Seriously? 3am?

Man alive, it’s crazy time again.

Usually, I’m well aware that I’ve stayed up late. Tonight though, I’ve only just realised, after finishing a big few hours of focussed work.

Check it out, It’s undergone a couple of big changes. Not to bore you, I’ll keep them quick.

1. Found an image mambot for Joomla that implemented "lightbox", which is a funky pseudo window viewer. Have a squiz at this link.

2. Redid the Product pages. Each of them has six i think. The last page (for each of them), called "Vision", was a masterstroke. Ha ha. A foolish attempt that will probably get pulled down sometime in the near future no doubt.

Anyway. Was a productive night tonight, even though my initial aim was to work out why I can’t get see my installed Thawte Certificate with Safe Uploader. Looks like that will move to tomorrow night.

Done for the nonce, will hopefully post something .. fuller .. tomorrow.


Nigh, Sleep Is

Words are failing me.

Shocking, I know. Perhaps it’s the swilling of caffienated liquid around my brain, or the long days and longer nights, I’m not sure.

Maybe once I get started they’ll come easier.

Anyway .. Rasp 0.3 is Released!

Oh baby, it’s a doosey. Loads of new functionality, almost _brimming_. Heh.

In fact, it won’t be too much more before this puppy goes gold. As previously stated, I’m holding back a few things for release, File Uploading in Rasp Web is chief amongst them. But there are other valuable pieces of functionality that will be part of the main release. More details will come as I get feedback on this latest version.

What blocked me for the last 5 or so days was the Help file. It wasn’t so much putting stuff in there, as _what_ to put in there. I wanted a Help file that was meaningful. Not sure I totally achieved it, but it’s on the right track. I think some of the limitations of Dr. Explain might slightly affect the purpose, but not much. In fact, if I went to another Help authoring system, i’ve no doubt I’d miss the awesome window/image importing, that makes generating content quickly so simple.

So Rasp is out. I’m kind of in la-la land at the moment. It’s 2.50 am, and my head is pounding.

Freaking Out, because I know I left something out of the Install.

Stressing, because sometimes I’m not completely believing in the future of Rasp and ATS.

Relieved, because all those hours of work has come to a release.

Happy, because putting thoughts onto blog helps me clear the brain-sinuses.

Joyful, because now my belief-factor is back at max-power.

Bring It!

The Fox (A Story of the Forest)

Following is a story I posted to the Clarion Newsgroups recently. I guess I was trying to be clever. Not sure if it works.

The Fox walked through the Forest. He was an intelligent Fox, especially when talking about Chickens. Oh boy, he knew Chickens alright. Of course, they were crafty Creatures themselves, and he had never actually _caught_ a Chicken.

The Fox didn’t let this minor detail discourage him.

The Fox had a secret. He didn’t _try_ to catch and eat any Chickens. Indeed, it was hard work, much harder than walking through the Forest. He couldn’t understand why you would want to go to all the effort of catching and eating Chickens when it was far easier just to tell the other Creatures of the Forest _about_ catching and eating them.

Every Creature in the Forest looked up and respected the Fox, he was sure. They whispered as he walked past, tail high, bristles clean and magnificent.

"They are whispering of my most excellent wisdom in the area of catching and eating Chickens."

As at the start of every day, the Fox walked through the Forest to the High Hill.

The High Hill was the place of commerce and gossip and work for the Forest Creatures. Here goods were bought and sold in the open. Here friendships were made between Lion and Lamb. There wasn’t any bartering or haggling to speak of, except when a piece of fruit was rotten, or contained Flies. Mostly, it was gossip about other Forest Creatures and especially, the Lord of the Forest.

The Lord of the Forest was almost never present. He was a great Tree, Wise and Ancient. His head of green could be seen moving through the Forest, although the Forest was large enough so that some Creatures never caught a glimpse of him.

Today, as at the start of every Today, the Fox made his way up the High Hill, to the Summit. Proudly he trotted, pretending not to notice the whispering. His mission was of the utmost importance Today (as with every Today).

"I must alert my fellow Creatures to the danger. The Great Fox In The Sky has shown me the future, as he showed my forebears. I must preach this gospel to all who will listen. Nay, to ALL."

Reaching the Summit of the High Hill, the Fox turned around, and waited for silence.

The Creatures of the Forest continued their commerce, gossip and work.

