Register to post in forums, or Log in to your existing account
 
Zugg Software :: View Entry - So much to do...So little time
Post new entry     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog Goto page 1, 2  Next
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:22 pm   

So much to do...So little time
 
Time seems to be going faster and faster again.

This week I was supposed to work on CMUD help files. Well, I did...for a couple days. But then I ran into all sorts of other jobs...like taxes.

So far, since our return from vacation, I have spent time doing all sorts of things other than working on CMUD directly:

1) I've spent a day adding more anti-spambot code to our forums to try and reduce all of the spam that we got during the holidays. So far this seems to be working well. I won't go into the details of all of the tricky stuff that I added/changed. But I think I've got the forums to the point where only a real person can successfully create a new user account.

Of course, there are some people paid to manually create accounts on forums and then sell the names to spam lists, and nothing will stop those. We have some additional tricks to mess up the spambot scripts, but some might still get through. So far we have only had *one* spam post in the past week, which is a big improvement.

Not much else we can do at this point. Zuggsoft.com gets a *very* high Google rating. I was searching for some text the other day and got a hit to one of my Blog posts in the very first page of Google (even though it had nothing to do with what I was searching for). So I know this makes us a big target. We have had stable forum URLs for many years now. Good for us, but bad for getting spammed. Anyway, should be better now.

2) Spent another day working on the email scripts that send out license keys to customers. While these emails were getting past most spam filters, there were still a small number of customers who couldn't receive our license key emails for some reason. I rewrote some of the PHP script that forms the email headers and sends it to reduce some of the SpamAssassin and Barracuda spam scores.

With the new email, it also sends a proper alt-text version of the normal html email. I'm still getting a flag about the text version not matching the html version. Not really sure how to fix that. I've tried making the alt-text *exactly* the same as the html (with tags and all), and that didn't work. Then I tried to make it the same as the html with the tags removed, and that still didn't work. The current alt-text version looks just like the html version without the formatting and it still complains, but the SpamAssasin "score" for this rule is only 0.14, so that's really small and much better than some of the other rules that the original rules were firing.

3) Next, installed the updates to our HelpSpot helpdesk application. This is the web-based application that we use to answer and track all support email, and also all of the crash dumps and feedback sent from CMUD. Fortunately, this went smoothly.

4) Then it was time to work on tax paperwork. At the beginning of last year we incorporated into Zugg Software Inc (as an S-Corp). There is a bunch of year-end paperwork to be done, such as sending ourselves W-2 forms for the business. And since this is the first year, we are still learning how QuickBooks works and what information the accountant needs to do our taxes in April. One of our accounts wasn't properly downloading statements online, and Chiara had to enter a bunch of data from paper statements. Chiara still has some stuff to do before the end of the month, but I think I'm done with the stuff that I needed to help her with.

Not sure the S-Corp thing was worth the trouble this past year (we barely broke even). Hopefully sales will increase this year and then the tax savings will make it worth while. At least we got better/cheaper health insurance out of it.

5) Today I suddenly realized that it was nearly the end of January and it was time to set up the icon bidding system for this year. So I spent the day tweaking the bidding scripts and updating the various documentation and sending out email to various MUD admins. I still need to post to a few other sites about the bids, but that can wait a couple more days.

And this doesn't count my bi-weekly "research/self-improvement" day that I'm taking every 2 weeks this year where I try to learn something new and research sites that might help with the future of our products. Last week I spent a day researching the SSH components for CMUD/TeSSH, and also looking into various 3rd party "editor" components to improve the settings script editor. I found a couple candidates that I'll play a bit more with. One is called PlusMemo and another is a Delphi wrapper for Scintilla, which is a popular open-source component. Still evaluating the pros and cons of both systems. But they both seem to offer a lot of improvements over the RichView memo component I'm using in CMUD right now. RichView was designed for "Microsoft Word-like" applications and was something that I did for zApp and then used in CMUD. The advantage of PlusMemo is that it already integrates with the spellchecking component that I use. Scintilla is probably more powerful, but I don't know how I'd add the as-you-type spellchecking, and I think it would require a DLL to be added to the distribution. So right now I'm leaning towards PlusMemo.

Anyway, that's what I've been spending time on the past couple of weeks. Just lots and lots of little things that I was ignoring last year when I was focused on getting CMUD released.

