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Mike Sugarbaker

I've been busy being a nerd

3 min read

I’m not sure what it is about AppJet. Did it really make it more possible for me to say, truthfully, unto you on this day that I made a web application yesterday? Or does it just make it feel more possible, and I could have done it just as easily with some other batch of technologies? I don’t know for sure, but when I think about writing login code, again, I get all angry, so I suspect the former.

AppJet is itself a web application, one that gives you a single text field in which to write another web application. You do this entirely in JavaScript, using some extras they’ve added to do stuff on the server. JavaScript is my favorite language, and it’s lovely both to see it get the respect it deserves in recent years, and to be able to use it to bang out web sites that do stuff. So far, I’ve made a few things: the first and simplest is MarkdownMe, an insta-service for taking text marked up (um) with Markdown and rendering it as HTML – techs out there should feel free to use this in Greasemonkey or Enso commands, as I’m doing. Another is an ongoing wiki project, which started as my first big AppJet experiment (MarkdownMe was spun off from it) and is becoming a testing ground for some wacky wikis-and-group-forming ideas I’ve got.

And the most recent is The Bucket of Truth, an electronic-wallet app I built solely because dammit, I needed it. It does exactly what’s necessary (except for the parts I haven’t built yet… I guess those are not so necessary) to track my spending against a monthly entertainment budget, and it does it fast, with no damn styling that just borks up my Treo anyway. I totally love it. And I really did write most of it yesterday.

In other nerdy news: as long ago as 1999 I was trying to build a web-based outliner – a simple one, not all mind-mappy or oriented around lengthy text notes, but just like the most basic single-level outlining you can do in a tool like OmniOutliner or Radio or Word’s outline mode. In 1999, JavaScript in the browser just wasn’t quite up to the task. Well, now the tools have matured, and after a 2.5-year break, it’s on again in a big, big way. The goal is to have something up for you to play with before the summer. In contrast to the Bucket, it is suave and handsome. Drop me a line if you want to get early access.

Lastly, Fictionsuit recently changed servers; in the future it’s going to be a testing ground too, for some thoughts I’ve been having about forums. Big, big thoughts. More on that soon.