Codekana 1.0 released

July 24th, 2007

Here it is:


I have just officially released Codekana 1.0 for Visual Studio. You can visit www.codekana.com for all the details and to download the latest build. If you installed any of the beta builds, you will have to manually uninstall it before installing this one (hopefully the last time, as post-1.0 builds will sport automatic upgrades).

With regards to the product, its capabilities, how it can make your code reading and writing experience smoother and more productive, I think the best is that you visit the web site. I’ve made a big effort to convey the usefulness of the product, so the text and illustrations on the web site will probably be the best to explain it.

I have tried to design a more modern look for the website: a colorful design, large fonts, concise copy, etc… Even if the product is good (and, of course, I think it’s very good), nice packaging is always very important. I do plan to make quite some effort in marketing this product. ViEmu is a product for a very small niche, but for that niche, just making sure searches for “vi visual studio” or “vim outlook” reach the right page is the most important thing. For a product like Codekana, where hardly anybody will be looking for “enhanced syntax highlighting visual studio”, it is very important to raise awareness and to present the value of the product properly. Since writing articles has proven to be a very powerful method to get many thousands of developers to my site(s), I will probably do quite some writing about various development-related areas in the near future. It’s very likely I will set up another blog, more development-centric, and less oriented towards growing a small business. More news about this coming soon.

I have decided to finally release 1.0 today even if there is still one known issue with Codekana: sometimes, mainly when reinstalling it, Codekana colors and/or Visual Studio colors can get reset to odd values. This only happens occasionally, but it’s annoying, and it gives a certain feeling of instability to an otherwise rock-solid product (even if not perfect, of course). I know for sure that a feeling of being solid is important to sales, so it could detract a bit from sales if someone stumbles into it early. So, why did I decide to release without fixing this? Here is a short list of the relevant reasons:

  • The problem is due to some internal problem’s in Visual Studio’s color configuration system. You can check this VS forums thread for the details, how the behavior can be isolated and reproduced on a clean VS install without having Codekana installed, and how it seems only VS 2008 will fix it. I’ve spent weeks trying to work around this buggy VS behavior with no luck.
  • When it happens, the only effect is that colors can appear wrong, and this is fixed very easily by just going to Tools|Options|Fonts and Colors and clicking “Ok”, or resetting Codekana colors in Codekana’s settings dialog (the Codekana support page describes this in detail).
  • The rest of the product is rock-solid by now, after well over a month in beta testing, and it’s very useful already.
  • I was already planning to implement a revamped coloring system in a future build, to overcome some of VS’s limitations by doing my own rendering and bypassing its coloring system, and I’ve realized this will be the only way to reliably work around the buggy behavior. No need to say it, this will take quite some work to get working (it’s not a couple days’ hack)

All in all, I decided to release 1.0 today, put a prominent notice in the blog announcement and on the support page, and work from there. Hopefully it won’t be too annoying, it won’t detract too much from sales, and I will be able to have a better solution even before the trial period of the first users expires. Posting about a known issue on the release day is not very satisfying, but I think it’s only fair.

I will keep posting about how Codekana fares, what my next steps will be, my marketing initiatives in the near future, and of course the slow but steady advance towards kodumi 1.0, my always-in-development text editor.

Codekana

July 21st, 2007

[Update July 25 - Codekana 1.0 has already been released, so you can go to www.codekana.com for the latest release and all the details]

For the past few months, I’ve been working in a new product: Codekana for Visual Studio. It is a Visual Studio add-in which provides enhanced code visualization for C/C++ and C# code in Visual Studio. It enhances the syntax coloring, not for decorative reasons, but in order to provide actual useful information, such as control flow cues; it can draw graphical outlines of the code’s block structure (allowing several One-True-Brace-Styles); it highlights all matches of the last search; it allows you to zoom in and out with control and the mouse wheel; and several other features. Here is a screenshot of how Visual studio looks with Codekana in action (click for a full-size view):



