October 26, 2003

Yes, I’ve again not written for ages … and the promised Blog beta? It’s not seen the light of day either … and to top it all off, the comments system seems to have stopped working too!! Yes, I know … I know … but what can I say? Things have been really hectic. I’ve been coding … but not on Blog which is still on that promised beta which has not had much work done on it … instead, I have been working on two new apps – one is for my wife who is a writer. She needed an application which would work as a writer’s editor – something which would help her create a plot, write for each section of the plot and yet allow her to move plot elements around and still have the attached text move along with it too. I let her look at some of the treeview based editors out there like TreePad but she didn’t like any of them or they lacked all the features that she wanted. So I created what I call Amanuensis – an editor which is tailored specifically for writers. It’s got all the fancy stuff you’d want from a word processor and still allows you to have the document in a tree-based layout so you can move elements around and re-arrange things. I also intend to add a timeline feature to it so that you can move things and rearrange stuff even more easily but that is for the future. At the moment Laurie is still beta testing it and I’m still working out the kinks in the code.

The second app? It’s something that I wrote to help me keep track of stuff – yes another one of those :p I’ve noticed recently that when we go grocery shopping, the prices are different each week for stuff like fruit and vegetables and to make it even more crazy, the prices for the same item vary at different stores! I wanted to find out the trends in pricing as well as what was the cheapest at which store and I discovered that something like Excel was just not up to the task – not when it came to keeping track of multiple prices for the same item at different stores. So, in keeping with my policy of building it if it doesn’t exist, I set to work :) I first wanted to do the app in Borland’s C# Builder just so that I could get some experience with the new IDE but it soon became apparent to me that I was wasting a lot of time struggling with C# and the limited amount of components that I had to work with when I could simply do the job in Delphi. So, I dropped my code that I’d been working on for about three days and started from scratch in Delphi and had the whole thing working in less than two days! It’s fairly basic at the moment since all it does is allow you to enter stores, items and units (so that you don’t have to keep on entering the same info all the time) and then has an option to enter your purchases. Once youv’e got sufficient data entered, you can use the charting feature to compare the prices for a given item at different stores over a period of time as a line chart or a bar chart. Kind of basic but it does let me see pricing trends and figure out what the best places to shop are.

Then today I found out that the RazorSys mirror’s DNS is borked and that fahim.razorsys.com does not resolve and that means that the comments don’t work either! I’d been meaning to convert the existing comments system over to my new system (which I call Mentor) that uses PHP and mySQL and stores the comments in a database instead of the current flat file method. However, with all the stuff that’s been going on, I just haven’t had the time to move all the old flat file base comments over to the database. But it looks as if that’ll have to wait since I’ve decided to move the comments over anyway so that the comments would finally work off this server :)

And I guess that’s it for my (what is now becoming monthly) roundup and if I have the time, I’ll probably do an update over at SM too since there is even more stuff to talk about … but that stuff’s not coding related and so won’t really fit in here :p

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Posted by Fahim at 10:29 am   Comments (0)