September 30, 2002

I rewrote the file upload code in Blog yesterday to be a bit more efficient and to avoid the problem of uploading the main journal to the image sub-folder. However, I have a feeling that I might have to do some testing before I can be sure that things work exactly the way they should – especially since I can’t remember all the changes I made to support relative sub-folder naming etc. So even if I miss it, do take a good look at file uploading if you use relative paths or if you use an image folder, when you test Blog 7.0 Beta 6. I’ve also coded the HTML stripping function in and the digest should now function properly – at least I hope so, since I still haven’t had the time to test the code to see if it works. I’ll probably test both code changes sometime today and if it all works out, release Blog 7.0 Beta 6 today or in the next few days.

Posted by Fahim at 5:40 am  |  No Comments

September 29, 2002

Nigel discovered the cause for a Blog problem that had been perplexing both of us for some time now. The problem was simply thus: Nigel would make an entry, hit Publish and the journal does not get updated, he’d hit Publish again and it gets updated. The behaviour couldn’t always be reproduced but it seemed to happen quite often. I was at a loss as to what caused it since I use Blog daily and it never happens to me. I looked at Nigel’s settings, still could see nothing wrong. I then thought maybe he was using ZoneAlarm like Jim but that wasn’t the case either. Nigel finally found the reason himself :-)

The reason? There is a bug in Blog that I had completely overlooked. When you have your images upload to a separate folder and you use images in your entry, that is when the bug occurs! The reason is that Blog changes folders to the image folder on Publish and then does not change back to the blog folder. So the first time when you have images to upload, the journal gets uploaded to the image folder and when you publish again, it gets uploaded to the correct location since the image list (for uploading) gets cleared after the Publish is complete. If anybody else is having similar problems, now you know the cause :p I will fix this for the next release – which I think I’ll try to do within the next week as Beta 6. I don’t know when the final release will be since I want to conclusively fix a couple of issues before the final release …

What are the things that I want to fix? One is the custom snippet toolbar problems – for which I still haven’t been able to find a solution which always works. The other is something that Duane Brosius pointed out – he mentioned to me that he couldn’t see the scrollbar on the Journal Dialog’s templates tab and that certain buttons weren’t visible on dialogs unless they were maximized. I wasn’t sure what caused it till Duane provided the answer himself – he’s using large fonts and I’m not! I have looked through the Delphi knowledgebases and it looks as if I’m already implementing the suggestions they have for making large fonts work properly (at least, I was implementing everything except for assigning a scalable font to the form …) so I’d like to find a solution for that problem too before the final release. BTW, I can’t seem to find out where to set large fonts in Windows XP – or rather, when I set large fonts from the Appearance tab of the Display properties (which is the only place where I can seem to find a large fonts setting – I thought it was in a different place in Win9x? I just can’t seem to recall where though …), it doesn’t seem to make a difference to Blog – it works fine. I don’t know if my screen resolution (1024×768) has something to do with it too … Maybe I should try at 800×600?

Posted by Fahim at 6:02 am  |  2 Comments

September 28, 2002

Thank you to all of you who wished me well (both in the comments and privately …) on my upcoming “secret” venture! I appreciate all of your good wishes and know that with so many people wishing me well, that things will indeed go smoothly :-)

I’ve also heard from several people on different matters. Jim Woods, who had written to me earlier about occasional FTP problems in Blog for no apparent reason, wrote in to tell me that he’d found that the culprit was ZoneAlarm. So if you’re having sporadic FTP problems in Blog and do run ZoneAlarm, now you know where to look. Andreas Bucher wrote in and kindly volunteered to translate the Blog documentation to German. In fact, he went above and beyond and offered to do a WinHelp file but since Tyran is already doing one, I told him just a translation of the Blog.txt file would do for the moment and that he could always translate Tyran’s help file once he’s done. So thank you all for your kind contributions and for the information you provide that always helps make Blog better :-)

Nigel has been discussing a feature to strip all HTML code from Blog entries for digests and I sort of gave him the impression that I wanted to discuss this further – but I sneakily coded the feature in already :p At least, I started on it yesterday. I’m simply adding another per-journal setting which specifies whether the strip HTML or not for the digest version. I still haven’t done the HTML stripping code itself though everything else is in place including the call from the digest generation code to the HTML stripping code. I am undecided as to whether to simply drop all text between angle brackets (< and >) or to look for specific keywords like A, IMG etc. The latter method would stop the possibility of an error in the case somebody just wanted to use a greater than or less than sign but will obviously leave in some stuff since I will not have a comprehensive list of HTML tags. At the moment, I’m leaning towards the use of dropping everything between a set of angle brackets – and I’ll try to ensure as far as I can that errant less than or greater than signs are not dropped along with any text between them … I guess the only way to test it is to code it :p

