It seems as though time flows like a river; history repeats itself and another of the seemingly bi-annual posts on this blog will start with an apology about not writing blog posts. We’ve had quite a lot of questions about Meteor lately such as: Is it still happening? When will it be released? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen African swallow? All of which I intend to answer in the following post; save the last one, because I’m not clever enough to think of my own material and much to the chagrin of my English Literature teacher in grade 10 who always told me that I should never intend to write, just write.
Let’s start this story at the beginning
I’ll start this off by coining a phrase from one of the most* respected** celebrities*** in Australia but hopefully not so much that I have to deal with copyright infringement later: Meteor – where the bloody h#$% are you? The answer is that it just ran home to pick up its wallet and is totally coming back to pay for the petrol, it’s totally not done a runner, I swear! There’s no need to call the cops!
In all honesty, we’re pretty much feature complete with the app. I can’t actually believe that I can write that and keep a straight face after all of the revision and iteration we’ve done over the past few months, but believe me when I say that all of the interesting stuff is done and all that’s left to do is the
boring I mean awesome stuff like performance tweaking, bug fixing and UX testing. We’re definitely almost there, but it’s going to take a bit of hard yakka, a bit of blood, sweat and tears and most assuredly some other cliche’d euphemism for “hard work” that probably involves a montage.
This phase of development should only take
days weeks months uhh, a relatively short amount of time to get done, that is of course considering we can get over a couple of fairly big blockers that we’ve encountered recently. I won’t pull back the curtain too far on what’s blocking us at the moment, but it does involve scouring the Media Centre libraries with Reflector to figure out why something is doing something that it perhaps shouldn’t not be doing. I’ve just been informed that wizardly actions have been performed and del tags have been placed in blog posts and that one of the big blockers has been fixed, so we’re that much closer.
Picking your battles
So one of the problems we’re facing involves using open source or 3rd party controls. Now, we definitely aren’t afraid of using 3rd party or open source controls or services, but the amount of tweaking, fixing and re-engineering that we end up having to do in order to get things up to scratch is frankly annoying. Seriously, there are awesome tools that are provided to developers (Stylecop, FXcop, Resharper (for those that can afford it)) that make open source code projects actually readable and reduces a lot of problems.
I can’t think of how many hours we’ve lost just trying to reorder code in open source projects just so that it makes sense to me. Then again, I’m pretty used to the way that Stylecop does things, and that’s freely available, so, developers: use the thing? Please? Pretty please?
One little bugbear of ours in particular is the reliability of some of the controls found in the Silverlight Control Toolkit. Don’t get me wrong; in general, the quality of this open source project is excellent and we use quite a few of the controls found therein; but on more than one occasion we’ve found ourselves blocked because one of the controls simply breaks the functionality of standard objects or that the performance of the control itself hasn’t been up to scratch. We’ve done our best to submit patches and updates to the toolkit where we can, but the amount of time it takes to figure out how a control does things and then how to actually fix the issues really puts pressure on us releasing a product in a reasonable time frame.
I’m making it sound like that’s the only reason why we haven’t released this thing yet but I can’t exactly blame anyone else for my World of Warcraft addiction; and in fact: this acts as my first stage of recovery! Seriously, friends don’t let friends raid.
Show me the money (app)!
We’ve shown a lot of stuff running on an emulator before, and while that’s pretty awesome, it’s probably better to see what it looks like actually running on a device in a real-world situation. So, I found my little FlipHD and removed all of the videos of monkeys stealing bananas from people in a Bali rainforest and made a video, so check it out! Note that if there is a hilarious video of monkeys or a random woman having glamour pictures in a forest taken with a point-and-shoot, then I apologise – not for uploading it, but for not having shown you all sooner. So, without further ado: star wipe…!
Throughout all of the flowery, purpleness of the words I’ve violently vomited into this post, there are a few things that you can all take to the bank; the money bank:
- Meteor is still alive and if not feature complete, extremely close to being feature complete – guaranteed (note: guarantee is not a guarantee).
- The next phase of development involving testing, bug fixing and performance tweaking shouldn’t take too long. Perhaps only a matter of weeks****
- The level of garbage written in these blog posts continues, unabated!
One thing I wanted to mention here was a thankyou to Carl who may or may not be involved with a certain organisation that offered us a pretty big opportunity that unfortunately didn’t end up happening. It definitely got the fires burning again and hopefully we can work together at some point in the future!
That’s all for now, so we’ll probably see you in another few months with another post detailing how Meteor isn’t done or something equally as self-aware.
* I might have meant least
** Respected is a strong word that gets thrown around far too often, this is out of context
*** When I say celebrity, I might mean person that someone knows
**** I’m not actually embellishing about this, I just wanted to have a blog post with 4 *’s.
I like del tags, if you couldn’t already tell!