This is an update to my previous post about the new site. I previously said that there were only a few minor tasks remaining. This is true, and there's even less of them remaining now. However, I've made the decision that I won't be providing some of my existing projects until I get around to creating new versions. Some of them such as Boiled and LSAStudio will be available but VTemp and WinFlare won't. The reasoning behind this decisions is that as it stands, VTemp is fairly buggy and it hasn't been updated for some time. VTemp 2 in particular has issues even on my own NVIDIA system (and that's the latest official version) while VTemp 3, being an alpha project, has never been stable enough for it to be pushed as an official version. With the development of the new API being planned as I type, I do not feel comfortable putting these buggy projects out there.
Due to this, no projects will be available at launch. As I said, Boiled and LSAStudio will be available, but not immediately. When I release an updated version of VTemp in the coming months, it'll be linked in with the new API and be available from the new site. With regards to WinFlare, I'm considering that this may never be updated. CloudFlare is good at what it does, but I've grown disinterested in it. I'll be looking to develop some exciting new tools in the future.
There's still some final elements to integrate with the new site and final testing to be done, but I'm looking to launch the website within the next week. I had planned to launch it this week but a few final design changes meant that some rewriting was required. I'm not trying to perfect it on the inital revision, but I absolutely need to make sure that I can build upon it in future with ease - I might still have it finished over the weekend. Even though development for the first iteration is winding down, there's still some crucial things to do and I'm not keen to do a 'pre-launch' while these things remain outstanding.
Good morning all!
I've been working on the new site for over a month now, and I'm extremely close to launching it. I expected it to be done by now, but there's been so many elements that I've either not been happy with or which flat out didn't work that I had to do a lot of code refactoring. The core functionality is there, but the code wasn't really consolidated and didn't have the same feel throughout. It felt like a mish-mash of code from learning and iterations.
Additionally, on Saturday (28th June), I decided I wasn't happy with the design I'd originally planned. It mostly worked, but mostly working is not acceptable for what's supposed to be a fresh start. The issues were mostly due to the dynamic grid system employed by the UI framework I'd chosen and a few design decisions I'd made. In the end, I'd hacked so much CSS for individual elements that it just wasn't doing it for me.
So, I started the design almost from scratch using a new UI framework. I kept parts of the old framework in place while I rebuilt but most of the work has now been completed. Most importantly, by changing this, it's allowed me to add even more features. I've got a nice alert/notification system in place, I've been able to make everything super-sleek and the design complements itself - there's no jarring elements or hacks in there (OK, there's a few, but nothing too extensive).
I've still got some pages to redesign - user profile, new-article page, chat, etc. I also still need to design a project page, but I've got a good idea what I want it to look like so I consider it a minor task. I've got some elements to redesign (comments) and the frontpage still needs to be finalized.
For those that have been visiting for a while, you'll probably remember the old 'metro dashboard' template I'd built. It worked, but it had bugs and it overstretched in some areas. I've revisited my desire to use the Metro visual stylization in a website but I've made sure that elements are used appropriately. I'm offered a lot of potential with such a framework, and I'm going to make sure I use it to impress rather than to go overboard and use elements 'because they exist'.
We're super close to launch. The initial revision of the site will only have a small set of features - not much more than you can find in this site right now but this will expand with time. As I mentioned in a previous post, the API will be integrated with the site itself. Authentication will be handled through Twitter to begin with and because Firemonkey/Delphi added support for REST authentication in the latest version of RAD Studio, it means that you won't have to create an account just to use the API - you can sign in with Twitter, access all user-only features (such as chat, comments, etc) and have full API support right off the bat. You'll be able to manage your devices from the account management page along with Pushover settings, profile settings and everything else you'd expect to find there.
It's a completely new venture for me - there's many things I'm doing in this project that I've only dreamed of before.
Good evening all!
I'm pleased to say that the new project I mentioned at the end of May is progressing very well. I've now got the core of the code in place which will allow me to build the rest of the website very rapidly. I've also got a design in place which is responsive (i.e. comfortably works on desktop, mobile, etc).
The current server application stands at less than 600 lines of code with much of that being legacy code/unused code that remains from earlier revisions - there's also large chunks that are just comments. I won't lie, it's been outright frustrating at times. I had all sorts of problems with sessions but I've got that fixed up and the server code is extremely robust.
Moving on, I recently had a few nice upgrade to my system. First of all, I finally upgraded from a 2GB GTX670 to a 3GB GTX780. I'll be honest, much of the reason for the upgrade was because of how fantastic the 'titan' cooler looks, but it's proven to be worthwhile in the performance department too. I've given up on BF4 for the time being, but I had to try it out with the new card again. The FPS is just fantastic. I opt to play without deferred AA as I game at 2560x1440 (or at least I did, more on that in a moment) so 'jaggies' aren't as much of an issue.
