Thursday, March 20, 2008

BKNR is alive

Recently, there has been quite some activity in the BKNR repository. This is because my company finally seems to become reality, with a real office, customers and all that. I even have an employee now, Kilian, who is working full time on BKNR based projects. I guess we are the only Lisp company in Berlin now! As I am working for ITA Software full time, the fact that I have some more workforce allowed me to attack the long-outstanding major updates for QuickHoney and Create Rainforest. Quickhoney will be modernized with a Blog and RSS feed, and we will also implement a shopping system so that one can buy digital and real QuickHoney products. Create Rainforest will be extended into Google Earth. Instead of hacking our funny, but close to unusable satellite application, we will use Google Earth to display and visualize our data. The old system will stay, but new features will not be added to that. These commercial projects have lead to several updates to BKNR in the past weeks: We have finally converted from portable AllegroServe to Hunchentoot as HTTP server substrate. Even though AllegroServe performs fine, it written in a very peculiar style which makes hacking it a rather unpleasant experience. Also, Hunchentoot is better maintained. In the process, we got away with passing request arguments throughout the web environment. The current request is now (only) carried in a special variable, as applications seldomly require access to it. SBCL and CCL are our current primary development platforms. I have still not given up on CMUCL completely, but we are waiting for the 19E release before we pick it up again. I am fed up with working around missing Unicode support, which we require in all our current projects. We moved away from with our repository and web sites. The primary reason for this move was that we now have a Buildbot running for BKNR, and I could not quickly get the neccessary infrastructure to run on - Buildbot is Python based and requires substantial library support to run. BKNR bugs have been fixed. Sure enough, there have been quite some of them. We hope to be better in the future with our continous integration testing and with more unit tests. Sure enough, I will be moving this Blog to our BKNR based blog system soon. Until that happened, this is my place to practice.

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