Published 2008-12-22 13:05:00

As my thumbs are twiddling waiting to see if projects start coming in next year, I thought I'd do a roundup of this years projects (open and closed). I was pondering if everyone else was seeing the effects of the recession, so I'd be interested to hear if you've also seen work slacking off.

Let's hope next year we see some more life from the Sales and Marketing, as my current reliance on word of mouth, may not keep feeding my mouth at this rate.

Anyway Merry Christmas and Happy new year to all.

Read on for my Year of Projects

Year of Projects

Mail Control / Anti-spam

As I've mentioned a few times (and stuck adverts on the blog), a considerable amount of time this year has been spent developing and improving our Mail Control / Anti-spam product. At present it has over a thousand users, and from my perspective, is  technically superior and Easier to use that any of the competition.

Our big issue at present is marketing and sales, which is turning out to be a challenge, mainly from the from the lack of resources we have in this area. Let's hope 2009 will start the ball rolling a bit faster in this area.

Mail Archiving

As the next developments step in services for our Mail Control product, I've been working heavily on the archiving feature, full text search and restore features from the archives, this code is now in Beta, and again waits to see if our Sales/Marketing can garner a return on our investment in it.

Threaded D socket servers

Over the last year I've ended up writing two threaded socket servers in D, my preferred language for these types of system level applications. One is a syncml server for a client, the other is the future backend replacement for our Mail product. The development of which pushed my understanding of threading and garbage collection in D to the limits, and resulting in me getting a really good knowledge base of how it all works.

Offline websites

As the year ended off, one of the last projects I did  was a project to create an offline CD by mirroring a internal intranet. A  project that made good use of all the ExtJS skills developed over the last few years. Along with dealing with Server2Go, which proved to be less trouble than we thought it might be.

Contacts databases / CRMs

I got involved in two projects this year doing CRM type information, Both involving ExtJS, and tracking customer or partner relationships. In one we did a cold caller system, for selling offshore property, the other was to ensure that a charity had consistent knowledge of partner interaction throughout the organization. Knowing who talked to who, about what and when makes it considerably easier to understand relationships with partners. (or just knowing who will be annoyed when you call them too often...)

Roundup - yes I do python here occasionally.

Maintaining the python application 'roundup', for one of my clients has been a interesting little project, we ended up adding quite a few little features to it, and falling back to PHP to deliver some of them, as the limitations of a heavily structured Database API in roundup did not really work well with quickly re-jigging some of the interface logic.

Fibre networking

I did two interesting projects for a friend this year, a lookup tool for connecting fibre cable equipment, and a tester for Fibre cable hardware in Switches. Got a pretty good working knowledge of Cisco equipment out of it.

Spamming the other side.

Well, getting involved in ethical emailing for businesses seems to be a mix between explaining to them the ethics of it, and trouble shooting yahoo and gmail servers. It's a great way to see how our competitors fail so badly to deal with companies that try their best to follow the rules, and are rejected even if people have consented.

Consulting and Support.

As the year closed out I got a good reminder that while development is the passion, the backbone of what I earn a living off of is often simple things like fixing networks and PCs. Even in a down time hardware and software still fails, so diagnosing issues has kept my company from making a total loss this year.

Online shops / Translations toolkits.

Looking after old applications tends to be a good way of seeing how bad your code was, this year I think my code was a bit too good, the number of fixes has been very minimal, and the code proved to be very robust. Surprisingly simple to fix when customers found a few really strange edge cases. Most of the work on old code has been adding new features, like a translation toolkit to one on the online shops we built. Having the ability to translate not only the web application, but also the content into multiple languages including chinese (with the help of google translate), proved an interesting little project.

Open Source Hacking - RooJs

I posted quite a few times about various parts of my RooJS work, it's pretty much on the back burner at present, as without any huge projects to drive it forward. The time invested in it is not really getting much payback. It did however drive a rather nice documentation interface for RooJS. Even just using it for new ExtJS code saves a considerable amount time. I wish I could apply it to other code I use more commonly. It would be a godsend for Phobos, and might be quite cute for PEAR.

Open Source Hacking - Thunderbird / Lightning extensions

It's looks like quite a few people are trying Lightning of Thunderbird, It's come on quite a way in the last year, and is really usable for personal use. What bugged me this year was the fact that I was using it from a few locations and needed to sync the calendar, so if you read a few posts back you will see I managed to write quite a simple add-on to thunderbird to use JSON to sync the calendar with a central server. It's a great proof of concept, and would be interesting to deploy in a larger site. Extensions for thunderbird & firefox are considerably easier to write now, (I remember trying a few years back and running into all sorts of difficulties). So I've also been playing with tagging of mail using popup's on the message list, yet another fun proof of concept, although it could really do with a large deployment to drive it anywhere.

Open Source Hacking - Accounting.

I cant remember if I ever blogged about this little one, but after loosing my GnuCash file to a bad drive, and needed better access to my accounts remotely I hacked up a Web accounting application with ExtJS - (after a few efforts with other JS libs), It's working quite well, although the database is now growing a bit sluggish with 3 years of data. I really need to implement end-of-year closes on it..

Well, that's all, let's hope 2009 brings some new an more interesting projects.

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