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Author Topic: MultiBit  (Read 122341 times)
jim618
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September 12, 2011, 09:00:22 AM
 #1

I am pleased to announce the release of a new bitcoin client called MultiBit.

This is a desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux.   It is written in Java and uses bitcoinj for talking to the bitcoin network.

The main website with screen shots, download details and help is:
   http://multibit.org


MultiBit's main features are:
1) Completely open source.   MIT licence.
2) Easy to use.   Easy to run from a USB drive.
3) Support for multiple wallets (though automatic rescan is not done yet).
4) Small footprint - the current blockchain is less than 16MB from the genesis block.
5) You can create QR codes of addresses in the bitcoin URI format.  You can drag and drop these to and from the app.


Important Limitations:
MultiBit is experimental code - do not use it for large amounts of bitcoin.  
The wallets are not encrypted. (This is a planned development).


I hope you like it.   Please use this thread for feedback and any questions you may have.


MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
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September 12, 2011, 03:06:37 PM
 #2

Can you add an auto-update feature that "asks" the user if he wants to update it?
Something like a little message somewhere on the status bar.

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September 12, 2011, 03:51:35 PM
 #3

LONG ANSWER
----------------
The wallet rescan not being done is more to do with the interaction with bitcoinj and the P2P network.
I'll try to explain - forgive me if this is old news to you.
Normally you have the following:
1) Wallet A receives a zero-confirmation notification of a transaction.
2) After a few minutes, the next block appears with Wallet A's transaction in it and the client knows the transaction is on the block chain.   Everything is good.

Imagine you swap to Wallet B after the zero-confirmation arrives but before the next block arrives.  
You work with Wallet B and then the block arrives confirming Wallet A's transaction.
Wallet B ignores this block as it isn't interested in it.

When you later switch back to Wallet A it 'never heard' about the Wallet A transaction confirmation.   The transaction get stuck at zero confirmations.   To rescan, or I like to think of it as 'replay', the blockchain you have to go back along the blockchain to before the unconfirmed transaction and redo things.   You kind of replay the tape and then Wallet A hears about its transactions being confirmed.

There is a bit more work to do in MultiBit and bitcoinj before I can program this up as there is no API to do the blockchain replay.

SHORT ANSWER
------------------
You can avoid the whole 'wallet rescan issue' by:
o Always waiting for a blockchain confirmation before switching wallets.
or
(simpler and less errorprone)
o Copy the whole MultiBit directory (it's < 20MB) and use one copy of MultiBit for each wallet you use. This is the 'slightly clumsy but safe' way of avoiding any problems.


MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
jim618
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September 13, 2011, 08:47:43 PM
 #4

This might be a little too 'noisy' but I thought I would try mentioning what is going into the MultiBit builds as it goes in.

The code and downloads are all on github at:
https://github.com/jim618/multibit

At the moment the stable release is Multibit 0.1.3 so there is a download for that.   That is the one to use if you want to keep off the bleeding edge.

I have just uploaded a daily build called : multibit-20110913-noblockchain.zip   
(I haven't bothered putting the blockchain in so it is 3MB - just copy the multibit.blockchain file in from another MultiBit install).

What's gone in today:

Copy address button as icon on the 'Receive bitcoin' screen.
http://multibit.org/postImages/20110913-copyButton.png

Copy and paste buttons as icons on the 'Send bitcoin' screen.
http://multibit.org/postImages/20110913-copyAndPaste.png

Current transaction fee added to 'Send bitcoin confirmation' screen
http://multibit.org/postImages/20110913-fee.png

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
jim618
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September 14, 2011, 01:15:03 PM
 #5

I have added a little image with the language code into the Preferences | Choose language panel | language combo

Here is a screenshot of the combo box open in Russian:
http://multibit.org/postImages/2011-0914-languageCodeInCombo.png

It helps you navigate when you accidentally set things to a language you cannot read.

Currently MultiBit is localised to:
o English
o Spanish
o Russian (it is missing a few terms that I have added in the last few days).

Swedish is on its way so I have put it in the UI in anticipation.


If anybody would like to volunteer to localise other languages, please do !
It is about 200 terms to localise.

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
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September 14, 2011, 02:07:39 PM
 #6

I can help you with the italian language.

Anyway, you should give a look a this one: http://crowdin.net ( I think that there are also other services like it )
This will be useful to translate it on many languages! Grin

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September 14, 2011, 02:59:19 PM
 #7

Great thanks.
I will have a look at that site - I was wondering how best to organise the localisation work.
Cheers

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
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September 15, 2011, 11:28:27 AM
 #8

Nice.  This looks great and is simple to use.  The QR functionality works well and plays nice with BitcoinTrader on iPhone.

