mozCC 0.9.9 Available

So I promised a new release of mozCC to users back in December. And it was released… this morning. Right, so you can see the release announcement for all the gory details. The cool thing is that this is the 1.0 Release Candidate and we’ve fixed a couple of bugs that were pretty annoying. So update your installation, and get your feedback and bug reports in so we can get 1.0 out the door.

date:2005-02-23 12:04:23

Mmm… crow!

OK, I admit it. I have been trained from a very early age to respond to guilt. And so, after yesterday’s entry, I decided that complaining about NewsFire is an indefensible position, especially considering how much I’ve used the application. So this morning I shelled out and registered.

But let me clarify one point: I still feel a little duped. So in the interest of constructive criticism (and so I know what to do in the event I actually want to charge for an app), I’ve done some thinking about why. Keep in mind that these reasons are firmly rooted in ignorance: I found NewsFire via the OS X RSS Showdown, never really bothered to read much of the background, and still haven’t looked at so much as a FAQ on the site.

So the two thoughts are:

  • When you download the free version, there didn’t seem to be any mention of the restrictions. I’ve noticed this is true of lots of shareware sites. All I want to do is make an informed decision about what I need: a statement of what’s missing, or (even better) a pretty grid comparing “lite” to “full” would make the process much easier.
  • It wasn’t clear to me that the author eventually intended to charge for the application when I downloaded the beta.

Damn, and here I thought there was something insightful lying around somewhere.

date:2005-02-23 11:52:45

What, you want to EAT?

So I’m a little pissed this morning. I’ve been using NewsFire as my RSS reader on my iMac for the past few months. I really like it. I has fun little animations, and it’s reasonably fast. Of course, today I finally got around to upgrading to 1.0, and found that it’s become shareware. Fine, I thought; I don’t need fancy features, just my news, and I can live with clicking through a nag screen at startup. Of course, then I tried to subscribe to a new feed. “We’re sorry, the unregistered version can only support 25 feeds.” Excuse me?

OK, look, I know I already look like a real whiner for even mentioning this, especially when I’ve already said I like the software, and it only costs $19 (not even $20!).

So I’m looking for an alternative reader now. It’s not that I have a problem paying for software, and I certainly understand that developers need to eat. I just somehow feel, well, duped.

RSSOwl looks sorta cool; I’ll have to try it when I get back home. And I’m feeling a little guilty about complaining in the first place, since who should support software developers if not those who really use their products. But I still feel duped.

date:2005-02-22 13:56:22
category:geek, my life

ccPublisher 1.0.5 Preview

First, thanks to everyone who’s tried ccPublisher recently. We do have a couple of bugs in the “stable” version, and I’ve spent the past few days tracking those down and fixing them in CVS. I’m hoping to make a maintenance release later this week once we have a few other things tracked down. In the mean time, I’ve prepared a preview for any brave souls out there. This release is completely unofficial, but it does contain a few important bug fixes. In no particular order:

  • ccPublisher no longer chokes on filenames containing Unicode on Windows.
  • ccPublisher now correctly reads ID3 metadata from files containing Unicode characters on Mac OS X.
  • Permission errors that occur when uploading to the Internet Archive are now displayed; previously they were all reported as “invalid username or password”, which wasn’t really correct at all.
  • The OS X build system has been reworked to use Bob’s incredibly cool py2app resulting in a 400% decrease in download size.
  • A problem with determining whether an identifier is available at the Archive has been corrected.

Between the first two and the last one, this release should correct 90% of all crash reports we receive.

You can find downloads here. Remember, this is a pre-release version, so your mileage may vary. That said, I’d really appreciate any feedback you have.

date:2005-02-21 12:21:42

Using Java with CC Web Services

We launced the Creative Commons Web Services several months ago. At the time, the goal was to provide a “beta” experience, as well as one that would power “ccPublisher’s” license chooser. At the time, we planned to develop both SOAP and REST implementations, but left the SOAP implementation incomplete due to time constraints. It’s been on my list to finish “real soon now” ever since.

In the meantime, let’s review the CC web services scorecard:

  • used them in ccPublisher… check.
  • implemented a Python demo application… check.
  • answered questions from a few random developers about the REST version… check.
  • answered questions about the SOAP version… uh, one.

The one developer who asked me about the SOAP version was a Java developer who wanted to use the WSDL definition to make life easier. That I can sympathize with. But the fact of the matter is that I don’t currently have the bandwidth to finish and maintain two separate implementations. We’re working on finalizing the API for the web services, and as part of that discussion are talking about dropping SOAP support.

Over the weekend Mike pointed me to an interview with Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Flickr. In it he describes a similar phenomenon to what we’ve observed (although on a much larger scale): far more interest in REST than SOAP. image0 That interview, coupled with our previous internal conversations, prompted me to investigate just what would go into implementing support for our REST web services in Java.

image1After a full day of hacking, most of it spent trying to figure out how to do XPath queries in Java, I have two things to show for it. First, an SWT demo which uses the CC REST web service to generate a simple license chooser.

The other, probably more important development, is a wrapper class, CcRest, which wraps the web services calls and is (hopefully) suitable for use in other Java applications. CcRest currently depends on JDOM and Jaxen for it’s XML and XPath functionality. The demo app, RestDemo, relies on the SWT UI library. The source code is available as a Jar and in CVS from the CC Tools Project at SourceForge. I’ll be adding some documentation to the CC Developer Wiki as well. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not all that proficient in Java, so if anyone has suggestions or improvments, I’ll be happy to hear about them.

date:2005-02-08 09:28:01