The SysOp's Blog
Greetings! I am the "SysOp" of this website, a title bestowed upon those who operated the BBSes of yesteryear. I plan to capture the adventuring and sharing spirit of those dial-up systems within this site and add on a slew of modern conveniences for us digital pioneers.
Within this blog I'll document my trials, adventures and progress in building the site. Actually this will be the first DIY project to be discussed within this site. Unfortunately for the time being its going to be an awfully one-sided discussion.
To that end as soon as I had the machinery in place I started writing blog entries, going back to the beginning and hitting the highlights of my progress. With the software I've written it should be fairly easy to keep updating this as I progress.
Taking Time to Guard the Borders
I was in the midst of building up a better OOP approach to pages when I felt an overwhelming need to check traffic in and out of my home-office network. These past few months has proven that the enemy is not just cyber-criminals, but also big-tech companies. But the scope of concern is still greater! Even Open Source software (Chromium, Thunderbird, Firefox, apps packaged with Chromium, ...) make requests across the Internet I never asked them to make. So what's up with them? What are they saying? Who are they contacting? Is there some software on my network I'm not aware of? Are there more things I should be blocking?
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Persistent database connections!
I've been having problems with infrequent random 500 pages. This came to a head as I was experimenting with creating some pages for an as-yet-to-be-seen portion of the site. This is something I thought I had fixed. Well it was no longer a hard fail. But it was still happening. And acting like it was getting cached. Caching a failure?!?! Weird!
But I suspected this was still related to MariaDB server dropping the connection when it was idle for a certain period of time and C++DB not being prepared to handle that. I told it to use the "reconnect" client option! What gives? And has anyone else visited the site and seen this infrequently occurring error, ugly white terse 500 page? I don't do the "80% of the time it works 100% of the time" model. I only do "it works." At least if I can help it. Law 1 & 2 suck!
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Wrestling with Gitea's CSS
I've been embattled with tens of thousands of lines of Gitea's CSS. What a KISS fail! I've made thousands of edits and more overriding styles than all of the CSS in the non-Gitea parts of the site. I even wrote scripts to search & destroy. But its finally beginning to look presentable even though there is still much to change. By the time its all said and done I'll probably have more time into changing style sheets for Gitea than most other single features of the site. But Gitea provides a lot of functionality.
In this time I also put together draft 1 of a logo. So I think its time to take a break from styling things and get back to some features! I can't wait to write real code again!
The 'Shack and Gitea get Married
Please join us for the wedding of YE OL' PI SHACK & GITEA On Monday, the 12th day of October in the 51st year of the Unix epoch.
:: wind blows :: :: crickets chirp ::
What?!?! You didn't come?
OK. No invitations were sent, but the work was done. It was an adventure in and of itself but Gitea's users and sessions have been married and adopted into Ye Ol' Pi Shack's. And as usual it took more time and effort fulfilling the dependencies of Gitea than it did to actually find and patch things. It seems nobody does things the way I do (imagine that) and so it took more effort than I had anticipated. Again... imagine that!
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Many core architecture improvements have been happening
Well... it's been a little over two weeks since my last post and I published the new C++CMS based code. I've put every spare hour I could find into it since. I want to have a core system up and running by end of year. I've set the bar awfully high as to what I want completed before I think of it as ready. In brief these are the main things that I've accomplished in the past days:
- Many styling changes, especially with forms.
- Session cookie security was greatly improved, especially with the next item.
- I procured and installed a certificate to encrypt the site for everyone's comfort and protection. It makes the big g00gle happy too.
- Many minor bugs fixed throughout the system.
- Many improvements to my modular application framework, using C++CMS.
- A good start on a core "pages" module with bindings to users.
- Started work and testing on user email communication tools.
Personally I'm very excited about the progress. At the same time I'm always disappointed in the speed in which things are progressing. Still things are beginning to look the way I want under the hood. Like watching a house being built or a remodel in progress the internal work is never very visible. The visible progress usually is a fairly small percentage of total effort.
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