Secondly, I upgraded one of my 2560x1440 monitors to a 3840x2160 (aka 4K) monitors. I've been waiting for 60hz 4K monitors to be released and this week, they finally hit stock in UK retailers. I've gone with the AOC U2868PQU and I'm very impressed with it. Though it uses a TN panel, I can vouch for the reviews that state it's a decent TN panel. My 1440p monitors are IPS and so the colour replication and view angles are fantastic - there really isn't any downsides to them. The 4K panel despite being TN, does have decent viewing angles. Vertically down does cause negative colour shift at about 15-20 degrees, but vertically up doesn't cause any shift until 60-70 degrees. Horizonally, it's about a 170-175 degree view angle to very good. Colour replication is a little 'washed out' compared to the IPS but I can deal with that.
By moving up to 4K, I'm able to see 2 files of code at once with over 100 lines being comfortably visible for each at the same time. If I want to be able to see it a little more clearly, zooming in by 2 levels means I can still see 85 lines of code in each file. This allows me to rapidly make adjustments to projects. It might seem like I'm going completely overboard when it comes to coding effectiveness but I learnt when moving up from 1080p to 1440p just how much difference the extra screen real-estate makes.
The increased resolution also means it's even easier for me to develop intuitive and modern application interfaces. It means that instead of having to constantly adjust where containers are so that I can edit their contents, I can simply leave them in place/side-by-side and edit from there. With 1080p, I was limited to 720p of effective design space. With 1440p, I was limited to 1080p. With 4K, I'm limited to 1440p. Since I'm going to be focused on redesigning all my applications (or almost all) in the near future, the extra design space means that it'll be even easier to create the ideas that I've been planning for many months (whether that's the translucent menu system I came up with or scroll-based interfaces).
Anyway, I've got a project to get back to. I'm intending to launch the new site later this month. With the framework in place and a few pages solidly in place and 'flawless', it shouldn't be too long before it goes live. I'll share full details in the near future so stay tuned!
It's been over a month since my last post surrounding the future of ThoughtCloud and as I mentioned then, I've been extremely busy but I've also had time to solidify my plans a little more.
First and most importantly, ThoughtCloud will soon be no more. I'm going to be leaving the site active, but I'll be relaunching under a new name. I'm not yet ready to share that name, but I'm already in the process of redeveloping the entire 'brand'. Along with this change, I'm looking at essentially rebooting the entire venture. The API work I did in PHP a few months ago is being scrapped and the new site I'm developing will be running on Node.js. This change requires me to rewrite everything but the advantage of Node is that it allows me more freedom to develop. For example, instead of making use of a prebuilt CMS and then having to develop my own 'social connection' code (e.g. 'connect via Twitter', etc), I can develop my own CMS from the ground up.
What's more, because of the design of Node, the new site will be much faster while allowing me to create truly live services. With the current PHP site, if I wanted to make API data reflect in realtime, I'd need to develop my own websocket solution, which would likely cause a whole heap of issues. It may be that there's WS' packages out there for PHP, but I'd much rather move to a new framework entirely. The amount of code I'd need to write in PHP tends to be 20-80% more than what I'd need to write for an equivalent Node project and there's various packages out there that can provide easy to use web socket implementations. What this means as a user is that instead of me (for example) making VTemp check for data every 15 seconds, I can write a web page that reflects the data as it's received.
The performance gains are massive. I've already built a simple chat room application which I'm planning to use as a base for much of the project. I'm building the site to be a realtime reflection of reality (try saying that quickly 3 times ;) ). New articles will be pushed straight to the page without you needing to refresh, social network support will be added (meaning you'll finally be able to create an account with the site using Twitter, Facebook, Google, or one of a number of other providers), there'll be forums, live chat, a support system (for the times where you have trouble with one of my pieces of software, no more email-based system), and as implied above there'll be an API to support new software data. I'll be adding support for services such as Pushover as well. I'm thinking I might make the new site about developer discussion - something like StackOverflow but with a more forum-styled approach (so there'll still be the Q&A system primarily, but a forum type of discussion system will be present), but still having my stuff available.
I also have some news surrounding application releases. Although I'm not yet setting myself back into the role of the developer for them, I have made some significant advances in research over the past few weeks. I've been trying out various UI designs and components and I've got some solid experience in making it all work together. It's a lot of work to get the software updated for mobile, particularly with regards to VTemp (since I've got to write the entire API and I can't hook into an existing one like I can with WinFlare). As you might expect, I'll be using my own designs for the UI - there'll be no premade menus or anything like that. I've very much about creating unique interfaces and I'm confident I can provide some truly stunning designs and experiences. I'm even considering making dedicated mobile app for the site - I even know what sort of design I want. Of course I need to get the site in place first, but I'm truly hoping I can make this work.
It's going to be a busy time ahead for me. Once I'm ready to announce more, you'll find it on here. Stay tuned!
Good evening all!
First of all, let me start by saying that for the foreseeable future, all existing projects are on hold. This includes VTemp, VTemp web, Boiled, WinFlare 2, everything. As I said in my last post, it's been an extremely busy month for me, and it just got a whole lot busier. My schedule doesn't have as much freedom as it did before and certainly not enough to get work done on my projects. If I'm being honest, I'd say I've even grown bored of these projects and trying to find time to get them together. It feels more like work, and not the enjoyable sort of work (like the type I do in my new job). When I transitioned from "Innuendo Design" to "ThoughtCloud", one of my statements was that I wasn't going to let myself be bound to a project just out of some sense of need. Thus, you could consider that for now, I'm releasing the hold on these applications with the potential of never working on them again.
