• Synchronet development build to v3.19a

    From Digital Man to All on Sunday, April 04, 2021 03:17:31
    The major new feature that's been in the works for several months and has now landed in the git "master" branch is the New FileBase:

    _New FileBases_

    The new FileBase files are stored in the same database location as before
    (e.g. data/dirs/), but the file extensions are different:

    ^ Purpose ^ Old ^ New ^
    | Index (e.g. filenames) | code.ixb | code.sid |
    | Data (e.g. descriptions) | code.dat | code.shd |
    | Extended Descriptions | code.exb | code.sdt |
    | Metadata | code.dab | code.ini |
    | Allocation Tables | N/A | code.sda and code.sha |

    If these new filebase file extensions look familiar to you, that's because we're using the Synchronet Message Base format/library (v3.0 now) for the underlying database. This means that the SMB tools you may be familiar with (e.g. CHKSMB, FIXSMB, SMBUTIL) also work on the new filebases.

    The conversion of the filebases to the new format should occur automatically when you run 'jsexec update' which in turn will execute the program 'upgrade_to_v319' when appropriate (just one time). Once converted, you can delete the old files or leave them in place in case you need to revert back to Synchronet v3.18 for any reason. The old filebase files won't harm anything if left.

    The creation of each new filebase will automatically calculate and store the hashes of the contents of the actual files available for download. These
    hashes are useful for duplicate file detection and data integrity assurance.
    If you wish to opt-out of the file hashing (which consumes the majority of the time during the upgrade process), you can turn off file hashing in the per-directory Toggle Options in SCFG->File Areas. You would have to perform
    this opt-out for the directories of choice *before* you run 'jsexec update' / 'upgrade_to_v319'. You should not normally need to run 'upgrade_to_v319'.

    _Long Filenames_

    While filenames stored in the filebases used to be limited to MS-DOS
    compatible 8.3 formatted names, longer filenames are now supported on all platforms. Additionally, some previously invalid filename characters (e.g. spaces) are now allowed and files without extensions (i.e. no '.' in their filename are now supported).

    Although Synchronet for Windows previously used Win32 API functions for short <-> long filename conversions in the Windows builds of Synchronet, resulting
    in the unfortunate Micros~1 shorted filenames stored and sometimes seen, that is no longer the case. Except for the %~ command-line specifier, those short/long filename conversion functions are no longer in use anywhere within Synchronet for Windows - it's native filenames through-out. The filebase conversion process (upgrade_to_v319 / 'jsexec update') on Windows will attempt to automatically resolve the native/long filenames and store those names and only those names in the new filebases.

    Note: abbreviated versions of long filenames are displayed in some situations to accommodate the limited width of a traditional BBS user terminal. An effort is made to always display the full file extension/suffix however
    (e.g. "longfilename.jpeg" may be *displayed* as "longfil.jpeg").

    Note: only 64 characters of each filename (always including any extension) are indexed for searches and duplicate checking, but the entire filename, up to
    64K characters in length, is stored intact in the filebase.

    Filenames with /extensions/ longer than 3 characters, e.g. ".jpeg", ".tar.gz", can be added to the filebases, but the configurable compressible, extractable, and viewable file types/extensions remain limited to 3 characters in SCFG. Similarly, a maximum length of 3 character archive "types" are stored per BBS user record (for each user's QWK packet format and temp archive preference).
    _Large Files_

    Files greater in size than 2GB or 4GB (depending) were previously a problem. Though there are still some 32-bit file length limitations (e.g. only files smaller than 4GB in size will be hashed), there is better and increasing
    support for larger files in general.

    Note: the ZMODEM transfer protocol as designed by Chuck Forsberg only supports files up to 4GB in size and in many cases, files greater than or equal to 2GB
    in size will prove difficult or impossible to transfer between some ZMODEM implementations. In general, it is recommended to use an alternate transfer protocol (e.g. YMODEM[-G], FTP, HTTP) for files >= 2GB in length.

    _Large Directories_

    Due to the new filebase design, directories with more than 10,000 files are
    now supported (though, not encouraged).


    The file "summary" or single-line "short description" remains limited to 58 characters in length for practical purposes. Though longer file summaries
    (up to 64KB) can be stored in the filebase, they are not recommended.

    Extended (multi-line) descriptions may now span more than the previous limit
    of 10 lines or 512 total characters. There is no technical limit to the length of extended file descriptions, though a limit of 1024 characters imported from description files embedded in archives (e.g. FILE_ID.DIZ) is being imposed. If you have a need for longer (than 1024 character) extended descriptions
    imported from embedded description files, please provide me with details. _Batches_

    File upload and download batch queues used to be maintained in memory (though they were written to disk files to be retained between user logons), they are now entirely maintained in disk files (data/user/*.upload and *.dnload in .ini file format). This means that custom batch management can now be performed easily by modules or non-Terminal Server scripts.


