October 23, 2004

This week has been good coding-wise but unfortunately, none of it was on Blog :-( Speaking of Blog, the modified HTMLEdit component which fixes new entries losing all HTML tags when saved, is here. In fact, it has been here for over a week now. Unfortunately, I’ve been either too busy or too caught up in other stuff (like downloading and reading a whole bunch of comics :p) to really do much about it. The problem is not just laziness – it’s also the fact that I’ll have to work on a new area in Blog before I can do the next release. After I did my last set of changes, I thought I was ready for the next beta release but then Nigel ran that particular build through the mill and discovered a few problems – such as the fact that this new build of Blog does not make allowances for the More … tag. Any entry with a More … tag will publish fine if you publish via Blog but not on a remote blogging server like WP. I’ll need to introduce another change that I’d planned but hadn’t implemented yet – a different tab for extended entries and perhaps even another tab for excerpts – before I can do the next beta release of Blog.

Of course, while thinking about all these changes to Blog, I’ve been coding two new apps. I don’t know if either of them will ever be released publicly and would probably remain in that huge collection of half-done/non-public apps that I’m building up :p The first app is actually based on somebody else’s code and wasn’t coded from scratch as are my usual aps. Since I’ve been downloading a lot of comics recently, I found myself running out of hard disk space and needed to burn some stuff on to DVD. However, the nature of downloads being such, I really didn’t want to do a permanent burn because I knew that I might find a better version of the comic later or not want to keep it after a while because I didn’t like the art or the story. So, I decided to give packet writing another go. Packet writing, for those of you who might be wondering, involves formatting your rewritable DVD (or CD) disk in such a manner that you can use the disk as a hard disk – you can drag and drop files onto it from Explorer and you can even delete individual files instead of having to do another session for each burn you do. I had tried packet writing a few years back but hadn’t been happy with it but decided to give it another shot now that I had a DVD burner.

The packet writing actually seemed to work fine (touch wood) but I wasn’t sure if it had actually gone as smoothly as it seemed to :p I needed a way to verify that the files that I’d written to disk had indeed been written correctly. Now this was where my first application came in :-) I needed something which would create a checksum for files on my hard disk and then verify the checksum against the same files written to DVD and let me know if the files were copied over fine. You would think that was simple enough, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, most of the software I found online wouldn’t do exactly what I wanted or wasn’t free or seemed to work but would end up telling me that all the copied files were invalid. I finally found the source for a Delphi app that I was originally going to modify to do what I wanted but once I got it compiled, I realized that it already did almost all the stuff I wanted and did it right :) So I just mucked around a bit with the interface since I wanted it to look a specific way and I was done.

The second application wasn’t that easy. Since I was downloading a lot of comics and most of them were in CBR or CBZ format, I needed something to read the comics with. While CBR and CBZ files are simply RAR or ZIP files and you can always rename them, extract them and then go through the individual JPG files, I just didn’t want to go through all that hassle. There is an existing application called CDisplay which lets you view CBR and CBZ files with ease and it’s free to boot but I don’t like CDisplay since it displays each page in fullscreen mode and I hate having any app in fullscreen mode :p So, I decided to write my own app which would work with CBR and CBZ files or even directories full of images and will work as a window. The app, which I named Tapestry, was easy enough to write and it seems to work fine but I’m not sure that I will release it publicly since it seems to be a bit slow in changing pages and that might be slightly irritating for any other user but me :p

While writing all of the above, I’ve noticed another problem with the new build of Blog – it seems to slow down the machine quite a bit and this is a fairly hefty, workhorse kind of machine too! I guess I’ll have to look into that before the next release as well …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:50 am   Comments (0)