12 February, 2013

The future of Simple Sitemap Creator

This application is now starting to mature, thanks to input from it's users (such as Sujay Ghosh and Petr Ungern). And this gets me to thinking, what started out as a very simple site crawler that spits out a 95-99% accurate list of links in a website has potential to be quite a bit more.

It doesn't have to be a simple in/out application, it could become a window to your website and all that is holds. The latest incarnation of what I call my main blog has existed since January 2010, and even though it's mostly pictures of food it's a website consisting of around 1,000 pages and over 2Gb worth of images - to be honest I have lost track of what's on there! Having a big chunk of HTML or XML infront of me is all well and good, but I'm thinking it might be useful to go beyond that, display the site in a tree or list view, enable one click viewing of images or media, perhaps have FTP capabilities to enable quick deletion of unwanted files. Also being able to "save" the site so you don't have to scan it every time you want to look in on it.

Database management would be nice, but sadly most servers would be configured not to allow direct remote connections. But then if we have FTP access, we can quite easily upload a temporary PHP  script to act as an API. [EDIT] A simple XML plugin system could tell the application how to interact with existing APIs (such as WordPress etc).

All of this is a little too much to be included in a program with the word "Simple" in the title! I think after I've got the latest round of bugs fixed and version 0.1.7 of Simple Sitemap Creator released, then I can look at starting a brand new project.

Development of Simple Sitemap Creator will still continue for those that just want a quick dump of their website - I am hard at work fixing the current annoying bugs that crept up in the previous release.

08 February, 2013

The life cycle of a bug

Recently I released version 0.1.6 of Simple Sitemap Creator, this was an important release as it was the first considered stable (the lovely alpha warning that had been present for some time had now vanished). Quite happy with the result I compiled it for Windows and OSX, I also created and compiled a special command line version for Linux and FreeBSD (releasing 32 and 64 bit compiled binaries).

Now let's go back to August last year, the application was very young and was no where near as stable as it was up to 0.1.4. One of the important bugs I fixed was to process links to make sure any links that contained anchors were stripped so as not to end up with thousands of duplicate links, this bug was successfully fixed and filed away and forgotten about.

In version 0.1.5 I decided my own method of HTML parsing wasn't fast enough, it had about 95% accuracy but was just too slow, so I switched over to a nice and simple markup parser unit I had used in other applications.

So 0.1.5 came and went there were other bugs that saw the requirement for 0.1.6. Two days after 0.1.6 was released, I received a message on the Project page informing me that during testing, the application counted thousands of links before the tester finally had to forcefully terminate it - it didn't take long to figure out what had happened! The website used for testing contained many many links with anchors and just ended parsing the same pages over and over again - this is not good for the first supposedly stable release!

My attempts at parsing the site in question also revealed the same issue, 2,152 links before I decided to end the process!

Changing large chunks of code generally introduces new bugs, but they can also resurrect old ones too!

26 January, 2013

Simple Sitemap Creator 0.1.4 released!

Today I released a new version of Simple Sitemap Creator!

This version (hopefully) sees improved HTML parsing and the addition of Google Sitemaps compatible XML.

Download for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 (1.6mb).

This application is still an alpha, please provide any feedback or bug reports to the Google Code project page.

20 January, 2013

dinky to do list

The dinky reboot is going very well, but there is still a lot to be done, before I release an alpha version here is the absolute minimum to do list:

send tweets (with reply ids where applicable): started, 75% done
add reply, retweet and favourite buttons: not started
add ability to follow, unfollow and block people: not started
display user profiles: not started
add option to set update frequency and implement update timer: started, 25% done
read/send direct messages: started 50% done

I will try to update this list fairly regularly, in the meantime development screenshots can be found at the Google Code project page.

13 November, 2012

A new application!

This weekend just passed, I emptied my old files hard disk to donate to my son whose drive died. Whilst copying the 148,546 files I noticed several files were duplicated quite a few times, this got me thinking! I need an application that scans directories and lists duplicate files. A quick Google search gave me a whole list of existing apps, but where's the fun in that?

So, I have now started work on my own file duplicate scanner application! It is still very early days (an hour so far), so don't expect any download links just yet. I am hard at work mapping out the app and how it will work. There are quite a few considerations when creating an application like this: things like how do you determine if a file is actually a duplicate without comparing exact file contents which would be very slow and a matching filename is obviously no way of checking (I have far too many files called Untitled.txt). The way I am planning is to use various different methods to calculate the probability of a duplicate, this will factor in things such as the filename, date/time, size and a fast checksum routine I found here.

I haven't settled on a name yet, however it will be written using Lazarus/FreePascal, as a result it will also be cross-platform, it will also most likely be open source.

17 September, 2012

XiControls demo

Further to the addition of XiControls to my codeLib, I have now created a simple Delphi based demo showing off the components.

You can download the demo here (contains source and Delphi 7 compiled exe).

I have also created a Lazarus demo too containing a win32 and linux 64bit binary. You can download these here.

13 September, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

Well, what a busy couple of months it's been. I've released 3 new applications with another 2 almost complete.

dinky is a tiny, simple twitter client initially available for Windows only, but will arrive on UNIX based OS soon enough.

The second new application is one I haven't actually mentioned at all yet. Called onegrab, it is a simple tray-based screenshot application that takes a screenshot by simply clicking the tray icon, it can also automatically post the taken screenshots to twitter.

onegrab is standard freeware, and it is a bit of an experiment. For the first time I am adding adverts to the application, I am very curious what sort of feedback I'll receive and whether any money can be earned by this method.