Reactions to the Tech Evangelist Announcement


"Interesting" is the word that first comes to my mind.

Most people have offered immediate congratulations, despite whatever they might be thinking. This is good. It means there are people who wish the community to grow, despite what realities they might see before us.

Some folk have chosen their words slowly, wanting to neither leap upon this with total abandonment or shoot it down in flames .. with a flamethrower. (Because why would anything else that shoots use flames, always wondered that .. heh heh)

It’s a tricky situation. On the one hand, you have my obvious enthusiasm and spark for craziness. This does count for something. But it’s not much, especially when weighed against the might of what lies before an attempt to bring more global success to Clarion.

I have the support of many very cool people. People with a lot of brains and capabilities and dedication to the Clarion Community. This is vital.

But it’s not enough to make things work. Enthusiasm. Craziness. Support. These are all elements of what will be success, but they do not equal that success.

What will determine success is, as always, time. You will have to wait and see if I am successful in the Tech Evangelist role. I have put a lot of thought into the role. I have put a lot of time talking to people, fleshing out ideas. But there’s so much more. Just over the weekend my head was floundering with the enormity of what is before me. It’s huge. But that’s not stopping me, in fact, it spurs me on.

If there was one thing I need to get across at the beginning, it’s this:




That’s what I really want. To have conversation with people. To respond to criticisms in conversation one on one. To address concerns. To bring excitement. To show vision and purpose. In Conversation. With you.

There’s a lot of exciting possibilities in front of us. Stay tuned.

"All Hail Clarion" (A Big Announcement)


[EDIT, 19/01/2008]

Read Bob’s post first. Then this one will probably make more sense. Again, read this ..

It has long been my desire (and for regular readers this is not a new piece of information) that Clarion would take it’s rightful place in the software development community alongside the major players.

With this in mind, Soft Velocity and I are embarking on a new (ad)venture. I will be taking on the role of Tech Evangelist for Clarion.

[EDIT, 19/01/2008]

I need to clarify.

The Tech Evangelist role can be summarised as:

1. Mediate between the Community and Soft Velocity, voicing concerns and
delivering purpose. This will bring strength to the community.

2. Promote Clarion to the wider development community, through a variety of
means. This will bring growth to the community.

There is a huge opportunity for the strengthening and growth of our community. I’m sure we all look forward to this happening.

So here’s to a future where Clarion rules supreme across the universe. All hail Clarion!

{ cue the Clarion Love Song }

News From The Middle-Line

Yes. This is another "final" post. Ha ha.

The new site will be launched soon. It’s a joint effort, not off my own back, because I wanted something special.

I hope to have it done within the next couple of weeks, as previously said.

Have been spending more time with Clarion .Net. Pretty excited about it, I’ve always liked how the C++ IDE (Visual Studio – ish) worked, and it’s nice to have a similar look’n’feel in Clarion. Looking forward to the next update.

The two halves of my role as Tech Evangelist are seeing different results.

The mediation between SV and Community began immediately. And has continued since then (a colossal, heh, 10 days). I’m having good conversations, talking to people, saying hello.

Taking Clarion to the wider development community is far more dependant on certain objectives. Like a pre-requisite at university. To get people to listen, there has to be (in my belief) a "Web Presence".

This Web Presence is obviously the new site. It’s going to be more than a blog. Still simple and clean, but providing more than opinion.

What the Web Presence should do is allow for new comers to immediately discover what they are missing in not having Clarion. It should tell newcomers that there is a strong and vibrant community as the backbone to Clarion. It should trumpet forth that .. We are Clarion. Hear us roar!

Okay, so that may be a little over the top. It’s possible.

Part of establishing a Web Presence is not just the building of a site. Once you have a site, and relevant content, you need to make people aware of it. Every time you leave a comment on a blog/site, every time you email someone, asking them to visit, every time you make the front page of Digg or Slashdot (ha ha, well, if anyone reading this has had that happen, Kudos!) .. it builds your Web Presence.

