Projects, Distractions

Haven’t been doing much with the site lately, as you may notice. Got several projects going on, mostly just development work. It’s all hobby, so take it for what it’s worth.

One thing I’m working on / was working on is a simple note tool called Raganotes. It was intended to be a tool to allow me to take quick notes, give them a title, and make them available. It’s a small experiment in pulling together some functional Perl building blocks: CGI::Application, Template Toolkit, Class::DBI, and Apache::Session. It’s a way to get my head wrapped around using these blocks in the assembly of a larger Content Management System for my site, a way of getting experience in doing so, finding methods that work, dipping my feet in the pool. It started from my overriding frustrations in building my CMS, a fast-and-loose attempt at coding something before I lost interest. What resulted was something that was kinda quick, I mean in the grand scale of things the month of building time was quicker than my past years of working on my site. I lost interest a few times, got stumped many, but I got it functional. Just not complete.

I think what I ended up with was something with way too much functionality to it. Instead of letting the user log in, make notes, add titles to them for quick browsing, publish them, search, edit, delete, undelete, copy, etcetera, what I got was a mashup of features that overall seem really cludgy. I had a vision, lost it during development, and then gained a vision that was hazily similar to the original, and now I’m stumped again. It’s mostly a user interface thing. So I’m letting it rest for a while.

My most recent project is my game, Chrontium. I started this back in 2004, some time before AJAX was an internet buzzword. It uses some advanced javascript, images, and realtime communication with a server to provide gameplay for users. At the time, it was fairly groundbreaking, yet I had only shown it to a handful of other people and promptly sat on it for months, years.

I’ve since gotten a new fire for Chrontium, and now, in the past 2 weeks, I’ve polished up the engine, redone the graphics, went from using GIFs to PNGs for true transparency (and much faster rendering in Firefox, et al). I’ve also done some cleaning up and changes elsewhere in the game code, I’ve rearranged the development file tree, and I’ve optimized the stylesheets and code to work in IE and Firefox (others forthcoming). Things are working rather nicely, but there’s rough edges. I also still need to build the server-side stuff, the database end, the user management, the scorekeeping, the game parameter controls, the message boards (which might come later), and all that. If it’s worth a damn, and gets popular after I post it here, I might relegate it to its own domain. We’ll see.

An associate of mine asked me why I didn’t simply use Flash instead of Javascript. My first answer was simple: I hate Flash. Really, I seriously do. My second answer: I want to prove to the internet community at large that Javascript, and the browsers they run in, are coming of age for realtime gaming applications. Anywhere you can use sprite graphics, you can use Javascript and images. I can’t wait until my first public release to see what issues, comments, or praises come my way. Will be interesting to stir a buzz.

But I’m not even finished enough to be concerned about these things. Really. Until then, I have my head down in the work.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?