Since it’s been almost two years since my last blog post, I figured I owed the remaining 3 subscribers of my blog a short update on what I have been up to...
#1 – Maya
There have indeed been a couple of interesting things going on, and first and foremost, that would include the birth of our amazingly beautiful and unbelievably cute daughter Maya in June last year
She just turned one year old this week, so time flies indeed! If you would be interested in seeing some more pictures, then I’m sure you can figure out where her own website would be located if you studied the incredibly complicated naming pattern I used to locate my own website
#2 - Mayando
Because Project #1 called for a way to keep the family up to date and to regularly show off exactly how cute Maya is, and (almost equally importantly) because I was looking for an excuse to learn ASP.NET MVC, I decided to write a photo blogging web application. “What, another photo gallery site”, you might ask? Eh, yeah, exactly. But in my defense: I looked hard at the existing ones and couldn’t find one that covered my requirements so this is one I built to fit my needs
Nonetheless, I didn’t just want to build a one-off “baby web site for Maya”, but really a generic application that I could also use later on use as the engine for my own photo blog – and that you, dear reader, might also want to use if you want to publish a collection of photos in a nice and user-friendly way. (For example, I have an architect friend who is interested in using it as a portfolio site for the houses he designed.)
And so, Mayando was born: a full-featured photo blogging application that you can use to showcase your photos online.
Now I did not want to reinvent solutions to the problem of globally storing and serving images on the web, so I figured that I should only build a rich front-end on top of existing photo storage services such as Flickr. So I built a provider model where the URL’s of the photos and their details (and comments) just get “sucked in” from a photo sharing site and you can work with them from your own website. So basically, the photos get pulled in from a service such as Flickr and then displayed through Mayando, using a lot of navigation possibilities (by creating static pages and dynamic galleries, by browsing through photos, comments, tags, dates, ...).
It also allows visitors to post new comments and obviously I needed to handle comment spam so again I implemented a provider model for anti-spam services (such as Mollom).
And finally, the whole thing had to be easily customizable so I made sure to allow different themes for the photo blog’s look and feel, with customization options ranging from simple (e.g. simply changing the CSS stylesheet) to advanced (completely changing the entire site layout and/or individual pages). Thankfully, by now I know that the ASP.NET MVC framework is so flexible it easily let me do all this with surprisingly little effort. Anyway, I won’t go into the many details – if you’re interested in how it works: it’s open source so feel free to look at the Mayando source code and let me know if you want to contribute!
If you just want to see it running: check out the Mayando Demo Site or of course my own photo blog
#3 – Flickr Schedulr v1.4 & v2.0
Because Project #1 and Project #2 meant I would be using Flickr more, I figured it was also time to give my Flickr Schedulr application an update to incorporate feedback from a number of users.
In case you’re wondering what it is: Flickr Schedulr is a Windows desktop application that automatically uploads pictures to Flickr based on a schedule (e.g. to post a new picture every day at a certain time). It allows you to create a queue of pictures to be uploaded, along with their titles, descriptions, tags, and the photosets and groups into which they should end up.
I published v1.4 last January; new features include the possibility to upload multiple pictures at a time in batch, better handling of multiple selected files and overall UI improvements.
I’ve also been working really hard on v2.0 which is a complete rewrite of the application in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and as such looks and feels so much nicer in many ways than the previous version. It will also have a few new features of course. I’m still polishing some things but you can expect to see a release in the next few weeks.
Since I’ve been very happy with CodePlex for my other projects, I decided to move the source code and work items there and lo and behold: here is the new Flickr Schedulr homepage on CodePlex!
#4 – Proxy Monitor
Last October, the trend continued: another release around a year after the last one. This time, I got the help from David Huntley, who was kind enough to finally get something off my list I’ve been planning to do for a while now: properly setting the proxy via the Win32 API’s instead of just writing to the registry. This more robust way of setting the proxy came for free with the new feature he implemented, which is support for multiple connections. This allows you to specify proxy servers for other connections than the default LAN (such as dial-up or VPN connections).
To make it easier to work together, I decided to move this project to CodePlex as well. So for all information, downloads, forums, etc. go to the new Proxy Monitor homepage at CodePlex!
#5 – The NOT Part
So after a small list of things that I have been up to the last two years or so, it’s quite clear what I have not been up to: blogging. And that’s probably going to stay that way. I either have too little to say (which is increasingly the case), or too much (which would take too much time to write down). So honestly, I expect this would be the last entry on my blog for quite a while – if not eternity.
In case it becomes the latter: thanks for having followed my random thoughts for the last 7 years, and if you want to keep up with what I’m doing on the technical side of life, follow my projects on CodePlex:
If you want to keep up with the non-technical side, check out my photography site - <plug>based on Mayando of course, and updated with the help of Flickr Schedulr</plug>