Windower Is Recruiting!

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Windower is recruiting!
 Leviathan.Arcon
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By Leviathan.Arcon 2013-11-25 21:27:27
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PSA: This post is a bit outdated given recent (ish) developments with Windower. I'll leave it here for posterity (and not to *** up the thread's history and responses), but a new recruitment post can be found here.

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Good evening ladies and gents,

as the title says, the Windower team is recruiting. The reason for this, as some may have noticed from other threads, is that the current development team is drastically reduced due to SE sucking and not being able to motivate us to keep playing. Currently we have about 1.67 active core/plugin devs and about as many active addon devs, and they overlap as well.

That is not a lot to maintain a project of this scale, especially since there are a number of fringe projects related to us that many might not know about yet. So what follows is a listing of projects we're currently maintaining (or rather, struggling to) along with a short description of what it entails. If you feel you're able and willing to contribute to any of them, feel free to PM any one of us or hit us up on IRC.

Note that you can help out for more than one of these projects. Currently we all do a bit of everything anyway, so the lines are very blurry. One requirement we do expect from all of the projects is communication. For that we mainly use IRC, but for the less teamworky jobs in the list this isn't a definitive requirement. If you want to apply either send me a PM or hop on IRC (the latter is recommended, since you'll want to use it as part of the team regardless). You will find all of us on the FFOChat network (irc.ffochat.com) in the #windower channel. The easiest way to get there is to simply load the FFOChat plugin, it will automatically connect. To talk, then type /x <message>, where x is the channel number (2 for a default installation, it will say when you connect). You can also type /pm arcon <message> to talk to me directly.

Also note that all specific language requirements can be relaxed if you already have general programming experience and are able to pick up new languages. We don't work on a strict schedule, it's not an issue if you take a while to get into it before you start working. Not like we're paying you or anything. And speaking of which, we're not paying you or anything! Consider it charity work for the poor souls having to deal with SE's software.

So here's the list of things you can do to help out. If you're not sure about some of the requirements or what exactly it entails, feel free to ask about it.

Plugin development

This is a crucial area and the one that requires the most skill and knowledge. As some may have noticed, we shifted focus from plugins to addons, and we intend to continue that trend. However, there are plugins that still need maintenance or bug fixes (especially after every update), and some plugins cannot be converted to addons, because Lua lacks some crucial low-level functionality, and LuaCore needs to be maintained and developed as well. That's what this position is for.

All plugins are written in C++, hence knowledge of it is appreciated, but not required if you're a good programmer and think you can pick it up. This will also entail bit-level trickery, working with pointers and general memory infrastructure, internal memory layout and packet analysis.

Addon development/maintenance

Addons can be developed by anyone, so this is a bit of an obvious position. However, many addon devs joined, made an addon and disappeared. Some don't work right and some require maintenance after an API change. Ideally, that shouldn't happen, but reality is rarely ideal. This is not quite an important position, but help with this would also be appreciated.

General programming language is expected, Lua knowledge preferred, although that's pretty easy to pick up if you know any other languages.

Wiki/doc maintenace

Again, not terribly important, but since I'm lazy and stupid the docs often go out of date when I add to or change the API, and that shouldn't really happen. So this is a) for maintaining an accurate API reference, b) documentation and perhaps tutorials for Lua libraries and their usage and c) hopefully, eventually, a listing of plugins/addons and their documentation.

This one requires some familiarity with various plugins/addons/LuaCore as well as communication with the dev team.

FFXIDB

This one is a three-parter.

Website

The actual website. This does not have to include visual design (although we definitely wouldn't say no to that), but mainly infrastructure (server setup, efficiency, DB handling, etc.).

The website is written in Python (Flask) and we use Mongo DB with a Python ORM (conjure).

Server-side data

This includes collections and organization/display of all data we collect. This currently entails kill data, synth data, Voidwatch data and mob spawn data.

Again, Python is the language of choice here, but more important is understanding of game data and a sense of statistics.

Client-side data handling

The FFXIDB plugin has been available on Windower 4.1 for a while, although as of now it's not much more than a minimap. This should be extended to incorporate data from the FFXIDB website in real-time, to look up NPC positions, mob spawn positions, drop rates and whatever else you can think of.

