20
Aug 08

Step one complete

So the other day after about a days work of fixing whatever bugs I could find and updating the installation packages and language files to the best of my ability I released version 0.4.0. Within hours there had been several hundred downloads, and all was good.

Today I noticed people complaining about the new release being buggy and not working, really? Why? I had tested it for hours and hours and couldn’t find any bugs at all!

Turns out, the only people complaining were users of Windows 98. Since I didn’t have Windows 98 I just couldn’t test it properly and I could not replicate the problems. Then a light dawned on me, why not use Virtual PC? I found a dusty old Windows 98 CD I had stowed away amongst a pile of old CDs just waiting to be thrown away, and got to work installing this decade old bug ridden operating system. Finally, a way of testing the Windows 9x-version of Screamer Radio!

After a bit of testing I could see that there were actually two bugs in this release, and they would only show up if you are actually running it on Windows 9x, in Windows XP or Windows Vista the program runs just fine. Took me a few hours but I managed to track down why it wasn’t working properly and managed to fix it, so today I released version 0.4.1.

Hopefully all users will now enjoy a relatively bug free and stable experience which will allow me to concentrate on developing new features.


15
Aug 08

Hello World

Well, so I decided to create a blog so I can provide you with more informal news about the development and state of Screamer Radio. I’ve never been much of a writer really so I have not really communicated properly what’s been going on lately. I’ll try to give it a go now though..

History

Screamer Radio started as a hobby project in 2002 or 2003, can’t really remember. I wanted to learn how to code applications for Windows and I had always been annoyed with how hard it was to listen to internet radio back then. Seemed like a perfect match. Some friends liked the program so after a while I created a website and published it on Betanews and Download.com. Fast forward a few years and now there are thousands and thousands of users all over the world.

But for the past two years I’ve had a rather long commute to work, so I’ve had very little spare time to work on Screamer Radio and, quite frankly, the little spare time I had I didn’t want to spend coding. However, recently I moved much closer to work so now I have tons of spare time again. =)

Unfortunately, two years is a lot of time leaving a project hanging so the quality of the product has begun to deteriorate. There is a lot of work to do..

What has been done recently

I have set up a bugtracker so I can more easily keep track of bugs, I have started this blog so I can blog about what is going on, I have set up a subversion repository for proper code versioning and a backup system so I won’t lose my code and I’ve started cleaning up the code base. Working professionally as a developer for two years has made me a better programmer, so I should be able to improve the code more than I previously could. Unfortunately large bits of code needs to be completely rewritten from scratch, specifically the GUI.

What needs to be done

Today the GUI is coded in Win32 API which is not very nice to work with, that is partly why development has been slow and why I haven’t even completed the GUI with all the features it should have. I have started development on an MFC-version though but it’s far from complete.

Additionally the preset menu has to go, it has grown too large. When I started developing Screamer Radio I had no idea menus were a limited resource, and even then it wasn’t really a problem, but since the menu has grown soo large it has become one. So there is need to code some kind of replacement. It might take a while before it is ready though, because coding a GUI is a big task and my time is still somewhat limited.

The database of radio stations has been hard to keep up to date, the only reason it has even been updated at all lately is thanks to my polish friend Ludwik Stawowy who has done a great job adding and updating stations. The way the database is managed is in need of some updates. I’m trying to think of ways of letting the community help, at the very least I need to create some kind of web forms users can fill in to suggest new stations or report broken ones.

What I’m going to do next

It is kind of hard to focus on any one thing when there is so much to do all over. The client needs a new GUI, the website needs an overhaul, the radio database is in need of serious updating. You have to start somewhere though, so I think I will begin with releasing a bug fixed version.. it will still have the menu flaw but it is way less buggy than version 0.3.8. After that, we’ll see, but I think the radio directory will be my next focus. There needs to be an easier way to report broken radio stations and even suggest new ones.

I just want you to know, Screamer Radio is not dead, it has just been sleeping for a while. =)

Thanks for listening!