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Sat, Sep 21 2002

Ok, found the cause for the category assignation problem and it will be fixed in the next release. I've also found the cause for a few other rare problems in Blog 7.0 and fixed them but there are a couple more that continue to elude me - mostly because I can't reliably duplicate them. One is the "List Index Out of Bounds" error which suddenly seems to crop up. It seems to be somehow date related since the people who had this problem either posted an entry for a future date or posted an entry for the past and changed the date or something ... I just can't reproduce it. The other one is an error that I came across myself but don't know what causes it except for the fact that it has something to do with customized snippets. I've noticed that when you come out of the snippet customization dialog, the save button gets enabled even if you have not done any entry changes. Then, when this particular error occurred, all I had to do was move the cursor over the toolbar area to get an AV (Access Violation error ...) - I'll have to investigate that one a bit more before the next release.

Coding has been sort of slow since a lot of things have been happening in my personal life. Things are chaotic at the moment but bear with me and the next release will be out as soon as I identify the bugs and squish them.
posted at 05:44:07 AM  link  comment

Thu, Sep 19 2002

Another day of waking up really early in the morning. I'd be sound asleep, wake up suddenly and that is it - no more going back to sleep even if I lie there for hours. This time I woke up around 3:00 am, was tossing and turning for an hour, came and got on the computer, checked mail, chatted to Jen and then went back to bed and was tossing and turning for another hour. I think I fell asleep a bit after 5 o'clock since I heard my Mom's alarm clock go off (she wakes up at 5:00am) but woke up again around 5:30 and decided to get up since it was time to get ready for work anyway. Being sleep deprived is no fun I tell ya ...

Blog 7.0 Beta 5 is out and it seems to be working fairly OK for everybody. However, I am beginning to wonder about this particular release since till now Blog has been fairly stable - according to some, rock solid <g> - but now I get reports of errors that I can't even duplicate! The latest is that category assignations for entries can't be changed - no matter what I do, I can't seem to duplicate this problem. Is it my approach? Am I doing something a certain way because I know that's the way it has to work? Or am I not giving proper instructions to people? I don't know ...
posted at 06:03:58 AM  link  comment

Wed, Sep 18 2002

I haven't been sleeping well lately and that puts me in a sort of drugged state. I start being very short with people and the whole world seems to move slowly - or rather I seem to slow down. I don't like feeling like this at all. Hopefully, my sleeping patterns will go back to normal soon.

I was working on Blog 7.0 Beta 5 yesterday (yes, I have decided to skip a version and go to Beta 5 since there are a couple of people to whom I released Beta 4 privately :p) and ran into a curious problem - floating point numbers would not work properly. I'm not sure whether this is Blog, Delphi or the latest Windows XP patches that I've applied but a string value of 6.94 converts to something like 6.940000572 as a floating point number! Because of this problem, my version checking routines in Blog went completely astray and I finally settled on using strings instead of floating point numbers as I've been doing till now. That should fix that problem :p

I did add a separate option to have entries in reverse order by time and so now you can set the order of date and time for entries in any combination you like - you can have the entries display in reverse order but for any date, have the entries for that day display in the correct order or vice versa. This should give all Blog users a bit more control as to how exactly they want to display their posts. I've also beefed up the installer a bit more so that it does not overwrite existing files except for the Blog.exe and the Blog.txt file. Since this makes the upgrade build obsolete, I'm not going to have one from Beta 5 onwards.

So where's Beta 5? Why right there on the sidebar :p I'm using Beta 5 right now at home and have had no problems with it. I've however been getting a few bug reports for errors that I just can't reproduce. For instance, a user tells me that he cannot change an assigned category to an entry but I do it all the time - in fact, I don't think I had a problem with that since the first build of Blog 7.0. However, there was a problem with deleting an entry finding that the category association for it had not been deleted but that was fixed with Beta 3, if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, just download the installer (if you want to upgrade that is) and run it and it should do the needful - but as always, backup before an upgrade ...please :-)
posted at 05:40:50 AM  link  comment

Tue, Sep 17 2002

I've been trying to help Jen to upgrade to Blog 7.0 and all I've succeeded in doing so far is to wipe out all her entries. I feel terrible since I know how I would feel if I lost all my Blog entries and had to enter all of them from the archives. And I didn't even ask her to take a backup when we started the archive process because I was so sure that it would be a breeze. I guess it's true - pride comes before a fall :p She says that she's got a backup and so I'm hoping that we'll be able to recover her posts today - guess we'll see ...