Some details about what you can see in this screenshot:

  • Blocks are highlighted and outlined according to their function: green for ‘if’ blocks, brown (dark-red) for ‘else’ blocks, red for loops and loop control structures, etc… The goal of this is not artistic, it allows you to grasp the control flow of your code without even having to read: you will see where the code loops, whether there is another way to exit a loop than by looping to the end, you can see what block a condition controls, and more – ‘return’s are also highlighted in orange to show early exits, multi-way conditions (‘switch’ blocks) are colored in blue, etc. Once you get accustomed to the coloring (of course, you can customize it to your own taste), you’ll be able to understand control flow at a glance.
  • Also thanks to the coloring above, when you have several nested blocks and a long list of closing braces, you know which brace closes what construct. If you want to insert some doe right before the end of a loop, you can visually tell where to insert it.
  • The name of the function at the top is highlighted too. This is a very quick way of knowing where in the code you are – especially with C-like languages’ brain-dead declaration syntax, the actual defined name can be lost among complex return types, template arguments, and what not. All definitions have the defined name highlighted: function definitions, class/struct/union/enum definitions, etc…
  • All matches of the last search are highlighted in yellow. When you are searching, you rarely want to find just the first occurrence. Visual feedback is invaluable in getting information with high bandwidth.
  • Mismatched braces and parentheses are conveniently highlighted. Also, thanks to some pretty sophisticated incremental parsing technology, and unlike all other tools out there, Codekana is pretty smart about which brace is the mismatched one. Look at the screenshot above, it’s not obvious that the mismatched brace is the one highlighted, and neither VS’s built-in parse, the compiler, or any other tools gets it right, but Codekana tells you which one is the mismatched one.

Of course, all this smart parsing happens in a background multithreaded processing framework – this way, it won’t slow down your editing even if you have just pasted 1,000 lines of pretty convoluted code.

Codekana has several more features, and I could go on talking about them, but since it’s been over one month in closed but intense beta, it’s very solid, and due out next week, I’ll just you furnish you with a link to the documentation if you want to know more, and with a link to download and install the beta version:

Codekana documentation
Download Codekana 0.9

As you might guess, this technology is also part of what will become kodumi, the text editor I’m working on. But, meanwhile, it is already available inside Visual Studio for your development convenience.

I’m now off to getting the web site ready. And BTW, I’m going to release this at a very affordable price-point ($39), to get as many users as possible on board while I prepare great new features.

Why, oh WHY, do those nutheads use vi?

May 17th, 2007

I’ve written an advocacy article… well, no it’s not advocacy… well, YES, it IS an advocacy article, about vi/vim editing. The main goal is to have an explanation so that NON-vi(m)ers can understand what the fuss is all about, and why me, and many other thousands of people (including all my customers) still use vi/vim, and (at least my customers) go as far as paying me $70 for the privilege if they happen to use Visual Studio, Word, Outlook or SQL Server. Many of them even deem it a bargain.

Without further ado:

Why, oh, WHY do those #?@! nutheads use vi?

Enjoy!

ViEmu around the world

April 2nd, 2007

It’s not my fault. Ian Landsman started, and I just couldn’t resist. His blog post describes a cool php component to use the Google Maps API and show a list of addresses in a map. He used it to show where Helpspot (his popular help desk software application) customers are. And I had to do it. A couple of hours and quite a few manual fixes later, here are some cool takes (not all of the addresses resolved, and the ones who payed through Paypal, including as a few Chinese customers, aren’t shown here either):


All around the world!


The U.S. and Canada (most of my customers)


Europe (UK addresses don’t show up)


Japan and Korea - there are a lot of customers in Japan, but I had to reduce it to just cities


The bay area.


Seattle


Southern California


And an overview of the East Coast.


Even in the land down under!

And here are a few exotic places - now how cool is that?







