September 30, 2003
a little history
Style Master was first released just over 5 years ago, 9 September 1998.
As an aside, it was my now sadly missed grandmother's 90th birthday. One of her lifelong mottos was "near enough is not good enough", to which, perhaps to my psychiatrist's chagrin, I still very much subscribe.
It wasn't westciv's first application. We had already released Palimpsest, a very sophisticated hypertext knowledge management system for the Mac OS.
It was very well received critically, and sold quite a few copies. We had some pretty high powered users, including Norbert Weiner prize winner Kristen Nygaard. But let me tell you, developing an application that's not quite like anything else, and then trying to take it to the world takes a lot of time, effort and very deep pockets. Maybe the name didn't help.
I still love that application, and when I fire it up, I am still impressed with its power and sophistication (you would hope so, hey?)
From time to time people still write to me, asking whether there will be a Mac OS X version. I'd like to think so, but somehow I doubt it.
But it didn't pay the all the bills, so among other things at the time I taught a bit at TAFE, which is a technical college system here in Australia.
The web was really starting to take off, and I was involved in developing and teaching web development among other things. In 96 or 97, when Netscape 4 started to take off, I learnt about CSS, and started hunting around for a good tool for students to get up to speed with CSS. Everything I found left a lot to be desired, and it didn't take me long to realize that there was an opportunity here...
To be continued.
September 29, 2003
on beginnings (what's in a name)
What's in a name?
It is a curious name, I guess, and you'd either spot the reference to the Simpsons a mile off, or wonder "what the...?"
I live in a beach side suburb of Sydney, and as you may well guess, it is a popular tourist destination. As such, there are many internet cafes here. There was one on the corner of my street that I'd walk past every day, with dozens of backpackers at their cubicles regardless of the weather outside.
I believe it was my partner at westciv, and my dear friend Maxine's inspired connection between that and an episode of the Simpsons. Fat Tony was supplying rat's milk to the school canteen. There is a rather amusing if ghastly scene of hundreds of battery rats, all being milked in cages. Mayor Quimby is aghast, and turns accusingly to Fat Tony, admonishing him: "You promised me dog or higher".
Anyway, "rat or higher" was probably too cruel, so "dog or higher" stuck as an epithet we used any time we walked past this or any other internet cafe. In time friends and family started using it.
And what connection between battery backpackers and this blog. What is this blog about anyway?
My partner Sara suggested the title. I thought it appropriate, but probably a little obscure, hence this convoluted explanation.
I develop Style Master, a CSS editor for the Mac and Windows. I pretty much do all the coding, and I guess at times, I feel like one of those rats. While the results of all that work end up in the hands of thousands of users (if you are one, thanks a bundle, if not, why not give it a go :-), the work itself has little connection with the outside world, at least until beta time.
So, I'd like to share a bit about what I am doing and thinking as I work on Style Master. I wish I'd started it years ago, as it would be nice just on a personal level to have an archive of my little trials and triumphs. Better late than never I suppose.
Stay tuned for the amazing adventures of one guy in a small room writing software.