What little we know about `enable-ssm`

Remember this post The List of Installed Programs on Glitch about what commands are available in our project containers? Scroll down to the "e"s, would ya? Sitting right next to our trusty enable-pnpm and enable-npm is a third “enable” command that blends in so well you might think it was another package manager of some sort. That program’s name is the somewhat cryptic enable-ssm.

In this context, “SSM” stands for server side monitoring. Now before you back away muttering about UptimeRobot being banned, hear foremost that it’s not that. Monitoring seems to refer to how Glitch’s software comes to its understanding of what files have what content. In the normal-est usage, it monitors what users are doing in the web based editor. But this notably overlooks what the app’s server is doing.

From what limited info we see from Glitch itself, it seems this unawareness of the server’s effects on files is a permanent feature. From the console welcome message, we read (emphasis added):

For now, the console and the editor don’t automatically sync. You can manually run the refresh command and it will force a refresh, updating the editor with any console-created files.

Of course, we don’t have any information the timeline of the “for now,” and we don’t have any of the context surrounding the enable-ssm script. We only know implicitly from Glitch’s quietness on the subject that it’s perhaps not production ready.

Above: a sample interaction showing server side monitoring in action

It works for simple things. I’ve also seen it get lost with the way some text editors save a temporary file and rename it over the original file.

So maybe enable-ssm does keep files up to date with what the server’s doing. Sometimes. Maybe Glitch is working hard on getting it ready for general use. Or maybe there’s some horrible thing about it that we don’t know, and Glitch has given up on it. Maybe they’re working on a radically different way to solve this problem. A way that breaks the VS Code plugin, perhaps. :woman_shrugging: