Sunday, October 14, 2007

Long live Subversion!

I took a big step forward today. I got to know source versioning tools.
Ever since my first encounter with CVS as an undergrad at UVa., I've had an irrational fear of SVC software. I'm not exactly sure why, but it probably had to do with one of my professors, who lumped it together with the waterfall method and formal methods in the same course. And up until now, I've rarely needed to use it, and when I have, I've completely wimped out and begged other folks to do it for me. But no more. I spent three hours today getting to know a few SVC tools, especially Subversion. And, although using them daily will definitely take some getting used to, I sure am glad I did, because adding folks to this project wouldn't be possible without it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Almost there!

I've put together an admin page for the plugin and am working on a widget (hate that buzzword) for the blog's side panel that displays the blog's subscribers and allows you to subscribe. Should finish the widget by the end of this week.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Still working on the plugin

Still working on the plugin, but making great progress. Almost done with the update functionality, a chore which has been complicated by PHP's lack of typing and the need to use strings for manipulating binary data. And PHP's lack of unicode support (!). I'm a week behind schedule, but if I can finish these update messages in the next few days, I may be able to catch up. Can see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Still working on the plugin


Friday, September 14, 2007

Working on the plugin

Still working on the WordPress plugin and it's going pretty well. PHP is a relatively easy language to pick up, albeit a quirky one, especially compared to stricter, strongly-typed languages I've used in the past. I've already finished implementing the SOAP endpoint that officially turns WordPress into a Content Provider and am now working on the real-time update functionality. After that I'll finish it with plugin semantics like installing the plugin and extending it to the multi-user version of WordPress, MU. All is going well!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Change of plans...

I have switched gears and am now working on a WordPress plugin that would allow WordPress bloggers to instantly and easily make their blogs subscribable, without any 3rd party support. Since I don't know PHP, it's going to be interesting going. This one may take a few weeks. I'll keep the blog updated with my progress.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Starting work on Subscribomatic

Since the AJAXification of Subscribable, I've switched gears and am now working on reviving the site that bloggers can use to make their own blogs subscribable, formerly known as Subscribomatic. Subscribomatic was kind of a proof-of-concept, and I'll be spending the next few weeks spiffing it up, renaming it, and adding some new features (no hints!). Hopefully, when I'm done, the-site-formerly-known-as-Subscribomatic will make it easy for bloggers to track who visits their blog, display their subscriber community on a blog's side panel, and allow subscribers to share the site with their friends.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The subscriptions page has been ajaxified! You can now move subscriptions, display more or fewer subscriptions, create folders, rename folders, delete folders, unsubscribe, and check for updates without an annoying page refresh. And it looks great. Thank you, ajax! Perhaps most importantly, this little exercise has taught me, after several years of merely tolerating JavaScript, that the language actually does have some redeeming qualities. I've learned to appreciate the wild, wild west that is JavaScript development. I will probably add some other minor ajax features to other pages as well in the near future.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Still working on AJAX

Still working on the AJAX stuff! Whew, learning new stuff takes a little longer than I expected. I'd say I'm about half-way done. This stuff is hairy too--there are portions that I have rewritten 5 times, just from discovering better and more efficient ways to do the same thing. The only thing I can really complain about is the lack of a good development environment for JavaScript. Browser error messages like IE's "Unknown Runtime Error" can test your patience!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Adding AJAX features

I'm currently adding AJAX functionality to the show subscriptions page, so that users' subscription lists will update automatically in the browser when a new subscription is added or a current one updates. This is my first foray into AJAX, so it promises to be interesting...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Welcome to Subscribable! This is an example of the sort of content that you can subscribe to using your Subscribable account. You can also subscribe to private content, like conversations, photos, and videos, with much more on the way. Since you're new to Subscribable, take a look around your account and let me know if there's anything your are curious or confused about by leaving a comment here. I'll try to help you however I can. Happy subscribing!

Monday, July 9, 2007

What's in a name?

I've decided to rename the site Subscribable, which actually was the original name of this project. I switched it to Inbox2 on a whim about a month ago, in the hopes that it would provide non-techies with a clearer picture of what the system does, just by hearing the name alone. But the helpful feedback of users has made me realize that while it does a respectable job of this, it's just too much of a departure from how the site works. Subscribing is what this site is all about. It has nothing to do with email or inboxes. And while the new name's vagueness instantly puts it out of reach of the general population, that doesn't really matter, because those folks wouldn't be interested in it anyhow. New technology like this has to earn it's worth in the techie population. And techies don't like confusing names, especially ones chosen for their marketibility alone. And that's the reason why I've renamed it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Running around

Spent the past week moving to Texas and then visiting Kansas for family matters. Will be back working on the developer section again by Monday...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Developer Info

Been working on the "developer" section of the site, adding info for folks who want to create Content Provider apps for the platform. The Content Provider API isn't as clean or simple as I would like, but it is capable of a lot of things that wouldn't be possible with something more simple. So I've been throwing together some documentation for those folks, as well as a sample application to help them get started. The sample app contains some really useful stuff, and I've open sourced it under the BSD License. So developers who want to make Content Providers will have good head start. They can reuse big portions of the sample app in their own implementations without having to worry about licensing restrictions, whether their app is proprietary or open source. Hoorah for open source!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Profile Section Added

I've added a profile section so that you can change your password and your profile image after registration--something that was noticeably lacking before! I'm also going to add some other features to the profile page...settings that you can use to control who can contact you and how often. Stay tuned.

Still working on press releases, should be done soon.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Some back office work

Spent the past week working on press releases and other marketing-type stuff for the site...totally foreign to me. When you've spent every day of the past 18 months writing code, communicating in English does not come naturally. My press releases sound like they were fingerpainted by an 8 year old.

Friday, June 8, 2007

It's alive

I started working on Subscribable a year and a half ago and it's done! Finally! Everybody check it out!

The official launch party will be in the parking lot of a Mechanicsville, VA burger king at 8:30pm tonight. Sorry, no celebrities or internet tycoons at this one--attendees will include myself, my girlfriend, and maybe a high school dropout or two loitering in the parking lot. Double Whoppers for everyone! Oh, the sweet taste of success...