I'm So Excited

It's been a while since I dusted off the old 'blog and gave you some loghound goodness so tonights a two fer.

First I wanted to talk about a little project I'm in the middle of. It's got me pretty excited and no, it's not some fancy new plugin or application. In fact most of you will see it and shrug or say "Well, it's about time"

Let's just say that I'm getting a help from a fellow dog...

Finally I wanted to talk about the creativity of constraints. It occurs to me that most of what I've ever produced (and decided to share) is a form of plugin. Not just Rapidweaver but I've also done plugins for Address Book, iMediaBrowser Sandvox. It would frighten you to know what other apps I've done plugins for but choose to not every let see the light of day. More than once I've told someone NEVER AGAIN... Never again would I do a plugin. There are moments where I want to scream -- I want to do something simple and I can't because of the way the plugin interface works . Or I do what I think is correct but something in the main app kills me or ... well you get the idea.

I dream of my own app that I control soup to nuts. I imagine working in an environment where I control all of the source code and believe me, it's attractive but I keep on coming back to plugins.

Why? Why do I beat my head against the wall like this? I finally figured it out today.

Constraints free your creative mind

The fact that I have so many constraints forces me to think, and I mean think hard. More than once I've gone to bed thinking "It's helpless.. there is no way" and the next morning something clicks (Lockdown is a great example of that) it actually makes the problems more interesting and when I get it working it's that much more satisfying.

I've seen the same reaction from the guys who can take a 16x16 icon and make it look great. Would it be nice to have 1024x1024 for icon design? Sure but there is something deeply satisfying by making the icon look great with 16 pixels on a side.


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Pluskit update (not)

I really intended to get a pluskit update out this weekend but a combination of a cold/flu kept me from making much progress (I'm feeling much better now)

Look for a new release in the next two or three days with (hopefully) a bunch of defect fixes.

In the mean time I've begun a table showing what is compatible with @import(())

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Sep 12 predictions

Well as has become customary around the ol' blogosphere (why does everything become a 'sphere'?) people are throwing out predictions for what Steve-o will be saying this Tuesday.

I did pretty well on my WWDC predictions so here goes again:

  • Sure Bets
    • Increased Nanos
    • Movie Downloads
    • Increased capacity ipods (40GB & 80GB)
  • Possible but less than 50%
    • New widescreen ipod
    • Some wireless video extender (Airport express for Video?)
    • New airport base-station (802.11n based)
    • Announce a deal for e-book reading on ipods (with widescreen ipod?)
  • No Way
    • Iphone
    • Wireless Ipod
    • xmac (something less than MacPro based on desktop proc but upgradable video card, hard drive, etc.)


Personally I'd LOVE to see a widescreen 40&80GB ipod that can read e-books... I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Oh, I'm also this (holds fingers really close together) close to releasing PlusKit for general availability but based on the amount of negative stuff going on in the RW forums I decided to hold back a bit (I know, old fashioned of me to actually have a product ready to go before I announce it... what can I say?)

I know a few of you have played with my "StyledPlus" or "Markdown" plugin, you may be wondering why it's called PlusKit? Well let's say I've juiced it up with a few more features including one I call the "MrTonk" memorial feature.

Assuming my testing doesn't find any show stoppers look for it in the next 48 hours.

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Starting some StylePlus docs


I've begun putting together docs for StylePlus... It is by no means complete yet but you can see them here and they should give you an example of what's possible.
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StylePlus 0.4

So a few of you noticed that the beta of StylePlus "retired" today... Not to worry here is new version that should last another 30 days.

Biggest differences is (hopefully) general improvements in stability as well as performance.

As always, for the truely brave you can get the newest copy here


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Sitemap 1.12

If you have been following the RapidWeaver forums you will have noticed that I released a new version of Sitemap that includes Blog support. It's currently at 1.12u and is pretty close to finished except for one niggling little detail. For some reason, at (apparently?) random times RW will decide to emit an archive category that doesn't exist.

I'm still trying to figure this one out -- it's not too damaging (you get a dead link in one of the archives) but it's annoying!

You can get the most recent build here. Let me know if you have any problems.