"Creatures of the Forest! I have grave tidings!" The Fox pronounced in somber but magnificent (he was sure) tones.

A Bear rambling past turned her head. "Grave Tidings?" She snorted. "Have you caught any Chickens yet oh Great and Mighty Fox?"

The Fox smiled. "Good Bear, why, that is not important. I cannot enter into such conversations when that which I came here to speak is of such import!"

The Bear shook her shaggy head and continued on.

"The Lord of the Forest loves us no more!"

This turned heads. Some Creatures came forward. A small Turtle, slow and ponderous began to make his way to the Summit. A Hare hopped across and watched the Fox.

"He has forsaken us! His true people, who have done nought but Love and Cherish him!"

More Creatures of the Forest came and sat in front of the Fox, listening. Although more still went about their business.

A Lion, down at the bottom of the High Hill looked at the Fox. The Lion looked, and the Fox pretended not to notice the Look.

"Fellow Creatures! Although my words may bring fear, let us be Brave and Courageous! It is no longer time for the Leaf! It is the Claw and the Tooth that will prevail, bringing us victory!"

The Snake, ever an ally of the Fox, joined him at the Summit.

"Yeessss. It is soooo. The Fox speaks great wisdom."

The Turtle had finally made his way to the Summit.

"Fox. Why should we fight the Lord of the Forest? Without him, the Forest would not exist. You would have no home. All the Creatures of the Forest would have no home. The Forest provides us with safety. It provides us business here, at the High Hill, and the other Hills. And the Lord, he grows the Forest ever onwards."

The Fox waited a moment.

"Yes Turtle. You are correct. We do have the Lord of the Forest to thank for our past blessings. But what of the Now? Where is he?"

The Snake whispered, although loud enough for those around to hear. "Yesssss, I have not seen the Lord of the Forest for months, even years."

The Turtle persisted. "That doesn’t mean the Lord of the Forest has abandoned us. Why, just yesterday I spoke with him."

The Snake laughed. "And where is your proof Slow One? What did the great lord say to you?"

The Turtle twisted slowly, uncomfortable. "I have no proof. And I cannot speak of what he told me. It will be revealed soon."

The Fox joined in the laughter with Snake.

"Foolish Turtle. Why do you seek to deceive these loyal Creatures of the Forest who stand here, only wishing to hear the Truth. Begone with you."

The Turtle turned, sadness in his eyes, and walked down the hill, slowly.

That day, the Today, many Creatures of the Forest were disturbed by the preaechings of the Fox (and the Snake). They went to their homes confused. Did the Lord of the Forest really care for them? Why hadn’t they heard him? Seen him? Or even, as the Snake had finished with, seen Evidence of his passing?

The dawn broke across the Forest. The Creatures of the Forest awoke, blinking in the sunlight.

The Forest was gone.

The Fox was gone, as was the Snake.

The Lord of the Forest stood before them.

"Beware the words of Foxes and Snakes, for they breed heresies and lies."

Then he was gone.

They were no longer Creatures of the Forest.

In the days that followed, some Creatures sought out other Forests. Some passed away, longing for a place without Foxes and Snakes. Others stayed where they were, stubbornly refusing to leave their home. They began to grow new trees, or at least they tried.


If I Wished Upon A Star

Then All I Were Was My Guitar.

Makes sense, surely.

The Help still hasn’t been touched yet. Tonight I discovered a couple of tiny pieces of shrapnel, buried within the ever-growing functionality of Rasp.

One of these was the caching of files by the browser. See, every time a User "actions" (Views, Uploads .. and one day, Changes) a File, Rasp records it. Well, this was my intention. IE worked a treat (whhhhaaaaaa????), but Firefox was craftier. It cached stronger, and so the Workflow recording would only fire the first time the User actioned the File (which in my case is just clicking on the File URL). The problem was fixed though, thankfully. Now working in IE and Firefox for tEh Awesomeness. They are the only 2 browsers in existence right? Right?

I’d like to think there’s a better way to get Help done. Something _more_ than just a file which people open up to find stuff. Although, realistically, that’s how I use Help files, so why wouldn’t it be this way?

I’m feeling like Drizzt Do’Urden when he _knew_ that the move his father was using against him was beatable, but he didn’t know how. I _know_ there’s a better way of delivering people a product that doesn’t need help, or that uses something special. I’m not sure, could be wrong .. but you know.


