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Mixed Reality Extension SDK Deployment Guide

There are 4 categories of deployment

  1. Kicking the tires - deploy Node.JS server to your local PC (localhost), and test the MRE as a single user.
  2. Kicking the tires together - share the locally deployed server with friends.
  3. Deploy to a low-cost external hosting service.
  4. Deploy to an enterprise grade cloud service.

Regardless of the deployment category, you will end up with a URL to the deployed server. You can then use that in your host app (AltspaceVR)


Kicking the Tires

If you follow the building instructions from the Sample Repo's README.md, you will be able to use the URL ws://localhost:3901 to see a hello world sample.

If you follow the functional test building instructions from README.md, use the URL ws://localhost:3901?test=rigid-body-test to see a functional test scene.

Kicking the Tires Together

While developing an MRE, you may want to test with other people, so you will need to make the MRE's endpoint visible publicly. The easiest way is to use a service like ngrok, which gives new URL that will work for you and your friends. Using ngrok, the URL above would be rewritten to something like this: ws://c0bbc9c9.ngrok.io?test=rigid-body-test. ngrok itself is a command line utility. To run ngrok and connect it to your experience:

On a command line

  • cd to the folder where you unzipped ngrok.exe
  • run the command ngrok http 3901

Deploy to a Free or Low-Cost Cloud Service

There are many free or low-cost cloud hosting services available. We list but a few of them here.

opeNode.io

The opeNode.io platform offers a free starter plan that gets you up and running quickly without having to provide a payment method. Deploying apps is straight forward using their command line tool, and pricing is reasonable if the free tier doesn't work for you.

Sign up

Go to the openode.io website and sign up.

Create a new instance for your app

  1. On the website, click on My Instances. This page lists your existing apps (called "instances" here), and allows you to create new ones.

  2. Below Instances, click on Add new.

  3. Give your instance a subdomain and click the Create button. The subdomain is the name of your app, and also part of your app's URL (where AltspaceVR will connect later).

You now have an instance where you can deploy your app! The next page you see contains step-by-step deployment instructions using opeNode's command line interface (CLI). This same process is outlined in the next section.

Deploy your app to your new instance

  1. On your local machine, open a command prompt.

  2. If needed, install the opeNode command line interface (only needs to be done once - this requires the command prompt to be launched in administrator mode):

npm install -g openode
  1. Change directory to your project:
cd YOUR_PROJECT_DIRECTORY
  1. If needed, create a Dockerfile using the openode CLI (only needs to be done once per project):
openode template

This creates a file on disk named Dockerfile

  1. Edit the Dockerfile The Node version specified in the Dockerfile is newer than the MRE SDK's Node depencency. To eliminate potential incompatibility, edit the first line of the Dockerfile so that it specifies Node v8.12:
FROM node:8.12.0-alpine

Your app can be bundled with static files located in the public folder. These files include glTF models, audio resources, etc. For the app to be able to serve these files to the client, it needs to know the URL where it is running. The best way to get this URL is to first deploy to your instance without this setting in your Dockerfile, then come back, add the setting, and redeploy. Deploying is described in the next step.

After your app deploys you will see a message that looks like this:

[ { result: 'success',
    URL: 'http://YOUR_SITE_NAME.fr.openode.io/' } ]

Copy the URL value, edit your Dockerfile and add this line just below the line that reads ENV PORT=80:

ENV BASE_URL=http://YOUR_SITE_NAME.fr.openode.io

Save and close the Dockerfile.

  1. Deploy your app

To start a deployment, run this command:

openode deploy

This step copies your project to your opeNode instance, installs npm dependencies, and then starts it running. The first time you deploy your MRE SDK app, you may see an error message that starts with this:

dtrace-provider@0.8.7 install /opt/app/node_modules/dtrace-provider
> node-gyp rebuild || node suppress-error.js

gyp ERR! configure error
gyp ERR! stack Error: Can't find Python executable "python", you can set the PYTHON env variable.

If you see this error, run openode deploy one more time and it should clear up. If you see this error again, please open a GitHub issue here.

Once your deployment succeeds, you're ready to connect from AltspaceVR! For instructions on instantiating your app within AltspaceVR, checkout the sample repo's README.md

If you want to re-deploy, you should use openode stop before calling openode deploy, otherwise the deploy will fail. If a deploy fails, you can just call openode deploy again.

Other Cloud Platforms

Have a hosting service recommendation? Please add it to this doc and submit a PR!

Deploy to an Enterprise Grade Cloud Service

Microsoft Azure

Coming Soon.


Testing in AltspaceVR

Regardless of the deployment method you use, you will end up with a URL to the deployed server. This is what the host app uses to connect to the MRE. Use that URL with the AltspaceVR testing instructions,

Inviting Friends in AltspaceVR

If your URL is publicly visible, you can invite friends into your AltspaceVR homespace to see the MRE. On the Worlds page, on the Homespace tab, make sure Allow Friends is checked. If you are in your homespace, your friends can click on you in the friends tab, and click Go To, and they will enter to your homespace.

Alternatively, you can create a party portal to bring friends in at the same time. On the Discover page, under Top Picks For You, hover over the Homespace icon and click Portal. Any user that clicks on the portal before you choose launch will follow you into the homespace.