The requirements are the same as for plugin development (it is just another plugin, after all) but might also include some networking.

Resource management

The age old problem of Spellcast not equipping new gear after an update, or better yet, crashing the game. Hardly anyone who hasn't been annoyed by that yet, and you can help! POLUtils was the tool of choice to extract resources with. We currently have our own tool we use for Windower-internal resources ever since Radec quit. Maintaining and expanding that will be the main concern of this position. One task will be Lua-formatted table output, so addons can include it easier than parsing XMLs.

The program is written in C# (both ours and POLUtils), knowledge of that or general programming language will help. Also knowledge of game internals (especially DAT files and their infrastructure) will be useful, but we can explain that in detail if you're interested.

Moderators

While we're currently in no pressing need of forum moderators, if you're really interested and want to help, you can apply. What we could use is an issue moderator. Someone who browses old issues as well as new issues on our GitHub repository and tags them appropriately, sets priorities, assigns personnel, closes duplicates, answers what they know and just try to keep things organized in general.

Some technical understanding (no actual programming knowledge) will be useful.

Testers

This is a crucial position and you don't even have to apply for it! As usual, we can always use people that help us test new features and debug them. No particular requirements for this one. Just be active, and report issues. Preferably on our issue tracker or on IRC (or both).
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 Siren.Stunx
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By Siren.Stunx 2013-11-25 21:58:32
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wish i could help, i wouldnt even play the game anymore without a proper working windower and plugins.
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 Phoenix.Dramatica
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By Phoenix.Dramatica 2013-11-25 22:00:43
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I sincerely wish you luck in finding competent help. Windower is the only thing keeping myself and I'm sure many others playing. Your work is highly appreciated.
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 Lakshmi.Byrth
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By Lakshmi.Byrth 2013-11-26 09:53:26
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BUMP
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By Fyea 2013-11-26 18:27:44
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Very interesting and informative post. What development environment?
 Leviathan.Arcon
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By Leviathan.Arcon 2013-11-27 02:13:57
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DE or IDE? If you mean DE, the OS has to be Windows-based, but not sure which version is the lowest to use. It should work fine with XP and higher, but all our projects kinda use different software to write. The only thing they have in common is that they're all hosted on (mostly private) GitHub repositories.

Plugin/Hook development uses Visual Studio 2008 Professional, for a stupid reason and unfortunately there's no changing that (a newer version of VS or VS 2008 Express won't work). Boost 1.50 or newer and the DirectX SDK (summer 2004) are also required, both of which we can provide.

Our Resource Extractor and POLUtils are both written in C# and are both public on GitHub (can check them out here). POLUtils should open with almost any version of VS, possibly other environments as well, not sure about the Resource Extractor, but probably that as well.

Lua addons are written in Lua (;p) and there's really no preferred environment for those. Most of the Lua devs use Notepad++, but that's up to you. Some have tried more fancy Lua editors, but it doesn't really matter, because many functions we use are external (provided by the Windower Lua API), combined with the fact that Lua is dynamically typed means that things like code completion or hinting will not often work, in any IDE.

The FFXIDB stuff is written in Python. Which IDE you use is up to you, I've written all my Python code for it directly server-side through an SSH'd vi, it works well enough, but you'd be free to mirror it locally and use whatever tools you want. And as mentioned before, we use Mongo DB (a Python ORM called conjure) and the Flask framework for the web server itself.

Like I said, it really depends on what you mean, and most of the time it's up to you what you use. Only Hook/Plugin development leaves you no option, that has to be in Visual Studio 2008 Professional.
 Asura.Squishytaru
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By Asura.Squishytaru 2013-11-27 02:22:34
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Umm, umm. I can use the internet. What can I do?
 Leviathan.Behemothx
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By Leviathan.Behemothx 2013-11-28 17:07:00
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I've managed servers under linux over the years and my programming experience is still stuck in the console years (BC3.11) :P but I still do my own utilities on a need basis either in VB or C without issues. If I can be of any use to you guys, just let me know.
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By fonewear 2013-11-28 17:30:57
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I can program a VCR sign me up for this !
 Leviathan.Behemothx
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By Leviathan.Behemothx 2013-11-28 17:40:40
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fonewear said: »
I can program a VCR sign me up for this !