I have a couple of questions..

  • Currently the bitcoin p2p network could benefit from more listening/reachable "full" nodes, i assume this "thin" client cannot be a full listening node?
  • Does this client need to download the most recent blocks just like the official client? if so a block count / total blocks stat might be useful
  • Is it possible to add an option to force multibit to connect to a specific node only.. via IP or hostname?

Keep up the good work.
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September 15, 2011, 02:28:47 PM
 #9

Hi,
Thanks - good to hear the QR codes are readable on BitcoinTrader.   I have liaised with Andreas (Android bitcoin wallet) to make sure his app can read them but the wider the testing the better.

It is a thin client yes.   It does not mine and does not offer up blocks to other nodes.   I don't think bitcoinj (which is used for the bitcoin network stuff) is ever planned to be expanded to be a full client.   

It does need to download all of the blockchain to pick up transactions.   The blockchain is smaller in bitcoinj though as the transactions aren't stored after the wallets see them so it is less of a problem.
(All the blocks on the main blockchain are <16MB at the moment).

RE: block count.
I think I will put a 'drilldown' screen when you click the 'Online/ Connecting...' label to give people more network stats.
I don't want to put them in the main screens though as I think it will frighten off the 'general user' which is who I am trying to target it to.

It uses DNS to look up the nodes but I guess it could connect to a specific node.   I will put that on the feature request list.

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
bitcoinspot.nl
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September 18, 2011, 03:28:32 PM
 #10

Hi there,

just installed multibit and it seems to be working fine, its still waiting to verify the first 0,5 received bitcoins.

A few questions:
- Is it possible to display the std receiving adress somewhere in the main screen, with an easy way of copying it ?
- Will it stay a java app, or will there be some kind of installer in the future ?

Thanks!

Roland.

- bitcoinspot.nl - Alles over bitcoin! -
jim618
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September 18, 2011, 06:54:02 PM
 #11

Thanks for trying it out.   Waiting for the blocks to arrive is definitely the most frustrating thing about bitcoin but I guess we will have to learn to live with it.

In the most recent code (in github) I have added 'copy' icons next to the addresses on both the Send and Receive screens.   There is also a paste icon on the Send screen. One of the beta testers requested it.

I wasn't planning to put the current receiving address on the transactions screen no.  I have an idea for a screen with a list of all your wallets and their balances (a 'My Wallets" screen) so if anything is a main screen it is most likely going to be that.
You might have noticed that whatever you were looking at when you shut down MultiBit is shown when you start it up (like with an iPhone).   I figure if you were in a shop you might always sit on the 'Receive Bitcoins' screen.

RE: will it stay as a Java app.
I have been working on the installers this weekend - I'll just cut and paste from something I just put on the bitcoinj mailing list:

"
I have converted the MultiBit github project to Maven and removed the old ant build.
It now also creates:
o a 'universal' Java based installer - based on IzPack.
o which also gets packaged up to a Mac application bundle.
o and converted to a Windows exe using JSmooth.   JSmooth also handles searching for/ installing a JRE for the installer which means it is there for MultiBit to use too.
Some of the pom is a bit hacky (dropping down to ANT) and there are a few things to do (e.g. no shortcuts, don't really need an installer on Mac) but it's a good start.
"

People will just install it using an installer (or in the usual way with a dmg on a Mac) and shouldn't really be aware if it is using Java, C++ or magic pixie dust under the covers.


Edit: for completeness I thought I would add that I am proposing people install it on Linux using:
  wget <url of installer file>
  chmod +x <installer file>
  java -jar <installer file>

This will then run an installer that looks the same as on Windows (thanks to the magic of IzPack).
I figure Linux users are familiar with command lines and that covers all (I think) the flavours with practically no extra work for me.

The installers have more work to do on them and then I will ask for some help with testing them on different platforms.


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bitcoinspot.nl
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September 19, 2011, 07:11:06 PM
 #12

Hi

I was trying to send some bitcoins, 0.001 to be exact.
But multibit says that i am unable to spend, though it reports that i have bitcoins in my wallet.
I have included a screenshot.
Am i doing something wrong ?

Greetz, Roland.




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jim618
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September 20, 2011, 06:25:09 AM
 #13

Hi Roland,

On the top bar on the screen you can see that your wallet contains 0.4985 BTC but that the 'available to spend' is 0.0000 BTC. I have written an explanation on available to spend here:
http://multibit.org/help_availableToSpend.html as it is unfortunately not an obvious concept.

