News: Not Even 2 Weeks...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

... and I caved in, and brought Z-Net I back. Yes, you read that correctly! Z-Net I is now back online. But there has been a big change made for me to do so. You can read more about it on the Z-Net website.

Z-Net News Page

News: Screenshots of My IRC Client

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There's still some polish left to be done, but it could now be considered as being finished. Well, I'm not sure I consider it finished yet because I know of several things left I would like to add or do better. At the very least though, it's now kind of screen shot worthy. But as I've mentioned before, don't expect much.

This first screenshot shows the tab for configuring all the basic settings for the client. It's not a pretty layout. I hate organizing controls in a dialog like this, because you add one thing, and everything gets messed up. Pay no attention to the button at the bottom. That's just a shortcut I added to open the settings ini file, for convenience. All the controls work as expected. Some disable/enable at connect/disconnect. The Nick Name box will send the /NICK command when the name in it is different and you press enter while connected.

This second screenshot shows what a chatroom window looks like, complete with a few demo lines. Also seen is the use of colors, both for text and the background of the controls. The url link seen at the top is underlined, because it does infact work and open up your browser just by clicking on it.

Whats not seen is Right Click context menus. One pops up when clicking the name of a tab, allowing you to select to close that tab. One shows when clicking the chat buffer to copy any selected text to the clipboard. And another shows when clicking the nick name list, showing a short list of basic IRC options you might expect from doing so. The Send button is disabled only because there is no text being typed. The server window and PM windows aren't shown, but they look exactly like the shown chat window, except without a nick list.

Yea. Nothing extraordinary. But it IS an IRC client. And should serve well as a base for a project like Z-Net 3.

What I have left to do on it is. I'd like to add code for allowing the window to be resized. And thus resizing the controls appropriately. The auto reconnect code still has issues. I'd like to comb through the code and comment more things. A few bits of code could stand to be refined. Also, unlike most IRC clients, this doesn't support DCC transfers yet. I'm uncertain if/when I want to work on that any time soon. I'd want it for Z-Net 3, I'm just not sure I consider it a basic IRC client feature, or that I feel like the hassle of going through adding it. Doing so is an entire sub project.

As far as releasing this. Well, in this form, it's grown beyond what I'd want to release as the commercial project I've mentioned. I could make the program simpler to use, and it could stand to see attention given to it to make it look more appealing. So if I go with that plan, I would likely copy the code to a new project and start peeling it back.

Now that this is shown, keep in mind that Z-Net 3 will likely not look anything like this. I have a different layout in mind for that. With this IRC client now at this stage, I may soon start working on the GUI for Z-Net 3. But due to WoW, lately I've been having a hard time getting as much done with programming as I would want. You can even see I used WoW running as a background in the screenshots. If I do start working on it soon, it may be awhile before I try porting the IRC client code into it as like I mentioned, I still have more I want to refine with it.

News: Z-Net I Closed For Good

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sadly. Since to few users actually read the website, I figure I should post about this here too. Today after much personal turmoil, I decided it shut down Z-Net I. For good. None of the only if mods are online stuff.

The decision on this comes in part from several things. It was a nightmare to moderate. To few users acted even remotely respectable on it. To few users cared to see it thrive. People originally cheating the poll, faking more interest in the project then there was. My inability to distance myself from the project while knowing people would be misusing and abusing the program I put all my hard work into. Fact that it was attracting the wrong type of users than what I wanted. No community was, or even could start to thrive with it. The fact that it was making me come across as an asshole or tyrant. And well, everything about the project lost all it's fun for me.

I gave people every opportunity I could to see it stick around, but few if any took that opportunity. I've just gotten to the point where I want the project firmly in my past, so I can move forward, and do so with a happy enthusiasm. I hoped to have this program around until the day I might release Z-Net 3, but as it turned out, that just could not happen. I don't like the idea of leaving the few good users high and dry with no place to play, and an uncertainty if I will create the all around better project I would want. But it just can't be helped. And to those users. I'm sorry.

Don't put any faith, or much hope in it. But I suppose it could come back if enough people applied to be mods. But I tried that before though. Coaxing users into applying with the possibility of closing down the project looming overhead. The apps fell way short of what was needed, and 1 to none of those even worked out.

I've considered keeping it around for a small "invite only" community of users. But I just don't see that working out to well. And managing who and who is not part of that community would be to much trouble.

