Saturday, June 14, 2008

A look at the evolution of the Saitek SST Software for the X52 Pro

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In this blogpost I'll have a closer look at the diffenrent versions of SST software for the Saitek X52 Pro - it's a followup on my ealier post Game profile files for the Saitek X52 Pro Flight System. For those who are experiencing problems a just wants to get goint go to the part about the latest driver and SST software

. The main purpose is to get a better idea of what and when.

Release dates

I just bought min recently but when was it released? Dunno for sure but at Amazon it has been available since January 9, 2007:

Product Info from Amazon with the first available date

The pro version is based on the predecessor the X52 (normal) which was available for purcase on Amazon on September 15, 2004:

X52 Purchase info on Amazon

So the drivers and software has had more the 1½ year to consolidate which shuld be flenty of time. The often mentioned X52 (normal) with which the old format was used is soon 4 years old.

The original software

The driver DVD that came with the controller contains most importantly a driver, SST software and DirectX. It's not exactly new (by date) and for WinXP only, but then again Vista was launching just about that time and I probably got my hands on one from the first shipments. Here's the content overview:

The specific driver is in D:\WinXP\Drivers\0762:

Notice that there's a .pr0 file in the folder. I can reveal that it's the older version in XML, though I'm puzzled why it's there since the SST software only supports the .dat format.

As for the DirectX it's 2 major versions behind - 8.1:

The SST software that came with the DVD

The SST Software on the driver DVD is version

With a nice 3D view mode of the two controllers :

Note: for an even better and static overview see geoffp's layout images in the forum post X52 Pro Profile Graphic Goodness. The SST software also have a tabular overview mode:

And the Saitek DirectOutput for the Multi Functional Display (MFD) is version


Ugrading the drivers can be done through Windows Update or by download, whereas the SST software has to be downloaded manually for upgrad, and is needed to work with the newer drivers. The Sitek public FTP server has the following version available, do note that I don't exactly know the chronologic of them:

File: sst_191206_32.exe       19677 KB     13:18:00
File: sst_191206_64.exe      19787 KB   13:23:00
File: x52pro_171006_32.exe      3244 KB   11:16:00
File: x52pro_171006_64.exe      3407 KB   11:17:00 See UKSupport forum post from 27th April 2007, on New Beta Drivers and Software for Windows Vista and XP:

File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_32_beta2.exe   4068 KB     17:18:00
File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_64_beta2.exe   4125 KB   17:19:00

Here you'll also get a newer DirectOutput with version

The driver will also be updated but the SST software is not installed. behelith has a workaround by manually running C:\WINDOWS\Temp\Saitek\Saitek_Cyborg_Command_Unit_ SD6_32_Software\00000006\software_loc_9.msi.

File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_16_32_Drivers.exe   4065 KB     16:08:00
File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_16_64_Drivers.exe  4124 KB   16:09:00

And finally the versions that you'll get through their driver download wizard at

File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_32.exe    4180 KB     10:46:00
File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_32_Software.exe  17350 KB   10:56:00
File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_64.exe   4260 KB   10:46:00
File: Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_64_Software_.exe  18672 KB   10:57:00

The DirectOutput is now and after manually running the english version (this time in another folder C:\WINDOWS\Temp\Saitek\Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_SD6_32_Software\00000013\software_loc_9.msi, the software versions are in sync:

SST Software - latest version

SO upgrading to the latest version bumps up two major versions to as can be seen in ex. the Control panel:

And no, the link to The lastest version of the SST Software isn't a direct reference. The software now only has the tabular mode and not the 3D view, which is fine with me since I now have the graphics goodness.

The X52 Pro Flight System driver

Another thing that puzzles me is that with the ealier version you would also get the virtual Magic entries for mouse, keyboard and Hotkey like:

Magic Mouse

Magic Keyboard

Magic Hotkey

But I don't think I'm missing any funtionality, but this is not conclusive since at present I use for very basic purposes.


I can't really conclude much except that at present there are drivers and SST software that work with both WinXP and Vista in both 32- and 64 bit. I've personally only used the WinXp 32-bit since I've left my Vista for a while. I is bad that I still had to find the right installer deep down in the Windows\Temp folder, but it could be some unknown specifics with my install.

As for the different profile formats I think that in teory a least it shold be possible to install the beta software, open a dat file, save resulting in also a pr0 file of the XML variant, and the latest you can run through the converter to the real pr0 format.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Game profile files for the Saitek X52 Pro Flight System

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Updated! (10. june). If you're ever uncertain that you've really understood something write a blogentry and you'll sone discover more. Since I wrote this entry I've discovered:

Blog entry

When you create a program that needs to persist data you have a couple of common possibilities like plain files or databases (which in the end are fils as well there's no escaping it's all files). If you choose to go with the file option wou have to decide how you want to organise and serialize/deserialize the data. The most common options are XML, csv, configuration fileformat (like the ones for PHP and OpenSSL) which are all plain text files, but you can always roll you're own format as either text or binary. I in general would suggest XML since I'm familiar with it and there are many tools available and schema validation can easily be added. Today I discovered a variant that falls close to XML but is a propriotary format.

The example

As the happy owner of the Saitek X52 Pro Flight System I've been (re)introduced to classic versioning problems. With the flightstick comes the SST Programming Software (SST stands for Saitek Smart Technology), that gives me:

  • Increase the number of functions you can assign to the controls on your controller through shift states and multiple modes
  • Create and save profiles for your favorite PC games, which you can load to configure your controller for that game every time you want to play it
  • Assign keyboard and mouse commands to your Saitek controller to play PC games that do not offer support for game pads and joysticks.