Yes, but can you program it to do 8 different threnodies? :P
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By fonewear 2013-11-28 17:45:03
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Leviathan.Behemothx said: »
fonewear said: »
I can program a VCR sign me up for this !

Yes, but can you program it to do 8 different threnodies? :P

Yes and I always "Be kind rewind" when I rent VHS tapes. lol
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 Bismarck.Kuroganashi
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By Bismarck.Kuroganashi 2016-12-21 12:25:11
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Yo Acorn Byrth and Moltern

/wave

I am down for helping on my Free time but I do work as a Programmer so not 24/7 availability during work times

Sign me up for w/e you need more to do, and been sending some more files later :D

gtg and if ya need me , you know how to find me and so does Nitrious24 :)


Have a nice day guys.
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 Fenrir.Caiir
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By Fenrir.Caiir 2017-10-18 00:45:28
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You can also join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/v6pk6uy
 Leviathan.Arcon
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By Leviathan.Arcon 2017-10-19 01:23:48
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And hello again!

I thought I'd write up a new recruitment post, because…
a) we're still looking for people, and
b) circumstances have changed a bit since the initial post four years ago.

First of all, yes we're still alive! Barely :) We've always been around but have shown fewer visible signs of life lately. If you want to stay on top of what's going on with Windower, feel free to join us on Discord (linked above); we're pretty much always around there.

Second, we are still working on Windower, but as described in the initial thread, Windower consists of a number of projects. The biggest change since the initial post is that we're pretty much discontinuing development of Windower 4. As has been rumored for a few years, we are working on Windower 5. Despite the long development time, the project has never been abandoned or discontinued - we're just that slow :)

Which brings me to this!

These are the currently active projects, along with the future plans for each, as well as any requirements you should meet if you want to help out.

Windower 5: Core

I don't think we've ever explained in detail how Windower 5 will be different for the average user, so I'll mention one quick point: no more plugins. Outside of the core functionality, everything will be done as Lua addons (either Lua code or binary). The core functionality itself will be significantly reduced as well.

Windower 4 had a "hook" component that did a lot more than what developers would typically consider "hooking". Plugins just expanded on what Hook gave them.

In contrast, Windower 5 will be truly minimalistic, with all extra functionality added through Lua addons and services. These addons and services will in turn be more powerful than Windower 4 addons.

Requirements:
- Good C++ knowledge. If you have it, great! Drop us a line.
- C# knowlege preferable, but not necessary. Most of the core code is C++, but the launcher is in C#.

Alternatively, the confidence in your ability to learn C++/C#. And if that applies to you, please consider that this is high level C++ code and not easy to grasp for beginning C++ programmers (nor trivial for experienced developers either). This is not to say you shouldn't apply, but I'd ask you to ask yourself whether you really have the time to dedicate yourself to it for a while.

Over the years, we have introduced various new members to the team who started out eager to help, only to realize they were in over their heads and have them disappear after a few days or weeks. That's not necessarily bad by itself, but at that point we have invested several hours or days of our own time into getting them up to speed, and it gets disheartening after a while to see that time and effort go to waste.

Windower 5: Addons

As mentioned above, Windower 5 addons will be more powerful than they were in Windower 4. One major reason for this is a new mechanism allowing data to be shared between Lua states. This ability to share data changes how we can organize addons, libraries, and what we call "services".

Services will be used to provide other addons with information that was previously handled through our LuaCore API. Unlike in Windower 4, we won't organize the data on the C++ side of LuaCore and just expose it to addons. In Windower 5, the data itself will be analyzed and structured on the Lua side inside a service, and then other addons can use that.

These changes mean that the addon API will be different than in Windower 4. We'll need to write both the API itself, as well as new addons using the API. If you're interested in helping with that…

Requirements (Lua API):
- Good Lua (script) knowledge.
- A sense of API design. This is hardly quantifiable, but if you've ever been annoyed by weird APIs and thought "This can be done better!", then feel free to speak up!

