The girl with the braids down her back
Tonight I understood that things were Really Going To Work. As in, were Really Going To Work, in the cosmic, hit-over-the-head fashion that's completely impossible to ignore in the way that things like the success of internal-combustion engines are hard to ignore. True, everyone but me has known that things were Really Going To Work for a good deal of time (and have been waiting on me to see the obvious) but about an hour ago, I finally got it:
me: my. god. this. is. really. going. to. work.
Gareth: well of course
me: yeah, but…um, I coded the vast majority of it.
me: the two are generally incompatible
Gareth: tell that to php
The occasion: the import script. I've been spending a good chunk of time lately crunching away on the remaining major issues in Quarto. Today I felt comfortable enough with the changes to move from version 0.6 to 0.7—getting the comments section of the admin interface fully working had a lot to do with it.
I got brave, and decided that I should try Gareth's import script. With a few changes, everything—all 600+ entries and 1000-odd comments—imported perfectly. I spent the first few minutes blankly switching back and forth from entry to comment, marveling at the fact that it….worked. Those were my entries, being formatted and displayed by my code.
Pride, yes, that's what it was. My words. My effort. My code. It was really going to work. Words that couldn't quite find a way to make themselves said instead made me bounce up and down and squeal with joy.
It brought to the forefront a statement I've been making for many months, but only felt the full import of until tonight: I want cat.net to run under my own code. Not just the design, or the skinning, or the words—but everything else, the guts, the posting mechanism, everything. Not because I'm the best (or most capable) person to be working on a CMS—I'm not—but because I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of writing such an app.
True, Gareth wrote the import script. He wrote it a few months ago, actually, but I've been refusing to test it until I had just about all of the admin interface working properly. Why wait? Fear, I think. Fear that I would find that all my effort so far had been for naught, or that I would uncover some basic flaw in my db design or admin interface that would bring development to a standstill.
Fear that I'd find out after all these months of work that I was…wrong, on something bordering a cosmic scale.
Pride is not caring that you can't remember the syntax for str_pad() without looking it up, or that you still can't write a successful query on the first (or second…) try—it's loading up things at the end of the coding day and seeing the little login box that says, "Won't you sign in, stranger?"
It means that my site will run on a php/mysql backend. It will support multiple sites—for free. If I want the comments for my entries to appear in popup windows, it's available as an option (and they won't be .cgi files, either). I can allow only registered commenters to post comments, or I can allow both registered and unregistered. One of the first things I'm going to work on after returning from dragon*con is allowing users to set their own time zone—meaning that dates and times on cat.net will correctly display in whatever time zone the user requests, not just Central time.
…and. no. rebuilding. ever. again.
I realize the display functions—which is what Quarto has instead of 'templates' that get rebuilt—will turn off most of the people who would ever consider using this software package. But I don't care. This is the price for a fully dynamic, very flexible backend—and it's a price that I've been willing to pay for a couple of years now.
In the next few days I'll be beating on the admin interface, trying to get it ready for prime time. Once it is, I'll open up the registration page so that all of you who want to be registered commenters may sign up for accounts. You don't have to sign up, but doing so will mean that I'll go back and mark your old comments as yours, so that you can track and edit your words here to your heart's content.
Eventually I'll add more functions for registered commenters, but that's not going to happen before the end of the month.
The girl with the braids down her back suddenly feels that no, perhaps she can't do everything, but she can certainly do a lot more than she ever dreamed she could.