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Cliff vaguely wishes this could be CliffordAdams/Archive :-) :-)


(not-so) Recent Events:

Events continue to occur...

April 21, 2001: UseModWiki 0.92 is now available--see the [Download] page. I'm going to wait until Monday to alert the mailing list, to give a few people a final chance to find bugs. Cliff thinks he may need that round of beer soon. :-)

April 16, 2001: I was going to release 0.92 today, but I might wait another day and add in charset support and a couple tiny config options. Maybe I'll just test it tonight on the usemod.com wikis and do the release tomorrow. Now would be a very good time to send any bug reports to mailto:usemod@usemod.com.

April 10, 2001: Limited-memory errors are fun in retrospect. Watch your script die at random places. At least now I know what my limits are. :-) Release 0.92 is going through some pre-release testing with a few brave volunteers. Anyone who doesn't have enough excitement in their lives is invited to email me and try it out. --CliffordAdams

March 27, 2001: I was planning to wrap up several wiki features this weekend and start serious testing. Unfortunately, one of my teeth lost a filling and became infected. After a lousy weekend I got to celebrate Monday with a root canal. At least I have an excuse for slipping the 0.92 schedule some more.

On the good side, the next release will finally be translatable using an external strings file. This means that German or Esperanto or Finnish or French wikis can share the same main code with only a different translation file. I don't yet have an interface to allow per-user translation settings, so it will probably wait for 0.93. Other new features include support for stylesheets, a "not found" page option (rather than showing a blank page), and several bugfixes.

The [Wikipedia] is occupying a lot of my attention as it continues to grow beyond my expectations. The issues with free-form links seem to be settling down, and the emerging consensus is to move toward canonical capitalized page names. Meatball has also had several interesting edits recently. I've been tempted to reply with my own manifestos, but I think working code would be more appreciated.

March 1, 2001: Back from a 5-day vacation. Lots of wiki mail piled up. I need another vacation. :-) I'll update the InterMap later today with the suggested entries. The [Sensei's Library Wiki] is particularly interesting--I like their idea of "paths". UseModWiki development has been a bit slow recently--I've been reacting to user requests more than coding new ideas. One likely new feature will be some kind of translation table for the wiki text. Several people have translated UseModWiki into other languages already, and I'd like to make it easy for them to keep up with new features.

February 14, 2001: Just a few minutes ago I finished a huge work project that's been keeping me busy at work and too tired to do much hacking at home. I've managed to put together a UseModWiki 0.91 release which should be announced in a day or two. (Sites that want to try a little last-second testing are encouraged to email me for the URL. I'd rather not have to release 0.91.1 in a few days.)

January 28, 2001: Things have been rather busy recently. Several new UseModWiki sites have started recently, and many of the users have questions or suggestions. The biggest new one is http://www.wikipedia.com/. I've been doing some work to adapt the wiki software to the different needs of that community.

Later in the evening I read some of my old diary entries. Lots of fun stuff like my notes from installing Linux 0.95 in 1992. I found a note from January 12, 1991 that was the start of the "Usenet Moderation Project"--a few simple modifications to the RN newsreader (about 20 lines of C code) to test an idea. Things certainly turned out differently than I expected... (Usemod.com got it's name from that project.)

January 6, 2001: Spent the whole day hacking on Scoop as a break from wiki hacking. At one point I screwed up some embedded Perl code stored in the SQL database (for the hotlist box), and I couldn't load the Scoop page that lets me edit the embedded code. I was about to give up and wipe my database, then I thought about fixing it manually. It took awhile to find the right commands, but it was much more fun this way.

Later I tried to get the wiki code running within Scoop, and found some problems getting the CGI stuff in wiki to work under the mod_perl environment. I'm thinking it may be easiest to hack out the wiki->HTML formatting and build up from there. Using a real database for storage gets rid of *so* many problems...

Recently I've been considering whether to make more frequent releases of UseModWiki. One reason the last 0.90 release took so long is that I have a huge list of features that I want to have by release 1.0. I'm now wondering if it would be better to quickly move toward 1.0 with fewer features, and save some of them for later releases. This could mean a more frequent release schedule, which has advantages and disadvantages. Any opinions out there?

December 24, 2000: Time to start wrapping the presents that I bought yesterday. A few hours ago I kicked UseModWiki 0.90 out the door into the BigBlueRoom. I haven't heard any screams yet, so it must be working. :-) A couple days ago I sent out my first suggested patch for the ScoopEngine--we'll see if it gets accepted and brings me instant fame and fortune.