It's the second one that write about today. I first set out to find a configuration file that I could use for IL-2 1946 but after googling and browsing relevant forums I discovered that there was a lot of confusion and frustation due to changes in the profile file format. Here's some:

  • The X52 (normal) used a file format thats binary with the extension dat. This format can't be used with the software for the Pro version.
  • The file format for the X52 Pro is pr0, but the format contained has changed in a breaking way with the newest version of the software.
  • There even seems to be a platform binding so that profiles generated with the same version of the software can't be used on ex. both Windows XP and Vista.

These challenges are not new in software (as I started out) and analogy could be made to the challenges with rolling out OOXML:

  • The former version of document editing software in Office saved in a format with the extension doc. In contradiction to the SST software this format can still be read in the new version of the software.
  • The version of OOXML that's implemented in the current version of Office is different that the version going through ISO right now. I expect that they'll both use the extension docx

In the end the biggest problem is not the file formats them self but that the doesn't seem to be a migration path between them. The software that reads the profiles (deserialise them) can detect the specific format either from the filename and/or the content. The software team a Saitek has decided not to incorporate support for the different formats and thereby not support they're customers (both those with the X52 Pro and the ones migrating from the X52 (normal).

There has been created a conversion tool as a standalone program but I haven't had much succes with it, and I think it's because it's between the dat and the first version of the pr0 format.

The file formats

The three format mentioned above are:

  1. The binary/obscure dat format
  2. The first pr0 format
  3. The second pr0 format

I can't show the a), but here's a screendump of a profile for b):

Yuep, that's good ol XML. I've searched for a schema for the namespace but haven't found one. I wont try to analyze the format, but I notice that there is a version attribute (with what looks like binary content for '65').

I've installed the newest version of the SST software

and saved the default profile:

and the format now looks like:

and Yuep, that's almost like good ol XML. The syntax is a little different but very similar and also shares a resemblance to the format that I share name with. Also in this format there's a version attribute (now with the value '3').

It beats me to come up with an explanation of why they would create they're own format that's so close to XML, and use the time both to develop and maintain it as well as the tools for it, but my hope is that this format in fact is more common than I'm aware of.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Configuring Tomcat to send P3P Compact Policy in HTTP response header

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Some time ago i did some analysis of P3P Compact Headers and the interplay it has with IE6+ to enable thirdparty cookies. The other day I assisted someone in implementing it in Tomcat. It was rather easy since the Servlet specfication has the filter feature that fits this like a glove.

Here's an example code for such a filter called StaticResponseHeaderFilter, that has been generalized to be able of appending any static HTTP header to the response. An important point is that I expect one policy to cover the hole site. I'm not sure if anyone differentiates the policy for different pages, though I guess it could in theory make sense, it could very easily confuse the users.

    1 package org.sweetxml.webutil;
    3 import;
    5 import javax.servlet.Filter;
    6 import javax.servlet.FilterChain;
    7 import javax.servlet.FilterConfig;
    8 import javax.servlet.ServletException;
    9 import javax.servlet.ServletRequest;
   10 import javax.servlet.ServletResponse;
   11 import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
   13 public class StaticResponseHeaderFilter implements Filter {
   15   private final static String HEADERNAME_INIT_PARAM = "headername";
   16   private final static String HEADERVALUE_INIT_PARAM = "headervalue";
   19   private String headername = null;
   20   private String headervalue = null;
   23   @Override
   24   public void init(FilterConfig filterConfig) throws ServletException {
   25     headername = filterConfig.getInitParameter(HEADERNAME_INIT_PARAM);
   26     headervalue = filterConfig.getInitParameter(HEADERVALUE_INIT_PARAM);
   27   }
   29   @Override
   30   public void doFilter(ServletRequest request, ServletResponse response, FilterChain filterChain) throws IOException,
   31       ServletException {
   33     HttpServletResponse httpResp = (HttpServletResponse) response;
   34     // pass on to other filters or the resource
   35     filterChain.doFilter(request, response);
   36     // set HTTP header on response
   37     httpResp.setHeader(headername, headervalue);
   38   }
   40   @Override
   41   public void destroy() {
   42   }
   43 }

At first I had implemented it with ResponseWrapper, but as I thought of it I came to believe that it wasn't necessary (my experience with implementing filters are limited and when I'll need to use the wrapper classes).

It's configured like this in web.xml:

   41   <filter>
   42     <filter-name>StaticResponseHeaderFilter</filter-name>
   43     <filter-class>org.sweetxml.webutil.StaticResponseHeaderFilter</filter-class>
   44     <init-param>
   45       <param-name>headername</param-name>
   46       <param-value>P3P</param-value>
   47     </init-param>
   48     <init-param>
   49       <param-name>headervalue</param-name>
   50       <param-value>CP="CAO PSA OUR"</param-value>
   51     </init-param>
   52   </filter>
   53   <filter-mapping>
   54     <filter-name>StaticResponseHeaderFilter</filter-name>
   55     <url-pattern>/*</url-pattern>
   56   </filter-mapping>

And a quick check with wget gives:

wget -S http://localhost:8080/p3pdemo/
--23:20:08--  http://localhost:8080/p3pdemo/
Resolving localhost... ::1
Connecting to localhost|::1|:8080... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
  Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
  Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=8BFBF636E28A43E0F292345EAD7F6CB7; Path=/p3pdemo
  Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
  Content-Length: 1609
  Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2008 21:20:08 GMT
  Connection: keep-alive
Length: 1609 (1.6K) [text/html]

Very easy indeed and the filter feature was just perfect.

As for implementing it in Apache HTTPD see the Appendix in The Platform for Privacy Preferences 1.0 Deployment Guide (W3C Note 11 February 2002) and for IIS

I can only conclude that the hardest part of implementing P3P is getting the policy right and being representative, it's not implementing it on servers.

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