Define success

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31 May 2011 10:34. Edited 5 times. (Edit, Permalink)

People define success in a number of ways: winning a marathon, beating your highest score in PacMan, or making a profit with your latest product or service.

For STE, I decided on two main goals when I began:

  • This should be a learning experience for me, teaching me more about the Java programming language
  • I must offer something that you can't get with a browser when you visit

More than 13 months after I released the first version of the application, I think I can claim to have achieved those goals. And yet they are ongoing. When you beat your highest score in PacMan, you have another challenge: beat the new high score.

In much the same way I still use STE to teach me about parts of the Java language that I haven't explored yet, and I continually aim to offer features that expand what you can do with your Wikidot sites.

The learning experience

In many ways, I've used STE to teach myself the in's and out's of Java. If someone requested a feature, I'd go and find out firstly if it is possible, and secondly how to implement it. This has allowed me to rapidly gain a better understanding of what Java is good at, and what it's not quite so effective at doing.

The code is extremely messy as a result, so version 4 is not only going to bring a new UI, but it's my opportunity to completely re-write it and take advantage of what I know now. At the moment there are parts of the code where I look at it and think… "what in the world was I thinking when I did that?!"

Being my own personal hobby, I like being able to claim that 100% of the code is written by me, or derived from my own R&D. Development is slower that way, but it's not my intention to pump out features at a fast pace anyway. My intention is to fulfil those goals that I mentioned above.

For this reason, STE will most likely never be open-source software. I intend to start a few additional projects soon however which will be open-source, so let me know if you are an interested Java developer.

Extending beyond the browser

When you want to extend beyond Wikidot's browser experience, you look to one place: the Wikidot API.

And so I can confidently say that without the API, the application wouldn't be half of what it is today. Manually copying and pasting code between the browser and a desktop application would be annoying. Two-click importing and exporting is a lot better.

Naturally, and as I said above, these goals continue to evolve. STE already offers much that Wikidot on it's own does not:

  • An editor that supports Wikidot syntax offline
  • Renaming (moving) multiple pages
  • Editing tags on multiple pages quickly and easily

And yet the opportunities are almost endless! Think of something that you do regularly on your site, that takes you hours at a time to complete. Chances are that I can make your life easier with STE - and if I can't, I'll request the necessary tools to be added to the Wikidot API.

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