I plan to spend most of next week on the CMUD documentation again. Then I'll start work on the next version of CMUD. Haven't decided exactly which new features will be added yet, but it will certainly have more bug fixes.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:48 pm   
 
Is a spell-checker component actually going to be useful in the script editor, given the variations of each command (e.g. #TR, #TRI, #TRIG, #TRIGG, #TRIGGE, #TRIGGER)? I'd rather a syntax checker and Pretty Printer like in zMUD...
Reply with quote
Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:30 pm   
 
Why is everyone so obsessed with having a Pretty Printer? As far as I'm aware Zugg's never posted that he was intending to add one, and it caused so many headaches I don't understand why you want one.

If one could be included to make admittedly hideous zMUD scripts look nice without editing, it'd be nice if it said THIS IS ONLY INCLUDED FOR MAKING YOUR zMUD SCRIPTS LOOK NICE, DON'T BLAME US IF IT MAKES YOUR HEAD EXPLODE FROM MOVING YOUR CURSOR AROUND. Also, I'm not sure how well such a thing would gel with CMUD's multi-line command things.

_________________
Rorso's syntax colouriser.

- Happy bunny is happy! (1/25)
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:47 pm   
 
I never had any problems with the Pretty Printer in zMUD. Well, OK, once with a script I got from the Finished MUD Scripts forum. And once zMUD didn't understand my Syntax due to using string tests that included special characters, although the script worked fine. There was no work around.
Reply with quote
Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:04 am   
 
What got me about the pretty printer was when I was typing away happily, looking at the keyboard, other items on the screen, out the window, at the TV and then I'll look back to find out that the pretty printer has been jiggling my cursor around as it detects different commands, makes #if commands multi-line and things, and I've ended up typing a load of garbage.

_________________
Rorso's syntax colouriser.

- Happy bunny is happy! (1/25)
Reply with quote
Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:23 pm   
 
I never cared for the pretty printing, on way or the other. But if folks want it, or Zugg decides to put it in, I think he should take a page out of the book of other IDE's. In other words, have scripts be displayed as they are typed and then having an option to explicitly format it.

_________________
Asati di tempari!
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:01 pm   
 
Yeah, if I ever add Pretty Printing again (and I'm not promising anything), then it will be a menu command that you select to explicitly reformat your script. It will *not* be something that is on all the time like it was in zMUD interferring with your typing. That was a complete mess.
Reply with quote
MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:10 pm   
 
Quote:

Yeah, if I ever add Pretty Printing again (and I'm not promising anything), then it will be a menu command that you select to explicitly reformat your script. It will *not* be something that is on all the time like it was in zMUD interferring with your typing. That was a complete mess.


Has to be a menu? The IDEs I've seen typically enact formatting and syntax checking either when the user clicks away from the object or clicks to it. Would it be possible to slip these things in at those times rather than via the onKey events? That would eliminate all chance of interference when typing.

_________________
EDIT: I didn't like my old signature
Reply with quote
Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:14 pm   
 
Visual Studio .NET 2k5 does pretty printing quite well along with the predicitive text, but even that can annoy me at times. Most of the time it's unobtrusive enough to be useful, but you get the occasional thing where it goes haywire and makes a mess of what you're trying to do.

Personally I prefer syntax highlighting, it doesn't do anything to intefere with the code you're writing, but makes things clearer to read/review.
Reply with quote
Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:50 pm   
 
One thing I did like about zMUD's package editor was how the status line showed suggested syntax for whatever function you're using. It's useful when you can't remember the order of parameters (in %pos, for example, I can never remember whether it's the string you're looking for or the string that's being searched that goes first).

_________________
Rorso's syntax colouriser.

- Happy bunny is happy! (1/25)
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:26 pm   
 
CMUD shows that stuff in the status bar and in the mouse-over hint when you move the mouse over a command or function. The problem is that the current information doesn't tell you much. But the capability is there...I just need to improve the information that is displayed.

Also, remember the F1 key to display the help panel for the command/function under the cursor.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:30 pm   
 
CMUD shows that stuff in the status bar and in the mouse-over hint when you move the mouse over a command or function. The problem is that the current information doesn't tell you much. But the capability is there...I just need to improve the information that is displayed.

Also, remember the F1 key to display the help panel for the command/function under the cursor.

Matt: the zMUD system *did* work on a timer and wasn't *supposed* to interfere as you typed. Each time you pressed a key, that delayed the pretty print function a few seconds. But there was still too many times when it could mess people up. I'm not sure that only doing it when you click away from the memo component would work any better. Trust me...it worked well for some people, but it was one of the things that I got a *lot* of email on. I got way more comments to remove it than I have gotten to put it back.

