January 31, 2004
I have started a new work-related blog at blogs.jetbrains.com. As for this blog, most likely it won't be updated any time soon. I'm also planning to redirect the RSS feed of this blog to my new work blog.
June 23, 2003
(This is a re-post of a message to the Syndirella yahoo group, stating my point of view on the future of Syndirella.)
As a matter of fact, since June 16th, I work for IntelliJ Labs. The work I'm doing there (basically, UI development in C#) is very much similar to the work I was doing on Syndirella. Moreover, the product we're working on will include RSS reading functionality, and most likely I'll be the one responsible for designing and implementing it.
Thus, it is almost certain that I'll never even look at the Syndirella code anymore. One reason for that is IP/licensing - we want to be sure that our product is not a derivative work of Syndirella, and so I want to "forget" the Syndirella code as much as possible. And even if it were possible to settle the licensing issues (I could re-license my own Syndirella code to my employer under the conditions that I'd like to, and we could come to some agreement with other contributors), it is simply not interesting for me to do something at work and to do very similar things at home on my own time.
However, Syndirella is a GPLed project, and I want it to live. Thus, I'd be happy if the official development branch was moved to SourceForge. As soon as the new Syndirella homepage is created (and the www.syndirella.net domain is redirected to it), I'll give a pointer to that from the page at yole.ru and from my weblog. My main requirement for future Syndirella development is that email@example.com should NOT be listed as the main contact address for it, and that exception reports should NOT be sent to that e-mail.
Another problem is that Syndirella uses the UtilityLibrary control library, which is not open-source. I do have the source code to it, but I don't have the permission to redistribute it. This library has been a source of many problems to me, so it would be best to create an open-source replacement for that.
May 09, 2003
- Fixed the "'-1' is not a valid value for 'index'" exception problem.
- Feeds with "file://" URLs are now supported correctly.
April 13, 2003
- The code to detect the web feed encoding from the HTTP headers was totally bogus. Now Syndirella looks at the correct HTTP header field, so this should remove the need to have a manual encoding selector.
- The direction of the sort arrow in the "Date" column is now correct.
- Exceptions when writing HTML to the IE control are now handled, and should not cause Syndirella to crash.
- Reduced flicker when switching between feeds.
- Items in Web feeds were not properly sorted by date.
April 09, 2003
Whatever the future of Syndirella might hold, one thing is certain: I need to bring 0.91 to the release condition. Probably more than a half of the Syndirella e-mails are reports from users which have downloaded the original 0.9b, and the problems they're having have long been fixed. Thus, releasing 0.91, even in its current, not yet perfect condition, would be one of the best ways to reduce my e-mail traffic.
The changes so far are not too much for almost a month's wait, but these should fix the worst problems with the previous build. The changes are:
- Autosaving no longer resets the position of the current item to the top of view.
- For items that have the content:encoded part, the content:encoded, and not the description, is used for duplicate item detection.
- Fixed problems with enabling the Back and Forward buttons.
April 08, 2003
More on the future of Syndirella
Some more comments on the latest post. Some of that was included in the "longer version" that was lost in the bit bucket, so now I'm bringing some of it back.
First of all, probably I shouldn't have focused that much on SharpReader - it's not like SharpReader is the best news aggregator that could ever be created, and I do think that the Syndirella UI is considerably more polished than that of SharpReader. But the point is, there are too many .NET three-pane news aggregators. Actually, I cannot name another case in the entire history of computing (as I know it) when so many so similar projects have appeared in such a short timespan. And I'd really like to see more collaboration between the authors of different news aggregators - since they're all so similar, it shouldn't be hard to factor out the differences, to reach a common understanding on how an ideal .NET three-pane news aggregator should look like, and to work together towards such a goal. Previously, I was certain that I knew the right way to create the perfect news aggregator UI, and I didn't really consider offering collaboration to other projects - I didn't want either to impose my vision on them or to work on implementing a different vision. But now, since I didn't succeed in implementing my vision by myself, I'm much more open to the idea of collaboration.
Another reason of frustration with Syndirella development is that Syndirella essentially sits on top of three different platforms - .NET, the raw Win32 API (used mainly by the UtilityLibrary), and the Internet Explorer ActiveX control. And the worst sources of bugs have been the boundaries of these platforms. Weird Internet Explorer exceptions, problems with the back/forward navigation, strange exceptions during Syndirella termination related to the IE control, GDI+ exceptions, Win32 resource leaks - all these problems are generally very hard to reproduce, not at all fun to fix, and many of them still remain in the current code. So now I really miss the feeling of control given by raw C++/Win32 programming (and with no stupid Visual Basic 6, which I have to use quite a lot at work, and which I so much hate). So, the idea of working on one of my pure Win32 projects now feels much more exciting.
And whatever interests me currently, I do hope that Syndirella will never "go away" - it's GPLed, and no one is going to take away the source, so there is nothing prohibiting its further evolution. And if you need CVS write access, just ask.
April 07, 2003
There was a long version of this post, but... never ever write anything long in a TEXTAREA. 'Nuff said.
The point was that I'm really, really tempted to give up Syndirella development. And this is one of the reasons why. SharpReader today has just about everything that I wanted to implement in Syndirella in the next 2-3 months. So, instead of spending time creating Yet Another implementation, I'd rather continue the development of Structorian or a C++/SDL client for DungeonLab.
If anyone wants to take up Syndirella maintenance, you're welcome - e-mail me, and we'll discuss that. And if I don't find a new maintainer, I'll probably push to create the 0.91 release, and leave it at that. Maybe some time later I'll regain interest to resume working on Syndirella. Or maybe not. But for now, the fun part of the project is over, and what remains is boring hard work.
Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me and mentioned Syndirella in their weblogs, and special thanks to Johannes Technau and Keith Martin for the books. I've finished "Pattern Recognition", and really enjoyed it, and the "Spectre of the Black Rose" still sits in my reading list, but I've received it with no problems.
I'm still going to report my hacking and maybe even other activities on this weblog, so don't hurry to unsubscribe from the feed. :-) And you're always welcome to contact me by ICQ - at least, I don't leave ICQ messages unanswered, as I do with e-mail.
CY, yole. :-)
March 11, 2003
- Syndirella now saves its state when it has been inactive for a minute. This ensures that the feed list and state is not lost if the machine crashes or if Syndirella is otherwise incorrectly terminated. (Issue 19).
- If, for some reason, the top or left pane of the Syndirella window disappears, restarting Syndirella should fix the problem. Any comments on why the pane disappears are welcome.
- Corrected some more cases where Graphics objects were not correctly disposed, in hope to fix the resource leaks under Windows 98/Me.