Requirements (Lua addons):
- Any Lua knowledge or confidence in your ability to learn.

FFXIDB: Data Collection

As some of you may know, we currently collect data for the FFXIDB website through the Guildwork plugin. With Windower 5, we'd like to change this and collect the data through a new addon. This project would involve development of the new addon, as well as the potential maintenance and refactoring of the data receiving/storage side on our server (currently written in Python).

Requirements:
- Any Lua knowledge
- Any Python knowledge
- Preferably some knowledge of FFXI packets
- Some networking knowledge

FFXIDB: Website Development

The existing FFXIDB website primarily just requires basic maintenance.

However, there is additional data collected by the Guildwork plugin that we do not yet display, such as crafting results. The list of new work to do here could include implementing ways to expose that additional data, as well as other tasks, such as creating a decent commenting system, cleaning up the spam, and ideally preventing it in the future.

Requirements:
- Any Python knowledge
- Good web frontend development knowledge (the usual suspects, JS, HTML, CSS, etc., knowledge of commonly used frameworks and technologies also welcome)

ResourceExtractor & POLUtils

The purpose of each of these programs intersects by quite a bit, even though it's not entirely the same.

Windower programs mainly use ResourceExtractor, and this "position" would focus on that. However, maintenance of POLUtils would also be welcome. This might consist of maintenance following updates, as well as extending functionality to export resources in other formats, or integrating with FFXIDB to automate updates to the server database after FFXI version updates.

Requirements:
- C# knowledge or confidence in your ability to learn it. No tremendously deep knowledge of the language required, both programs are somewhat basic.
- Preferably some knowledge of FFXI data, but can be learned while working on it as well.

System/web administrator

As much as we know about programming, as little we know about system (and web) administration. You can basically consider us apes (with slightly below average intelligence) when it comes to server maintenance and administration. To give you an idea, our current server switch has been going on for a few months and is starting to resemble the work on Windower 5 in its scope, duration and difficulty, which is all kinds of not ok. Can only hope to be done within the year.

So if you're a system administrator (and/or a slightly smarter ape), please lend us your power and wisdom.

Requirements:
- Whatever it is that system administrators require. You should know better than me.

Interested?

A few more words on our "positions", as detailed above:
I may have called them that on occasion, but they're not really fixed positions as such. Each member of the team is free to work on whatever they want. If someone originally applied for FFXIDB development, but is tired of it and wants to work on RE or POLUtils, no one will stop them.

Also note that you will also never be alone in working on a project. We really care about all of those projects and as such we want to see them (and by extension, you) succeed. If you need help, knowledge and talent is always available, and we're always there to discuss and teach what we know. And given our lack of fixed positions as mentioned above, we may also occasionally get involved and work on any given project ourselves when we feel like it.

If you'd like to get a feel for what you're getting into, you can browse our public repositories on GitHub. (RE and POLUtils are both public, and in here as well). As this implies, we use GitHub to host all of our code, and consequently git as our VCS.

So, if you're interested, you can reach us most easily on Discord.

You can also join the Discord if you just want to chat, or if you need support with Windower-related items. Drop any of the blue people a line if you're interested in helping out. If you have any questions, either PM us or write in here or Discord or wherever you see fit.
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 Leviathan.Arcon
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By Leviathan.Arcon 2017-11-03 17:09:40
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I have added a recruitment section for a (preferably competent) system/web administrator to look after and maintain (and occasionally replace) our server and do other server stuff that system administrators do.
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By Asura.Kuroganashi 2017-11-03 22:19:53
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Leviathan.Arcon said: »
I have added a recruitment section for a (preferably competent) system/web administrator to look after and maintain (and occasionally replace) our server and do other server stuff that system administrators do.

your invite has expired.
But definitely interested.
 Sylph.Talym
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By Sylph.Talym 2017-11-04 00:18:05
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Asura.Kuroganashi said: »
your invite has expired.
But definitely interested.

I think the one posted earlier by Cair ( https://discord.gg/v6pk6uy ) should still work.
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