Posted by Fahim at 6:47 am  |  4 Comments

September 27, 2002

I’ve received an offer to translate the Blog documentation to Italian by sOLTiCE. Thanks sOLSTiCE! And of course Tyran tells me that the help file he’s doing will include 7.0 features as well and so we might actually be able to release the help files to coincide with the release of Blog 7.0 final. Actually, considering how slow progress has been recently, this is more than a likely possibility. I think I have fixed most of the bugs but there is one persistent bug which gives me trouble – the one dealing with the custom snippet buttons on the toolbar. I can always reproduce the problem but fixing it seems almost impossible due to the way the customization feature is coded. The Action toolbars in Delphi are fairly complex to begin with (I mean adding/removing buttons via code …) and the stuff I’m doing is even worse. Ah well, persevere, persevere :p

Oh yes, except for the bugs, there are a few changes to be made or rather, additional features to be included since Nigel tells me that the digest feature is almost there but not quite :p I see his point about the changes he wants (he wants the ability to strip HTML code from entries for the digest …) but I also feel bad about doing something arbitrarily without giving the user choice since another use may feel differently about the matter. So I’ll probably include one option or a bunch of options for various tags, depending on how I want to implement it …

There’s a major change coming in my life on the real life front but I can’t tell you what it is yet since there are a few people who need to be told about it first. But rest assured that all will be revealed in a matter of a couple of weeks … Unfortunately, this change probably is going to affect the release of Blog 7.0 as well … But c’est la vie!

Posted by Fahim at 6:02 am  |  2 Comments

September 26, 2002

I haven’t heard from anybody who would like to do any translations :-( But I have heard from Jim at .Net magazine who wants to put Blog on their cover disc and says that it will be part of an article in the magazine :-) Other than for DarkStep being included in a few (? not really sure if it was a few or one or none <g>) cover discs and being mentioned in passing in an article written in a trade magazine about skinning, I don’t think my software has ever been highlighted in a magazine – online yes, but a magazine no. So I’m sort of gratified and excited. Of course, print media being what it is, I usually hold no hope till I actually see the thing in print but since I might have forgotten all about it by then, I decided to mention it here :-)

Tried to fix the second instance of Blog erasing data files problem yesterday and ended up with my complete Blog development directory being wiped out! It just seems to delete all data in the directory – I have no idea why! I hadn’t backed up the Blog source in about a week and lost all the fixes I’d made after Beta 5 was released. I was upset but was able to recover all the documented fixes in next to no time since I already knew what had to be done. I think I also fixed the second instance problem but an irritating problem is that it will not restore the first instance of Blog if it is minimized. I can make it work but don’t know if the trouble is worth it – probably is :p The new changes actually dropped the file size a bit – which at least is a good thing …

Posted by Fahim at 6:07 am  |  1 Comment

September 24, 2002

Nigel has been testing the digest features extensively (he’s the one who asked for it in the first place :p) and has been coming up with a lot of bugs/errors and possible alterations to features. I’ll probably implement at least some of them but due to the volatile nature of real-lief at the moment, I don’t think I can give you a definite release date for the final or even for the next beta. One major problem that Nigel discovered though was that if you run two instances of Blog at the same time, your INI file gets wiped and that certain database files disappear as well – this is really not good, to say the least. I intend to fix that but in the meantime, keep daily backups. It happened to me as well yesterday and the only thing that I lost were the categorizations assigned to entries (I had no backup earlier than a week …) but it might not be as easy for you to recover.

I have a request now. I’ve heard from a German user who would like a German version of the documentation. Yes, I realize that the documentation does not even begin to cover all the new features in the 7.0 release, but I’d like to get at least the older documentation translated so that a new user can make a beginning. So are there any German or German-speaking volunteers who’d like to do this and help out a fellow user? At the same time, I will take up any other offers to translate the documentation to other language as well.

Posted by Fahim at 7:01 am  |  2 Comments

September 23, 2002

I was woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call – again! This whole sleepless thing is getting to be a bit too much … I’m not so much sleep deprived anymore since I keep on waking up at around midnight or so but since I can’t go back to sleep for a couple of hours more and since my sleep is pretty irregular after that, I’m becoming a bit worried about the whole thing. Maybe I’m missing winter in the US? :p I don’t know … but we’ll see … maybe it has more to do with other reasons that I haven’t discussed here but then again, why discuss it at all if I can’t discuss the reasons? <g>

Haven’t done as much on Blog coding as I would have wished. I did fix a problem with the installer in that if you select a non-standard directory to install to, it would append “blog” to the end of the path. Tyran pointed this out and I have now fixed that. I’ve also fixed not being able to clear *all* categories once you’ve assigned categories to an entry. However, there is still an AV issue related to custom code snippets but this occurs only during the session when any customizations take place. I have to find the cause on that one and fix it.

I have received quite a few site submissions from people that I haven’t yet added to the list of sites using Blog. I apologize for this but bear with me – I’ve been a bit busy and so it never got done. I will do it soon though …

Posted by Fahim at 5:39 am  |  1 Comment

September 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 by Fahim at 5:44 am  |  1 Comment

September 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 by Fahim at 6:03 am  |  4 Comments

September 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 by Fahim at 5:40 am  |  No Comments

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