I’m planning to set up a ViEmu-specific blog in the next few days, and I was meaning to post this there - but I just couldn’t resist! I may even add some of this to the ViEmu home page, it makes for a good, reassuring visual explanation that ViEmu is used by lots of people around the world!

March’07 Status Update & Interesting Lesson

March 31st, 2007

As a first interesting point, ViEmu sales are very strong now. At the level of sales I had reached in the second half of 2006, I could live off of ViEmu exclusively, even if a bit tightly. I’ve definitely lived with quite a lot less than that. In February, I released ViEmu for Word & Outlook and updated the web site design to present the three products and to get a more professional look. I was expecting a lot of existing ViEmu/VS customers to buy the Word & Outlook version - I offered a 15% discount as an incentive and to show my appreciation for their support. Quite a few bought the new product, but nowhere near a significant fraction (surprise). Anyway, February sales were about 30% higher than in January. I was also expecting lower sales in March, as the existing-customer-conversion factor would disappear, but nope. March sales have been over 30% higher than in February. Surprise again, this time a happy one.

This means that I can currently work full time in ViEmu and the text editor. Which, by the way, I’m already doing. I still have some ties to my previous day job, helping out now and then with areas which have not been covered by anyone else, but it’s a small part of my time. Hopefully, this will diminish further over the next weeks and months, until my involvement there is virtually non-existent. In any case, this is the moment sales allow fulltime dedication with ample room for slack – about 2 years since I first started, and 1.5 years since the release of ViEmu/VS 1.0. I’m single and have no major financial obligations, and I can live on quite little, so someone with a family and a morgage to pay would probably need more than that, but I hope this can be an interesting data point for others starting up out there – development takes time, marketing and building up awareness takes time, taking the product to a mature stage takes time, reaching the point where hundreds of people will talk about your product and support in such a favorable way that others will easily decide to buy, also takes time. Definitely wall-clock effort time, but calendar time is also necessary.

As a subjective summary, it’s taken longer than I expected, but the sales level achieved by ViEmu is way higher than I ever expected. I never thought it could pay a full-time salary for someone to maintain it. In the future, as the text editor becomes the main source of revenue, ViEmu sales will support having one person full- or part-time maintaining the product.

This month I’ve been less active than usually. Several things have confabulated to result in this. For one, I was planning to move to a new town after I finished the Word & Outlook version, and I have just done so. A lot of time this month has gone into finding an apartment to rent, buying all the necessary stuff, sorting out all the bureaucracy, multiple visits to the closest Ikea, and just generally getting installed in the new place. Now I’m starting to feel at home at the new apartment and able to concentrate in work somewhat again. I’ve kept taking care of support all the time, of course, as it’s the key point to keep customers happy and the business working, but I haven’t been able to do anything major.

But as a second important factor, I started reducing the stress I was submitting myself to – I was working way too many hours a day, and the last part, implementing ViEmu for Word and Outlook, had been as close to a nightmare as possible. I will give you some stats on lines-of-code counts which will show it, but the main point is that dealing with Word has been a huge effort. Difficult to do, so much that at certain points I had doubts that I’d be able to pull it off, and with that kind of difficulty that erodes you as you fight and overcome it: poorly thought interfaces, undocumented behavior, tests that require three days to implement only to find out that it’s not workable and you have to find another way around… If I was tired for two years of excessive work, this was the cherry on top. Once I got to release it and fix the most important flaws, I needed to take some rest. And my body has decided that I need an intense rest to compensate. For the past few days, I’ve been almost without energy, sleeping a lot, and not able to put a lot of effort or concentration into anything. It was probably something to expect. Anyway, I’m going to take everything in a more relaxed way for the next few weeks and see how I feel. “One task a day”, or something similar, should be doable and I will certainly enjoy the much needed recovery. This morning I implemented support for the “Orcas” version of Visual Studio (which is available as a preview), and this afternoon I’m writing this blog post, enough for a Saturday. I will also start exercising regularly, which should help in feeling better - and losing the 10kg (20 pounds) or so I’ve gained courtesy of ViEmu.

