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April 8, 2014

0.16 - Fix for the dreaded "Starting" issue

OK, for the ADHD amongst you, here is the fix if your YAMS doesn't auto-update:

  1. Download this file: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/yams-dl/YAMS-Library.dll
  2. Make sure the service is in a "stopped" state.  If it's not, open task manager, find "YAMS-Service.exe" in the details tab, right-click and "End Process"
  3. Replace the file in the install folder (default C:\Program Files (x86)\YAMS) with the file you downloaded in step 1
  4. Start the service.  Ideally through local services, if you use the YAMS Service Controller then close it as soon as you hit start.

This should fix the issue.  If you want to know what happened, read on.

OK, so YAMS relies on an internal update mechanism to keep everything running smoothly, get you the latest bug fixes and features and make sure your MC servers are up to date.  All the YAMS files are hosted in a branch of the main GitHub repo which only contained these files.  YAMS periodically checks these files for changes using an ETag so it doesn't hammer their servers with unecessary downloads.  YAMS stores the ETag the file had the last time it downloaded and sends this along with the request for the file.  If the current ETag and the one YAMS submits matches, then Github returns a 304 "Not Modified" response and YAMS leaves it at that.

When I built YAMS, it was always meant to keep itself up to date and as some updates could affect core elements, it does an update as part of the startup process.  Usually checking for updates takes a few seconds at most, what happened to you all was that updates were taking well over half an hour, during which YAMS wouldn't start any servers and the service wouldn't enter the "Started" state.

I have no evidence, or ideas, why it would suddenly take this long when hosted on GitHub, but moving the files to my own S3 account meant updates once again took a few seconds at most.

For most of you, this won't have any bearing on your YAMS performance but it does mean my existing workflow for updating YAMS is out of the window and I will have to create new methods.  It also means my S3 account is about to get HAMMERED by all these update requests.  Due to the way ETags are generated, every single YAMS install will now download all these files.  There's 3.5 thousand servers running at the moment, and many many more installs not running all the time.

I have to ask, therefore, if you are using YAMS, you like it and it helps you enjoy Minecraft more, that you consider making a small donation.  This month will be the toughest to take, it should slow down as all these servers get up to date, but it's going to be a tough April for my bank account.

Thanks for your patience waiting for a fix for this, and thank you for using YAMS.  It's amazing hearing how something I started to make my own MC experience easier is now helping many more play together easily and safely.

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