Nerd wannabe

lazy weblog

Pointless update

with 5 comments

So.. I needed to re-cap a never-learned science, the computer one.

You see, when I joined a computer science university, I had no “official” CS background (math high-school, yadda-yadda).
I did had a computer at home in highschool – which allowed me to poke around with some ‘exotic’ VGA poking.. but never got into backtracking or other stuff my friends from CS highschool got.

Then, just when the 3rd year in university got to those subjects, I was _so_ employed I haven’t had the time to.. you know.. think before the exams.

So I bought some books now, that I am old enough to afford myself shopping from amazon (heh):
– the algorithm design manual – which I favoured over ‘CLR’ because everybody said CLR was ‘sooo basic’. Now I have to struggle with my english skills because the ADM is explained in plain english rather than scientific way
– the dragon book – yeah..
– learn to tango with D – the only D book available today (I love reading paper, you know..)
– erlang – the only book to – influenced by my reddit fellows

Soo.. I am planning re-writing gtkaml, the markup for UI that I ripped from my XAML/MXML/XUL experience.

But is it worth it?

I want to:
– stop using libxml2, switch to GMarkup, to minimize dependencies. But GMarkup doesn’t even discern CDATA from regular text (I need that for code in a gtkaml class)
– cleanly separate parsing from semantic analisys (lexing is XML).
– generate native Vala AST instead of text (I currently feed a generated source to the Vala parser)

Again.. why would I do it? It’s my first open-source attempt, I tried to announce it on vala list, I had as little as.. one user, then a couple of _month_ later tried to announce it on gnome-announce.

It seems like nobody’s getting where I’m going or doesn’t want to. Since I have this (mainly MXML) background, I concieved gtkaml as a shortcut for _me_ to learn the _Gtk_ UI widgets and their properties. I used it a couple of times to prototype UI for something that would have been to boring to write in C or in Vala.

I got at maximum 100 downloads per release, starring on gnomefiles and freshmeat. It lowers – the latest version, posted on gnome-announce, had less downloads.
Is it because, not having a well organized parser/code generator, every hacker scares away (from the error messages for example)??

I also get compared with glade/GtkBuilder that often that I explained in a previous post the differences. But still nobody cared.

Can somebody point me their open-source experience? is this normal? (i.e. to have an unique itch and scratch it?)


Written by vlad

August 21, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Posted in gtkaml, ideas, morons

5 Responses

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  1. It might be the the idea itself, it might be the marketing and publicity, it might be the quality of the implementation, it might be the similar projects available. I guess you can never tell for sure. What’s sure is that it takes a lot of time and effort to successfully develop an open source project.
    The jury of an open source project is more exigent than the ones buying a closed source project.
    I also think that the product want sell itself out there, in the wild. You still need to knock a lot of doors, or at least, make a lot of noise around it. And when noising around, consider that whole lot of noise that’s already there. Thousands of other projects striving to get born or to survive. Even great ideas die before their parents have sex, you know. :-)
    Every GUI framework outthere needs a markup language. Macromedia got it right. But they also have the money, the tooling and… you know, they got bought by a even bigger dude.

    Yours truly, never tired of dreaming and coding,


    August 22, 2008 at 5:35 am

  2. Two more things:

    – Generating AST is not the most easiest thing to do on earth. I’ve done it in my (100 downloads per release, no feedback per announcement) web framework. Specially, not for a “late night coding” programmer. If you could come up with a runtime compilation kind of stuff, it will be just fine. And even dev compilation is not that bad.

    – You need the tooling man!! :-)
    When you’ll get back from feeding the ducks I’ll show you the latest and greatest of it. We’ll make it pluggable, Adobe AIR based and generate and compile for the lazy users.


    August 22, 2008 at 5:43 am

  3. Hi Cristi, thanks for your feedback.

    Indeed, a “late night coding” only can’t compete with a large vendor that pushes a technology.. unless it solves a common itch, as far as I can tell.

    For example, a student once developed “cooperative linux”. Now it is the exact thing I need as a cross-platform windows/linux developer, and I know a bunch of people restricted to MS Active Directory logon / Outlook that use colinux as a way to be more productive with a familiar environment.

    About the “tooling”, this is actually my problem: should I invest more time to make the project user-friendly to other people? because my problem is already scratched, and “other people” not already interested in the project may not be interested with or without tooling.

    Plus, you’re talking about AIR, while I’m trying to get rid of 3rd party dependencies (e.g. only gtk required, no libxml2)

    Anyway, I would like to check your flair builder advancements, but only once I finish “feeding the ducks”(country house) and get back to my broadband connection)


    August 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  4. Having or not 3rd parties deps is not the point here. It’s ideal not to have but still, depends on what your code is doing. Usefulness goes from ‘calc.exe’ all the way to SAP.

    I wish we could build something that will require *3rd party consultants* to pay us back so we could stay in the backyard coding on 4Core mac’s. :-)


    August 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm

  5. The project must have something unique, something that offers a new perspective. Competing with existing tools is very hard because people are already used to them and something else is usually ignored as long as the job is done fine in the old way.

    3rd party dependency is not the first thing that should be taken into account when developing an application/library. First thing is to have something working and after that eliminate some useless dependencies, if possible and the effort is justified.


    September 2, 2008 at 7:23 pm

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