To blog or not to blog?

Submitted by mimec on 2012-03-16

When I created this website over six years ago, it was simply a place where I could publish my development projects and components. Over time I started adding photo galleries and posting some personal notes once in a while, but I thought that the whole blogging business was simply for people with too much free time. But things have changed since then. Ex-bloggers are using Facebook nowadays, and modern technical blogs are one of the most important sources of specialist knowledge for us programmers. So it's not a matter of having fans, regular readers, etc. It's rather a matter of feeding Google's spiders with information that someone, someday may find useful.

Writing has always been the most natural form of communication for me, especially about technical things. In the past I've been constantly publishing various open source components (I will return to this topic in a while), but this requires a lot of time. I found it easier to write short technical articles and I can't deny that they actually started forming a blog. So today I tagged all posts and placed a nice "tag cloud" in the sidebar to make the whole thing look a bit more like Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 already? I'm always lagging behind ;>). And now that I'm slowly starting to work on Descend, you can expect more about 3D graphics and compiler programming in the nearest future. I think it's worth doing it even if it's just for the purpose of archiving and helping my thinking process by writing things down.

Another change that I finally made was adding previous/next links to images in the gallery. I should've done this a long time ago, and it was simply a matter of copying some code from forum module to the image module. All right, I should've upgraded this whole website a long time ago, but I made so many customizations, that manually patching the code here and there became easier than migrating the whole thing.

Talking about legacy code, now I return to the topic of open source components. Those for MFC haven't been updated for years and I'm no longer able to maintain them even if I wanted to. Besides, who uses MFC today? Obviously those who have to maintain legacy code, but no sane person would start a new project using it. So as part of the cleaning process, I moved all those components to a single place. The documentation is still available, obviously, but moved out of this website. I've been also thinking about deleting all the related forums, but I decided to leave them for now for archival purposes. And by the way, even more out of date versions of these articles are still available on, where I initially published them.

Finally, I renamed the "articles" section to "components", because that's what they actually are. In a sense my blog posts are more like articles. Anyway... I also have to publish new versions of the Qt articles components, because the code is finished for a long time and I just have to update the documentation and demo projects.

Sixth anniversary

Submitted by mimec on 2011-12-16

This year's anniversary of the website coincides with two very important events. First, I'm finally releasing version 1.0 of WebIssues. It's been the longest development cycle I've ever made, as it took about 2.5 years; in that time I (and other contributors) made about 1,000 commits into SVN, and published nine pre-release versions. The popularity of this project is also continuously growing, reaching about 15,000 downloads this year, and a few weeks ago WebIssues was one of the featured projects of main page. But the most important thing is that I managed to put all the long awaited features into it, and it became a really unique, innovative project, which can compete even with commercial software.

The second, even more important event, that we're impatiently awaiting with my wife, is the birth of our first son. All indications are that it's going to happen right after Christmas. This is really going to be the biggest and most important "project" in the next few years :). Starting next year, you can expect some new photo galleries to appear on this site, especially that we're going to continue visiting various interesting places in the world, as it seems to be the most reasonable way to spend money in these uncertain times.

Hopefully I'm still going to find some time to continue working on various other things:

  • I'm planning to update the sites, refresh their appearance a bit and update some content, for example by publishing new versions of some articles.
  • I'm also going to continue developing Saladin, as it's a great, promising project that also deserves a bit of attention.
  • There's still a lot that can be done with WebIssues, so after some time off I'm also going to return to it. I'm also seriously thinking about starting some professional services related to WebIssues, such as paid hosting, support, etc., but time will tell what will come of it.
  • There are a few other ideas that keep circling in my head, for example a bazillionth version of the Misc computing language interpreter, a novel that I recently started to write, etc.

I (Am)bassador

Submitted by mimec on 2011-04-08

A few weeks ago WebIssues became a member of the Qt Ambassador Program organized by Nokia in order to promote Qt development. I got a shiny new Nokia C7 phone and I must say that I like it, even though I was generally very skeptical about touch screen mobiles. Obviously Noka's goal in giving away those phone to Qt developers was to encourage them to create applications for Symbian. I don't know if they will be able to defend against growing domination of Android and iOS, but I've been using various Nokia phones for many years (starting with the iconic 8110 model known from Matrix) and I'm kind of attached to this brand. Besides I've been thinking about a mobile WebIssues client as an addition to desktop and web clients for a long time and now that I have the right tools, I will definitely return to this idea once version 1.0 is released.

Being an ambassador of Qt I feel that I should write about it more often, not only in form of articles, but also as a regular blog. The articles became quite outdated; I created a completely new XmlUi toolkit which is already available as part of both Saladin and the alpha version of the WebIssues Client. It replaces traditional menu bar and toolbar with a single ToolStrip control which is similar to the Ribbon known from MS Office, but much simpler. It also incorporates a simplified version of the WindowsModernStyle. Last week I also decided to replace the RDB classes with SQLite based storage which will make the desktop client much more scalable as it won't have to store the entire data cache in memory. The whole subject of integrating Qt with SQLite turned out to be quite complex, so I will write more about it soon.

Fifth anniversary

Submitted by mimec on 2010-12-16

When this website was created five years ago, there was little more than a few articles and an early version of Fraqtive. It was simply a continuation of my personal site at the university web server which I created in my spare time while I was a student. It turned out to be just the beginning of an exciting adventure with open source development. The fact that I kept working on the same projects for such a long time was perhaps the biggest success.

Back then in 2005 I created the first prototype of WebIssues as my master's thesis and I wasn't even thinking about continuing it, not to mention publishing it. Now I'm making great progress in working on version 1.0 and the release I made just yesterday was another important milestone on this very long road. It may not be the most popular program in its class, but it has its loyal and satisfied users and that's the ultimate goal of every open source application.

At the same time I'm also progressing in completing the first version of Saladin, the dual pane file manager for Windows which I announced some time ago. Unlike my other projects, this is a very recent idea and also a new approach to development: I'm simply creating an application that I am using myself on a daily basis. As Windows 7 is quickly gaining popularity (last month I had almost exactly the same visitors using Windows 7 as those using all variants of Linux), this may turn out to be a good choice. Although my time estimates are often quite wrong, if everything goes well in January you can expect the first version, which will already be quite functional.

It's been four years

Submitted by mimec on 2009-12-15

The website was brought online exactly four years ago. As usual I'm using the anniversary as an opportunity to summarize the passing year. The number of visitors of this and the related sites steadily continues to grow twice a year and exceeded 200,000 this year. Fraqtive was downloaded over 6,000 times, just like last year, even though no new version was released so far; I'm going to make a new release later this week though. Finally my "flagship" project, WebIssues, experienced more than threefold increase in the number of downloads, almost reaching 10,000, and that makes me very happy.

After many doubts I eventually decided to take the risk and start working on version 1.0. It turned out to be quite a challenge, especially because I was doing everything from scratch and I had to learn PHP web development by experimenting on a living body. Fortunately I managed to extend the development team, which also proved incredibly difficult. It looks like most people who have the right experience to participate in such complex project very quickly lose their enthusiasm for work if they don't do it for money. It's not a very good omen for the free software, but I believe that those remaining dedicated units can still make a difference.

In my personal life it was also a very important year. Teresa and I are now engaged and we're planning to get married in June next year :). Besides almost everything is in place in our new flat, including the modest home theater I recently bought. It's really good to finally have a place of my own. I also traveled quite a lot this year - short vacations in Germany, festival in France, holidays in Spain, not to mention two trips with my company to Prague and Zell am See in Austria. Now I look forward to spending Christmas with my family and take some rest from coding and everything else.