Reports | July 22, 2009 23:44

New game viewer - Linux users and others: please test along!

new game viewerOur switch to a new, Silverlight game viewer back in May led to an enormous protest by especially Linux users. We never liked the idea that they couldn't replay the games on their computers anymore, so we kept on searching for a Javascript-based viewer with similar functionalities, also keeping in mind the growing number of mobile phone users. We think we've found one, and before we implement it we'd like you to test it.

With our May 13th report on the U.S. Championship we stopped using the Palview/Palmate Javascript game viewer because it was just too time-consuming to create the games for our articles. We started using Martin Bennedik's Silverlight gameviewer which is also used by Mark Crowther at TWIC.

In the following weeks the comments under our reports were cluttered with off-topic reactions about... this game viewer. Some of them were useful feedback and Martin Bennedik actually improved the game viewer in subsequent weeks (and we improved the way the moves were shown on the pages).

But from the start we regretted the fact that we had to disappoint many Linux users - Silverlight simply doesn't work on Linux yet. There is something called the Moonlight project, an open-source implementation of Silverlight, primarily for Linux and other Unix/X11 based operating systems. Bennedik’s chess viewer should work as soon as Moonlight 2.0 is stable. This was promised by Novell to be the case "before this summer" but it at the moment they've not managed to keep their promise, as far as we can see.

In the meantime we received a few more complaints about the Silverlight viewer: it was said to be slow sometimes, it could leak memory according to some, the moves were not shown correctly in IE8 (due to an HTML error on our side, this was not an issue of Martin Bennedik's viewer). Besides, we realized that many mobile phone users also can't replay the games. Especially the number of iPhone users is growing rapidly and, well, in general we want to disappoint as few visitors as possible!

Chess Tempo Game Viewer
Therefore we'd like to introduce a new game viewer, created by Richard Jones of Chess Tempo, an interesting website where you can train your tactical skills with combinations, endgames and problems. After testing it on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera and exchanging many emails with Richard, which helped him to tweak and improve his viewer a bit more, we're ready to display it over here and ask your opinion. (We can already reveal that it brings back one feature that the Silverlight viewer didn't have: auto-replay!)


Known issues

  • Opera users might have problems when clicking on a move somewhere in the notation window. (Replaying the game from the start shouldn't be a problem.) We're working on this. Edit: as Felix pointed out in the comments, a double-click solves this problem!
  • Internet Explorer doesn't correctly show the drop-down list of the games above the board. The players should always be shown, though.
  • Safari on the iPhone doesn't show a scroll bar in the notation window next to the board (Safari on a Mac should be OK). This is not a problem because the user can scroll using two fingers, just like on a MacBook mouse-pad. For iPhone users it's good to know this trick!
  • The notation is presented with brackets "(" and ")" and without paragraphs - this is a CSS matter which we're working on. Edit: Frank Sträter helped us to get the presentation of the moves just right! Thanks Frank!
  • The flip button sometimes doesn't react - try again after replaying a few moves.

Feedback

We're seriously considering to switch to this game viewer, but before that we would first like to know what you think about this game viewer. What works well? What doesn't? Any other suggestions? Please, do leave a comment below and please mention the Operating System and browser (+ version) you're using.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

John's picture

The Moonlight viewer worked intermittently for me on Ubuntu with firefox. I never could work out why it worked only sometimes. This one looks great and works fine in firefox on Ubuntu. One thing though, it would be nice if the text would scroll to show the current move. Its annoying to have to go back and forth to keep the text up to date when playing through the moves.

rigao's picture

Trying it with Xubuntu 9.04 in an old AMD 1250MHz in firefox 3.0.11 it is quite laggy, to say the list.

I cannot get the games menu to show up, and when clicking the forward move, it will not display it until I scroll up or down the window.

It may perfectly be the computers fault, so I will give it a try in a new computer and post a comment here sometime this day.

rigao's picture

Forget what I posted!

It works laggy (as usual in this computer with every aplication) but it works well. I don't know what happened before. Firefox sent me to a possible pishing page, but I went back and everything was working, so I suppose my firefox overextended himself.

My very tinny complain is that the automove option moves veeeery fast. It would be great to be able to modify the speed of reproduction.

Remember I'm using Xubuntu 9.04 in an old AMD 1250MHz in firefox 3.0.11

Alez's picture

Awesome! Worked very well on Archlinux (kernel 2.6.30) up to date with Firefox 3.5. Thank you very much, Peter.

Tom's picture

Works fine on my computer in Chrome. I'm not sure which Windows I have, the one before they started imitating the Mac OS I think.

Bas's picture

WinXP with ie7, I see only a light gray rectangle.

WGIFM's picture

The viewer works fine with XP and Firefox 3.5. Thanks.

me's picture

I don't care what viewer it is used, but I fail to see why this one would be now "better" than the rest of them. Just because it has nothing to with Microsoft???

Patrick Rasenberg's picture

Very nice work, looks very promising. A few remarks:

* The moves should go faster when browsing move by move. I usually want to quickly see a game, that takes ages now.

* And actually, when in autoplay the moves should go slower.

* I cannot get it to work on my iPhone. The diagram loads, but playing moves or scrolling though the moves/comments on the right doesn't work. This is using OS 3.0 on an iPhone 3G.

Jagdish Dube.'s picture

@ Dirk on July 22nd, 2009 7:47 pm.
It is Upgraded to 3.0.12 about 8 hrs back.You can upgrade your own.

