March 11, 2003

My web host still seems to be having problems with their server – while web access, FTP and e-mail seems to be fine, I can’t seem to execute any CGI and so am not able to post to Solipsistic Meanderings 🙁 I had a long entry yesterday that I wanted to post but was unable to do so either from BlogMan or directly from the web interface either. I’m hoping that they have got everything sorted out today …

We seem to be having web trouble everywhere because we had problems accessing the Net from work too. We’d be online for a minute and then be offline and then online and so on and so forth. It tends to be pretty irritating plus, you can’t do anything online since you keep on getting knocked offline. Anyway, since I couldn’t get online, I didn’t have much of a chance to test the web-update component – plus, yesterday was an extremely busy day and I really didn’t have too much time for anything much. I won’t get to test the web-update component today either since I am going to be out of office most of the day on a recce for a human rights story that we are supposed to do.

My friend for whom I did the data-mining app, Harvester, was able to finally test it out after a lot of trouble – mostly because .NET apps don’t seem to be able to run if you simply plop the executable into a directory and run it. I’ve always done a setup for the apps I’ve written since they were internal and I could afford to have huge setup files but since Harvester was going via e-mail, I simply sent the exe and the other needed file – big mistake! It wouldn’t run at all on my friend’s machine till I got him a setup package. Maybe I am doing something wrong and I’ll have to read up a bit more on this but I’m beginning to dislike .NET – especially since I did the same app in Delphi later on in just a couple of hours … yes, I had the logic in place from the prior iteration but still it’s just plain silly how long it took to do the app in .NET given the fact that it finally wouldn’t work as well as I would like and ended up with a huge distribution – about 8MB compressed down to a 5MB setup as opposed to a single 700k executable which will compress down to perhaps 300k in Delphi. I think I’ll stick with Delphi from now on unless somebody asks specifically for .NET :p

I did the second iteration of Harvester in Delphi for a specific purpose – to test out a set of components which were supposed to help with parsing HTML. I’ve been looking at several such components since I have several apps which parse HTML and constantly find the need to do more parsing and a component which does the job well would be a boon. However, these components were not to be that boon :p Maybe I want too much since I want to be able to pass a full HTML file or a string containing just an HTML fragment and have either one parsed by the component. None of the tools I’ve found so far seem to deal with HTML fragments. I was thinking about this yesterday and it occurred to me that I could write my own component to do this! So I began planning out how to do this and then came up with a design which started taking shape in the form of code. I have a basic framework but haven’t written the actual parsing code yet to see if I can actually represent a full HTML document or a HTML fragment using my framework. But since the code just won’t leave me alone and keeps on going through my head, I’ll probably continue to work on it as soon as I can …

Posted by Fahim at 6:37 am  |  No Comments