RapidWeaver 4.2 & RapidBlog

Hi All,
If you are using RapidWeaver 4.2 & Rapidblog you might see some problems uploading pictures.  I've put up a release that *should* fix it here
The reason it's not available on sparkle or the download section is I am still waiting for some testing results -- if you try it and see any problems let me know.
-John
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RapidBlog 1.5b7

RapidBlog 1.50b7

Fixed up a bunch of warnings in the PHP code and a few other defects. Big change is Gravatar Support (it should be turned on for this blog to get a feel of how it works) -- As always the 1.5 series are not getting much testing as I'm looking for feedback -- It's pretty safe to try them but be a little careful before you put it on a product blog.

To use the Gravatar Support get a (free) Gravatar Account and enter your 'blogger' name and 'gravatar email' in the setup menu (under 'display'

Get it here


And yes before you ask -- I realize the setup menu GUI is a bit of a mess right now, I"m planning an overhaul before 1.5 final goes out but things are changing fast enough that I'm willing to let it slide (for now)
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RapidBlog 1.50b6

RapidBlog 1.50b6 -- mostly defect fixes too numerous to count

Download 1.50B6
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RapidBlog 1.50b3

This is just a 'quick fix' to some defects in 1.50b2 -- Specifically RSS feeds weren't working reliably and the div ordering showed the wrong graphic. Recommended for anyone who was using 1.50B2

Download 1.50B3
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RapidBlog 1.50b2

It's been a while since I posted a update to my blog but I've been working on this one for a while (not non stop which explains why it's taken so long) I've just pushed up a beta of RapidBlog 1.5 -- This includes most of the feature requests I've had in the last few months (well, most of the requests that are implementable)
  • Upgrading the blog rendering to be more consistent with the built in blog
  • Permalink can now be the title of the post
  • Show/Hide comments can optionally be placed
  • Error message improvements
  • The blog comment introduction "Jack said...." can now be customized
  • Setup now uses the standard RW setup method, not it's own window
  • And you can re-arrange the order in which the blog renders out -- want the date below the body?  no problem, just re-arrange it from the setup menu.
If you are brave and feel like playing give it a try.   Of course you can always go back to the current shipping version so it's pretty safe to play with.  If your favorite feature request is not included let me know as I'm still working on it and (of course) let me know what problems you see.
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RapidBlog 1.22

I Just pushed up a new version of RapidBlog -- 1.22 includes a few fixes and a often requested feature -- the ability to have the comment system on blogger appear in a popup window.
Before I put it on the main download page I wanted to let a few folks give it a spin -- If you would like you can grab it here:
The complete change log is below, let me know if you see any problems.
  • Rapidblog will now empty out the entry ID after a 404 error. To read more about why you might care see http://loghound.com/Rapidblog/404/index.html
  • RapidBlog now handles character encoding conversation a bit differnetly (and perhaps better ---)
  • RapidBlog will not properly reflect draft status of imported blogs
  • RapidBlog will now show the number of comments regardless of the language choice in the blogger engine.
  • You can now have 'blogger' style comments enter via a poup menu
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Looking for a few brave souls

Hello All,

I've been working on a new version of RapidBlog and I need a few folks to help me test it out. Currently I only have one other person who has been kind enough to test it and I'm ready to expand it out a bit.

Before you volunteer I need to make one thing clear. This version is not backwards compatible. What this means is after you upgrade to 1.2 you can't go back to 1.1.

While I'm commited to working with everyone to make sure it works for them please don't ask for a 1.2beta unless you are willing to 'stick with it' and are willing to have something potentially broken on your blog with the only way to fix it is for me to send you a new build.

If you are interested drop me a line using the usual channels.
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Blogger Down

Parts of blogger were down over the last 18 hours. It now is back up. If you have experienced RapidBlog problems (blog now showing up, strange errors, etc.) it should all be working now.
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FAQ's

I've been working on improving my FAQ's for the last few weeks. In general I've added quite a few entries and gone for a more 'traditional' FAQ layout (questions/answers).

I was using Accordion which is a fabalous plugin but it made doing searches on the web site a little tough, let me know if you like these new 'web 1.0' style FAQ's.

In order to avoid total loss of eye candy I've also included a comment and rating to each entry. check it out

PlusKit
Lockdown
RapidBlog
SiteMap
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GoDaddy: Redux

Well I think the GoDaddy saga is finally behind us with a final score of GoDaddy:1 and DreamHost:2

I spent a bunch of time going back and forth with a few customers to finally get a example that GoDaddy would admit showed a problem on their end. Their answer was "Yes, there are some networking changes going on that may effect customers and we have no estimate on when it will get fixed"

As a small business owner who lives or dies by support I'm always amazed with these kinds of message -- On the one hand it's probably the truth, there are problems and they don't know when they will be fixed but on the other I wonder how you can deny problems for so long and then finally admit that, yes, there is a problem but we won't commit to fixing.