In any case, this is a moot discussion and should wait until (or if) I ever add a Pretty Print function again. The current parser doesn't have the capability at this time.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:45 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
What got me about the pretty printer was when I was typing away happily, looking at the keyboard, other items on the screen, out the window, at the TV and then I'll look back to find out that the pretty printer has been jiggling my cursor around as it detects different commands, makes #if commands multi-line and things, and I've ended up typing a load of garbage.

That is not the "Pretty Print" option! What you are talking about it the "Check syntax while typing" option. I agree with you on that point - I don't like the "Check syntax while typing" option in zMUD - it has a habit of sometimes reformatting what you are typing and moving the cursor about. I just switch that off. (Although I think this option would work better with a much longer delay before checking syntax - about 3 times as long.) The Pretty Printer only kicks into action when you press Save (if the "Check syntax while typing" option is unticked) or when the script is saved by some other method.

I think the issue is that people *think* they don't like the Pretty Printer, because they are mixing up the two things.

Also, I think a lot of people liked the fact they could see syntax errors in zMUD scripts without having to press a key combination or a menu command.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:16 am   
 
Good point Seb. Even I was getting confused about that. Yes, it was the "Check syntax while typing" that had the timer based upon keystrokes that could mess up the cursor. The new syntax checker doesn't interfere at all with what is typed, and I think we have talked before in the forums about having CMUD check the syntax when you pause during typing and give some sort of visual indication if the script compiles.

This thread sure has gotten far from the original topics that I posted though.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:26 pm   
 
Well, getting this back on topic...

I've gotten a lot done on the help file. Still lots of work left to do. One thing that I'm in the middle of is trying to make the command and function reference consistent in how it shows optional arguments. In the zMUD help file, optional arguments were sometimes shown with [ ] brackets around them. This caused some new users to put the brackets into their scripts (which sometimes worked in zMUD!). I am changing the CMUD help file so that optional arguments are always in italic text. I'm also adding the explicit {} where these are required. For example, see the new help topic for the #IF command (compared to the zMUD #IF command). This should help people remember their () and {} characters.

I'm trying to improve how the commands and functions are cross-referenced. Vijilante did a good amount of work on this in zMUD, and I've created a new topic called Scripting Reference that groups commands and functions by what they do instead of just alphabetically. I've also been adding more topics into the Feature Reference section.
Reply with quote
MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:10 am   
 
The {} and () idea is great. Might I suggest not just relying on italics, however? I sometimes find italics hard to notice when reading, and it's not always understandable what it's italicized for. As it's a convention used for the entire helpfile, there's not always the guarantee everyone will seek out the Getting Started and other likely places you might put an explanation for the italicizing and other formatting conventions.

Perhaps simply including a short argument details list with an Optional. thrown into the details blurb (like I suppose Delphi does with their helpfiles? I know VB does this, at least in the VB6 and earlier versions, but their helpfiles weren't entirely intuitive in general)?

#if (condition) {true} {false}

blah, blah, descriptive intro text.

condition -- expression to test for true/false result
true -- the code to execute if condition is true
false -- optional. the code to execute if condition is false

Examples.

Speaking of #IF examples, might be a good idea to maybe throw in an example that illustrates how to test for multiple conditions (it will be a common occurrance, and the new features governing () might mean different behaviors than in ZMud):

#if ((a > b) and (b > c)) {#say b is in between a and c!} {#say b is not in between a and c!}

_________________
EDIT: I didn't like my old signature
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:43 am   
 
Well, fortunately the F1 help within CMUD itself makes it totally clear which arguments are optional. But I needed a good way to tell just from the simple syntax line. For example, when you mouse-over a command/function, you get a *single* line of help for it. So there isn't a lot of room to show "optional". The italic method works well for this. Bold is much worse, since it gets used in headers and in DL lists. But italics are not used anywhere else, so I think it's something consistent that people will get used to. It's also used in other languages and documentation as well.

If you have ideas on additional examples, please be sure to use the Comments section in the online version of the help files. I often read the comments and then edit the help topic based upon the comment. Then I usually delete the comment so that you can tell that I got it integrated with the main text. Putting comments or examples here in the blog won't help because they will just get lost.

