Lack of posts due to top secret work

I can't talk for long. I'm working on a top, top, top secret project. I'd love to tell you that I'm writing my own blog engine from scratch, but then I'd have to kill you.

Oh... shit. Well, since you're kind of anonymous, you're on the honor system. Please off yourself as soon as convenient, kthanx!

Since you're already doomed and I've let the cat out of the bag, might as well fill you in on the skinny.


The new software will be known as The Ansible Blog Engine. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an ansible is a science fiction device that can talk across infinite distances, speed of light be damned.

I helped write bits and pieces of Subtext, which is a damned fine blog engine and the current engine being used for Sharp as a Marble. However, I have a few issues with it as well as some career issues that made me want to start over from scratch.

First, Subtext is a lot more complex than I need it to be. It's a multi-blog engine with a slew of bells and whistles I simply don't need. The problem with bells and whistles is that it clutters up code.

Second, Subtext skinning is notoriously hard. Too hard. Not just creating a new look and feel, but even updating simple things requires a whole mess of recoding. For example, I like to have archives on the front page, but not all of them. I just want to show the archive for the past year with an option to show all. This reduces the space needed on the side bar. That's simply not an easy option with ST. Also, there's no mechanism for changing the skin on the fly.

Finally, I've recently been demoted transferred to a job that pretty much involves troubleshooting other people's code written 90% in JavaScript and 8% in Java (2% seems to be written in Gobbledygook++). Not working on .Net on a daily basis means I'll need to find other means to keep my skill sets sharp. Already, I've realized I've forgotten a whole mess about web development. Ansible is going to help me stay up to date.

Eventually, I'll release it as Open Source code. My goal is to have only the bare essentials needed for a web blog. Administration will be rudimentary. You'll be able to manage the blogroll, categories, and posts and maybe set the default skin, but not much else.

Right now, I'm pretty much 100% done with the outward facing, read-only part of the engine. I converted all my current blog over and you can read until the cows come home. Commenting is next in line to get implemented since a blog is pretty much useless without that.

No idea when I'll be actually ready to implement it full bore. Took me 2 days to write the base code (plus another day to rewrite it after it decided to eat itself), however the display is the easy part. I need to implement the behind the scenes stuff like RSS and ATOM feeds, converters so that most of the old links continue to work, implement the MetaWebLog API so I can use LiveWriter to post, trackbacks, and of course, basic spam prevention (I'm thinking simple "What color is blue?" type things). Administration can be done via the config file and a bit o' database updates, so admin pages can come later.

Hence the lack of serious blogging. I'll get back to the gun stuff soon enough!

Now that you've been let in the secret, don't go telling anyone else, ok? I'd hate to have to request they off themselves too.

posted by by Robb Allen @
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