No release of Rasp tonight. And it’s not so much a never-ending quest for perfection. Well, it is that. If you establish excellence from the beginning, then people will, yes, expect it .. but also, they will pride yourself on it. They will pride _yourself_ on it. Like, I use these guys a lot, Blizzard. Or Capesoft. Or that guy with a blog who makes it look so easy. But it’s the way it works. They uphold it, and it reaps rewards. Of course, my whole "day job" opposing "night job" is a battle. Not between them, but battling to not drain myself. Building an empire is more difficult than tackling a big prop running at full-steam 5 meters from the line. It’s a hundred props, running at you .. plus they’re wearing chainmail, wielding metal-ball morning stars, and shoot firebolts from their eyes.

So how do you build an empire?

I’m not sure yet. Secretly, most of what I’m doing is winging it on my own pre-conceived thoughts and dreams. But you know, a lot of those thoughts are based on what i’ve experienced before AND MORE, on what I’ve taken in from around me. Other people’s experiences, watching how big companies work, good and bad. Watching smaller entities begin, flourish, fail.

Maybe one day there’ll be enough stuff in my brain that’s TRUTH to write a book. For now, I’ll continue to blather in this little journal of jive. Master of Myseterious Code. Haven of Hellion Programmers.

I’ll stop now.

Rumors of Clarion 7 are arising. Nothing concrete .. just .. rumors.

Fare Thee Well,

The Wall, I’ve Passed Through It A Few Times

Well. The next version of Rasp is done! Whooot. Seriously, it’s awesome. But it’s also 4.30 am. But

But ..

It’s going to be another night. I’m not going to release it without the Help being updated. Sure, I’d like for the program to be simple enough for people to just pick up and use .. and it is I believe .. but not having a Help file up to date sends a message I’m not willing to send at this stage in the game.

So be ready! Tomorrow night .. for sure!

It’s going to be a hard road tomorrow, but it’s worth it.

Oh. I’m also considering putting my Freight system up on the Archer site. The 4th product. It’s already done, and is a handy program in it’s own right. It’ll also come with both an up-front and monthly cost.

I do want to rewrite it from scratch one day, but not just now. Ha ha .. things are winding up.

Been watching Heroes. I’ve been swept away into their world of almost-magic. It’s pretty sweet. X-Men without the spandex. But more. It’s an amalgamation of all things awesome. Story-writing. Comics. Fantasy. Characters. Interweaving of plotlines, _intelligently_. Good stuff.

By _This_ Much

I was so close tonight. Up until an hour ago (it’s 3.30 now), I thought i’d be on track for a release.

Then A GREAT BUG flew down from the sky and devoured my precious hope. Actually, it’s a pretty small bug. Something to do with Folders, Names, endless recursion. Mmmmm.

Anyway, the good news is, that the Workflow is in, both for Rasp Desk and Rasp Web. I think i’ve refined my thoughts to these names.

Once I get this bug out of the road (tomorrow night early) I’ll be pushing on with the other functionality for the build. Most of which is in another app, and just has to be transferred across (ha ha, famous first words).

I now appreciate much more the delays in development of products. I’ve got such a small one, but already the growing functionality needs to be carefully piece tested and integrated. It’s cool, but hard, but cool .. etc.

Am conscious that these posts are becoming increasingly inward focussed. And more _boring_ than usual. At least, though poor, some of my previous posts weren’t boring.

Anyway, the _slowing_ is upon me, i must sleep. Wierdo.

The Blizzard Road

I’m taking the Blizzard road.

I _could_ have released Rasp 0.3 tonight. A great deal of the functionality is in there. But.

The polish isn’t there. The Help documentation isn’t updated to reflect the new functionality. Some small additions haven’t gotten in. Things I wanted for this version.

So I haven’t released a Rasp build tonight. I’d like to think tomorrow night, but am not sure. A part of me wants to forgo worrying about something as big/trivial as the Help Docs.

Then I remember my mindset a month ago, when I started this caper. It’s not a race. My products are growing. They have a good foundation. The functionality is clean. And I want to build on this with professionalism.

Sure, I’m going to get stuff wrong, and forget, and be lazy. But I’d like to stamp out as much as I can now, and as the experience grows, continue to refine my practices and code.