    Files are now hashed, by default, using multiple hashing algorithms (CRC16, CRC32, MD5, and SHA1) for duplicate file detection and for reporting to users (e.g. to insure data integrity). For a file to be considered a duplicate
    (i.e. and rejected for upload) it must have the same size and hash values as another file in a filebase already. Each directory is configurable as to
    whether or not to hash its files or use it for duplicate file detection
    (by name or hash).


    The new filebases are indexed in the order in which the files are imported
    into the database. Sorting of the files for display purposes in the terminal and FTP servers is optional and configured by the sysop:
    Name Ascending (case-insensitive)
    Name Descending (case-insensitive)
    Name Ascending (case-sensitive)
    Name Descending (case-sensitive)
    Date Ascending
    Date Descending

    As a result, the "RESORT" file transfer operator command has been removed. _Tags_

    Individual files can now be tagged for easy searching/grouping. This feature will be utilized/enhanced more in the future.


    The new "FileBase" class is used (similar to the existing MsgBase class) to open and access filebases from JavaScript modules. Using this class, the defaults methods of listing and transferring files can be replaced with
    custom modules.


    The new FileBase JS class is now used to import files directly from FidoNet -style .TIC files (via tickit.js) so no dependency or invocation of any
    external utilities (e.g. addfiles) is required.


    The native utilities ADDFILES, FILELIST, DELFILES, and DUPEFIND have been replaced with similarly named and purposed JavaScript utility scripts to be invoked with JSexec:
    - addfiles.js for importing lists of files into filebases
    - postfile.js for importing a single file into a filebase
    - filelist.js for generating file listings from filebases
    - delfiles.js for removing files from filebases
    - dupefind.js for discovering and reporting duplicate files in the filebases _Performance_

    Due to the nature and use of the new filebase API, file listings are much faster (e.g. large file listings from the Synchronet FTP server) as well as filename/pattern, description text, and duplicate-file searching.

    _FTP Server_

    Due to the removal of support for rendering FTP-downloaded content (e.g.
    HTML files) in modern web browsers, the FTP Server no longer supports dynamic HTML index file generation (e.g. 00index.html). Instead, we will focus on
    better support for filebase browsing and file transfers via HTTP and HTTPS in addition to the traditional FTP and FTPS uses. The dynamic generation of
    the ASCII file listings via FTP (e.g. 00index) is still supported by the FTP server, though now much faster than before.


    The libarchive library (http://libarchive.org/) has now been integrated into Synchronet (and exposed via the new "Archive" JavaScript class) and integrated into SBBSecho so that the creation, listing/viewing, and extraction of
    archived files can now be performed "in-process" without the invocation of or dependency on external programs (e.g. Info-Zip unzip or PKUNZIP).

    Formats fully supported:
    - zip
    - 7zip
    - gzipped-tar
    - bzipped-tar

    Formats supported for viewing and extraction only:
    - rar
    - lha/lzh
    - iso
    - xar
    - cab

    This means that for most BBSes, no "Compressible" or "Extractable" file types need to be configured in SCFG->File Options. Additionally, by setting
    "Archive Format" to "ZIP" for SCFG->Networks->QWK->Hubs, no "pack" or "unpack" command-line need be configured.

    For listing the contents of archives, the new archive.js utility script may be installed as a "Viewable File Type" handler for the commonly supported file extensions by running 'jsexec archive.js install'.

    If you're building sbbs on *nix, you'll need the libarchive development package (e.g. libarchive-dev) installed or you will get build errors.

    Description files embedded in archives (e.g. FILE_ID.DIZ) are now supported more uniformly and seamlessly.

    _File Echoes_

    Each file transfer directory configured in SCFG->File Areas may now have an "Area Tag" explicitly set for FidoNet-style file distribution networks. If
    an Area Tag is not explicitly set, then the directory's short name is used (with spaces replaced with underscores) automatically. tickit.js now uses
    this new "area_tag" file_area.dir[] JS property for its "AutoAreas" feature. _User to User Files_

    The user to user file transfer feature has been removed. Send file attachments with email/netmail if you want to send files to users.

    _Opened Files_

    The "open" (reference) counter for files is now gone. If you want to remove
    a file from the filebase while a user has it in their batch download queue or is actively downloading it, nothing is preventing you from doing so.

    As a result, the "CLOSE" file transfer operator command has been removed. _Alternate File Paths_

    The support for "Alternate File Paths" has been removed. There are better modern operating/file system solutions to the original problem solved with
    this feature.

    As a result, the "ALTUL" file transfer operator command has been removed. _Bi-directional File Transfers_

    The protocol drivers that supported bi-directional file transfers (Bi-Modem, HS/Link) are now long unsupported DOS/OS2 programs with no equivalent in the modern world. Bye bye Bi-modem. :-(
    digital man

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    Morris: I stand on the hill, not for thrill, but for the breath of a fresh kill Norco, CA WX: 55.5°F, 71.0% humidity, 0 mph SSW wind, 0.00 inches rain/24hrs