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I guess I should be really careful about how I word things :-) Yesterday I heard from Bob Carmody who has achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the first actual, live Blog user (that I know of) besides me :p He wrote to me about his site, Another Green World, and let me know that he was using Blog but asked me not to give up coding on Blog and I was like, "Huh? Come again?" I asked Bob what he meant since I had no idea of giving up on Blog and then he pointed me to a line from the Blog read me where under Future Plans I'd written "I have no immediate plans to work further on Blog" ... I can see what Bob means though what I meant to say was that I had no further coding ideas for Blog at that particular time ... Guess I should read what I write <vbg>
As for progress on Scope, I actually have the GUI doing the basic stuff - with both the IE and Mozilla engines. The address bar works, the tab bar works and that's about all that works :-) I haven't added Favorites, LinkGroups, support for opening all links in one Scope session or even support to make Scope the default browser. Plus, there are a few odd things like the fact that the IE window will resize when the MDI child window is resized but the Mozilla window will not. On the positive side, the Mozilla window back and forward buttons work under Delphi - whereas they used cause a crash under MSVC ... go figure ... My friend John has been kind enough to offer to collaborate with me on this version of Scope and so I'll probably be sending off my current work to him so that maybe he can polish up the GUI a bit more since he knows (and has been working with ...) Delphi a lot more than me :p He's also going to add stuff that he's either worked on - like his own Favorites manager - and work with me on some of the new stuff that I wanted to add, like the treeview which displays your browsing activity.
Currently the executable for Scope 2.0 weighs in around 700k but it's still growing and since I haven't added all the current features available in Scope 1.0 yet, it might still be around the 1MB mark by the time I get around to releasing it ...
It's another one of those rant days - so let me get this rant out of my system and then I'll tell you the latest coding news <g> On the radio today (yes I know, there doesn't seem to be anything much besides work, coding, radio, tv, movies and games in my life :p What can I say? I'm a saaaaad individual <vbg>), one of the hosts was saying how her six-year old daughter was scared of almost everything and her two co-hosts (guys who's knowledge of children wouldn't fill a thimble even after it was mixed with a gallon of water ...) were urging her to take the kid to a therapist!! Come on! Are we that stupid and miindless that we are turning to "those who know" for raising our own children? I don't remember my parents saying "this is our first child and we don't know how to raise him - so let's get a book on how to raise kids" ... And these people don't seem to realize that there are people who are impressionable enough who listen to them and actually think that they know what the heck they are talking about!! Why can't people learn to use their heads for something else besides scratching? Ah well ... enough of the ranting :-)
Good news on the coding front - I started working on the Delphi version of Scope (which I'm calling Scope 2.0 even though there won't be any new features to begin with - just a port of the old features ...) and I already have a basic framework up! The menu, toolbar, address bar, tab bar and the MDI framework is in place and I have even started preliminary work on the child windows to host dual browser controls. I am tempted to not do any work on BOB this weekend and simply go full steam ahead on Scope but I guess what I do will ultimately depend on how I feel like over the weekend :-)
So far I've received a staggering 2 votes on the poll <vbg> Of course, the vote is unanimous on more features too :p But I've also been receiving e-mails from different people on the subject and the consensus seems to be that they are willing to put up with a larger executable as long as I kept on adding features and kept up development :-) I will probably wait till the end of the week for the poll results but in the mean time, I do intend to start preliminary work on the Delphi version of Scope. There's a lot to be done and I really don't know whether my Delphi skills are up to the task but the best way to learn is to do ... so I guess I will stumble along ... If don't succeed, there is always the existing C++ codebase :-)
I was watching The Screen Savers yesterday on TechTV and they featured John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist for Xerox PARC. As you may (or may not <g>) know, Xerox PARC has been responsible for the introduction of quite a few innovations in the computer field - the most notable being the GUI itself. One of the most interesting things that came out of this particular interview is a new kind of browser which sort of lets you keep track of where you are on the web and to search for information much more easily. You can find more information about this browser at Inxight.
I didn't download the Star Tree Viewer myself yesterday since I was at home and was on a dial-up connection but one thing that struck me was that that the Star Tree Browser may not actually be a browser in the common sense of the term from what I could see since it seemed to need pre-created web hierarchies to actually work. But this made me think more about how I could do a browser which might provide at least some of the capabilities of what the Star Tree Browser was trying to do.
Instead of going with the common Back and Forward navigation buttons and the drop down lists of sites under each button as most browsers do, what if I created a browser which had two panes - a tree view on the left and the actual browser on the right? The treeview would actually show all the sites that you visit during the current session hierarchically and so you can simply select any branch of the tree to instantly jump back to any point in your current browsing session!
