed to get the skill installed and registered, no-one could actually issue any useful commands to their squeezeboxes. The initial assessment was that there would be a quick fix and a follow-up release but on investigating further, there appears to be a fundamental issue around the shutdown of the httpd service that needs to be solved before anything else can be looked at. It's likely that the next release won't happen until sometime over Christmas when I can get a good run at the code.

I've already managed to solve a few of the issues;

  • The LMS crash (generating 403 errors) is caused by a default port 9000 being set in the plugin. This obviously conflicts with the LMS port itself. This is solved by setting another port as default and not allowing the proxy process to start until users have confirmed settings.
  • The failure to exit cleanly is caused by the http daemon remaining alive. I've restructured the shutdown code and believe this one is solved, subject to further testing.

So, good progress made already but a bit more to do....



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About Hab-Tunes

Hab-Tunes is an in-development skill for the Amazon Echo that allows voice control of Squeezebox devices. This site is intended to document the skill development and help give some idea of progress.

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