The way blogs especially work is that the more intelligent you are about commenting and getting your name out, the more virally it will spread. Larger sites will take notice. You might catch a big blogger who mentions you, resulting in a fair amount of Buzz traffic. You slowly build up a long term readership via RSS feeds, or just plain dedicated visiting.

It’s a cool and exciting time. With some cool and exciting possibilities for Clarion.

A Not-Rant About Snowballs and Clarion

The second of Bob’s recent postings (here) runs through a number of reasons _why_ .Net is teh awesome.

A lot of these ideas get me pretty excited. I’m sure a lot of this stuff could be argued away, that we can already do it, that blah blah blah. But you know, I’m happy for someone else to think about these things and tell me, and develop a tool that’ll do the job with relative ease for me.

That’s cool.

The bell is about to toll. It tolls for thee Grossbard!


What I mean is, that Bob and the rest of the team must be feeling the pressure. Obviously, with these posts, .Net is nearing some kind of release, and although it could still be a while away, we are being geared up.

This is good and bad.

Good, because movement is there. Things are happening.

Bad, because it’s still, again, half-assed. This isn’t a proper snowball. I want something big, something huge. Rolling down the mountain, taking out not just trees, but entire forests and cities, leaving destruction and chaos in it’s wake!

That’s pimping!

This new product does sound like something amazing. So where is Clarion in the world wide press? The software development blogs? The reviewing sites, news sites, other blog sites? Underground, overground, wombling free.

I know organising this kind of vehicle (the above mentioned snowball) takes time and resources. I just see it as more important than NOT.

This is, by the way, not a rant. I have the greatest respect for Bob and Bob and the rest of the team. They are doing a massive work. They are doing a work that for the most part, is battered and whined about and taken apart. The nature of making stuff with an existing audience I would think.

But this is born out of some frustration. It’s like the frustration I feel when remembering my talk at the Aussie Dev Con. You know, I got one email back (I guess that’s more than a one percent success rate, technically, heh heh). And this from a guy who doesn’t even have me on his list of clarion websites. Granted, I’m no ClarionMag, but still. Phew. Breathe. Seems to be some latent aggression building.

One of my great failings is this: If I get no results, I move on. It’s hard to continue, month in and out, when after imploring some involvement from others, there is nothing.

Of course, another great failing is my selfishness. There _are_ others doing good work in the community.

It’s just, I had so many cool plans. Even if most of them sucked in reality, it’s very frustrating that not a one of them has come to fruition.

So why am I whining? Probably because sometimes whining gets a response. But also, I’ve moved on.

As a friend once encouraged me, I’m pursuing my dreams.

How To Evangelise Clarion (4) .. The Propaganda Machine

An effective weapon in the war on .. in the bringing of Clarion to the Masses ™, will (and is) that of Propaganda.

Now, there are two types of Propaganda. Good and Bad. Both have effective parts to play, although they carry with them consequences.



Bad Propaganda is all about bringing down the competition, so that no matter what height Clarion has, it’s the only thing to see for miles.



Good Propaganda is all about raising Clarion (in this case) so high above the competition that it reaches across the horizon and grabs your attention like the real Galactus from Fantastic Four (not the stupid cloud from the movie).

Good uses of Bad Propaganda are:

  • At least our Product doesn’t Melt Your Servers
  • The Only Blue Screens In Our Product Are Pictures Of Sky
  • We Don’t Say Silly Things Like "Do No Evil"
  • If You Use Anyone Else’s Product, Your Computer Will Laugh At You

Bad Uses of Good Propaganda are:

  • Our Product Might Work For You
  • We Don’t Solve Problems, We Hire More Programmers
  • The Marketing Department Makes The Rules

Ideally, you want Good Propaganda.


Because it means that your product actually has some merit. Bad Propaganda means you’re really good at making people think the opposition suck, and deflecting attention on the flaws of your own system/product/whatever. Good Propaganda means (hopefully) that your offering is a class act, and the opposition cannot hope to compete, and that it’s flaws are minimal, very minimal.

