Archive for January, 2006

This is the year!

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Happy new year everyone!

I thought I’d write this post before the end of the first week, or else wishing a happy new year would sound completely stupid.

It is indeed not very nice that I haven’t blogged for most of December. For one, a couple of “real-life” events have helped in not being able to do so: I’ve moved to a new, much nicer, apartment, and I’ve had a quite intense family-and-friends Christmas week.

No, the moving to a new apartment doesn’t have anything to do with the income from ViEmu. The moving was planned before I even had the idea of developing ViEmu. And sales are picking up, but they’re not that strong!

Apart from those errands, I’ve been working tough for all this month. I think that it’s more important to advance in the development of my products than to blog more often - the blog is nice in several aspects: raising awareness, making interesting contacts, sharing the experiences… but as long as the product is not there, there is no business to be made!

Even during the family-and-friends week, back at my hometown, I’ve done quite a lot of work on NGEDIT and ViEmu. Mainly on NGEDIT, even if I’ve managed to release a maintenance release of ViEmu last week. NGEDIT is the main project, and the one which (I hope) will be able to generate a nice revenue stream. Anyway, there is a fair amount of synergy between the two products, and both will benefit from my current work. I’m ‘crossporting’ the vi/vim emulation core from ViEmu to NGEDIT - I say crossporting, because it’s actually a heavy reengineering of that core so that it is compatible with both a hostile environment like Visual Studio, and NGEDIT, which is hopefully better designed, and for sure better-behaved. The new shape of the emulation engine will allow improvements in ViEmu’s interaction with VS, and it will also power killer vi/vim emulation for NGEDIT.

Why am I doing this right now? vi/vim emulation for NGEDIT is surely nice, but vi/vim emulation could well be missing from NGEDIT 1.0 without significantly affecting sales - most of the potential customers of a new text editor are not vi/vim freaks.

The reason is that I need to develop NGEDIT as the best text editor for me first, and then that can be a good product. And given that I can’t use anything but vi/vim editing now, I need to have good emulation myself.

I’m currently using NGEDIT every day - not for programming, I do that in VS with ViEmu, but definitely for editing text files, keeping my work log, etc. It’s quite basic yet, but usable. And the part I was missing the most was better vi/vim emulation. It does have vi/vim emulation, written in NGEDIT’s own scripting language (actually, the module on which I built ViEmu), but ViEmu’s emulation is much, much more complete.

The new core is written using the same concepts as the C++ string class that doesn’t suck, that is, as very loosely-coupled template-based code. Of course, using those string classes themselves. And this, together with a powerful and flexible interaction design, allows it to be used both in VS an in NGEDIT.

Incidentally, I realized that, as soon as I finish the “crossporting”, I will have a fully portable vi/vim emulation core that I can use to produce a vi/vim emulator for any other environment quite quickly. I don’t think it can be a very profitable business, but it’s nice to have that possibility.

On the sales front, December was so-so, lagging a bit behind October and November, which were the strongest months. Actually, the web stats from the last two weeks of December were pitiful. I guess most developers around the world had better things to do :)

But January, so far, is being excellent. Sales during the first week so far almost equal those of the complete December! I had heard that the market for developer tools in January is strong, but I didn’t expect this much. It probably won’t, but if all of January stays at the same pace, it will be incredible.

And regarding the plans for NGEDIT itself, there are a couple of things to note.

One of the Christmas days, after having been coding for some hours, I was feeling tired. Programming is an activity that gets me really tired, so I often tend to stop doing it and find other activities. I actually have to press myself to get coding. Anyway, I stopped coding and started preparing a “mock-up” of how NGEDIT is going to look. It was some kind of procrastination, so I wasn’t feeling very happy about spending my time in such an activity. But the activity got me completely absorbed, and after some time I had a very, very nice image of how NGEDIT is going to look. I’m not posting it, as I want to keep the details for now, but it gave me the final idea of exactly what I want version 1.0 to be. And it also helped motivate myself. I had done a very rough mock-up when I started with the project, back at the beginning of ‘05, but it was too basic, and didn’t do a good job of representing my plans. This one, though, is perfect in many aspects: it’s a source of inspiration, and it also helps clarify the development/release strategy.

All in all, I’m glad I procrastinated that day :)

And the second note regarding NGEDIT is that I’m seriously thinking about renaming it. The plans are for it to grow to be much more than a text editor, so the name is a bit limiting. And on the other hand, I plainly don’t like it so much now.

I’d be losing the pagerank, links, etc… to the current, but I think this is the moment I will be losing less with a full name/domain change.

Funny, because I decided to host ViEmu in instead of in order to build-up some popularity for the site in preparation of NGEDIT, and now I will be losing that, for both products. Anyway, will keep pointing to the other domains in the future, and in any case will become the main site for ViEmu once I release NGEDIT.

Regarding the new name, I have several candidates, and I already have a preferred one (which I stumbled upon today). I’ll wait until tomorrow, and if it sticks, I will register the name. I’ve already registered so many domains in the past few months, that I think I should restrain from doing so just a couple hours after thinking them up.

Anyway, I hope you all had some nice days for the end of the year, and I wish you an interesting 2006. It’s definitely going to be the year for me, I hope it is for you as well!