Feb 24 2011

Flash Player 10.2 Bug Resolved by ChessCube


Flash 10.2 is a key part of the Adobe move towards a faster lightweight flash that leverages hardware acceleration. Early indications are that performance is massively enhanced. Flash is also on a critical path to get onto Android and other devices. This is something we at ChessCube are very excited about and support.

Immediately after the release of Flash Player 10.2, ChessCube noticed that users’ Adobe plug-in was crashing. It was particularly bad for our Chrome browser customers as Chrome automatically updates users to the latest version of Flash under the hood.

The diagram below shows the time online of people on our website. Some of our users play online and that is the part that uses Flash.

Just after the first week we can see a divergence of Chrome users as they start to spend less and less time on our site compared to the other browsers, who are, we are certain, on Flash 10.1.

The diagram above shows the length of time users spend online within specific versions of Adobe.

At first we assumed that there were changes to the Adobe system that were not backward compatible. Comprehensive searching on the Internet uncovered that other sites were having issues, but most were not. There were some who advised switching off hardware acceleration on the client – although this has no effect for our users.

The ChessCube tech team embarked on an internal project to replicate the crashed browser in the smallest amount of code and then to see if we could work around the error in Flash 10.2. Download the code here.

Ultimately our team realized that the cause of our crashing was very obscure. It is related to the use of a specific combination of rest arguments and the switch-case statement.

We added a simple try-catch element and, for magical reasons, this prevents the Adobe Plug-in Crash. We released our new version on 23 February, and immediately we see that Flash 10.2 is now working beautifully for ChessCube users.

Feel free to distribute our code to any website that is having a similar problem.

Aug 31 2009

ChessCube Version 4: a chat with Tracy


Releasing a new version of ChessCube is no small task. We’ve had some great feedback on ChessCube v4 already (thanks!). In case you were wondering what goes into launching a new version of ChessCube, I managed to squeeze in some time with Tracy to ask her a few questions. Tracy is the lead developer working on the ChessCube that you see and love, and below are her thoughts on the new version.

Sarah: ChessCube v4 has quite a few changes from the previous version. What are the major changes?

Tracy: The major change was the new skin itself. We tried to keep functional changes to a minimum to make the transition easier.

Functionality that did change was:

  • Main menu and quick link menu (previous interface, top left buttons) functionality was simplified and menu options were moved to their context-specific areas (mainly areas in the left bar). For example, friend-related menu options were simplified and moved to the ‘Friends’ area of the left-hand menu
  • The previous ‘personal panel’ on the top left was removed and replaced on the top right, with the new ‘player card‘. All personal / profile-related menu options will be located in this area
  • Left accordion bar was replaced with the left-hand menu
  • New ‘Play anyone’ feature and a tweak of the playing status rules
  • Simplified overall functionality by removing features that aren’t often used and features that we’re going to be improving upon in the near future
  • The move-history of games was improved on, making the interface a lot more stable & portable

Overall, we tried to clean up the interface to make space for all the new exciting things that we’re going to be adding.

ChessCube Chat v4

ChessCube Chat v4

Can you talk a little bit about why it was time for an update?

Our previous version was great for its time, but started to get a bit cluttered as we added on new functionality. We also found that some older features were not being used optimally. We had new features that we wanted to implement plus we wanted to make the interface more fun.

So it was high time for a reshape and reconfiguration, to make way for the next era of the interface.

What’s involved with releasing a new version of ChessCube?

A lot of testing, sneak previews and a demo version running in parallel. Enthusiastic players enjoyed hunting for the secret preview URL, and also provided us with some good feedback.

What is your favourite part of the new ChessCube chat?

The player card – which has got lots more coming to it. Also, the fact that the simplified interface makes it easier to view and play on smaller screen resolutions.

There are some new features on the horizon that I have seen in the designs that I absolutely love. I cannot let the cat out the bag yet, but they are going to spice up the interface quite nicely.

Thanks Tracy! We’re looking forward to being able to show off the new features that are on the way!