I was idly browsing the Rockets code repository on GitHub and saw that some of the files had "10 years ago" as their last modification date.
I realized that the project has now entered its second decade.
On one hand, this is great! Time to celebrate a milestone! Party hats all around! Whoo hoo!!
But on the other hand, it also made me kind of sad. Ten years?? How did time go by that fast? And with that amount of time, how come Rockets isn't way farther ahead than it is?
Most of the key development work on Rockets was done in the first year of its creation, with brief bursts of activity in 2019 and 2021 as I got Release 2.0 ready to go.
Over the years, I've used Rockets in many places. I've launched applications internally at work (coincidentally, next year will be my 10th anniversary at my current job) and I've launched multiple public websites (including my personal website). Rockets has never failed me. It's fast, it works, and I can always understand it. Even a decade later, the code is simple and it makes sense.
But public interest in the framework has quietened down since those early days. It makes sense -- when I haven't spent much time on it, other folks haven't noticed it much. And that's been a lot of the time. In addition, interest in blogs and other websites that aren't social media has also dwindled in the last ten years. That's a story for another time.
However, I'm not abandoning the project. I have some crazy ideas for web applications that I want to create in the future, and they are going to be powered by Rockets.
No matter what happens in the outside world, Rockets is something I want to always have in my back pocket. It's mine, and it will always be mine. And it's also yours -- lots of folks have forked the product, and it will always remain open source.
Here's to another ten years!
After a big release like Rockets 2.0, the remaining work is less glamorous, but in many ways more important.
I've been keeping track of small issues and bugs here and working my way through fixing all of them: https://github.com/newlisponrockets/newLISP-on-Rockets/issues
For example, for a long time the "Delete post" button was kind of scary, because it would instantly delete a post with no recourse. And because Rockets was so fast, you couldn't even hope to interrupt the process! It was like, click, boom, done.
Now I've added a secondary confirmation prompt, so you'll never delete a post by accident.
It's a small thing, a minor update, but you keep doing these and they start to add up. Things just get a little bit cleaner and nicer.
Feel free to add your own bugs and issue to the list!
This is the long-awaited 2.0 release of newLISP on Rockets.
It includes new features such as the Admin page, RSS feed, tagging, polls, and others.
It's suitable for a personal blog and for experimentation in creating new websites.
It comes with a nearly-complete set of user documentation which you can view here: http://newlisponrockets.github.io/newLISP-on-Rockets/
There are still some minor known bugs which will be fixed in the upcoming 2.1 release. The 2.1 release will also feature a fully complete set of documentation pages.
This was a self-imposed deadline for me, and I missed my first deadline and had to extend it for a month. Still, I'm proud of what I've managed to complete, and I'm looking forward to release 2.1 and 3.0 and beyond!
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it's a great way to catch up on all your favorite websites at once, especially those that don't update that often.
I use newsblur.com, but there are many others, like Feedly, etc.
You can add a feed to a newsreader site (like newsblur) by copying the link on the little orange RSS icon that's now at the top of the blog.
EDIT: The RSS feature now adds full HTML to each post in the feed, so it can be viewed in all its glory with RSS readers such as NewsBlur.
First off, let me apologize for not posting anything for so long. While I have been occasionally pushing minor bugfixes to the Rockets GitHub repository this year, I haven't bothered to update this blog for over a year.
Mostly that's because I've been really busy. Work has taken up a lot of my time this year. But that's no excuse for not popping in and saying "hello" once in a while, even if there is no progress to report.
Also, and let's face it, 2020 has been a terrible year for everyone. So if there was ever a year to just throw away and not think about any more, 2020 was it.
Anyway, here's where we are regarding the Rockets 2.0 release and beyond.
- I want to fix a few more minor bugs, and add the RSS feed feature and a change password feature. But there are no more features to add for the release.
- Once this is done, I want to start working on a comprehensive documentation set for Rockets. I've started this here, but it's just a template so far: http://newlisponrockets.github.io/newLISP-on-Rockets/
- I want the doc set to be an in-depth look at the framework, not just to make it easier for folks to understand, but to help myself understand it better in the future.
- The 2.0 release won't require the doc set to be finished, but I want it to be reasonably well-populated.
- Part of the docs will also include super-simple setup instructions for putting a Rockets installation on Linode, which is a great cloud service that's cheaper than AWS and offers a starting server at $5 per month, making Rockets affordable by anyone.
- My timeline for this release is July 1, 2021. If it's finished earlier, great! But that's the final date for the release. EDIT: Due to real-world events (like the recent heatwave) I'm bumping this release date forward, to July 31, 2021. Sorry for the delay!
I also want to let you know that I"m already thinking about Rockets 3.0. I have some really interesting ideas and plans for making Rockets a kind of "virtual space" for people to hang out in, something that you can customize to your own aesthetic tastes and make it a hub for you and your friends to hang out. I know that Facebook and Twitter have taken over this space, but I have ideas for a kind of counter to this, a very personal thing that anyone can run and have complete control over their own data.
Anyway, that's all, and I hope everyone has an amazing 2021!
You'll notice a neat little lock icon in the upper left of the URL bar, courtesy of Let's Encrypt, a non-profit organization that hands out SSL certificates for websites. You just have to install open-source software on the server, which proves you are the owner of a website, and you can automatically get a certificate.
I have been putting off installing it for a long time, because I was worried that it might break something. But it was super quick and easy to set up. Here's the guide I used (for Ubuntu 14, but worked on 18 just as well):
Well, I've finally done it, I've pulled the trigger and switched the DNS for newlisponrockets.com from the old server to the new one.
Everything should work the same, only the new server is a lot faster.
I set up the old server in 2013. It was a t1.micro instance on AWS, which is no longer supported by Amazon. The new server is a t3.nano, which is cheaper yet faster. Ah, technology!
Please let me know if you have any problems with the new site.
EDIT: One thing that is different with the t3.nano is that it has slightly less RAM than the t1.micro instance. I also run a MySQL server on this box and I may need to play with some settings. So if you see an "out of memory" message this is what has happened.
Why use such a small server? It's a good way to test how well Rockets runs given hardware constraints. In the future I might upgrade to something beefier. It's also a way to show off the power of Rockets! For example, this page rendered in 6 milliseconds. That's pretty impressive!
This is just a rough list of the remaining tasks that I need to finish in order to get Rockets 2.0 out the door:
- Migrate last author and last post date with script DONE
- Update posting page to update last author and last post date, sort forums by last post date DONE
- Editing of posts and comments after posting (admins only?) DONE
- Create post link for admins on front page DONE
- Comics support (as on my home page) DONE
- Podcast support (as on my home page) -- Basically done, barring some minor tweaks --
- RSS support
- Font changes / color changes in CSS in Admin panel (would be neat to have different colors for each tab like Writing Holmes)
- Multiple site support (via Apache)
- set Apache permissions on .lisp and .db files
- testing installation script on bare Linux VM
Some of these will take more time than others, but I'll revisit this thread from time to time to update my progress.
This is a test post to test tags. I've added the "Test" to this post.
EDIT: Now testing image uploading
If you haven't yet, read my previous post here to get the background information: http://newlisponrockets.com/rockets-item.lsp?p=123
This thread is where I will update all new progress on newLISP on Rockets 2.0.