The more comments and examples that get posted over in the actual help knowledge base, the better the help files will be. The more eyes reading the topics, the better. There is a limit to what I can do when I try to read all of the topics myself. There are just too many topics.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:12 am   
 
Those help files are getting nicer, but I thought I'd point out that some mudders are blind and use screen-readers. I'm not sure how well that copes with italics - I expect formatting isn't read out. Just something to consider.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:50 pm   
 
That's true, but since the optional arguments are mentioned to be optional in the main body of the help topics, I'm not going to worry about that. It wasn't any better before putting brackets around them (inconsistently).
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:36 am   
 
Continuing to work on the help files. I hope everyone is liking the new topics and organization. I still continue to be amazed at how long this is all taking. I got things speeded up a bit today when I modified the help window in CMUD and added a "Copy Link" command bound to Ctrl-L. This copies the bbcode for the help file link into the clipboard. This is saving me a lot of typing. Also, I can browse the help in CMUD and use the "Open in browser" button to open the selected topic and edit it on the web site. That's is working pretty well.

Still, it's long and tedious editing work. I'm trying harder to read each topic that I edit the syntax for to make sure it is still relevant in CMUD. I've modified a *lot* of different topics to reflect various changes and to make sure the examples work. I've also added a few more bugs to the bug list as I find some stuff that doesn't work as documented.

This year I'm taking a normal 2-day weekend like everyone else, so I won't be doing anything else until Monday. But I think that since I'm on a roll with these help files that I'll continue with them next week as well. I'll go back to programming and bug fixing when I decide that the help files are in better shape. But after working all this week on them, I think I still have another solid week of help file work ahead of me.
Reply with quote
wedrifid
Beginner


Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:23 am   
 
The new scripting reference is a great time saver. It's been something I'd been looking for in zMud but handn't thought to ask for. Much easier than surfing the "see also" links indefinitely!
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:31 pm   
 
OK, I've got the new Scripting Reference section finished for now. Each command and function has been included in at least one topic area. I've also gone through each command and function and made the "syntax" line consistent where italics indicate optional arguments. I've also finished playing the {} characters around the arguments that require them, and have tried to read most of the topics and examples and test them in CMUD. Uncovered a few more bugs from this, but I think the help file should reflect that way it is *supposed* to work.

I've only covered the command and function reference area. Tomorrow I will start filling in some of the other topics, such as the new Multiplayer topic, Shared Package Library, etc. It will probably take me the rest of the week to finish filling in the gaps. Hopefully near the end of the week I can write a PHP script to go through the help database and look for any broken links.

It's getting better!
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:14 am   
 
As some people have already noticed (smiles at Taz), today I got the new Preferences section in the help file started. There was no way to copy the help for this section from zMUD since the Preferences screens were all rewritten. So I've captured screen shots of each Prefs page and have created the help topic hierarchies for these pages.

I've always liked online help that used image-maps for tabbed preferences screens, so I decided to do that for the CMUD Preferences. The online images now have image maps so that you can interactively click on the tabs along the left side of the preferences image, or the tabs along the top, to switch to the help topic that describes the selected page.

Took a while to get this working and to tweak the Knowledge Base article system to allow it, but it looks like it's working now. CMUD's internal Help system doesn't yet handle the image maps. Not sure if it will be possible or not. The current HTML import function for the RichView memo component that I'm using doesn't support it, but it might be possible to add in the future. Fortunately the image maps are ignored and don't have any bad side effects within the CMUD help system.

None of the actual option fields are documented yet. I'll be doing that over the next few days. Took all day today just to get the images, image maps, and topic structure working.

I think it's pretty cool if you ask me Wink
Reply with quote
Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:31 am   
 
I thought it was extremely nifty once I realised they were there! There should be some kind of notice on the page showing that they're there. They could easily be missed, especially if they don't show up in the CMUD help.

Oh, and the other thing - please document that drop-down box in the top left corner of the preferences window. It's difficult to puzzle out what all the options are for.
Reply with quote
Taz
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 1395
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:54 am   
 
Yes very nice work indeed Zugg!!!

Amazing that I was so quick off the mark being here in the UK and what I'm doing up now at almost 5am I have no idea, well I can't sleep actually. Nice catch from me on the incorrect tab and I see you fixed it Very Happy

_________________
Taz :)
Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new entry   Reply to entry     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new entries in this Blog
You cannot reply to entries in this Blog
You cannot edit your posts in this Blog
You cannot delete your posts in this Blog
© 2009 Zugg Software. Hosted on Wolfpaw.net