December 21, 2000: After a mere three hours of setup, [Scoop] is now running on my Linux box (not world-accessible). I'm wondering if I should embed a wiki into Scoop, or embed Scoop into the wiki... :-)

Rock! With your WikiWiki experience, and my WebLog experience, we can make the ScoopEngine into the world's first WikiLog in no time! ;-) --RustyFoster

December 20, 2000: After being lazy, things have gotten rather busy. Sunir is back to his troublemaking with K5, but this time he seems to have caught some quality contributors. :-) I've been wanting to participate, but I also want to get version 0.90 out the door. I guess I can use Kuro5hin as an excuse for not writing more release documentation. :-) I added a little something to the end of KuroshinRatingSuggestions tonight.

I've started to read the Scoop source code tonight (from the nightly tarball). I already have ideas for improvement, and maybe I'll start submitting patches soon. Be afraid. Be very afraid. (Pray that I can't get Scoop working on my Linux box. ;-)

December 15, 2000: I've been somewhat lazy recently, after finishing the 0.90 conversion tool (which works fine)--I'm probably dreading the documentation I'll have to write soon for the release.

After ErikDeBill's entry, I'll add my two cents: I think the election in Florida was too close to effectively contest in the time provided, so it required a decision. Hopefully the procedures will be improved so that this doesn't happen again soon, or at least some prior agreement on methods of contesting an election. I'm somewhat selfishly glad for the outcome, since my office-mate often listens to Rush (a "conservative" talk-show host) on the radio. I don't think I could have stood four years of "he **STOLE** the election" if Gore had won. Four weeks of "trying to steal" was bad enough.

Of course, I'm in New York, and one wonders why they even bothered counting the Republican vote in that state. Heck, I live in the Senate district that elected Hillary Clinton. Still, that's a whole lot better than being a Nader supporter in Florida. :-) (Unfortunately, this election could really hurt third-party campaigns. I think there were a couple other states close enough that third-party votes could have tipped the balance.)

December 9-10, 2000: Finally got back to coding, after far too much wiki-surfing during the week. The conversion tool should be complete--I'll try copying the Meatball database and upgrading the copy after I get some sleep. Unless something new arises, the test-2 release of 0.90 should be available in the next day or so.

I've also been doing more reading recently. One of my favorite new authors is KenMacleod?, whose novels feel somewhat similar to the Culture novels of IainMBanks? in the way they explore plausible future societies and cultures. (I'll try to write more later when I finish his books.)

December 1, 2000: The alpha test of 0.90 is out, and the brave users have found a few bugs (now fixed). Assuming I finish a wiki conversion tool for the new database format, the second "beta" release should happen this weekend. Email me if you want to test this version.

In non-wiki news, I saw from a SlashDot link that someone has finally implemented a Wiki:TuringMachine in the Wiki:GameOfLife (see [1]). That was one of my dreams from a dozen or more years ago, but I always thought it would be impractically large to simulate. The progress of Life-research has been amazing, however, and the sample machine fits easily within 2000x2000 cells. I suppose I could still work on the Holy Grail of the self-replicating Universal Constructor, however...

November 24, 2000: I planned to spend today wrapping up an early test-release of 0.90 (for a few alpha testers). Instead I implemented a basic "admin" system for UseModWiki. Users who enter a valid admin password can lock or unlock the wiki for editing (when locked, only admins can edit). Also, to deal with vandals, admins can add hosts/addresses/networks to an "edit banned" list. (The banned list is editable using a textarea, and it allows comments that other admins can see.) All this for under 200 lines of Perl.

I'm not sure if these features will be appropriate for Meatball, but they may be good for other sites. Opinions? One possible use is for an "invitation-only" wiki, where editing is globally closed, but admin passwords are given away relatively freely.

November 18, 2000: Obviously I'm not one of the best diary-keepers here. At least I have a good excuse--I've been trying to get 0.90 out in a finite amount of time. :-) Excellent coding day today--I implemented the redirect-options, preserving the summary/minor-edit on preview, and new (optional) code to keep the list of pages in an index file-cache. (The index file-cache should reduce CPU/disk-IO load for index, search, random page, and file-testing (page exists) functions.) I also cleaned up much of the subroutine-ordering of the browse-side code. The 0.90-testing script is now 2861 lines (82278 bytes). (For comparison, the current Meatball wiki script is 2389 lines and 68050 bytes.) Next week I'll probably start doing some alpha-testing of the 0.90 release on other sites.