On the coding side of things, I've actually got Blog 7.0 Beta 4 ready as well. Beta 4 is all bug-fixes (unless I slip in this one extra feature that I've been meaning to add but have forgotten to ...) but the major change is in the installer. There will not be an upgrade build from Beta 4 onwards since I've completely redone the installer so that it will be a smart installer. It will check each and every data file and copy over data files only if they aren't present - this way any new database files will be added but existing ones will not be overwritten. Since this makes the options of a Full Install and an Upgrade install void, I have taken out the install choices and made it a much more streamlined installer. I intend to do a few more changes to the installer, test it a bit more and then release Beta 4.

So what was the feature that I forgot to add? The ability to orders posts any way you want - currently you can have it either in normal order or reverse order by date and time. But you can't have posts by reverse order by date but normal order by time or vice versa. So I want to change the existing reverse order option so that it actually becomes too options - reverse order for date and reverse order for time and depending on how the combinations fall, that is how the posts will be ordered. Most probably, that will make it to Beta 4 as well - unless of course, I forget again :p
posted at 05:50:11 AM  link  comment

Mon, Sep 16 2002

It's 3:00 am in the morning and I can't sleep - so I thought I'd announce Blog 7.0 Beta 3 :p But first, an apology to all the people that I ranted about yesterday saying that nobody read the posts here before upgrading - I had totally forgotten that BetaNews also hosts a download of Blog and that people who download from there wouldn't see any of my posts. I've asked Eddie at BetaNews to put in some basic instructions for upgrading users who might want to use the installer version of Blog to upgrade - hopefully, that'll prevent any further disasters or loss of data.

Very important note for existing Blog 7.0 beta users! This upgrade should not be installed on top of your existing Blog installation! The upgrade contains some files which will overwrite certain data files - I couldn't figure out how to do it in a uniform manner that would not mess it up for everybody and so had to come up with this not so optimal method. First, run the self-extracting exe for the upgrade and extract to a temporary folder. Now copy over only the Blog.exe file from there to your Blog directory. These instructions only apply to existing Blog 7.0 Beta users (Blog version 6.90 and above ...) If you are a Blog 6.0 user who wants to upgrade, you can simply extract the upgrade to your Blog folder but still I'd advice extracting to a temporary folder and then copying over since that way you'll always know what's being overwritten and stop if it looks as if something is wrong. If uncertain, ask me ...

So what's new in Beta 3? First of all, there was a bug that was reported by Dominion even before the release of Blog 7.0 - about custom snippet toolbar buttons disappearing when you define a new custom snippet ... or even open the definition dialog and click OK, for that matter. I had waited till I got Blog 7.0 out the door before tackling this problem and it turned out to be a doozy to fix but it's done now - at least I think so. Lemme know if I broke anything in the process :p I've also fixed the major bug in Beta 2 where you couldn't post more than one entry without an error message popping up. I think I also might have fixed the Invalid Media problem with backups but not too sure on that one since I don't have the problem on any of my machines - turns out that the compression component I was using had a patch to fix that particular problem and I hadn't applied the patch. Now I've applied the patch and so let me know if the problem persists.

Incidentally, I've pulled most downloads (especially the Blog 7.0 Betas) from the Tripod site since that's my main site but they were constantly suspending the site temporarily due to excess bandwidth usage. So if you run into any 404's with Tripod (as you will <g>), simply download the beta from one of the mirror sites listed in the sidebar.
posted at 03:02:20 AM  link  comment

Sun, Sep 15 2002

First of all, I'd like to ask the people who are posting bugs in comments to kindly stop doing so. I would prefer to keep the comments to just ... umm... comments <g> and use the forums or direct e-mail to me for discussing bugs. This way, there is a proper track of it without me (or another user) having to hunt through all the comments to find something. I've been receiving quite a few bug reports and I'll discuss the bugs in a bit (and thank you for all the bug reports, I appreciate them!) but that brings me to another point that's been bothering me a bit.

When I say "beta release", I do mean it. It's partially tested software, could be buggy and you certainly aren't supposed to install it over your production system! I release the software only so that those adventurous souls out there might install it as a *separate copy* and try out the new features and let me know of any bugs they might find because I probably will not discover all the bugs there are because I probably will not use all the different combinations and permutations of features. The other things is, I would expect you to read the notes on these entries here before you install any release - while I do try to keep the documentation updated, sometimes it just doesn't happen and any important information that I'd want you to know is given right here. So don't just go and install the release without reading about it first - it just creates too many problems and I just don't have the time it would take to give support for all the problems you create for yourselves by doing so ...

As for the bugs, there seem to be two specific ones at the moment. The backup feature doesn't seem to work on some machines though I have no idea why and have yet to identify a common-link among the users for whom it doesn't work. The other one is a bit more serious since it prevents Blog 7.0 Beta 2 from being used in a production-level capacity - you can't make multiple entries for the same day. I will try to get this fixed and Beta 3 out by tomorrow but remember, beta software is not for everybody :p
posted at 06:58:04 AM  link  comment

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