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loads o' options

Well, if you ever read the RW forums you know that there are least three options for Markdown now. I've kind of debated internally about what to do but at this point I'm in 'a groove' with my version so I've continued development

So what, you may ask, is in this most recent build? Well beyond fixing some HORRIBLE bugs that caused the system to core dump I've not implemented a caching subsystem. It's pretty slick and should really speed up renders. By default it's in 'smart' mode which means it caches unless the page changes but you can select no caching by saying 'cache=none' or you can force it to desperley cache by saying 'cache=always' (the difference between the default and 'always' is for always it keeps the cache even if the RW page changes. It only looses the cache if you change the actual command signature). Right now the cache only lives as long as you are running RW. Once you quit the cache is gone (to be fixed in a future release)


So let's summarize: There 5 StylePlus tags and each one has 4 arguments you can pass:

The tags are:

  • markdown
  • textile
  • bash
  • applescript
  • python

The arguments you can pass are (default in bold)

  • cache=default \| none \| always
  • warning=true \| false
  • timeout = 5 \| (some number of seconds)
  • files=_FILES_ | (something else that you want to refer to remove files with)
  • outputdir= (some local directory you want copied to the server)

Of course, there is also the @import ((some other page)) command. I've not worked on this much and it still doesn't cache

Don't worry I'll get some better docs and examples up soon but for the truely brave you can get the newest copy here


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Getting Closer

Getting Closer

I'm writing this post completely in markdown. It's sort of an interesting way to post, even though RW has some nice graphical tools there is a certain freedom in using a strait ascii input. I'm sure many folks won't agree and will only dip into markdown when they want easy bulleted lists but I think I may do all of my text entry this way.

So while I'm not ready to announce it publically (e.g. RW forums) I'm getting closer. This build improves error handling and adds several new features.

  1. You now have 3 elements you can put inside of the tags to control things

    1. warning. Defaults to yes but you can set it to 'no' or 'false' to turn off warnings for that block
    2. outputdir. This is the name of a directory on your filesystem that get's copied with the page (e.g. if you run a bash script and want to include some files as a result use outputdir)
    3. files. This is the name of the files to reference from the page
  2. I now include some docs written by Greg Schueler, I'll probably generate some focused ones for RW folks but he did a nice job (and provided a liberal license so I can include them). To get them go to the StylePlus window (cmd-l or format->StylePlus) and copy to clipboard (as Markdown text no less!). Then past into a styled text window and preview them (this is also a nice way to see a before and after document)

  3. General cleanups

As an example of how to use the new formating here is how you might create a local file in a bash shell and then have it uploaded and referenced in your web page

< bash outputdir=/tmp/myOut>
echo "some file" > /tmp/myOut/file.txt
< /bash>

<a href='http://www.loghound.com/about/blog2/files/file.txt'>click here to get my bash output</a>

You can download the newest version here


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For the brave


If you are brave there is a new toy to play with. It still needs a fair bit of work but I'm willing to let it out of my clutches if you are brave.

What does it do you may ask? Well it adds a bunch of new features to styled text. Here a few.

  1. It allows markdown syntax. Use the tags <markdown> and </markdown> and put markdown text in between.
  2. It allows you to execute arbitrary commands and have the contents replace it. For instance <bash> date </bash> gives you the following: Tue Feb 27 23:22:37 PST 2007

  3. It allows importing of another page. Use the syntax (where other page is the title of another page to import)

  4. It uses Growl for notifications (turn that off with cmd-l or format->Style Plus)


To use it simply install it... No need to add a special page. What's neat is it works in blogs, sidebars, blocks, etc. Everywhere you have styled text.

While the basic bits & pieces are in place it's still not tested very much so I can guarantee there are bugs.

You can download it here. I'll probably but a broader announcement up in the rapidweaver forums but I thought I'd push it out here a few days early for anyone who happens to read this.

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Xcode 3.0 goofiness

Like many people I frantically crawled the web looking for more details after the WWDC keynote. As a develooper I'm always interested in development tools improvements and so I gleefully started reading about Xcode 3.0. Slowly though my excitement turned to, well, puzzlement.

You see there were some very odd things posted to the Xcode 3.0 site right after the keynote, I guess apple agreed because it's now slightly less goofy. For your pleasure I present 'Xcode 3.0 -- Morning and Night'. I'm sorry for the 'wide' format but I wanted to show a few of these side by side.

You can download the web archive from this morning here and compare it to this one that's live.









Xcode 3.0 page August 7 @ 8:00PMXcode 3.0 page August 7 @ ~11:30 AM

Pasted Graphic 2
Notice the smooth transition from interface builder to debugging.

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Notice the bizarre references to stepping. "If stepping wears you down?"

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note odd reference to Civ 4, but overall somewhat coherent

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Note bizarre reference to reality & Pentagon


There are a few odd thing that appear in both versions of the web page

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"Because it's 2006" Is that even a sentence?

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"You'll make mistakes just to see it in action"? Seriously?


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"So Compelling," What does that even mean? Who's writing this copy?


Ok, enough grousing..... I do like the cut of it's jib, just wished they had not let the 14 year old high school girl down the street write the web page for it.


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