I'd say I've grown tired of software development in general. I'm now much more about web development. It's quicker iteration, less frustration, and the community is so much bigger (compared to Delphi's). I can create interfaces that are equally or more fantastic, and I don't have to worry about things like threading.
As part of my new job role, I'll be creating fairly stunning web-based projects. I can't share anything client specific of course, but I can expand the ideas out and include more options (i.e. jumping straight from what we'd call "v1" to the version that's being planned even while V1 is being developed). Additionally with what I'm learning, I can create small projects that don't belong to the business (either they're created by me, demonstrated to my colleagues, and simply not considered at the moment, or they're simply created during evenings of 'downtime' where there's not enough time to actually work on VTemp or Boiled). For example, a week or so ago, I created a 'JQuery Message Bar' in an evening; http://www.innuendo-eu.co.uk/PublicResources/AppDev/WebDev/jQueryMsgBar/
That's an idea I toyed with for VTemp UI a long time ago. The webkit notifications support is just the icing on the cake. If you take a look at the code of it (mostly sat in http://www.innuendo-eu.co.uk/PublicResources/AppDev/WebDev/jQueryMsgBar/js/jquery.modernMsgBar.js) you'll see that it's fairly simple. It's been built to be expandable and easy to modify, and there's comments for everything. It'd be super-easy to hook up a setInterval call to periodically check some source for updates (e.g. a DB, a remote site/API, etc) and show the alert bar and the webkit notification. You can feed in a small image as well, though for the purpose of webkit notifications, try to make sure that it's got a coloured background of some sort, or an outline. You're free to take that code and design and reuse, edit, or redistribute, I just ask that you keep the commented header in jquery.modernMsgBar.js in place indicating it was made by me. If you do use it anywhere, please do let me know (contact details at the bottom, or simply tweet @ChronSyn ).
I'm hoping to have more widgets like this available in the future. They're all gonna be random ideas I throw out there as opposed to long-winded projects. Some of them might have alternatives, but all the ones I showcase will be my own creation unless otherwise specified. The web is already an incredibly interactive and responsive place, but that doesn't mean that there's no room for more or that we should all conform to the same design elements and prebuilt libraries.
It's been a very busy month for me. I'm moving to a new department at work that's much more focused on development and so I've had to focus a lot on revision for what's required. Thus I've not had much chance to do any real work on VTemp, either the application or the web demo.
However, what I have done is made a few decisions on where I'll be taking the web side of things;
In Chrome, and other webkit based browsers, you can make use of desktop notifications. These notifications are small rectangles which allows a developer to display small messages, images, and basic content. I'm not sure on the application I'll use these for, but perhaps I'll make use of it along with some sort of alerts system (e.g. CPU temperature limit).
I already demonstrated this in the existing demo, but I'll be expanding this to include extra features. For example, dynamically hiding specific data boxes, allowing boxes to be minimized in size (using jquery with the CSS margin or padding properties), etc.
I'll also be hoping to create some graphs that cumulate all the data and display some interesting stats. For example, I might display the correlation between CPU model and voltage, GPU brand and temperatures, etc.
So, what am I waiting for?
Well, I've got a busy 2 weeks ahead, potentially even beyond that. Additional to that, I've got a lot of work to do regarding DB queries. Right now they're not anything beyond basic. The data I've got stored is very optimized as it is, but performance is an absolute priority. There's also some limitations that need to be put in place, but this hopefully won't be too difficult.
Anyway, that's all for now. I still don't have an ETA for any of the releases yet. Again, I've got a busy time ahead but hopefully with what I learn in my new work department, I'll be able to produce something even better than I originally intended.
Scott is extremely interested in software development, coding, and design. He has spent many late nights writing units and designing interfaces that could only be described as cutting edge. He continually strives to improve the interfaces he creates to allow more data to be shown in the same space without overcrowding. He started creating small applications back in 2005, but it wasn't until late 2011 that he started to focus those efforts and create modern software.
Since then, we can't seem to peel him away from his code.
Scott is an avid PC gamer and has been playing many different genres since around 2003 (though he's no stranger to the console games of the 90's). He's played racers, RPG's and tower defense' in the past but tends to stick with FPS and RTS these days. He enjoys single player, multiplayer, co-op, and even single player VS AI (such as in Starcraft 2). His playstyle is typically one of defensive-cover as opposed to offensive-pushing. However, he will adapt his style as appropriate.
Truthfully, he's not very good at games though.
Scott's lifestyle may be laid back, but he finds that even when he's had almost zero sleep in a night, he'll still be able to get through work and projects with a steady stream of Caffeine. VTemp? Caffeine did that. Boiled? Thank Caffeine for that. ThoughtCloud API? That was a week of Caffeine fueled coding. These cartoon images that Scott created? Yeah, Caffeine, a sharpie, some photo paper and a scanner. Oh, and Photoshop too.
And yet, he can't stand Coffee.