Dlayer tools code – The great concealer

Nope, you haven’t missed it, v0.99 hasn’t been released, in my quest to support modular tools I’ve discovered how many issues the current tools code was concealing, there is the inevitable duplication along with code that is too complicated for its purpose and far too much similar code that can all be cut.

I’m 85% of the way through the refactor/clean-up, when I am done I will have a much leaner code base and all the tools will be modular, to add a new tool you will simply need to include the tools folder and a small script to insert the tool into the database.

It is proving to be much more work than originally planned, I was only going to do one module initially and pick the others up over time, after pulling back the covers and peaking at the horror I realised that was a not a workable solution, I need to fix it properly.

The Content manager, Web site manager and Form builder are complete and tested, I’m working on the Image Library tools, after that I need to go back and do some additional simplification/refactoring and then re-test again, I’m hoping to release v0.99 soon, I’m not going to give a date until I am back onto normal development.

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.