Even amidst all of this, I have been able to start slowly pounding away at the text editor. I’ve already forgone the possibility of releasing 1.0 by the summer, as that would require a level of work I cannot put in right now, but I will be working in it during the next few weeks and months, and hopefully having something working soon enough. I’m still agonizing over the name, fortunately I have some time before I have to make a final decision.

I was talking about lines of code. This is a breakdown of my current codebase (all in C++):

Core library (including regular expression engine): 15,500 lines
Vi/vim emulator: 15,000 lines
Visual Studio and SQL Server integration: 21,450 lines
Word & Outlook integration: 21,300 lines
Text editor: 38,150 lines

The last chunk (the text editor) is, as of yet, unreleased code, and still contains quite a few known problems. All the rest is released and quite solid, production quality code.

Over 100k lines of code, a single person over a period of two years, initially while holding a full-time day job – you can understand while I need some rest now. You can see how the integration in the environment can be pretty hefty, quite a lot larger than the actual vi/vim emulation core. I don’t repeat myself too much, as much as possible is reused by isolating as common templates or libraries (the whole vi/vim emulator is a bunch of templates that can hook into any of the supported environments).

The good thing of this? It’s some pretty solid technology that can’t be replicated easily. And there are some things there that I can and plan to use in additional products.

I promised an interesting lesson – where has the sales increase come from? On one hand, the number of orders has increased: increased popularity, better and more products, a more professional-looking web site, a more professional image given by the wider line-up of available products… I guess all of them are meaningful factors. But there is an additional factor: market segmentation, in an unusual way. Some time ago, I considered the idea of having “standard” and “professional” versions, at different price points. This allows you to charge a bit higher to those that can afford it like companies or professionals – or to charge less to those who can pay less, however you want to see it. But I ended up thinking that it didn’t make sense for a vi emulator. The goal for an emulator is clear, the features are already defined by the emulated product, and when the goal has been so clearly set for so many years, and one can’t make a meaningful standard/professional feature distinction, it would just look lame to arbitrarily cut functionality. So I put the idea aside.

But when I released the Word & Outlook version, I also added very interesting discounts for packs of the different ViEmu products. If you buy two ViEmu versions, you get about 35% off in the second one. And if you buy the three of them, you get the three for the price of two. Since the target market, although not exactly the same, is very similar for the products, this indeed acts as a segmentation tool. Those who can’t spend too much buy just one of them, but those for whom $100 or $150 isn’t too much (that is, companies and professionals) often buy a two-pack or the full three-pack. And this makes the average order quite a bit higher than it used to be. Together with increased number of orders, this makes for a nice increase in dollar-sales.

Give it some thought, as it’s another segmentation strategy that can work for your own products!

PS: Post written using vi emulation in Word :)

ViEmu for Word and Outlook released

February 8th, 2007

At long last, ViEmu for Word and Outlook 1.0 is out of the door:

ViEmu in Word 2007

Together with the new web design, you can have a look at it at viemu.com.

I’ve had a few sales already after being out for 12 hours or so, so it’s some kind of proof that there is some interest. Thanks to those who’ve bought it!

After this, I’m going knee-deep into the development of kodumi, my up-and-coming text editor. I’m thrilled to go back to it, and I hope I will be able to reach 1.0 in just a few months. The goals are very ambitious, but getting 1.0 out of the door is a priority, even as soon as it offers just a glimpse of what will be coming.

And I’m incredibly happy, not only to get on working in my editor, but also to *stop* having to fight against poor and hostile interfaces, as provided by other apps. It will be refreshing to fight my own interface designs instead of others’.

Thanks to Andrey, Jose, Dennis and Ian for posting about it on their blogs even before I did!

As an aside, I must say I like Word & Outlook 2007’s new interface very much. I think many people will want to have it as soon as they try it out.

