Older blog entries for apm (starting at number 4)

Week 1 at Suneido.com

After Thursday's peak, the downloads dropped off to about 10 a day over the weekend, probably because the announcements all fell off the news pages. Of course it was a long weekend as well, but programmers aren't supposed to take weekends off, are they? One good thing about the reduced traffic was that I had less distractions and I actually got a "Getting Started" guide finished. And finally, after 8pm on Monday night, I uploaded the new version to the website. Tried to do a good job of testing everything, but it's always a little scary releasing a new version. Especially at this stage, when people are downloading it for the first time, you want it to work!

I'm hoping that the "Getting Started" guide will help people to get over the initial hurdle of a new system. There's probably more I should add to it, but it's a start. It also made me clean up a few odds and ends in Suneido because it was easier to fix the program than to document the awkward behavior! Being forced to work through building a simple application also renewed my perspective on Suneido. It's hard to see the big picture when you're buried deep in the code. Overall, I think it's looking pretty good. Still lots of rough edges and a few potholes, but definitely getting there.

I remembered NewsForge (www.newsforge.com) and posted an announcement there, and also got news items onto Dr. Dobbs (www.ddj.com) and Software Development (www.sdmagazine.com) so the traffic has picked up a little - 28 downloads today as of 4pm. That brings us to 184 downloads in the first week. I'm happy with that.

Whipped up a quick Suneido program this morning to send an update notice to everyone who downloaded prior to last night. Already had the SmtpClient we wrote to send the download replies so it was pretty easy. Almost forget to eliminate the duplicate emails, although there aren't too many of those yet. Easy fix, though, just had to add "project email" onto the query. Nice to be able to make use of our own tools, or as one of our visitors put it "eat your own dog food".

The forum seems to be getting a little more activity, which is good. But I've had some feedback that people don't like to use web based forums. Maybe a mailing list (or several) with web access to archived messages would be better. Hey, maybe we can write a Suneido program for that. :-)

Day 3 for www.suneido.com About 40 download emails waiting for me when I got in to work. Obviously, looking at each one and replying to them manually wasn't going to be an option much longer! Downloads were slower during the day, so we ended up with about 60 for the day, bringing the total to around 100, from 25 different countries. About 10% haven't entered a valid email address - a few of those are probably typos, but most are obvious refusals. I certainly understand people not wanting to get more junk email, and I appreciate all the people that have trusted us with their email address. We'll try our best not to abuse this trust!

By noon we had a Suneido program grabbing the emails from the POP server, sending the replies to our SMTP server, and entering the information in the database. I hope no one got multiple messages during the switch over. I want to set up a Library section on the website for sample apps (both ours and contributed) and we'll put this app on there in case anyone is interested.

More feedback trickling in - mostly by email - no one seems to want to use the forum. Of course, you have to register again to use the forum, which probably discourages some people. Our web guy is trying to come up with a way to combine the download and forum registrations, and use a cookie so you only have to register once. Of course, that risks the wrath of the anti-cookie contingent. Overall the feedback has been pretty positive, with some good constructive criticism. It should get more interesting as more people actually work with it.

The biggest issue so far is the lack of a tutorial and sample apps. Not that this surprises me; I knew we should have them. Just got too busy with everything else. It's at the top of my list right now. The problem is, I seem to be spending all my time watching the website and the downloads, responding to email, and fixing minor problems as they're discovered. The only time I've managed to find to work on the tutorial is lying on the couch with the laptop in the evening. With any luck I'll get something put together over the weekend. It helps to be a workaholic. (Maybe even mandatory!)

Day 2 for Suneido

30 more downloads bringing the total to around 50. A couple of people actually posted on our forum but it looks like that's going to be slow getting going. Got some emails from people who downloaded. No one has done much yet, but starting to get some useful feedback. I've been working on this so long that I'm don't really see it anymore. There's nothing like a bunch of fresh eyes to spot strengths and weaknesses. Of course, that's one of the powers of open source software.

Fixed a few minor problems with the documentation - some missing pages in the Database Query section. Updated the website version, I'll wait to update the download to see what else comes up. Started working on a Getting Started section to try to help new users.

Our ISP still hasn't got the stats working, so I still don't know how much traffic we're getting, or where people are coming from. I posted announcements on a few more newsgroups. Got an announcement on dotcomma.org It'll be a while till we get onto the search engines, although I'm not sure whether people use search engines to look for this kind of stuff. If anyone has any suggestions for places to announce/list Suneido I'd appreciate the help. Or if you know anyone who might be interested in the product, be sure to let them know about our website.

Day 1 of Suneido's public life. 20 down-loads. With no past experience to go by, it's hard to know if that's good or bad. But since the only announcements were on a few newsgroups, it seems okay. Those 20 down-loads came from 8 different countries - the global reach of the internet still amazes me. Got a few nice comments. Of course no one had actually tried it yet, or looked at the source code, so they're probably just being polite.

One of the down-loads was from David Ascher, a senior Python developer at ActiveState. It would be interesting to hear his comments. And, yes, I'm still personally looking at all the download registrations and replying to them by hand. The automated handling should be in place in the next day or two (written in Suneido, of course!).

I wonder what the next little while will bring? Unless we find some new places to post announcements, I suspect the down-loads will drop off. It would also be interesting to see the stats for the site but we can't seem to get them from our ISP yet.

Andrew McKinlay - www.suneido.com

This seems like an interesting site. As I've just released my big project (www.suneido.com) as open source, I figure I should try to get up to speed on the "culture".

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