So for the people who might stick around the Z-Net community, you have Z-Net 3 to look forward to. But as stated elsewhere. There's not going to be a rush on it. It's important that I do better job on it then I've ever done with a project. And to do so, it should take time.

My ideas for it are starting to get more fixed, which I suppose is progress. But I haven't really worked on any of it yet. Just the IRC client I've been making to help be a backbone of such projects. That project however is coming along well still. And while its not the most impressive IRC client, it's way more solid then Z-Net I. It's at a point where I'm finding little left to do on it, outside of cosmetic things, or the few annoying bits I've been putting off as long as possible.

If I do release that IRC client, it would be with the goal as being IRC made as simple as possible, and being the most newb friendly client. I've recently tried many many IRC clients, and several claim to be the true newb clients. But honestly, none are. IRC can be made more newb friendly then that. Does it need to be? I'm not sure. But it can, and my client would have to have some gimmick or reason to be used instead of others.

I'd want to post a screenshot of it, but it's kind of cosmetically ugly atm. Hopefully I can take care of that issue soon.

Anyway. To those who won't stick around this blog of the Z-Net website now. Goodbye, and good luck!

News: Progress On My IRC Client

Thursday, October 04, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working on a IRC client for the purpose of writing better IRC code to use with my projects, rather than the old dirty code I used in the past. There's plenty of IRC clients out there to choose from, and I by no means think all of them are lacking and I could bring something better. I'm just writing a IRC client purely because without doing so, it would be hard to write the code I want properly, when it comes to it having everything I need for my projects.

But with that said, when I feel I'm done with it, I'm not sure yet on what I would plan to do with it. I certainly won't keep it to myself as yet another unreleased project. But it has been such a great learning experience, I'm considering extending that experience even further. What's on my mind is, that since I'm so far so happy with the code, I'm considering releasing it commercially just for the experience of doing so. Not for any extraordinary price, or even a moderate one. Probably $1-$5 at the most. Just enough to get to delve into new areas with releasing programs. Learn a little bit about selling a piece of software, both in advertizement and income, and programmaticly with trials and registration keys. It's stuff I've wondered about here and there, but just dismissed because I felt it's to far above my head. Which anymore is not how I like thinking. I'm trying to take my development skills to the next level, and this is a new level itself.

Now for those who may find concern with these thoughts regarding my other projects like the Z-Net's. Regardless of the outcome of what I do with this IRC client, those projects will remain just as free as they always have been. That said though, of course I would hope the experience would go well, and lead me into releasing something else more serious, commercially.

Still, it's not like I made up my mind on releasing the IRC client like that yet. I may deem it to big of a headache, or scrap the idea for some other reason. If I do lean that direction, I'll just release it here like my other projects.

Now on to my progress with it.

It's starting to resemble a real IRC client now. Despite me trying to take it slow, it's progressing quite fast. I'm going out of my comfort zone to learn new things, and there have been some days where I was stuck on various things all day. But unlike years ago when I was still learning the basics, my skill and experience is now enough to know when persevering through difficulty on something will work out. Often times it's a difficult balance trying to remain interested when you're unable to make progress, and you can't find any useful help. But lately I've learned a lot even in those such situations.

Right now my IRC client connects to a server, like any should. Remains stable through any activity. Has a decent framework setup for all of the basic aspects of such a program. No more godzilla sized functions, and code that is now a lot more thoroughly thought out and refined before moving on. It supports chat rooms and private messages having their own windows, by way of tabs. I added colored text support that's even more refined than ZNI or EQCLP. Users using colored text complies with the same standard mIRC uses, so you would see such colored text just as intended, including text background color. I have events for most of the non-numeric IRC messages in, and a few of the numerics themselves. I now have the nicklists fully working. And it auto join's a list of channels that users supply.

Mostly what I have to do now, other then to refine my code as I think about it, is get the connect retry code working properly, because it's buggy. Saved settings, probably through an ini file. Beyond that, mostly just minor stuff, and adding more unique event responses to all the message types. My goal for it is to just be a basic IRC client, but I'm unsure as of yet on what aspects I consider basic.

It's not going to wow anyone, since it's just a basic IRC client, but hopefully soon I'll post a couple screen shots or a video.

With it going so well, I need to think more about the Z-Net 3/Z-Band projects, as soon I may have little in my way preventing me from moving forward on one of them. I should probably narrow some of my choices down to some polls. But after the way my last poll went, I don't know if I could trust the results. But such a thing may not go to well simply because both projects would appeal to people who don't come to my blog. So the results would be off.