Pulling on the loose thread…

Anand asks me in a comment whether I’m going to support TrackBack. It’s a very relevant question, as I’m currently neck-deep in a rewrite of the BlogX code to add a whole bunch of features that it currently lacks. In fact, I’m very lucky that my wife is also currently neck-deep in grading for the summer class she teaches, or else my disappearing into my study for long stretches of time during a weekend of beautiful weather would cause some marital friction…

This all started, of course, by pulling on a single loose thread on the sweater: in the immortal words of our current president, I “misunderestimated” how much interest my blog might pull in, so each day I’ve been watching a bit alarmedly as the amount of my bandwidth being eaten up by the blog has grown and grown. I finally turned on gzip compression in IIS (I believe), which should help, but what I really wanted to do was implement ETags and Last-Modified on my RSS feed so I can cut down on the huge amount of bandwidth that SharpReader is sucking up. (They’re, like, 50% of the hits. Good for Luke… I use it too!) So I figured, “Hey, it’s .NET and I work on .NET. How hard could it be?” Classic last words for a developer.

The first problem was that, as much as I like C#, I just think a whole lot better in VB because I don’t have to translate as I work (and I like the VB IDE experience better, but I may be sliiighly biased). So first I translated most of BlogX (everything except the HTML control for WinBlogX) into VB using an automated translator. And then I spent a bunch of time cleaning up all the problems and stylistic disagreements that that caused. And then I spent a bunch of time cleaning up the code base so that it worked “the way I like it.” (This is no knock on Chris, I’m just one of those anal developers who just aren’t happy if they haven’t rewritten most of any codebase they take on.) And then I finally got around to trying to add new features. Which of course made me realize I didn’t understand how the whole thing worked, which entailed more research and rewriting, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Suffice it to say, I’ve devoted way more time to this than I had ever planned and still haven’t gotten a fully functional blog working. But I’m getting close! And soon this blog will have all kinds of whizzy-bang features. And I’ll have learned a whole lot of things about web programming that I never knew, which was really kind of the original point anyway.

And then Dare will release a new version of BlogX with all the features I added and many more to boot, and I’ll wonder, “Was it really worth it?”

2 thoughts on “Pulling on the loose thread…

  1. Mark Hurd

    I too have a strong impulse to convert all C# projects to VB.NET when I want to work with them. One reason is that, as it always has, VB hides guff that just gets in the way if the interesting part of the problem being solved. Yes, the language is verbose compared to C#, but most projects coded in VB.NET (and not just translated from C#) seem more elegant to me than the corresponding C# solution.
    However, this is exactly why it would be good to be able to compile VB.NET and C# code into the same executable (without using an ILDASM step).


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