In a business as competitive as web hosting it really makes me shake my head. While GoDaddy does have some fairly low cost plans ($3.99/month) unless you have very, very simple needs you should look around at all of your options -- You might find that spending just a few dollars more gives you a lot more value.

Finally: You may notice a Google AdSense add start to appear in this blog -- Don't worry, I'm not trying to monotize it, I'm just trying to test a, errr, new RapidBlog feature.
ZZ136E38D5
-John
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GoDaddy & RapidBlog

If you are using GoDaddy.com as your web host you are probably having problems today with RapidBlog. I don't know what is going on but the PHP script that was working fine is now dieing when it tries to query blogger.com I'm not sure what is happening but I'd recommend you contact GoDaddy support. Give them the URL to your blog and tell them that it used to work and stopped working. In case they ask. RapidBlog is working fine for other WebHosts and it's not a blogger problem. I've absolutely confirmed it with 3 customers to be specific to some change at GoDaddy. If you get an answer from GoDaddy let me know. -John
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Updates

In case you haven't noticed I"ve been steadily running through my collection of plugins with small, but important, updates. See the respective change logs for details.

Tonight I pushed up a new version of RapidBlog -- A few small enhancements & bug fixes, most important is there is now a RSS Title field that you probably want to change from the default of "A Great Blog"!

I've had a few niggilng issues I'm still tracking down on RapidBlog but I feel I'm close to calling it 1.0 and starting to work on some major enhancements and new features including a archive overhaul, date localization and improved comment system.

-Jm
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Base URL

Most of my plugins require the Base URL to be set up correctly but it seems to cause a lot of confusion.

Fortunately Nik Fletcher has just published a very nice screencast on it.

It's only about 2 minutes long Highly Recommended, Don should consider hiring him (or maybe Nik should consider a competitive offering)
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RSS Feeds & Pipes

I had a strange comment appear in my inbox to a post I did about a year ago. I was scratching my head over it "Why would someone comment on such an old post". I double check my site and that looked fine.

Finally tonight I hit upon it. The RSS feeds are in order of update, not publish. So if you edit a post it pops to the top (I had been playing with some formatting) -- The question is, is this the right behavior? on NetNewWire it shows the 'updated' date as the 'date' so if you edit a post it (seemingly?) jumps to the top again -- I would have assumed the 'published' date was used for this purpose

Gotta think about this one.
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New RapidBlog

I just pushed a new rapidblog up, see the changelog for details and download links. This is a recommended update as it fixes a number of problems and cleans up lingering UTF8 issues.

Most importantly it fixes, in a nice way, the 'hang' that occasionally occurred during publish.

Normally I don't talk too much cocoa in this blog but I wanted to put something out in googleland for the next poor sap who had a problem.

Basically the root of my problem was I was modifying entries bound in a NSArrayController. This, in itself, is not a problem except I was doing it in a background thread -- I can't really control this as RW pushes my code to a background thread during a publish and, again, this is not necessarily a problem except for the fact that I was occasionally updating the contents of the bound objects. Again, this in and of itself is not a problem except that one of the things being bound was a MutableString bound to a NSTextView (RWTextView).

That is a problem -- You see NSTextView stores it's content in a 'NSTextStorage' which is a mutable object and that, in fact, is not thread safe. The problem was that the main render code would sometimes try to render the scene exactly as I was modifying it causing a 'deadlock' -- Each process was waiting for the other to finish which was the hang.

The solution? It ended up being pretty easy (as these things often are) in retrospect but it was painful to find. I ended up listenting for notification from RapidWeaver that it was about to start publishing. Then I told the NSArrayController to unselect itself on the main thread -- That is the secret sauce, you have to perform this on the main thread with

[self performSelectorOnMainThread:@selector(deselectLineLH) withObject:nil waitUntilDone:YES];

deselectLineLH is a little snippit that basically has the NSTableVIew unselect itself so it never renders any updates. That little bit of magic was all it (finally) took. It's really kind of wild that you can do this kind of stuff and it works, cocoa+objc is so cool sometimes.


-John


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Busy

Hi Guys,

It's been a fun couple of days but pretty busy. For the most part it's gone relatively smoothly but RapidBlog is a new kind of product and fairly complex so there has been a pretty heavy email load.

If you don't hear back from me within 24 hours please re-send the note, I'm not ignoring you I probably just lost your message in my growing inbox!

-John
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RapidBlog

I'm so glad that RapidBlog is finally out and people can play with it. So far the feedback has been very positive, I hope this is due to the extra effort I took on RapidBlog in terms of testing, docs, etc. Time will tell but so far I'm pleased.