Titus's picture

Ik kan weer partijen naspelen op chessvibes! Bedankt voor deze verbetering

Hugo's picture

This is much better, since now I am able to play the games again. I was not able to do so because I was not allowed to install silverlight on my computer, which is not my personal one.

jussu's picture

Keyboard shortcuts work fine for me. I object to the suggestions to add last move highlight; in viewers where this feature exists, I find it very annoying, and always turn it off before viewing the game.

Arne Moll's picture

I've just tested it in IE 8 under XP, and it works fine. So it seems it's not downwards compatible for lower IE versions. I suppose this will annoy at least 35% of all Internet users :-(

Peter Doggers's picture

Any people here working on IE6 or IE7 having no problems?

jussu's picture

@Peter,

Tried it on IE7 and everything works perfectly.

Arne Moll's picture

With which OS, jussu? (I'm guessing Vista; would be surprised if it was XP.)

jussu's picture

Then be surprised :) It is XP, with SP2 (have managed to avoid SP3 so far).

leigh's picture

Hi

It works fine on my PC.

But Can you add a flip function? It is very useful for players like me.

Arne Moll's picture

Utterly weird, jussu. I give up... any other users having problems with IE7 and XP?

leigh's picture

I use Windows XP and IE8. no problem at all. Why don't you update your IE7 to IE8.

The only thing I hope they add is FLIP.

Peter Doggers's picture

is the flip button.

leigh's picture

Test on my another Laptop:

Windows Vista home premium, Mozilla Firefox 3.0.11 .
Works fine.

Also The flip button works fine on both my pc. Thanks, Peter

Richard's picture

Delighted to see that protesting has worked! I use Linux, Ubuntu, Firefox 3.0.12 and it is working fine! A bit slow, but I notice this a lot with involved Javascript all over the web.

A pity indeed for you guys if it is true that this viewer does not process PGN directly, but maybe in the future it will! Or an offline tool could be developed that parses PGN and outputs the format the viewer requires. Good free parsers for 'input' PGN are available, and if they produce 'output' PGN (cleaner, more unambiguous), writing a parser for that should not be too hard.

Always a very good idea is to also make the PGN file itself available, as this allows people to use their own favourite viewer.

hans dampf's picture

Dear Chessvibes,

great work!
Works perfectly well on ubuntu-9.04/firefox3.5.

Cheers!
Daniel

Pedro A Tonelli's picture

I liked this viewer.
I don't have windows but may be the following should fix the problem in IE7:

http://code.google.com/p/ie7-js/
...
IE8.js

Upgrade MSIE5-7 with advanced CSS features missing from MSIE7.

You do not need to include IE7.js if you are using IE8.js
....

Hans J. Larooij's picture

Een en ander werkt onder Vista IE8 zonder problemen voor zover ik dat als computerleek kan nagaan.

Dave's picture

Please use this new viewer! It's great, have no problems with either FireFox 3.0.1 or IE7. Frankly, I've moved back to the Chessbase site as my first place to look because I can't use your current Silverlight app, at least at work (can't install new apps with Systems approval).

Note that this app doesn't work on my BlackBerry 4.7, but I can download/use Opera, and will if you change to this new viewer.

Can't emphasize enough my support for changing!

Thanks for asking.

Tom's picture

Works fine on my home computer too, Chrome again but the version of Windows where they did try to make it look like the Apple OS.

There is a difference in presentation though. Here, each move in the game (not variations) appears on a separate line. At work, they ran on. It doesn't matter, of course.

Castro's picture

Hey! What have you done?
Myself I did nothing, and today it works, and works fine! (IE6, WinXP)
Very, very, VERY nice!!
Thanks, good work. :-)

Castro's picture

Oh no! :-(
After posting, the Empty Rectangle sticked again!
Maybe it will be a case of "sometimes", for me. Not so happy now...

Castro's picture

*striked

Peter Doggers's picture

Autoscroll now also works, and the notation is presented nicer now too.

Peter Doggers's picture

Animation now also faster! We're almost there!

Bootvis's picture

With these changes it works really great on:

Windows Vista with Google Chrome 2.0

Bardi Einarsson's picture

Works well on
Ubuntu 9.04
Firefox 3.0.12
Gnome

Pauwbase's picture

One issue with Vista/Opera 10b2: when you click on a move in an alternative line, the notation pane jumps back to home, so you'll have to scroll down again to see that line. This doesn't happen when you click on a move in the mainline.

Simmillion's picture

Op mijn pc's alles erg cool (XP/IE7 en Vista/IE8)

Op mijn Nokia E71 (inclusief de standaardsoftware, weliswaar laatste update) slechts een wit veld

Fabrice Wantiez's picture

I don't see anything with my IPhone 3G and OS 3.0 and Safari... Just an empty board and an empty notation box.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Tested on windows mobile in Opera browser running on HTC Touch Pro device and works fine. Just a tad slow with the animation, but glad that it work on the phone. Even the clicks on the moves and drop down game works.

Javier G. Maneiro's picture

Hello,

I've been more than a year using the pgn-viewer provided by ChessTempo.com in my chess blog "Tablajedrez" and I think it is one of the best viewers that there.

Regards, Tablajedrez.

Felix Fürnhammer's picture

Hi all,
I just wanted to point out, that I wrote a JS viewer on http://ichess.de, which is free and fast and very efficient, and has many more nice features, please check out

Regards

Felix

javanaut's picture

Yes, Chess Tempo game viewer works well in FF 4 and Kubuntu Natty.

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