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That is not dead... - On this day in 2017

Apr. 11th, 2007

01:16 am - That is not dead...

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It's been almost two years since my last post, and most people will probably think this project is now long-dead and beyond resuscitation. The wiki disappeared not long after that when my hosting provider went AWOL, and life has conspired to keep it off-line. Details of that can be inferred from my personal LJ, which recounts some aspects of the career rollercoaster I've been riding: needless to say all of my creative energies were for sometime channeled into other people's babies.

This is nothing new. Silicon Beach was born at the end of 1991, although the name took another seven or eight years to materialise, and it's lurched along through my backbrain in fits and starts as I've worked on all kinds of tasty geek fodder. That's the creative process I guess. Every couple of years a new collection of characters will force their way from my subconscious and insist I share some personal time with them, and I guess that time might be here again.

Now this isn't to say that Silicon Beach is set to be my main project this year. My good friend spikyblackcat and I are already commited to developing some revolutionary networking technology this year and that's where most of my time is likely to be channelled, but that's not the only thing I want to be doing. So expect intermittent updates.

Getting the old wiki back online isn't my top priority just yet but I've checked through my archives and all of the datafiles are still there. The easy choice at this juncture would be to stick a MediaWiki server up on my cable connection and serve that out, but I want to think about that. Last year I ran several MediaWikis for managing technical projects and that confirmed my dislike for the engine. The codebase is dirty and I find it difficult to have confidence in a tool with so much spaghetti under the hood. I also recently wrote a simple content management system in Rails, and the idea of having something that's specifically tailored to the kind of data that a project like this involves is appealing. Anyway, a month should hopefully be long enough for me to make my mind up one way or the other.

So how do things stand today, relative to the plans of two years ago?

Java to me is dead. The single biggest lesson of my recent adventures in network infrastructure has been that Java is too static and verbose for elegant code development. I know there are people who will disagree with that statement, and others who'll say that elegance is less important than performance: well good for them. Moore's law has always made the performance argument look somewhat dubious, but now we're entering an increasingly multi-core world we can afford to be wasteful with clock-cycles if we intelligently distribute our application load.

Ruby is more than just the latest hyped language, it really does put the pleasure back into coding. It's also an incredibly elegant language with a good extension model, and I'm considering building a 3D extension for it based upon the Sauerbraten engine (which has come along considerably since I last looked at it). I quite like the idea of having the upper level of the engine written in Ruby, with only necessary primitives written in C/C++. That's definitely a long-term project though.

Of more immediate interest is the release of Inform 7 which is taking interactive fiction to new heights. The editor is very much writer-oriented and I can see this being the perfect tool for prototyping and storyboarding. I've only had a brief play with it so far but I hope to do something about that over the coming weeks.

That's all for now!