Monthly Archives: May 2011

FileSender 1.0.1 released!

After a well attended session at the TNC 2011 in Prague on FileSender we’re happy to announce that FileSender 1.0.1 release is now available for download and in the FileSender package repositories.

Details at:

This is mainly a bug fix release. Most notably it’ll allow for:

  •  a semi-colon to be used to separate To: addresses, making copy/paste easy for Outlook users
  •  use of SimpleSamlPHP 1.7+
  •  an experimental feature for a different way of handling email bounces and SPF

We also took the opportunity during this release cycle to create a new-and-improved Test Workflows wikipage which was used to test the 1.0.1 release but also will be used as a starting point for test automation for future releases.

Many thanks to Chris for the bugfixes and Wendy for the testing including the workflows and as usual tell us if things are or aren’t as they should be (please use

Xander, Jan and Guido

TNC2011: FileSender BoF

Yesterday we had our FileSender BoF session at TNC2011.  We had from 17:45-19.00.  We expected about 15 people, hoped for 25, and had 40 attendants.

The participants can be split in 3 groups:

  1. those running a FileSender installation want to know where FileSender development is and is going
  2. those who’d heard about FileSender and are seriously considering building up a FileSender service
  3. those who are generally interested in interesting things, including one participant who wanted to learn more about our way of working to apply it to other projects 🙂

We presented the basic value proposition of FileSender (painless sharing of arbitrarily large files with a private audience through a trusted intermediary), project history, technology and functionality choices and why they were made and of course demoed.

The feedback was good, and we got a number of functionality suggestions that’ll appear in feature suggestions soon.  The “authenticated download” functionality in particular was asked for by a number of people, particularly for the use in healthcare-related file exchange.  The feature is on the roadmap, we have ideas on how to implement it but it is more complicated then one might assume.  The only thing we truly have is the recipients email address and to devise a support-load-free authentication mechanism that can support all recipients is not trivial.

From memory there was interest of these NRENs to establish a FileSender service for their community: ACOnet (Austria), CESNET (Czech Republic), SigmaNet (Latvia), CSC/FUnet (Finland).  I will have to look in my notes and contact people to make the list complete.  We also have some promising leads on possible new members for the funding consortium, which pays for the FileSender bills.  This is important: even though we are only in May 2011, Guido and myself are already working to secure funding for 2012.

So, all in all I would say the BoF was a success with lots of interest of the NREN community 🙂

I’ll close the article by quoting what Gareth Eason twittered from the room:

“Filesender BoF session is full to bursting, with extra chairs brought in and attendees filling the edges of the room #tnc2011“.

Thanks FileSender team and the community for making a wonderful product that’s easy to promote 🙂

FileSender at TNC2011

Next week the 2011 TERENA Networking Conference takes place, the annual gathering of European national research networks.  FileSender has  a number of activities scheduled on TNC2011:

If you’re attending the TNC next week in Prague, don’t forget to visit the BoF on Monday 🙂

Status FileSender 1.5, 11 May 2011

Maarten has just committed the language selection feature and is now working on the database abstraction layer.  Chris hopes to come a long way this week in finishing the remaining GUI issues.

Our planning was to have localisation and database abstraction in an 1.6 release, and “only” have an entirely new frontend (but no database changes) in 1.5.  With the way things are progressing it seems to make more sense to merge these updates in one release: 1.5, if we can have a smooth way to make the database transition work on upgrading.

The reasoning is that 1.5 will be a so big a change that serious field testing will be needed anyway before FileSender services are likely to put it into production.  From that reasoning follows that it is better to do the changes that people have asked for (localisation, database abastraction) in one go with the non-Gears upload GUI.

The release planning will be updated shortly, though the 2011 TERENA conference makes time in short supply this and next week 😉

With where 1.5 is now it is crucial we start testing it soon.  It already is available in SVN.  Try to get it running and report issues!

Status FileSender 1.0.1, 11 May 2011

FileSender 1.0.1 is a bugfix release, check the previous status update for the 1.0.1 release for more details.

