« Reading List: Someone Has Blundered | Main | Reading List: Children of the Lens »

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Hacker's Diet Online: Beta test begins

If you've wondered why postings here have been so sparse over the last couple of months, it's because I've been almost exclusively focussed on getting the Web application implementation of The Hacker's Diet computer tools beaten into a form that's ready to invite “bleeding edge” early adopters to try it out and report the flaws they find.

Well, I think it's about as ready as it's going to get for this first baby step. The Web application is documented here, and may be accessed directly in read-only mode for experimentation using a User Name of “Example” and a null password. If you'd like to become a beta tester, just send a feedback message with a brief description of your experience (if any) with The Hacker's Diet (both long-term users and those just beginning are welcome as testers), and I'll mail you a Beta Test Invitation Code you can use to create a new account.

As I note in the documentation, this Web application is on the order of twice as complicated as the initial release of AutoCAD in 1982, and that's just a measure of algorithmic complexity, not taking into account security considerations of public access on a global network. Bottom line: there are likely to be a lot of “issues”, as the public relations types refer to them or, as we engineers prefer to say, fall flat on the face stone stupid bozo blunders in this code. Folks who volunteer as beta testers can report problems with a special, within the application, Feedback Form which requires no sentience test. Resolving the problems reported and moving this application to public launch will be my highest priority until that milestone is achieved.

When this application emerges from beta and is opened to the general public, the complete source code, implemented in Literate Programming Perl will be released into the public domain. This will permit anybody who wishes to host their own Hacker's Diet Online server (even just for themselves, on their own machine), or use its underlying stand-alone Web application framework for other projects.

Posted at April 29, 2007 23:15