Notes for beta testing Aluminum Bench

This week we introduced the second round of beta testing and began rolling it out to those who signed up for the beta. If you haven’t signed up, feel free to signup and we’ll add you to the testing group when a slot becomes available.

Feedback

We’re interested in getting any feedback you have after using the app. Please send any difficulties or bugs that you discover to tech@shopfloorapp.com, and if possible, please include what browser and version, and what system and operating system you’re running.

Known Bugs

As we introduce more users to the beta for the Aluminum Bench app, we’d like to share a few known issues and bugs in beta version 0.9.1:

  • It doesn’t work on Internet Explorer. Currently, IE isn’t compatible with WebGL, and it may be some time before we come up with a good solution.
  • Safari has a surface rendering issue — makes the bench appear translucent. This will be fixed by the next release of Unity in September.
  • Some users have experienced long load times, especially on the first use. With a moderate internet connection, the longest it should take to load the first time is 15 seconds or so. If nothing happens after 20 seconds, try a hard reload:
    • Mac: CMD + SHIFT + R
    • PC: CTRL + SHIFT + R
    • Universal: Shift+Click on the “Reload” button in your browser
  • Chrome users experience a Unity error popup when navigating away from the bench app or refreshing the page in Chrome. This should be fixed by mid-August.
Screenshot of the Aluminum Bench app in Safari for Mac, which currently is failing to render the bench surface.
Screenshot of the Aluminum Bench app in Safari for Mac, which currently is failing to render the bench surface.

How to Best Submit Feedback & Bugs:

Please send feedback and report new bugs to tech@shopfloorapp.com. We recommend adding some information about your computer’s operating system and what browser you’re using, especially when you’re encountering a bug we haven’t seen before.

When adding a system profile, here is an example of a full system profile, so that we can better identify what aspect of your system is creating the bug. If you experience the same problem in multiple browsers, please add the information for each browser.

System:
OS X 10.10.3
2.7 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Nvidia GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB

Safari:
Version 8.0.5 (10600.5.17)

Firefox:
38.0.5

Chrome:
Version 43.0.2357.134 (64-bit)

Providing this information is optional, but highly useful for our debugging team at ShopFloor. It’s also pretty easy to look up. To see what browser version you’re using, simply go to the about section in the file bar, or just go to Whatbrowser.org. To see what system you’re using, you can just go to WhatsmyOS.com, which gives you a brief version and also tells you how to get a more in-depth system profile.

More than anything, we’re simply excited to see the wondrous things you build in the app! Please share your designs at @shopfloorapp on Twitter and our Facebook page.

Changes to ShopFloor

A few months ago, Google Chrome announced that it would no longer support the Unity player plugin which powers the 3D environment for our apps. We have been preparing for this shift by rewriting the codebase, and it just so happens that Aluminum Bench app will be the first tool to run on the new WebGL framework.

We’ve opened a beta for the new app, which now runs on a plugin-less WebGL Framework. After the Aluminum Bench beta period, we plan to move our other apps for ImageWall and CloudWall to the same WebGL framework, which means you can get started faster with no third-party plugins and (hopefully) a better user experience on all browsers.

Until Then?

For the time being, Firefox is our favorite browser for running ShopFloor. If you love using Google Chrome, you can currently re-enable Unity Web Player support by pasting this into your address bar for Google Chrome:

chrome://flags/#enable-npapi

This will take you directly to the correct Chrome setting, and then simply click to enable it and restart your browser. You may also need to clear your cache, or do a a hard reload (CTRL+SHIFT+R for PC’s, CMD+SHIFT+R for Macs).

Changing your flags isn’t a dangerous thing to do, it just enables NPAPI-support as it was before Chrome automatically upgraded you to version 42. Now the Unity Web Player should work just like before.

This workaround will only work until September when support is removed for good. The other major browsers will likely follow in Google Chrome’s footsteps, so we’re working around the clock to resolve these issues for our users, and are planning to have everything running better than ever by this Fall.

A Panel Discussion around the Aluminum Bench

Last month, Zahner unveiled the Aluminum Bench and accompanying app at Volume Gallery in Chicago. Present at the opening were its designer, Jonathan Olivares, its design-engineers and fabricators, Andrew Manto of ShopFloor and Paul Martin of A. Zahner Company.

In the video above, Ellen Hartwell Alderman of the Graham Foundation leads a discussion between the three innovative talents who realized the seating system generator: the designer of the Aluminum Bench, Jonathan Olivares; the Design Director at A. Zahner Company who was in charge of engineering and manufacturing the Aluminum Bench, Paul Martin; and the Design Engineer at ShopFloor who created the webapp for the Bench, Andrew Manto.

The app is set to launch to the public on August 17 2015, and is currently in a private beta test.

Sign up to for updates and access to the Aluminum Bench at ShopFloor.