The final bit of code to entirely fix ticket #389  (proper check of max_gears_size check) is now committed to SVN and the package for 1.0.1 is ready for what we hope to be final testing.  If testing is a success we might see FileSender 1.0.1 released next week 🙂

Status FileSender 1.0.1, 5 May 2011

FileSender 1.0.1 is a bug-fix release. Most notably it’ll allow for:

  • a semi-colon to be used to separate To: addresses, making copy/paste easy for Outlook users
  • use of SimpleSamlPHP 1.7+
  • an experimental feature for a different way of handling email bounces and SPF

Check the release schedule for details and pointers to relevant tickets.

The 1.0.1 release is being packaged (thank you Xander!) and is currently undergoing testing (thank you Xander and Wendy!).  There currently remains a small issue with the fix of  ticket #389, which properly implements the max_gears_size check.  The package is expected to be released this month. Track the progress using the 1.0.1 view on open FileSender tickets.

Status FileSender 1.5, 5 May 2011

FileSender 1.5 is our next major release.  It uses the same back end as 1.0, but a new front-end: without Gears, using the HTML5 FileAPI for uploading files larger then 2GB (already supported by FireFox4 and Chrome).  Uploads with browsers without (enough) support for the HTML5 FileAPI (Safari5, IE8, IE9) will be limited to 2GB and a very small Flash component will do the actual upload, providing us with a reliable progress bar.  The functionality is the same as with FileSender 1.0, but we will have gotten rid of Gears for uploads larger then 2GB, and of most of the Flash code.

FileSender 1.5 has now progressed far enough to be essentially working, but for small details.  You should be able to get a test install up and running using the 1.5 branche in our SVN repository.  If you do, please let us know at the filesender-dev list.  Now that we are at the stage where “it should work”, we can start with packaging, testing and debugging.  So all in all things are looking good.

What has happened the past weeks with FileSender 1.5?

The FileAPI code suddenly stopped working, after browser upgrades of FF and Chrome.  The HTML5 FileAPI spec writers discovered they had done something wrong, they changed the “slice method” definition in the spec and the early implementations (FF and Chrome) had to change their code which broke our code.  All is working again.  See at the bottom of the post for a more detailed explanation of what happened.

Remaining work: Upload

  • Implement Upload cancel functionality
  • Implement locking all fields while uploading a file
  • Check for undesired file extensions
  • Pull out a little bit of test code

Remaining work: Voucher

  • Implement the “Are you sure” question when a user cancels a voucher.

Remaining work: MyFiles

  • Implement the “are you sure” question when a user deletes a file
  • Implement the functionality to add a new recipient to an existing download

Remaining work: Stylesheet

  • simplify/tidy stylesheet and document it

Remaining work: Administration interface

  •  displaying query results over multiple pages

SVN repository, 1.5 branch

In the 1.5 branch the redundant flex frontend code, gears javascript code and file used for flex-php communication have now been removed.  All existing backend code is where it was.  The new Flex code for the little Flash upload component (that will do <2GB uploads in non-HML5 browsers) is in SVN

What happened with the HTML5 FileAPI slice code?

From 5.2.1. The slice method of the HTML5 FileAPI spec:

“Note: The slice method previously had different semantics, which differed from both Array.prototype.slice and String.prototype.slice [ECMA-262]. This difference was an oversight which has been corrected in this edition of the specification. Some user agents implemented the previous semantics, notably Firefox 4, Chrome 10, and Opera 11. These user agents have agreed to vendor-prefix their slice implementations in subsequent releases.”

Note the nice little bit about the vendor-prefix.  This results in our code now having this little addition:

if(file && file.webkitSlice )
var blob = file.webkitSlice(bytesUploaded, txferSize+bytesUploaded);
if(file && file.mozSlice )
var blob = file.mozSlice(bytesUploaded, txferSize+bytesUploaded);
if(file && file.slice )
var blob = file.slice(bytesUploaded, txferSize);

Great.  Brand new technology and already legacy issues 😉

Relevant links: