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End of year wrap up (2011)

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I'm currently in the planning stages to rebuild this site.  I've delayed doing this for a long time since I didn't want to "break links"; however, one reason why I don't contribute as much as I used to is the fact that I enjoy the comment interaction.  Thanks to blog spam, I had to disable anonymous comments and, since that time, my posts have slowed way down.  (Yes, CAPTCHA controls exist; however, it's not that straight forward to implement on this now aging copy of community server.)  So, I've made the decision that it is time to do whatever is necessary to kick start things back into full gear and if this means that web links are broken in the process... so be it.  I'll investigate ways to accommodate the change; however, at the end, it's time to get'r'done.

Movie Jukebox

For those following along (for a while), I have another pet project that I built for my own purposes and have enjoyed the fruits of since that time.  I have four 400 disc DVD players connected to Media Center that allow me to choose among 1600 movies at the press of a button; and the overall cost of the hardware is amazingly small in comparison to other options.  I was recently approached by a long time friend regarding his desire to attempt to market the project and we made our first sale last week!  It's officially a product now!!!!  For full disclosure, I did have to address a few issues that I was ignoring (I knew what I was doing after all) and made a few enhancements to actually productize it for a v1.0 release.

Fort Worth .NET Users Group

I've been knee deep in working to get the FWDNUG on track now that I'm the acting president.  Let's just say that it's been an adventure up to this point; however, I think things are starting to really come together and 2012 is starting to look like a very good year for the members of the group!

I also want to say how much fun the end-of-year party was; how often can one say that thanks to a .NET users group I got to shoot an AR-15, an AK-47 and a Colt .45! :-D

VB6 -> VB10 Comparison

Look for additional entries on this to come in the first part of January.  Additionally, once VB11 is made available, I'll be sure to do a follow up for any items that are appropriate.

BASIC

The pet project is still moving nicely along.

Parser/Interpreter

I think I've pretty much gotten the parsing and interpreter where I'd like to see it; at least for this project. The performance is pretty good and works pretty well on Windows Phone 7.

Portable Library

My decision to switch to the portable library project was, as far as I'm concerned, a very good one. It does force me to have to think through how I'm going to implement portions of the project so that implementation can be segmented across different platforms, which at times can be a bit daunting in the midst of "just getting it done". However, even with the additional work that is involved, I do believe that the results are paying off.

Display

The "IDE" portions is pretty much 100% as well as most of the ANSI style "graphics". Additionally, CGA mode is mostly complete (except for my new arch enemy... CIRCLE). As a follow up to the last post, the "last line issue" has been resolved by no longer trying to reproduce the behavior of the original GW-BASIC... which is something that seems to be impossible because two different versions of GW-BASIC did it two different ways... so I decided to "fix the bug" and move on.

Keyboard

Working pretty well; however, I think I'm going to re-address this at a later time so that it is based on "scan codes" at a lower level and works across the various keyword appropriately.

File System

The file system over web services idea is working pretty well; however, there are significant issues that I've encountered due to a budget host environment. Since my last post, I am now interested in attempting to build this over SkyDrive... so we'll see where this goes as we move into the new year.

Sound

Silverlight 5 has been released, so now I can see if the improvements to low-level sound will help solve some of the issues I was facing. I'll update once I know more.

Keywords

As of this writing, 176 keywords have been implemented. For the most part, the majority of these keywords is pretty complete.

Compatibility

All of the code that I've attempted to execute from the BASIC Computer Games - Microcomputer Edition book (c. 1979) works great.  I've been playing Hunt the Wumpus; that sure brings back a few memories. ;-) 

One of my original stated goals was to get this to the point where the original, unmodified, DONKEY.BAS code would execute as close to the original as possible. As of this writing, the game can execute with only one minor modification to the original code; the culprit at this point is the SOUND statement, of which I've already mentioned I'm having to get a bit creative to solve. The issue is not whether or not it can play sound; the SOUND statement was used as a means to throttle the game loop, which means I need to get my sound statement working the same.  In a world (Silverlight) where everything seems to want to be async, it's proves to be a little bit of a problem but I think I've got a solution worked out.  Once done, the goal is to get all the original .BAS files included with DOS version 1.1 working. 

Another interesting tidbit is that modifications had to be made to accommodate the actual sample code instead of relying 100% on the official documentation which neglects to mention a few quirks that I knew all those years ago but have since forgotten; such as the "optional" end quotation on string literals. If it's in the documentation, I couldn't find it by scanning over it.

Summary

I'm still having a blast working on this project and can't wait to see where it will lead. It's so much more fun now that it's to the the point where the original code comes to life.

Conclusion

Be sure, I have a few other tidbits that I'm working on and a ton of ideas that I'm working through with regards to this site; so stay tuned.  Let's just say if 2012 is the year the world comes to an end... I've got a lot of stuff on my plate that I want to accomplish before hand. ;-)  In all seriousness, I look forward to 2012 and hope that everyone enjoys success and prosperity in the new year.

Published Saturday, December 24, 2011 5:36 AM by CorySmith

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