Woohoo! There is a new release of Headlines out and available for free to anyone who would like to help beta test! Send me an email at email@example.com if you are interested. This is how support from around the world, and a story about an old computer game helped this next release arrive…
This latest release resolves issues with memory management and I discovered and resolve an issue with searching for new feeds. This is the most stable release yet!
A big thanks to the greatest set of Beta testers in the world!
Getting help from the Americas, London, and Australia!
I got some great feedback from my select group of Beta testers. Henry was the first to report that he was having problems adding new feeds to the application. Then this was followed up with an email from Sophie who reported that she was seeing out of memory errors. As you saw in my last blog post I started looking into the memory issue. After investigating I was able to address the out of memory issue. At the same time Glenn started dropping me emails with additional feedback. He was reporting both out of memory problems and problems adding new feeds. I was able to resolve the memory issues by changing the amount of memory the application requests from the operating system. Next came adding feeds.
Banging your head at 1am in the morning
Resolving the adding feeds problem was tough. The problems appeared to happen for some people, but not for others, and I had not seen the problem at all while testing here in Dublin. So I started checking out the application trying to go through all the parsing logic, trying to determine where and when the error was occurring. There were many 1 am / 2am finishes last week as I sat up trying to work out what was going on. At points I did want to pick up my laptop and throw it and my N97 out of the window! I was banging my head of the desk with frustration. Unlike Doc Brown, banging my head did not result in the design for the flux capacitor, just in a sore head.
It was late one night when I decided to take a break from looking at the code and the emulator that I picked up a copy of Retro Gamer, it is a magazine about old computer games with reports and stories from the developers of games and all the problems they encountered. I took some time out and read a really great story about the how Jordan Mechner created the first Prince of Persia game (an old screen shot from flickr here). In fact Jordan has a brilliant web site with some original diary entries from when he was creating the game. He too encountered frustrating problems. It was good to hear his war stories, this inspired me to go back take an aspirin for my now very sore head and look again at the bug.
After all that I was able to reproduce the problem and I discovered that it was all down to one bad line of code! One single change and I rebuild headlines with the issue now fixed! Brilliant! I was over joyed and tired.
To all the beta testers out there – thank you! Please give this version a pounding and let me know how it all goes!