Digg, reddit, vi/vim for Word and Outlook, and Happy New Year!

January 9th, 2007

Happy New Year everyone!

Here is my bandwidth graph for 2007 so far:

bandwidth graph

Yes, I got dugg and reddit-ed during the weekend. The first hump is reddit, the large spike afterwards is digg. The URL was from this blog, back in June’05:

The story of why I got started with vi/vim editing

I submitted it after seeing a post about “Bill Joy’s greatest gift to mankind: the vi editor” on the front page of programming.reddit.com. I didn’t expect so much popularity, but it seemed to resonate with the audience.

The comments both in reddit and in digg were very numerous and fun to read:

http://programming.reddit.com/info/x6zg/comments

http://digg.com/programming/Why_learning_vi_vim_still_makes_sense_in_2007

Having had about 20,000 people visit my blog during the weekend is always nice. It almost, but not quite, prevented me from concentrating on my current work:

ViEmu for Word screenshot

Yes, ViEmu for Word is already working. Yes, you can use Japanese text in ex commands and move around with a block cursor in proportional text and everything else… I expect to have a first alpha version for interested users ready during this week, hopefully becoming beta next week (feature-complete). After that, I’ll release as soon as possible. Getting this to work has been a *huge* pain, but hopefully it will be interesting to some users.

Ah, and it also works great in Outlook message windows! I’ll post another screenshot in a few days.

PS: Andrey released his latest product, BlackberrySpamFilter. Guess what it does? I think this will be a very successful product, and I wish him the best luck!

Trick and treat

November 1st, 2006

Because it’s both fake, and a gift for your soul and mind:

A beautiful CG video recreation of the processes inside a cell

I usually don’t like to go off-topic in the blog (heck, I don’t usually even go on-topic). But this is the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. I discovered it a few days ago, and I must have watched it 10 times. Biology is one of my other loves, certainly due to the fact that I die for structural beauty, and the thought that this is what we are made of gives it another dimension.

I was desperate to share it, so I posted it to reddit, but it didn’t get picked up :-/. I can’t really understand why, maybe people are more interested in the newest voting-machine rigging techniques (I follow programming.reddit.com more than the main page nowadays). If you like it and would like other people to enjoy it, please vote for it in reddit:

http://reddit.com/info/od2m/comments

I certainly love people watching it. The soundtrack is an awesome piano piece, to, so that’s two loves of mine in the same video.

I’m just a biology-aficionado, so I can recognize some of the processes and structures: a ribosome synthesizing a protein by decoding an mRNA strand, etc… but not many other ones. I’d love to read a detailed description of everything process and molecule depicted there…

Happy Halloween!

October ’06 Status update

October 28th, 2006

It’s way past time I updated the blog with some more recent info. I hope you’ll understand time the 2nd scarcest resource of my single person startup, only right after cash, but very close.

For the past month, I’ve been able to do little more than answer support e-mails, respond to customer’s queries, and take note of the bugs/requests I’ve received. My day-job has required a lot of time and it has been pretty stressful, so I just forgot about trying to actually achieve anything.

I had been pretty busy working in ViEmu for the previous couple of months. I took a quiet August, I started surfing – which I love as a great summer activity – and I worked a lot in ViEmu/VS version 2.0. The worst part of it was a more than 10 hour symbol-less assembly debugging session of the innards of Visual Studio, in order to find a bug in one of the APIs and implement a feature I badly wanted to offer in 2.0 (automatic keybinding removal/management).

After this, I was able to release ViEmu/VS 2.0 back in mid September. The keybindings handling feature in particular has caused some trouble, so I will completely change the approach for the next major version (whenever that happens), but, all in all, 2.0 is a heck of an improvement over the previous 1.4 version. Sales have gone up, the feedback has been great, and I’m very satisfied with the result. It also makes use of the completely new ngvi emulation engine, which is also integrated in kodumi (my upcoming text editor), which will hopefully be released in early 2007. Having the engine confirmed to work right by hundreds of users gives me a great confidence in it.

