Saturday, January 8, 2005

Almost half a million

My EclipseCrossword software has now been downloaded 450,000 times. That number boggles my mind. At the current rate, 750-800 downloads a day, it's pretty likely that it will have been downloaded half a million times by Green Eclipse's 11th birthday on May 10. Very cool.

I've spent quite a bit of time recently tweaking my JavaScript and CSS styles for the web pages generated by the software, and they're finally to a point where I'm happy with them. I also recently rebuilt the print layout code and made the printed output a whole lot sexier. Once Visual Studio 2005 is released, I'll probably start rewriting the whole thing in .NET and Avalon. When I first built the software, it was just to see if I could. Around fourth grade I went to a high school for a couple hours a week that I spent with one of the programming teachers there. He always thought that writing an algorithm to build a crossword puzzle would be really fun and challenging. Later, in 11th grade, when I was a TA for my history teacher and had to create crosswords for him in Excel, I decided that I should build some crossword software. When I did, I had no idea that I'd be adding support for wacky languages that put more than one letter in a single crossword square, or making the software generate JavaScript-powered web pages, or making an automatic web-based updater, or making a Pocket PC version (never released), or that it would be downloaded half a million times.

After adding all of that to a VB6 program that wasn't designed incredibly well to begin with, it's gotten pretty messy. I'm looking forward to making it a nice OOP citizen, and building code that I could just pick up and turn into a server application if I felt like maintaining something like that. It should be fun... I wish it was always practical to rewrite software from the ground up, but I guess that rarely happens in the real world. It's too bad.

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