If you read through that it explains there are two ways you can have the available to spend less than the total in the wallet (pending receipts and waiting for change).

I notice bitpay uses the same terminology as it is a built in consequence of bitcoin rather than MultiBit itself. Hopefully the terminology will become standard.

If you have been switching wallets it could be you missed the transaction confirm of a bitcoin receive. You would notice that if your bitcoins never confirmed - on the transactions page you would see an empty progress box in the status field that never fills out and turns into a tick (no matter how long you waited).
If it is this post back - this is a bit of a limitation of the current MultiBit code that I should get rid of in the next release - and I will explain how to get rid of it.

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
jim618
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September 22, 2011, 11:02:05 AM
 #14

I thought you might be interested in the feature list for the next major release of MultiBit.
After feedback from the bitcoinj mailing list, the features we are aiming for are:


Proposed feature list for MultiBit 0.2.0.

Protocol buffers format for wallet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protocol_Buffers)
Support for multiple wallets.
Provide installers for Windows, Linux and an application bundle for Mac.
Improved cut and paste.
Increase number of languages.
Technical/ build improvements.


There is a detailed description at the github wiki : https://github.com/jim618/multibit/wiki

Of course there are other things we want to put in (also on the wiki) but this is the feature set we will be concentrating on for the next release.


Edit: We have decided to look at using protocol buffers rather than XML for wallet storage.

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September 25, 2011, 11:38:21 AM
 #15

Regarding your info about multiple wallets and missed blocks: couldn't you associate a "last" block count with each wallet such that if you switch wallets it immediately knows where to rescan from, and update the wallet transactions (if any).

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September 25, 2011, 03:28:57 PM
 #16

Yes that is the plan exactly as you state.

The work I mentioned on protocol buffers (which is a data storage format that is easy for both Java and C++ to read) is a good opportunity to add that information into the wallet.

Also with bitcoinj you can have several wallets 'listening' to the transactions coming from the network simultaneously. I will be using this with the multiple wallets screen.

Note that any MultiBit wallets created in 0.1.3 will have an upgrade path for any wallet format changes so people probably won't even notice the change.

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September 26, 2011, 11:23:55 AM
 #17

MultiBit is now being translated into French by the friendly staff of Global Standard Bank, based in Montreal.  

http://www.globalstandardbank.com/
Global Standard Bank - The Bitcoin Bank, aims to bring Bitcoin to a mainstream audience by providing Bitcoin banking solutions such as the BitCard - Bitcoins on a high security card. Now available on amazon.com, eBay and from Authorized BitCard Agents.

Thanks very much to the staff of Global Standard Bank for donating their time to MultiBit.



p.s MultiBit is now being translated to:

o English
o French
o Italian
o Norwegian
o Russian
o Spanish
o Swedish



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October 05, 2011, 09:38:47 PM
 #18

A couple of things that have gone into MultiBit recently:

You can now connect to a single node with the following property in multibit.properties:
singleNodeConnection=<name of node>

The name can be a domain name or 'naked' IP address.
This was a feature request.
 

I have been improving the MultiBit packaging so that the build now automatically produces:

+ a proper Mac application bundle with Help/ Preferences/ Quit/ About menu integration + nice icons.
+ a Mac dmg file that has an 'Applications' alias you can drop the app to.
+ The Windows installer now has program shortcuts for MultiBit and the MultiBit uninstaller

This is all to make MultiBit easier to install and use.

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October 05, 2011, 11:13:28 PM
 #19

I found my older Linux box takes minutes to load the official bitcoin client, and uses huge amounts of CPU loading and checking the blockchain. Multibit runs like a dream on the same machine, loads instantly, catches up on the blockchain in seconds. Will definitely be keeping multibit around for lightweight usage.

The connect to single node sounds good too, force it to connect to my main bitcoin client, save on bandwidth.

Keep up the good work..
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October 06, 2011, 09:34:39 AM
 #20

Thanks for the feedback - good to hear it runs happily on older Linux boxes.
At the moment I am not setting any special memory options so, for instance, on my 2 gigabyte memory Mac it will be running in 512 MB.

I expect to be making a beta and putting a download on github early next week (mainly to get people to test the installers on different platforms) so that will have the functionality to connect to a single node if you want to try it out then.

MultiBit   Lightweight desktop client.                    Bitcoin Solutions Ltd   Bespoke software. Consultancy.
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