Archive for June, 2006

First anniversary

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Today is the 1st anniversary of the conception of ViEmu. That is, this very day last year, I came up with the idea of developing a vi/vim emulator for Visual Studio. I had been working for months in the kodumi text editor (back then it was just ngedit), and the last stretch had involved developing a scripting language compiler and VM, and implementing a vi/vim emulation module in this language.

It would only take me about one month and a half to actually release version 1.0. It was a really hectic month, though. Actually, the short time-to-release was largely thanks to the fact that I already had the basic vi/vim emulation code - even if I had to port it from ngedit’s scripting language into C++.

ViEmu is nowadays a very solid product, having gone far beyond what I expected both in functionality and in sales performance. I’m now concentrating in preparing ViEmu 2.0, which will finally integrate the codebase back with kodumi, and provide some pretty advanced features to existing customers. I will also be ending the introductory pricing at the end of this month. I initially planned to introduce the new price at the same time as ViEmu 2.0, even if 2.0 is a free upgrade to existing customers, but the new version will be taking a bit more than that, and I really think ViEmu is a very good value for its full price. Actually, it seems a bit absurd that ViEmu 1.0, which was a much, much more basic product, cost the same as today’s ViEmu.

Working on two projects is a challenging dynamic for me. I am a “depth-over-breadth” type of guy, and I have trouble switching focus. I’ve worked both in kodumi and in ViEmu for the past few months, and I expect to keep doing so for a long time to come. It’s even more challenging because of the different nature and status of both products: one is for a very niche audience, with no competition, while the other is for a large public, with plenty of competition. One is already a selling product, while the other is still in pure development towards 1.0. One has a limited potential, while for the other one I see the sky as the only limit. One needs development work, while the other needs marketing work. One of them already earns me both a long user request list and a large amount of flattering user feedback, while the other is still something that only I have used. One already helps pays the bills, while the other one only helps reduce my social life. I always have some trouble in setting the priorities, but I think I’m striking some kind balance in both improving ViEmu and advancing towards kodumi 1.0.

Fortunately, most of the codebase of both products will shortly be shared, and that will help with at least the part that is common. Also fortunately, the current customers of ViEmu are potentially also interested in kodumi, so I see the effort in improving and supporting ViEmu as an investment in establishing a good relationship with customers that can result in a business benefit.

As a summary of the ViEmu marketing week I last posted about, which of course ended lasting about 10 days, I must say I’m happy that ViEmu sales are breaking new records during June. I cant be sure whether this is due to the announcement of the new pricing policy, to the redesigned web page, to the latest maintenance release, to the richer trial period user experience (no nags, just better notices and a welcome screen that provides the most relevant information), or to a certain maturity of the product. But I’m sure all of them help. I’m looking forward to seeing how sales figures evolve in July, just after the effective pricing changes. I’ll let you know during the next few months what the general trend is, both after the pricing change and after 2.0 is released.

Finally, as soon as ViEmu 2.0 is ready, I will be focusing more in kodumi. Actually, part of the work for ViEmu 2.0 will indeed revert in kodumi. Even if I announced that I may release another derived product before kodumi 1.0, the core technology in that product is needed for kodumi, and I’m pretty much an expert now in building Visual Studio extensions, so it shouldn’t take as long to prepare as ViEmu has taken. On the other hand, I’m really excited to start working in this part of the code, as I will finally be working in an innovative area (a vi/vim emulator as a Visual Studio add-in is an interesting product, but it can hardly be called innovative). If everything goes well, I will be posting about it on the blog as I start working on it, so it will also bring some interesting technical content to the blog. Well, I will hopefully have the energy to post about it at the same time I’m developing it.

Thanks everyone for your continued support during this year.