Twelve stories left before v1.00

Unless I find a way to create additional stories within Pivotal Tracker, as of today there are only twelve stories left to complete. Back in October, I posted a list of some of the stories still to do, I’ve ticked off a few of those along with lots of additional tasks that I deemed necessary.

Since October I have created a few alpha release but have yet to release them at http://demo.dlayer.com, I’m so close to the official beta release that I am holding off with any releases until then.

Below is a list of changes since October:

  • Added a Typography sub tool, allows the use to change the font family for the text content item
  • Added live preview for Typography sub tool changes
  • Added an app and error log, site and identity level logs
  • Cleaned up generated HTML, columns and rows not included if they are going to be empty
  • Added helper links to empty page, columns and rows when selected, guide the user
  • Fixed a bug with the toolbar showing the incorrect tool
  • Added a simple HTML tool, a user can add HTML content items until additional tools and widgets are in place
  • Fixed a bug with colour history storing blank values
  • Added Styling sub tool to Form, Text, Heading, Image and Jumbotron content item
  • Added a live preview for background colour changes
  • Added Styling sub tool to Rows, Columns and the Page itself
  • Page, row and column selectors now clear the background colours of child items to make it easier for the user to see what they are selecting
  • Refactoring, UX improvements and bug fixes

I don’t want the release of v1.00 to go into next year, over the next couple of weeks I am going to try and complete the twelve stories remaining and possibly even push some of them to v1.02, v1.03. v1.01 is all about scripts to setup the app and reset the app and create initial sample data; this will make it easier to test after the official v1.00 beta release,

v1.01 is all about scripts, a script to setup the app, another to reset and possibly one or two to create users and set initial test data,

Back to MVP

A week ago I gave myself two options, one, ignore the code smells and work to release v1.00, two, accept what I have been trying to tell myself and hit the DELETE key, I opted for option two.

After the big Content manager rework of 2016 I was left with a code base at odds with itself. When I looked at it more rationally, the Content manager was easily the module that was both the most complete and the one I was the most happy with. For the rest,the order was Form builder, Web site manager and Image library. The Image library and Web site manager were a pain to add modular tool support to and then I looked and thought why am I bothering, the Web site manager is a preview from when the app was a closed source project and the Image library only had one functional tool, upload……DELETE, after that I aimed my trigger finger at the Form builder, DELETE.

The modules haven’t gone; they will be back very soon, the problem is they were stopping progress elsewhere, you can rewrite an app forever to make it a perfect design, I need to ship and iterate.

The Form builder will be the quickest to return, it doesn’t have many issues, I need to update the Javascript to use data selectors and review the model code for the tools but that will be a pleasure when it is part of an iterative task and not a refactor.

Listed below are the titles for the pivotal tickets that need to be completed before I can ship v1.00.

  • Initial work on styling sub tools
  • Add to colour history
  • Nesting support exposed correctly
  • Suggested size for content items
  • Raw HTML content tools
  • Simple nav bar tools
  • Updated tool help tabs
  • Clean up database
  • Apply UX guidelines to Content manager

Modular tools

One of my initial goals for Dlayer was that tools be modular, it should be easy to plug a new tool into a designer, sometime during the last couple of years that got slightly lost. A tool is made up of four classes and a few view files, there is a Model, a Form, a Ribbon class the Tool class itself, these are currently stored by type in the library.

I’m going to fix this before I go any further, it will add a slight delay to the next version but it shouldn’t affect things too much because essentially I am just moving classes around and updating references, I’m not sure what to do with the view files yet but I will work that out shortly.

It is really hard when you work on a solo project, you need to step back occasionally to review and check out your design, it might be very difficult and time consuming to change things later.  I was sitting watching TV with the Mrs and then all of a sudden a question popped into my head, “Dean, why are all classes for a single tool all over the library?”

v0.99 alpha 3

I’ve just released Dlayer v0.99-alpha-3 on GitHub, this one is quite a big update, it adds the Text tool, Heading tool, Jumbotron tool, import form and import image tools, the ability to move rows, content items and columns and features the updated image picker.

I’ve done lots of refactoring in the background and still have quite a bit of old Content manager code to get sort out/get rid off but I am getting closer, the release of v0.99 won’t be far behind, there are only four stories I need to complete, 2 optional stories and whatever I choose to finish from the icebox.

It isn’t yet up at https://demo.dlayer.com, I will release it tomorrow evening.

v0.99 release date soon, nervous about v1.00

After reviewing my project planner (Pivotal Tracker) it looks like I could be ready to release v0.99 of Dlayer just before mid-September, originally it was planned for the end of August but I have been unusually social during the last two weeks.

I’m starting to get nervous about the v1.00 release, I’ve been working on this app for years, releasing a demo of the beta is one thing, officially releasing the project on GitHub is a another thing entirely, you can’t hide, your code is there for anyone to see.

A large part of v0.99 is fixing issues I would have liked to fix a long time ago, I won’t be done by v1.00 but the Content manager will be in a very good state and should be seen as the yard stick for the rest of the app.

Versions of the app have feature wise almost been on par with where v0.99 will be, up until this point though I’ve never had the app as polished as it now and will be at v1.00 and beyond. There is a long way to go once I release the v1.00 beta before Dlayer becomes a useable product and an even longer journey until the app I envisioned in 2008 is complete. I’m hoping though that with all the work I’ve done in preparing for the Open Source release since August continued development will be much easier than it has been at times in the past, it is very exciting knowing that Dlayer will soon be moving forward again.

There is a lot of work to do, sometimes a scary amount, for the v1.00 release which I will detail later, looking at my project planner there is hope, if I maintain the momentum I have over the last ten weeks it is possible I may be able to release v1.00 in November.