Let's Restart That

It has been a couple of months (9) since I’ve published my last entry on this blog. I could blame that on many things. For one thing, I wasn’t really in the mood to write anything for a few months (as you can see by looking at the frequency of updates for year 2006 in the archives). For another, I wanted to switch this website to a new system and as a motivator decided to wait until it was ready before publish anything — it didn’t really work, it even probably had the reverse effect.

Today, I break this auto-imposed silence; I’ll start to write again on subjects I think noteworthy. And I think there are many things noteworthy I’ve missed the chance (until now) to express opinions about. On the technology side, Apple launched its iPhone and the iPod Touch, Microsoft released Windows Vista, PHP 4 end of life is coming near, and the W3C restarted its HTML working group. Other things I’ve missed a chance to comment on during this hiatus are the 2007 provincial elections here in Québec and other various news and events in Canada and elsewhere.

I may have been silent on this blog, but it didn’t really sit idle either. Since a little more than a year, I’ve been from time to time contributing to the WHATWG mailing list, and I’ve continued contributing. I’ve been told my feedback (with dozens of use real-world use cases) has been particularly useful for Ian when he drafted the new figure element.

I’ve also updated some of the software projects on my website. Sim Daltonism has been updated to version 1.0.3 which fixes a couple of issues and increase performance (especially on those Intel Macs). PHP Markdown, my implementation of the Markdown syntax based on the original tool in Perl by John Gruber, and PHP Markdown Extra evolved a lot in the last months. I’ve made a PEAR channel for PHP Markdown; I’ve also setup a Git repository mirror for those who wish to track its development. I’ll do the same for PHP SmartyPants shortly.

Beside all this, I also put much of my time working on a software product I hoped to publish and sell in addition to use it on my website: Reflex. Reflex is some kind of a hybrid between a web development framework and a content management system. An older prototype of Reflex is what runs this site. The version I was working on was a complete rebuilt, but it turned out more like an exploratory process during which I made a lot of incomplete prototypes, but never could decide on an architecture to stand on.

So I decided to let go of Reflex and do something else. Take note that this doesn’t mean I’ve done all this for nothing. First, this has been a very interesting experiment, and even if it didn’t reached its logical conclusion I learned a lot from my errors. Secondly, there are many components in my various prototypes which can be reused or released as separate libraries, I may very well do that for some of them in the future. Perhaps I’ll relaunch Reflex later when I the concept will have matured a bit more. Right now however, what I need is a rest from Reflex.

As for now, I’ve another completely different project in the works. It involves D, and is almost ready for a first announcement. (“Release early, release often” they say, let’s try that this time.)

Oh, and by the way, I’m now for hire. If you have something for me in Quebec City, please drop me an email. More on that later.