November 4, 2000: A good evening for coding. Started with 2622 lines (74419 bytes) in the 0.90-testing version. Added some functionality and cleaned up a lot of difference-related code. Wound up with 2618 lines (74201 bytes). If I can keep this up the wiki will eventually be 1 line that implements everything perfectly. :-)

November 3, 2000: Finally finished the OnWikisAndSecurity essay yesterday. A few days ago I reimplemented the "diff" (differences) code using the new KeptPages system. This was the hardest part of the system until I realized that I was looking at it in a completely wrong way. KeptPages is about 80% done, now I just have to do the other 80%... (The major missing feature is the "edit copy from previous author" function, which needs to be extended to edit any of the kept versions.)

I recently decided to minimize my goals for 0.90, and focus mainly on getting a good solid KeptPages implementation. Additionally, I'm reorganizing code to make separate subsections like database, rendering, editing, and misc. See MbTest:WikiReleasePlans for the new Five-Minute Plan.


(In MitAiLab, you say "(When Internet access software is bundled with breakfast cereal, it's not exactly limited to the elite. ;-) --CliffordAdams". Would you mind if I use that as an email .sig? --DaveJacoby)

Feel free to bundle my words of wisdom with your email, postings, or even your breakfast cereal. (It's been a long time since my last 15 seconds of .signature glory... ;-) --CliffordAdams


I set up usemod [here] and have some presentation ideas. Interested in having handle CSS? --DaveJacoby

I think so. I'd definitely be interested if CSS can be made optional (preferably user-optional). I've occasionally thought about it for customizing links (especially the ?-mark links, which could become ordinary links in a different style). The "link bar" could be a lot prettier too. Any particular ideas you have in mind? --CliffordAdams

Well, let's start with what I want PurdueWiki? to look like. All our buildings on the main campus are built with red brick, but text over a red-brick background would be unreadable, so I'd like the content in a table-like box, with an alpha-channel PNG as the background, so you could see through it some if you had the right kind of browser (MozillaBrowser).

We can do this now with a little tweaking, and that is all CSSable, assuming that we can address everything. The matter is what to stick into usemod to make it work. I see adding a DefaultStylesheet? variable in config, with also an AllowClientStylesheet? boolean. In the user preferences, there could be a ClientStyleSheet? variable, with a selectbox saying "Do you want stylesheets?" Saying no would render the pages "normally".

I'll play with mine and see what I can do.
('I didn't mean to mark this as edited, but seems to have been.')

UseModWiki 1.0

Set a hard deadline, like March 1, 2001. Do the most important features first. The hardness of the deadline is mostly ceremonial because you can just keep on developing. The point is, say, in announcing 1.0 to a wider public.

Top of my feature request lists: PageDeletion and "advanced diffs" on KeptPages. -- SunirShah

Good thing he didn't say 2001 AD/CE. :-) --CliffordAdams (about to release 0.92 in April 2001 CE).


Thanks for fixing the script, Cliff. How large was the keep file? --ss

1818568 bytes. That's too big. The script isn't changed--I just moved the keep file out of the way. I could get a 50% savings in keep-space processing without *too* much effort, but more than that would be a pain. It's much easier for me to tell you to split up your page. :-) --CliffordAdams

Cliff, create interfaces that publish page sizes, keep file sizes, and the number of current kept versions for all pages in the PageDatabase please. It's time for more IndexingSchemes. --ss

I concur. I was all set to try my hand at refactoring, and figured that I could find one by looking for pages of large size, but found no way to figure that. So I gave up. --DaveJacoby

At the moment, you can enter strings like (.|\n){30000} into the search field, to search for pages that are 30,000 characters or larger. (There are 3 such pages right now.) Perhaps more reports will be in 0.93. --CliffordAdams


Headers are enabled

Have you turned on the === headers === yet? -- SunirShah

I just now re-enabled them for Meatball. (They are enabled by default in UseModWiki, but I thought Meatball didn't want any of that extra newfangled FormOverContent markup stuff. :-) To use them, type something like === header === at the beginning of a line, where the number of = signs is the number of the header (1 is big, 6 or more is tiny). Note that you need to have a space after the initial = signs and before the trailing = signs. (This makes it unlikely that the markup will be triggered accidentally.) --CliffordAdams


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