If you are maintaining a blog in RapidBlog let me know, I'd like to get a collection of folks using it in my RSS reader!

-john
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Documentation

I've been working on documentation the last few days, every time I do this it reminds me how hard this stuff is.

One of the fun aspects of running your own (small) business is that you are everything, CEO, coder, support, learning products (e.g. documentation). At my 'Day Job' I only have one role that usually doesn't involve writing customer facing documentation but at loghound.com it's pretty much me (I've tried more than once to recruit my wife but she, oddly, expresses very little interest in writing docs)

Anyway one lesson I've learned from previous plugins is that after a product launches you are usually so busy doing support, bug fixes, etc. that you don't have time to work on docs. the intention is always to do it ("Oh, I'll release it and then do docs for the next few days") but it never seems to work out that way.

So this time I'm doing it different and trying to get relatively complete docs up before I release (novel concept, I know)

So for two days I've been working on them and man, it's like tough, First there is the actual content -- Writing something that actually makes sense and flows. Then there is the structure, what goes where and how to organize it and finally the formatting & graphics.

In most big bigger companies there are people who work on this full time, all day, and I now know why.

Comments (6)

Update

Hi All,

I get a "few" emails every day about Rapidblog. Let me assure you that it is well on it's way, I'm 'feature complete' and currently working on squashing some annoying bugs and generally improving usability.

Unfortunately "Real LIfe" is raring it's head right now so progress has slowed down a bit. While I don't want to make any promises it seems to me that Rapidblog would make a great gift for your sweetheart.

-John
Comments (3)

New comment system

I've turned on comments but I'm not terribly happy with them yet. The biggest problem is they really slow down page renders since each post has to ask blogger "how many comments are there". This really seems to slow down page renders quite a bit (although I've not timed it). If you are reading this can you give me a sense of how fast it renders for you? (using the comment system of course)

It also uses a lot of the blogger comment system which is both good and bad.... Anyway work in progress.

I've also started a rapidflickr FAQ . It was inspired by a customer who said "You have great e-mail support but wouldn't it be easier to write some of these down and put them on the web?" Of course he was right.


Oh, and happy new year!


Comments (7)

Rapidblog Update

I've gone back and forth in my mind on the value of blogging my progress on rapidblog. On the one hand I know a lot of folks are interested, on the other you see all the development process...

Do you know the adage about making Sausage?
Basically it ain't pretty.


Having said that I don't think anyone reads this little blog anyway so I'm pretty safe :-)

For the latest rapidblog results I humbly point you to


Since I'm in pretty active development this 'test' blog may change pretty fast... here are a few screen shots of the GUI (note the GUI is totally barebones right now... just something to test the underlying code)

Picture 1

Here is the resulting web page...

Picture 3

With this I've done both directions... I've remotely blogged from the blogger web interface and I've blogged from within Rapidweaver.. Furthermore I'm able to edit Rapidweaver posts in blogger and blogger posts in Rapidweaver.

Still TONS of work to do but steady progress continues to be made... Note that I have to go to Japan next week so my estimates for end of this month beta are probably not going to happen... New estimate is no later than mid march.

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Steady Progress

Llike I said in my last post, steady progress is now possible on RapidBlog.

Here is a screenshot of rapidblog proof of concept within RW. You can see the blog posts that were entered via the web as well as a new entry at the bottom that I'm adding from within RW.

This is really barely functional and I'm still just putting together proof points of the various pieces but the progress is happening much faster now. Right now I'm in that nice place where I'm not scratching my head trying to figure out how to move forward, instead I'm adding bits and pieces at a pretty fast rate and every day it get's more functional -- It's kind of a fun spot to be in.

Pasted Graphic



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A Breakthrough

As many of you know I have the mysterious 'rapidblog' entry on my web site promising fine remote blogging... I had the skeleton of a program that did this (not at all complete but let's call it proof of concept) working in a stand alone app but for the life of me I could not get it to work within RW... I've spent probably 3 weeks fighting it almost every evening.

Tonight i gave up and re-implemented my skeleton using a different technique and It works!.... This is a huge breakthrough, assuming my kids stay healthy and I'm able to focus a bit I'll probably do a private beta with the next few weeks and if that goes smoothly a public beta shortly after that... i know I've been promising for a while but tonight was a huge night


Stay tuned
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rapidblog in the works

I've gotten a lot of email recently about rapid blog.... Just let me say it's in the works.

Basically it will allow you to edit/manage a blog from either rapidweaver OR remotely through a web interface. Either way you will get the nice rapidweaver page layout.

My goal is a public beta before Valentines Day (February 14)

Cheers
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