How does that translate with Clarion? In reality, I think you’d need a mixture of both.

Good Propaganda to really fire up about the wonderful things Clarion can do for you.

Bad Propaganda to point out just how sucky (in relation to the cool stuff) the competition is.

Of course, there is a third form of Propaganda which isn’t really. But it must be included.

Because, as astute readers will have concluded already, the above two Propaganda’s are not enough.


The Third Propaganda, is Honest Propaganda.

It’s agreeing with an assessment of the flaws of your offering. While doing this, you can be swinging into gear some Good and Bad, ready to fire it away. But honesty of the flaws will always combat dishonesty. In my world at least. Which is relatively small granted. Ha.

So maybe I’ll have a different attitude when running a multi-zillion dollar company.

I hope this has given even one person a little zing for evangelising Clarion.

How To Evanglise Clarion (3) .. Convert One Unbeliever

That’s it. Easy. Convert one person to the glorious life of a Clarionite.

Let’s say I convert an unsuspecting almost nerd to the joys of Clarion. That’s one more person for the community who could become the next president of Soft Velocity.

But let’s say that one hundred people in the community each get one newb into the community. Think of it!

I’m currently working on one particular individual. Not a programmer, but has the mind for it I think.

It’s all about the sell. When I’m talking to someone about Clarion, I _believe_. Doesn’t really matter for this particular instance whether I actually think Clarion is the bees knees .. but for the purpose of the conversation the display of belief matters very much.

Sure, the best way is to show how good it is at making money. Yeah, I’ve heard it said, and I do think that’s right.

No. That’s the best way to get a particular type of person to use Clarion.

The best way period, is as with everything else in our world. Establish a trend, get talismanic leader, and iconic speaker/personality (or a few of them), make big noises, take the fight to the other communities.

But this post isn’t about my ranting.

It’s about the idea that to effectively evangelise Clarion, we need to convert one unbeliever.

Building A web App Using Nettalk Web Server .. (1)

It’s been a whirlwind few days. Continually, NetTalk Web Server amazes me. It’s just pure Awesome.

My first real work with NTWS (Net Talk Web Server) was with Rasp. Rasp development is still going ahead, currently functionality is being worked on in another system that will slide nicely across.

However, the last few days has (and still is, i’m really struggling to pull myself away to write this) been of such import that it has to be put down on paper. Or the interweb. One is as good as the other right?

Thursday Night .. World Domination begins with a phonecall

I get a call from a work colleague who’s sporting club needs a website done. From past experiences, I know despite what i’d like to think, i’m bad at doing websites.

Zapper (let’s call my friend, because Zap Brannigan is just cool) starts to tell me what they want. Just a small site. Something that displays upcoming events. Some pictures maybe. Oh .. and databases.

Bam. DBs. So after explaining that usually the word "database" adds plenty of zero’s onto the end of a web dev quote, i do the only thing any sane person would. I say I can get it done way quicker way cheaper way better.

Why? What possessed me?


So I get off the phone. Zapper was gonna get together with me the next day at work to talk about what they wanted.

Screw that I thought. Actually, no i didn’t. I thought, "Why wait?".

A few days before I’d managed to get a simple Blog interface into Rasp. A "Pages" file controlled by the usual Browse/Form paradigm in the Admin. And for viewing, a NetWebSource procedure to spit back the posts in whatever way I wanted. Nice.

So I hooked that in, made some modifications, and I had a simple database website already running. It had the ability to keep people up to date with what was happening in the club.

The next point of call was the database itself. The _contextual_ database. I needed the ability to add stats for various different entities. Games, Players, Seasons .. etc etc. The db came together on paper pretty easy. And into the dictionary fairly easily, with some changes along the way.

I struggled when putting it into the NTWS interface. Overcomplicating things, I tried to have all the logical flow happening. The User had to go to the top browse, then the child browse, all the way down to the Player Instance browse, just to enter in game stats.