I also released ViEmu for SQL Server Management Studio 2005. It has made a modest debut, with not too many sales, but it should be useful to some folks into heavy DB development, and turns ViEmu in a rounder offer.

I’ve updated the web site to offer ViEmu/SQL too, but I only did the minimum investment of time into this. And the reason is that I still plan to release a third ViEmu product before taking on kodumi development more seriously: ViEmu for Word and Outlook. Quite a few people have asked for it over time, I think integrating the ngvi engine in the Word framework won’t be too much trouble, and the main point is that I expect to make the maximum ROI from the effort invested so far. Vi/vim emulation will never be a huge market, and implementing it for many other environments wouldn’t be a sensible business decision, but having the triad of ViEmu/VS, ViEmu/SQL and ViEmu/Word+Outlook seems like the best trade-off of effort and potential. ViEmu sales are already in a place where I could live off of it, and adding up a third product could make it a comfortable situation to confront the release of kodumi 1.0 and developing the technology I intend to.

I will have to do a pretty complete redesign of viemu.com presenting the 3 products. And presenting multiple products is always much more difficult than presenting a single one. Given that this effort is in the near future, I decided to do the minimum redesign possible for the release of ViEmu/SQL.

Some interesting facts:

  • July and August sales were slow (especially predictable for July, given June had been the last month of the previous pricepoint and I cannibalized a lot of natural July sales), but September managed to catch up with dollar-sales in June (the best selling month ever so far), and October has again broken that record, almost catching up with the maximum ever unit sales in June.
  • Finally, viemu.com has made it to the first page of both the “visual studio vi” and “visual studio vim” Google searches. As soon as I have an afternoon to sort it out, I will finally be redirecting the old “ngedit.com/viemu.html” page to “viemu.com”. It’s taken 6 months for Google to acknowledge the new location (I didn’t want to redirect straight away and risk losing the ranking, as it had taken many, many months to have that page on the first page for these very interesting searches).
  • I have a chart and an article almost ready, called “The Ultimate WM_KEYDOWN/WM_CHAR Table from Hell”. I’ve had to delve even more deeply in the broken-ness of the Win32 input model, as ViEmu 2.0 has full keyboard mapping support, and it’s simply amazing how broken it is. The previous article on the subject is, funnily, the 2nd Google result for “WM_CHAR”, right after the MSDN reference page, and the 4th or 5th for WM_KEYDOWN (and brings quite some traffic to my site). I believe the new chart will be very useful and it will be pretty popular on del.icio.us, etc… more exposure is always good.
  • As always, I still plan to blog profusely… in the future :). I certainly enjoy writing and sharing my experience, and it’s definitely useful for the business, but I still have to prepare ViEmu/Word+Outlook and get kodumi 1.0 ready before I can dedicate more time to blogging. Actually, there is some very interesting technology I am preparing for kodumi (and for other projects afterwards), and I’d love to blog about it. But I don’t have time for everything… As soon as I have a released product which appeals to a higher percentage of developers, it will make more sense to invest in blogging as a means to gain awareness.
  • Andrey Butov took the plunge, left his day job, and went fulltime into his business. The effects have already been noticeable: a new web site specialized in Wall Street Programmers, a new design for his main site, etc… He was even so kind as to feature ViEmu/VS in the front page of the new site! When he released his book So You Want To Be A Wall Street Programmer a few weeks ago, I decided to buy it and read it. The reason is not that I intend to ever work in Wall Street, I am as close to 100% sure as possible that I won’t. But I enjoy his writing style, and I was curious about the development industry over there. I found the book as interesting and entertaining as expected, and I also got a good idea of how the internal development in investment firms works. Since my products are and will keep being oriented towards developers, I found that the new knowledge would be useful for better targeting of my upcoming products. I’m familiar of how development works in 2 or 3 different industries, and I’m confident that I can target my products efficiently to those, but I’ve now added another one to the strategy-decisions mixing pot, an industry which can spend a lot of money, so I think I’ll be glad I spent the time to read the book. Recommended.

