Rasping For Air

So after a discussion with The Colleagues Of Clarionness yesterday, I decided to get stuck back into Rasp. I’ve been working on (and has been mentioned) a very cool project, but am getting it looked at currently, so Rasp seemed like a good idea.

And it was.

Rasp is pretty cool. And I didn’t realise just how cool a proper Tracking log is. In Rasp it’s called Workflow, but however you name it, there’s just nothing like seeing what’s been happening in the system, blow by blow.

And NetTalk makes it super easy to retrieve stuff. Client IP, Session ID .. easy peasey.

So I’m going to get the "Pages" concept done and dusted before releasing the new version. I need to break it down simply, and worry about making it all things to all men later on. Just get out the ability to create Pages, which are written inside the web interface, stored in the same Folders as the Files, and served by NetTalk.

Sleek interface can come in the next version i think.

BUT .. I’d still like to get a sound .. structure. And not just structure, but think through some of the paradigms.

Although a browse/form is going to work to some extent, it’s still not the main way of showing Pages. I’d like more of a Blog style, where Pages are shown where and when the User wants them shown.

Anyway. More later.

5 Different Things I’m Doing Right Now

Well, although the frequency of posts at Dev Dawn has been down, I’m still powering along with different projects.

(1) With the latest version of NetTalk out, am (slowly) getting back to Rasp. It’s wierd, because the two months it took to build a fledging website + products (beta) was so intense, (2) I’ve now started taking time to think about the future, the direction of this work. Rasp is still a goer. The others, not so sure.

Also, will at some stage do a rewrite of the web experience with ATS. Maybe just cut back to a Rasp site, and a single page for ATS. Not sure yet.

(3, 4, 5) Am working on some new projects. They are mostly content-driven (blogs), but there’s one in particular that’s quite .. off-beat. I’ll tell you about it later.

(6, BONUS!) Google Reader gets a lot of playtime now. I spend at least the first half-hour of night-work reading. Commenting too, although that’s part of the strategy for one of the above projects.

The third project is directly involving Clarion, so most of you should hear about it shortly. I’ll post here once it’s live.

All in all, it’s still a great time to be a developer. More than ever.

Oh, (7, another bonus thing), I’m gearing up more time as the Aussie DevCon draws closer for my talk (not sure if "talk" is the right word there). Have got most of the structure down, some fleshing out has been done. Once April hits, I’ll probably go at least 50% of my time on it, then come May, well, most other projects will have to take the backburner i think.


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!

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.