Our project was in need of a bug- or issue-tracking service. I’ve used several large and complex ones, like Trac, VersionOne, and FogBugz, and they were simply too complex. Writing the bug or issue entry, including title, description, assignments, priority, time estimation, type, screenshots, and bug and feature and user story and release and requirement and feature and milestone and component relationships became harder and more time consuming than fixing the bugs. With this in mind I went looking for a SIMPLE bug tracking service. I didn’t want to configure anything, or run a separate server or service. It needed to run out of a site someone else hosted, and needed to be free. After a couple of short Google sessions, and StackOverflow searches, I found one.

Behold, EasyBugs!

Excellent, just perfect. Password protection requires payment, but we can avoid that by using a long and random project url. Adding comments and bugs doesn’t need to be password protected. Hopefully password-protecting deletion of entries will be free in the future…but I can’t complain.

Yii Fun

I’ve been slowly wrestling with Yii for the last however many months. Our site is starting to take shape. It’s hard to tell how far off we are from 1.0, but I’m trying to accomplish something every day on the site, no matter how small. As long as we keep some kind of momentum going forward we’ll be fine.


After a fun period of writing plain PHP, I’ve decided to use a PHP framework. Apparently they’ll add robustness, security, tests, code generation, speed of development, etc. I played around with a few PHP frameworks and I’m now giving Yii a try.

I’m going to be spending the next few weeks reworking to site into Yii. It looks like my existing database can be used without any modification, and a few tweaks to a single css file is all I need to make the site appear exactly the same as it did before. So far things are looking good.


The project I referred to in the previous couple posts was CrowdColor. It’s a simple persistent virtual “canvas” upon which anyone can write/draw anything they want…

It’s really not that exciting or ambitious. Anyway. I’ve moved on to a couple other projects since.

One is a Java evolution simulator/agent-based life model. I think the problem with it is that I can’t figure out how to configure it so that the organisms evolve within a reasonable amount of time. I think that if I left it running for a long time it would produce some good results, but I don’t have the resources for that. I’ll be working on it from time to time and maybe even throwing it on git-hub or something.

I’ve been working on another site with a friend of mine. This one is much more ambitious and potentially useful. It’s quite a complex undertaking, but I’m convinced that it’s doable. While planning the site we hit several obstacles, possibly the “why this site doesn’t exist yet” obstacles that others have come across. I can say now that we’ve got solutions for everything so far…and maybe by recording this down we’ll be more likely to keep working on it. We might have to look for outside help eventually.

From the development perspective, we’re using PHP and jQuery. I figured that there wasn’t any compelling reason to use a big fancy PHP framework or anything. There’s still a lot of designing and coding to do. We’ve been working on this since the start of the year and just today purchased a domain name. Time to push on.

Finally — tangible progress!

I left my project alone to sit for a few months. In the meantime, I went out into the world and learned a bit more PHP, Javascript, and etc. As a result this weekend I was able to, relatively easily, finish up where I was previously stuck. I now have a functional first version of the project. I’m a bit behind the “a month or two” claim, but not by much. Plus, I have a decent amount of do-able things I can work on in order to get this out. In other words, I’m not stuck. So it looks good from here.

There’s a part of me that wants to spill the beans, but it will be much, much better if I can convince myself to wait.

One more note. My old iPhone App, RhythmVivid, is no longer available in the app store. A big thank you goes to all of you that played and submitted scores! There were some very impressive games played out there. Unfortunately I didn’t have any attention to give for upkeep of the App so it was best to let it ride into the golden sunset. It was a fun experiment.

Project Progress

My current project has been coming along nicely. As part of the process I’ve purchased some domain names. I’m trying to pace myself, but I’m hoping to have a functional version ready in a month or two. No, it’s not an iPad app.


I last posted about developing a personal finance program.  That little project was happily scrapped the moment I created an account on mint.com.  It serves to remind us that if it’s already been done, and it’s free, and it’s probably better than anything you could do yourself without too much effort, don’t waste your time.

I’ve recently embarked on an effort to learn a scripting language.  I will be slowly working on a project I’ve wanted to get started on for months now.  I won’t paint myself into a corner by laying down any specific plans or goals, so at this point I’m pretty much going to end this post.  Happy 2010.

Fork in the road

I am at the point in development where you come across a design decision, and here’s mine.  Do I continue to use Derby and try to create SQL statements from the GUI or do I create my own data structure?  I need to manipulate the data in very specific ways to display nice graphs or charts that the user can configure.  I’m thinking it may be more fun to start this from scratch.  We’ll see.

Java swing fun

I’m to the point in development where I’d like to do some GUI work. I’m doing the GUI in swing. I’ve never had too much trouble with swing, but I’ve come across a very frustrating problem. I’m trying to create a few panels of JCheckBoxes, and no matter what I do, the panel that allows users to select names of people for expense tracking does not show up on the window. This is really slowing down development.  The other panel of checkboxes displays very nicely, but I’m at a loss here.

New project

I’ve had several false starts on several software projects, but now I think I’m ready to build a small application to completion.

The goal is an application that provides a graphical interface for a database to keep track of expenses for several people.  I know this has been done before, but simplicity in using the final application is key.

Development will be done in Java using Derby.

Inspiration for this project comes from looking for this type of application and not finding anything satisfactory.  Other programs were to complex, expensive, or focused on income and saving rather than just tracking expenses.  I had to create a sprawling spreadsheet as a substitute.  It should be easier to create this application than to keep the spreadsheet updated.  The spreadsheet provides nice graphs for output, so I need to provide this type of output in the application.