Monday, December 06, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Looks like Staticmatic is Rubyland's solution to the problem that inspired GeekWeaver.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There may be something in Zed's analysis of the decline in contributions to free-software projects.

Food for thought.

(Of course ... people could just be excitedly writing iPhone apps.)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Import question. Is anyone currently using SdiDesk? Write in the comments if you are.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm getting an error message on Mind Traffic Control :
A server error occurred. Please contact the administrator.

First time I've seen it is tonight, but if anyone else is seeing it and it persists, then please tell me in the comments.

Update : OK, seemed to have fixed itself pretty quickly.

Update 2 : Not that I seem to have a lot of regular users of MTC.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


If only ...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to write an interpreter in one day.
ThinkLinkr, another pretty slick web-based outliner.
Finally, Oli resurfaces with a blog about Semantic Programming, SemProLa and issues of programming the semantic graph.

Added to my blogroll of course ... and I'll be following here.

Watch that space!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LULZ : Did Google just re-invent Visual Basic?

Now, if they'd also made it do Yahoo Pipes-like stuff, *that* would have rocked.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Mark Bernstein :

It's easy to add generality to a spec. It makes you look really smart, especially when someone else is going to do the coding. But too much generality too soon makes the code age prematurely; you can get old, brittle, confusing code that looks like it's yellowed with age, even though it's not even finished yet.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Smart Disorganized reboot is still in progress ....

Today, a sad story about GeekWeaver.

A couple of weeks ago I needed to revamp Gbloink!'s web presence. Quickly. And, I was in no position to do it in GW. So I fired up a copy of WordPress and made : Gbloink!

I also needed a new OPTIMAES site. And one for Gisel.

You spot the trend? The answer to "how do I knock up a decent-looking site? fast?" is to use WordPress. I'm seriously thinking of doing it for my own homepage too.

Obviously, these are the kinds of scenarios for which I envisaged GeekWeaver. So what's gone wrong?

Several things :

- I got over-ambitious. The basic GeekWeaver as templating language, worked great. But I wanted to make it into a full sophisticated Lispish sort of a functional programming language. That side-tracked me into several attempted rewrites before I shelved it with other unfinished projects.

- The OPML Editor worked great in Windows XP. But was horrible in Vista. And now I'm using Linux most of the time. I can run it under Wine, but it feels clunky to do so. So I don't have a decent OPML editor. There are still, surprisingly few outliners in Linux, and still no convenient outline editing widget for the browser.

- Great templates are the real win. An earlier version of GeekWeaver shipped with decent free template I got from somewhere or other. But I'm not a good HTML / CSS designer and I could neither adapt it to my changing requirements nor really design another. I guess the answer is to work with a designer. But as one of the proposals for GW was to make web-design more "programmer-friendly" (by introducing the programmer's favourite tool, abstraction, to HTML) that's rather a contradictory point. Chalk one up to web-designers and one against GeekWeaver.[1]

- Moreover, it's hard to compete against a rich ecosystem like WordPress. Among thousands of templates and plug-ins from dozens of contributors, are some pretty damned good ones.

- Also, while GW had a couple of sprinkles of syntactic sugar to make authoring XHTML / XML in the outliner a rather pleasant experience, the outliner is merely OK for CSS and not really all that good for javascript. (For a real programming language, it's useful to have the standard syntax checking, bracket counting, line numbering etc.) As web-pages are increasingly made of CSS and javascript over and above the HTML, GW is decreasingly useful. To do GW properly, the editor needs to be both a good code-editor AND a good outliner.

So is GeekWeaver a failure? Am I abandoning it?

Well, it's not yet a success, I'll agree. :-)

I still *believe* that there's a niche for a GeekWeaver-like language : something with the quick and dirty characteristics of early Perl or PHP; that let's you get a lot done quickly; and who's philosophy is "templating" at a granularity above the individual page or file. There's no reason that, if I had time and another burst of interest, I might not make further progress taking GeekWeaver in that direction.

But I now have a (more than) full-time day-job writing social software in Python[2] which leaves little time (or inclination) for a lot more experiments in python for web-site making. So GW is definitely on hiatus while I pursue other projects.

Nevertheless, I'm always coming back and thinking what I should do with it. You never know when inspiration might strike again.

[1] This raises another sceptical doubt. Allowing you to define abstractions is meant to make things easier. If it doesn't make "web-design" easier, am I barking up the wrong tree?

[2] In fact, I'm working with Django. Which brings a lot of other concerns and ideas. It was easy to see how GW could compile down to PHP. But would it make sense to try to compile it down to Django?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

I think TidyLines is the best browser-based outliner I've seen. At least in terms of how it feels at the keyboard.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I certainly like the look of CoffeeScript.

Not quite sure what it's for yet. Is it just a nicer looking syntactic sugar on top of javascript? Or are there some powerful abstractions that simplify doing larger scale js work? (a la jQuery?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

XHP actually looks pretty cool. On the surface, it's just a cleaned up PHP. But the cleaning up (putting XML into the language) actually gives it some of the character I was hoping for in GeekWeaver.