Yesterday was the third anniversary of the mimec.org website; for the first time I didn't even have time to write the summary. What can I say; during the last few weeks my life basically turned upside down and everything indicates that it's going to stay this way :). After long searching and almost losing all hope, I finally found my significant other. I don't even have to say how much she changed everything in my life; most importantly, I can now start planning things rather than living from day to day like I had for a long time. I'm sure that the next year will bring a lot of changes.
Back to this year's summary; for my personal life it was a huge breakthrough; in other areas there were also successes, but honestly, nothing truly spectacular. For the first time I was officially the team lead in one of the largest projects in the company I work for; I was appreciated for "performing exceptionally well" and it was the "first release for which the deadline did not have to be changed and what was initially promised was delivered on time and on budget". Nice and encouraging words, without doubt; especially that it's not a very common thing in the world of software development. Yesterday's celebration with my team in a sushi restaurant was the reason I didn't write this post yesterday :).
Making the new version of Fraqtive was quite fun; it was downloaded 6,000 times and it's the fifth search result in Google for "open source fractal generator". Not bad. My recent Qt Articles didn't receive any feedback so far, but had over 350 downloads, so I guess it's not very bad either. Work on WebIssues goes slowly, especially recently, for obvious reasons. The project had 3,000 downloads this year and won the contest which was supposed to be "a great platform to showcase code". Honestly I don't have a feeling that anyone has ever looked at it and that's too bad, because this project has a great potential, both in open source and commercial world, and I still can't find any serious opportunity to promote it. Next year I'm going to take a little bit more risk, because otherwise it doesn't really make any sense.
Finally I did it - all mimec.org sites are now running on PHP 5, MySQL 5 and Drupal 5. They have a completely new theme, based on Garland, with some small modifications of the background and fonts. Here's a list of some other important changes:
Some time ago I added 'donate' links to WebIssues and Fraqtive websites, I'll also add it here. Not that I'm planning to make a lot of money and stop working ;)... but I think it's quite fair to pay for something you find useful and saves you time and money, even if it's free software. I should have done this a long time ago. By the way, thanks to Peter, the first donor :).
Also some time ago I submitted WebIssues to the Qt Center Programming Contest. Maybe it will be a chance to finally bring some attention to WebIssues in the community and move it to the next level. Who knows. Anyway, I'm going to return to this project just after I release a few more versions of Fraqtive and write the Qt articles.
A few days ago I made a new skin for the website and I must say for the first time I'm quite satisfied with it. I didn't plan to do it now, it was just an experiment, but the result was so encouraging that I decided to make a new skin from it. It lost its 'individual' style, but it's much cleaner, readable and visually appealing. I'm not much of a web designer so I just tried to imitate designs that I like (for example the KDE website) and make it as simple as possible.
I always thought that fixed width layout is a bad thing, but I finally changed my mind as the width of the screen grows and the lines of text become annoyingly long. Now it doesn't fit entirely on a 800x600 screen, but I had to make it wider so that the images fit well. It's not a problem these days (recent statistics show that for 'technical' sites only about 3% of visitors use a resolution lower than 1024x768).
What's coming next? It's time to upgrade the engine of this website. Soon I'm going to start playing with the upcoming Drupal 6.0 because the version I'm using now is rather ancient. But I like the way it works now with all customizations that I made. It won't be an easy task to keep it working the same way.
Also, now that the WebIssues Client reached stable version I can finally work on another project. As I mentioned some time ago, I'm not inventing anything new, just removing dust from an old project. I recently started rewriting Fraqtive, the fractal generator, planning to give it a completely new look and feel, an improved engine (with support for SSE2 and multi-core processors and possibility to customize fractal types) and obviously porting it to Qt4. It may not be such serious project as WebIssues, but sometimes it's good to make something just for fun. It's too early to say precisely when it will be available, but I'd say spring is realistic.
The mimec.org website was officially opened two years ago. Just like last year, it's a good opportunity to summarize the past 12 months. It's also a very good time to do that. Most of this year was just a long period of stagnation and struggling against everything. But it was worth it, because now the results are coming, sometimes in very unexpected ways, and it's the first time for a long time I can't really complain about anything :).
Looking back this year doesn't really look that bad. Two great holidays at the Polish see and in Turkey. A lot of new friends, surprisingly, both at work and in private life. Still not what I'd really want, but at least it's going in the right direction. Two concerts where I met interesting people. Quite a few music parties, and it looks like they're going to be continued even though everything indicated otherwise. Not only I got the driving license, but I also finally bought a car, which is a really huge improvement both in comfort and time saving.
At work I got quite a good raise and became a project manager, at least in theory. In practice that means I have to do everything from coding and testing to communicating with the clients in three different projects, but hey, at least I'm not bored anymore :). There have been some indications recently that I might be getting some profits from my open source activities, which is encouraging, but it's too distant to even mention it now. Anyway, I haven't lost my enthusiasm for doing it and I will certainly try to continue all my three projects as far as possible. Even my recent retreat from using Linux and switching almost completely to Windows didn't change my point of view for it.
And to finish this longish post, here come some numbers. The sites together had 60,000 visits in last 12 months, which is 2.4 times more than in the first year. Fraqtive had over 1000 downloads and WebIssues more than 2000. That may not sound impressive, but I think it's pretty fine for such niche programs. So my best regards to everyone who visited these sites and found something interesting or useful, and see you next year.
So it's been a year since the www.mimec.org website was brought online. I guess it's a good moment for a brief summary and for showing my plans for the following year. But first I'd like to thank everyone who visited my websites, downloaded stuff and posted comments; watching these bars in my webstats grow is really the main reason that makes me keep working on all those open source projects.
The statistics show that there were over 25,000 visits during the year on all three websites. The most popular pages were the multi-column tree and ie-style menu bars articles with over 4,000 views each. Fraqtive, even though there were no new versions released during the last year, is still moderately popular and was downloaded over 1,500 times. WebIssues was downloaded about 300 times since the first release on September.
The most important thing for the nearest few months is to finish developing the key features in WebIssues and try to bring some attention to it. I believe that this system has a lot of potential, but there's still a lot of work to do. Especially after porting to KDE4 and reaching more platforms, it will hopefully become more popular. Then I want to port Fraqtive to KDE4, because I haven't done anything with it for over a year and it definitely needs some attention. I already have a few ideas to refresh the user interface and add some new features.
In the meantime, I have to make my driving license, buy a car, finish the renovation of my flat and put my personal life back together because it got completely screwed up lately... Well, time will show how this is all going to end. Sometimes it's best not to plan everything to the last detail, so I guess I'll just keep doing my job. See you at the next anniversary :).