Sunday, February 25, 2007

Last week's activity

A full week between posts. Ah well, shows I've been spending the time hacking rather than blogging about it.

Last week's conference call went well, despite not having something demoable. Matt had lots of good logo choices, though he was going to keep working at it and see if he could come up with anything better. I think it was last week that James finished the registration page layout. And we had some incorporation & decision-making stuff to talk about.

When I left off, I was incorporating the mock layout into the real app. That went smoothly - I just copied over the DreamWeaver HTML, CSS, and image files, replaced the content and login boxes with template vars, and it just worked. It's horribly messy CSS - DreamWeaver uses absolute positioning for everything, so I'm eventually going to have to go through and redo the format with a sane box model. But that'll wait till after the logo and final layout, since there will likely be further tweaks. This is good enough for testing & demos.

I also had to change the formatting a little to get the login box to fit. Not entirely satisfied with it; we'll likely have a space problem if we add OpenID. But we can cross that bridge when we come to it too.

When I got to the registration page, I realized that I really should figure out internationalization issues first. So that was most of this week. Started by simply trying to setup a null translation and load the resource bundle based on a database field; I finished that on Tuesday (yay for Monday being a holiday). That didn't work when I tried to add actual messages, so I spent some time Googling around for gettext tutorials, didn't find any, and then finally looked through the Mailman source. Fixed it on Thursday, just after Grey's Anatomy (I seem to get a lot done during that show. Maybe it's because last week's episode had me wishing that they had killed Meredith.)

I started working on the validation libraries concurrently. Wrote out the basic design on the Red Line Wednesday, then came home and typed most of it in on Wednesday night. Added the unit tests on Friday, finished up the validators, then spent all day yesterday integrating it in with the registration form and debugging. Seems to be working fairly well now.

I also did some minor CSS tweaks so the registration and upload forms look relatively pretty now.

Now I'm trying to finish the game page (instead of having it link directly to the SWF file), and hopefully get to comments. Yeah, I said that last week, but i18n and validation intervened. I'm glad that we're building a really solid app first, though, and then adding features. It gives a much more realistic idea of the schedule, and we can always cut features for launch.

The current plan is to launch with basic game uploading, commenting (threaded, with Markdown formatting), rating, and nothing else. That'll hopefully be enough to keep visitors coming back, and then we can improve it rapidly, add features like studios and the game creation engine, and listen to user feedback.

I'm thinking sometime around April for the date - if we can time it for spring break, that'd be great.

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