BAD. That cost me a lot of time. By the end of the night i realised all I needed to show Zapper on the morrow was one browse and update .. the Player. Everything else could wait.

So I got it in. Simple.

We now had:

  • Blog/News.
  • Player Stats.
  • Administration (of Stats, Blog) via Login.
  • And of course, we had the Server App itself, humming away.

Friday Night .. And we get Funky

By friday night, it was clear I need to up my experience with NTWS. So I sought out the nearest skill trainer, readied my sword and staff, and got to work.

The first thing I did was pretty up my blog interface. I noticed that Bruce had these cool rounded corners being used all over the joint. I want that. It was as simple as copying a couple of lines of his code, pasting, changing the element ID .. and bam. Rounded corners. A bit of css manipulation within the NetWebSource procedure, and suddenly my blog/news page is starting to look like a blog.


That wasn’t enough. Rico, a javascript library built on top of Prototype (both of which are included in the NTWS environment), had a couple of cool examples on it’s site. So I set about emulating them.

Actually, not them. I really wanted to get Drag N Drop working. It wasn’t too hard, after a bit of experimenting, and making sure I had the right css happening.

Then I went to bed. Overall, friday night was a mixed bag. Sure, I got some funky stuff in, but really .. Drag N Drop is very specific in it’s functionality, and i hadn’t actually hooked it into the NTWS engine.

We now had:

  • Rounded Corners on divs .. yay
  • Drag N Drop, client-side only

Saturday Night .. How To Stop An Exploding System

Okay. Here’s where things really kicked it up a notch.

Just for anyone interested, the sub-title comes from Heroes. One of the greatest pieces of story-telling (across all media) ever. Of course, you’re entitled to your own opinion :) ha ha.

I’d had some time to think during the day with the fam. So my mind was prepared going in.

Forums and an Image Gallery. More and more, my mind was beginning to see just what I was creating here. Sure, WordPress is infinitely more changeable, but I was creating an install and run Web Server which served the beginnings of a CMS system. A blog. Forums. Image Gallery. User functionality.

And to top that, there was the contextual stuff. In this case, Sporting Stats.

The admin for the Image Gallery (at this stage) was easy. A Browse/Form into the Image file. Nothing doing, simple.

Showing the Gallery proved a little harder. It was getting late, and I got stuck on some bad code which wasn’t showing the gallery how i thought it should look. Of course, one of my counters was out. Such a lame little thing, but my brain couldn’t get past it.

After fixing this, I moved to the forums.

These were a little harder by concept. I didn’t actually get clarity of mind until Monday Night. But for now, I got the file structures in, and the main pages. Using the NTWS Templates only at this stage. By bedtime a public forum existed, where anyone could manipulate the Headers, Posts and Replies .. using the generic Browses/Forms.

We now had:

  • Image Gallery (simple)
  • Forums (simple)

Monday Night .. I Can See Green Code

Monday night, two things happened. I realised that I suck at css/div manipulation .. but with some tricks, the Image Gallery started looking okay.

The second (bad paragraph punc.) was that the generic NTWS browses and forms could be manipulated in such a way as to look like Forums.

I had a couple of nice NetWebSource procedures helping. And I learnt a bit more about how the NTWS engine runs Requests and so forth.

But suffice to say, the Forums were now kicking. A visitor could write Posts and Replies. They couldn’t edit the Headers, and couldn’t change existing Posts.

Still basic, but more advanced that the previous basic.

We now had:

  • Image Gallery (less simple)
  • Forums (less simple)

Tuesday Night .. Light Up That Box!

It’s Tuesday Night, and this post has demanded a fair bit of attention.

However, before starting this waffle, I managed to get both Scriptaculous and Lightbox into NTWS, so that my ImageGallery could have some nice effects. This is cool, because it’s eye candy. And most people are attracted most of the time to form over function. At least, it seems that way to me.

So now I’m done. I’ll get back to the Making.

Suffice to say, there is a huge potential in NTWS for creation. Imagine and do. There is no .. something.