I liked this idea so much that I am actually considering trying to do this myself :-) Now the problem is this - I already have a browser, Scope, and Scope is written in C++ and I know it's gonna take me way too long to do this in C++ :p So, I'm thinking of doing something that I'd considered before - convert Scope to Delphi and then modify it to have this new navigation method that I'm talking about. The only disadvantage that I can see is that the file size for Scope will probably jump to around 1MB from the current really svelte 200KB+ and the upside would be that I'd get things done faster and I Scope would get updated more often :p
So what do you think? I do appreciate the input of users and I would like to know what you think. Do you think that a really tiny file size is important? Or can you put up with a more heftier download as long as it has lots of new spiffy features and is updated often? I probably should put up a poll for this on the Scope site ... and I will if I can find the time :-)
I actually feel pretty good about the latest release of Blog :-) I even feel confident enough about it's readiness for prime-time that I went ahead and submitted the story about the release of Blog 2.0 to several news/software sites :p Of course, just after I completed the submission process for the last site, I realized that there were a few further improvements that should be made to Blog such as making the number of days (or posts) that are displayed on the main page customizable ... Oh well, there is always Blog 3.0 <vbg>
jugg liked Blog 2.0 so much that he tells me that he's going to convert his site to use Blog :-) I guess he'll be the only other person that I know of besides myself who actually uses Blog <g> But then again, he hasn't done it yet so I might continue to remain the only person who actually uses Blog ...
Haven't done much coding since the release of Blog 2.0 but then again, I've been fairly busy at work and I get most of my major coding done on weekends these days. I'm planning on adding firewall support to BOB and doing a few further features that I've been meaning to add to it so that I can do a BOB 1.5 release but I also want to get to grips with XML and the Trillian skin designer - as always, so many things to do and not enough time ... I guess that's true for most of us :p
Extra, Extra!! Read all about it!! Sorry ... been reading Sluggy Freelance and that newsbot just won't get out of my head :p Anyway, don't have much time since I am at work and there's a lot to be done but I did manage to change the documentation for Blog and upload the 2.0 distro - so enjoy and let me know of any irritating bugs, feature requests etc. :-)
Oops, first bug :p My new header code seems to be stripping out extra entries for a given day - only the last entry appears. I've found the bug and have fixed it and hopefully this post should show that it works :-)
I sat down soon after I got up in the morning and began coding. It was a good thing that I'd thought things through yesterday because unlike my normal coding sessions where I sat down and start coding things any which way, I actually had a plan that would help me make all my Net apps firewall-compatible pretty easily. Again it all boiled down to the fact that Delphi makes reusing code such a simple thing and even has tools built into the IDE to make this task easier. I simply created a generic firewall options dialog for the FTP component I was using and then saved the dialog into the Delphi repository before I started making Blog specific changes to it. That way, I can reuse that dialog in my other apps and won't have to do all of the initial set up work that I had already done :-)
I had initially intended to do only enough to get Blog firewall-compatible and perhaps do a point release (1.8 was what I had in mind ...) but then I decided that I might as well go the distance and do a complete 2.0 release. And so that's what I did! I cleaned out my to-do list for Blog and also added a few features that I had intended to add to the to-do list but had forgotten <g> In fact, there is only one bug-fix in this release - all the rest are new features (though you may argue that some of the "features" should actually qualify as bug fixes :p)
One of the biggest changes (as far as I am concerned) is a new Blog tag which allows you to specify an entry header which is repeated only once per each date - no matter how many entries there are for that particular date. This overcame a major problem with the old <$BlogDate> tag because initially it would only be displayed once and so it was perfectly suited to the way that *I* used that particular tag but it wouldn't work for a different purpose. This also allowed me to have nice entry headers as you should see from today onwards.
Another change was the ability to specify local folders as well as FTP sites (though you define a local folder as a site too) for those of you who have your own web server and work from it :-) This was actually suggested by my friend jugg the very first time he used Blog but I didn't get around to implementing it till now :p This feature actually came in pretty useful when I needed to test the new changes because I didn't have to get connected to the Net at all - I could simply copy the test journal to a local directory.Thanks jugg!!
So when can you expect to get your sweaty little hands on the new version? :p (I know, I know, you really aren't that interested <vbg>) I guess it really depends on how soon I get the documentation updated but hopefully it will be soon - so keep watching this space :-)
Copyright (c) 2001 Fahim A. Farook