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Warning: technical content. If you're not a geek, you may not understand half of these musings. This is a changelog, diary and occasional whinge from founder and sole programmer, Jason.

About SydneyPubGuide's latest update

15 May 2005 1:42pm

I've now almost finished the user settings sections for personalisation. Users can now upload pictures, add new journal entries (sorry, no deletion yet) and many other things. Since I last wrote, a lot more work than this has been done, but all has been in vain due to Telstra screwing up and killing the connection to the web server. After much messing about it was determined I'd need to put in a new reconnection order, which should be carried out tomorrow, getting the site back on the web for the first time in about a week. I'm planning on putting in a claim for lost revenue as well as a firm complaint to the Telecoms Industry Ombudsman, for what good it'll do against our beloved national telecom monopoly. I won't write what I really think of Telstra because anyone who's known me for the last few years will be very familar with my opinion. I will however note that the most ironic thing is that I don't even lease this connection from Telstra. It's from a third party, but the infrastructure happens to belong to Telstra, so even though I'm not dealing with them, they still have the power to screw me right over. Great, eh? Wonder if I can start a googlewhack with this: Australia's most complete bastards.


1 May 2005 5:45pm

A new feature. We've now got a system to handle opening hours correctly. All that remains to be done is actually find the opening hours info for each pub in the database (over 500 pubs at present). I'm also currently building a system whereby we can list a pub's Bistro menu on the site. The HttpHandlers are in place, the database is ready, all I need now is to build the admin system and fill in the gaps. Again, another 500 pubs to contact for food listings. Also, I'm now blogged up on MSN spaces, which will serve as a log of what's going on at the pubguide. Hopefully this'll continue on and with luck it may even generate some traffic, and with it some ad hits, and with that, some cash to help pay for all this expense. phew.


28 April 2005 12.04am

Galleries are now kinda working properly - you can now at least see full-size images, though captions are as yet broken. This may be a case for a complete rebuild, but I doubt it. I'd appreciate it if readers could notify me if there are any problems with the image galleries, thanks


25 April 2005 12.25am

COMMENT POSTING IS BACK! Yay. about time too. utterly unvalidated at the moment, but I'll ad some testing on that to make sure it doesn't screw up horribly. very soon in fact.


24 April 2005 11:43pm

Glebe is now completely mapped up. OK, so that's only 12 pubs, but in total 26 have been done as I speak, including a fairly nifty dHTML-style interface. After all, you should only get a map if you want one. it shouldn't be forced on you right away. Of course if I'd done this with the old system (a round-trip to the server), the page impressions of the site would be inflated, artificially, likewise for the dynamic review system. I don't think raw page views are necessarily a good metric right now.


24 April 2005 00.41am

I'm starting to get the feeling I'm coding myself into a corner. so many of the new site's (planned) features seem to require a dedicated server that perhaps I'm letting myself in for some major expense. At this point, if this page is read by any benevolent hosting company, then I beg you, sponsor me a dedicated box, with Windows Server 2003 Web Edition and MSDE, or Standard Edition with SQL Server 2000, if you're particularly generous... The site will run on Windows 2000 if you have some old hardware you no longer need.


23 April 2005, 11.31pm

Maps beta is up and running after a whole tramload of work. It's been some time since I first got permission to use SydWay maps, but finally I've got round to using the damn things (wonderful that they are). You can check out the beta right here. The intention is to run a background program that can take the raw maps and dynamically generate the required crosshairs to pinpoint your chosen pub, and the required text so you can find the right page in the Sydway directory. Hell if anything deserves someone buying me a bloody beer it's this. What a load of work, and more to come. Thanks also go out to ImageMagick for the software that drives at least some of the image processing routines, as well as Microsoft's .NET team for the brilliant System.Drawing classes, without which I could be in major strife right here.


22 April 2005, 12.05am

Yeah, it's getting late, but I'm still hacking away. Lots of back-end work has been done, stuff you won't be able to see from where you are. I've been working away at getting mapping up and running. Expect maps on the scale of a few hundred metres to a page very soon, once the image parsers stop running and I have time to build an admin interface for them! Oh, and if you want to buy a beer for the team (currently standing at two, plus ring-ins), we'll be out and about on Saturday at the Friend In Hand and the County Clare, from 3pm and 5pm respectively, with who knows where to follow.


16 April 2005, 3.15pm

I've hardly had to change the database structure at all in moving from MS Access to SQL Server 2000. The original schema is still with us from the very first iteration of the site, with only extra tables tacked on as new features were required. Even if I do say it myself, it's an elegant design which has held up for approaching five years now. With luck it'll also hold up for the next five.


16 April 2005, 1.57pm

I'm planning on going live with progress on the interim server tomorrow, 17th April 2005, but may do this a day early. Progress in upgrading from JScript/ASP to C#/ASP.NET has been surprisingly rapid, which only goes to show all the bad things I said about ASP.NET when it first arrived may no longer be applicable. I may work for Microsoft these days, but that plays no part in me lauding Visual Studio.NET for ease-of build (once you get your head around the new development model, that is).


15 April 2005, 11.00pm

Progress is good. User comments are in, pub features are next. I think I deserve a beer


15 April 2005, 8.09pm

HttpHandlers are great. The URL you see when you click on a pub isn't necessarily the page that's executing behind the scenes, but an HttpHandler which deals with anything under, say, /pubs/ or /areas/ and maps your request to a valid pub entry in the database. This means the old page generation system, which was a little unwieldy, is entirely redundant and my job is many times easier.



I may be drunk, madam, but you are ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober. : Winston Churchill - more quotes...
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