And a closing note with regards to blogging subjects: I’m doing some core technology development for kodumi. It’s quite probable that the blog will turn towards that subject area: basic computer science, parsers, languages, types, the nature of code and data, etc… I’ll still post about business and other issues, but I plan to blog a lot about the technology – I think it’s pretty groundbreaking and that it will be useful in many areas. So don’t be too surprised if you find a post here talking about really basic stuff (such as “what is a number”, “what is a type”, or “code and data are one and the same thing”).

But if you really, really want to read purely about setting up a small-software-company, you have to head over to Patrick McKenzie’s “MicroISV on a Shoestring” blog. Patrick is a smart guy (“smart” as in “really smart”), and he also writes very well, so his blog is the best account of going from zero to having a working business I’ve found. Recommended, too.

My first PR6!

July 31st, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, Google updated it’s public page rank - that is, the page rank that the Google toolbar shows you on a given page. Back in March 29, I released the graphical cheat sheet and tutorial, which was and has been pretty popular, with hundreds of links around the web and many tens of thousands of visitors (and still the most important traffic driver to my site). The graphical cheat sheet page and tutorial had been showing PR0 since then, meaning not-yet-assigned. The main www.viemu.com page itself had only been showing a meager PR2, as I had linked to it some time before. I was pretty eager to see Google show its love, not only by showing the page among the top 5 results for “vim tutorial” and several other searches, but also with its PR.

Finally, a couple weeks ago, I was glad to find out that Google had assigned it a page rank of 6, which is a pretty respectable number. It seems the rank is kind-of logarithmic, so a single page rank point may reflect a 10x variation of popularity.

My previous highlights were PR5 for this blog and for some ngedit.com pages, both of which have dozens of links around the web. It seems you need hundreds of links, possibly with at least several of them from reputable pages, to get into PR6. I don’t know whether del.icio.us user/link pages are spidered and accounted for by Google, that would get it in the thousands.

Anyway, the update in the page rank as reported by the toolbar hasn’t had any effect in the traffic Google directs to my page, or the results ranking. This is expected, as it seems the page rank reported by the toolbar is just a more-or-less quarterly snapshot of the internal pagerank that Google actually uses.

As a side effect, there is another SEO trick I think I’ve found. Google has assigned a very modest PR of 3 to the main www.viemu.com page. There are some links around the web to this page, but nowhere near the amount and significance of the links to the cheat sheet itself. But I’ve been pretty surprised to find that the vi tips page in the site has gotten a wonderful PR5! What is my interpretation? The vi tips page is the only one that links to the cheat sheet & tutorial page directly. Nobody has linked to the tips page directly, so I’m pretty sure all of those points are assigned by Google thanks to the fact it is the only parent of the PR6-popular page. Good to know?

I will try to set some time aside to restructure the site so that the home page itself, which is the best landing page for potential customers, links directly to the graphical cheat sheet & tutorial page. You might be interested in applying this knowledge to future design decisions about your site, as well.

On other issues, sales in July have been slower than usual, but still good - given I’ve just ended the special introductory price, and that I had cannibalized most natural-July-sales by announcing the price increase prominently during all of June. I’m expecting ViEmu will continue to sell well at the new price after the slow period of the year, and I’m looking towards some increase with the release of 2.0 later during summer. Hopefully, even higher afterwards, thanks to some extra tricks I’m preparing. I wanted to finish 2.0 by early August, but this, of course, has turned out to be a very optimistic timeframe - late August or early September is much more likely. I’m also feeling I need some time away from hands-on development to “recharge” my motivational batteries, so I will be taking a quiet, calm August, and advance slowly towards the next steps. All is fine and I’m looking forward to a very exciting second half of 2006.

Enjoy the summer everyone!