It’s been almost six months since my last blog post, but I hope less than six days until my next one. I’ve put off several blog post topics until I finished a site redesign that I’ve been struggling with since July, but decided to stop waiting and just start writing again. Maybe one of the upcoming posts will be about the redesign, but I’m going to start with a recap of what I’ve been up to lately.
In March, I was still in Redmond/Bellevue, Washington, working through my third internship at Microsoft with the Dynamics CRM team. I got to continue working on a set of functionality that I started on during my previous Summer 2010 internship, and which will hopefully ship in the next release. I also got to see the wheels turning on some longer term work, and I’m super excited about where the CRM product is heading.
So excited, in fact, that I’ve accepted Microsoft’s offer to join the team full-time after completion of my degree this school year. As it stands, it looks like I’ll be moving to Seattle in September 2012.
Back to School
After my adventures with Camayak and Microsoft, it was time to return to my studies and finish my degree. I spent the summer here at Yale in New Haven, CT, taking several courses to get back into academic mode.
Today was the first day of classes of the fall semester, and it’s exciting to be back among so many passionate students. I miss many of my friends from the Class of 2011, but will soon get to better know my new Class of 2012 peers and more underclassmen.
World of WordPress
With my previous Yale extracurricular involvements terminated, I finally spent some time digging into WordPress this summer in my “spare” time. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know a number of people involved in the WordPress community, and they’ve slowly dragged me into it as well. I’ve now been to four WordCamp events, and met even more folks that way.
WordPress is an interesting beast of a project, and I must confess having mixed feelings about it overall. Several years ago, I did the Courant News project because WordPress was not yet ready (IMHO) to power “proper” news websites. But since version 3.0, I think WordPress is better suited for the task, as evidenced by countless news sites now running on WordPress. I intend to write more about that in the future.
But my involvement with the news folks has been quickly winding down, so I’ve gotten involved in WordPress to scratch two of my own itches.
While working on Camayak last fall, I wrote a python library to integrate WordPress with other systems by leveraging WordPress’ XML-RPC API. We ended up going a different route for Camayak, and the library sat in my GitHub account for several months.
This spring, I discovered that several folks were using the library for real-world problems, such as the Chicago Tribune news apps team. This led me to finally finish several outstanding workitems and fix some discovered bugs. The library is now at version 1.5, and I intend to keep actively maintaining it.
This summer saw a Google Summer of Code project dedicated to expanding WordPress’ XML-RPC API, finally gaining feature parity with internal APIs and features such as custom post types, taxonomies, and post formats. The project just finished this past week, and will hopefully be merged into core by WordPress 3.4 (feature freeze for 3.3 is technically today, and the patches aren’t really ready).
I’ll be writing several posts on XML-RPC soon, as I have a ton of thoughts on the topic and where I see WordPress evolving on that front.
WordPress for Windows Phone
In May, Verizon finally launched their first Windows Phone 7 phone, the HTC Trophy. As a Microsoft intern, I had a voucher for a free WP7 phone, and was eager to take it for a spin. However, I soon discovered that the WordPress app for WP7 was pretty weak.
Given WP7’s low marketshare, Automattic’s mobile team understandably wasn’t spending much effort on the WP7 app. As all WordPress mobile apps are open-source, I decided to get involved and start submitting patches. We managed to trim the existing bug backlog and in July put out version 1.2, the first since December 2010.
I’ve since been given commit access, so that I can take a more active role in developing the app. I have a ton of ideas for where to take the app, just not enough time to execute on them for now. I’ll have a post in the coming weeks on some UI ideas for rich text editing and revamping the functionality to take advantage of the new XML-RPC methods mentioned above.
My goal is to post at least once per week, and eventually start microblogging and reducing my dependence on external services like Twitter and Delicious/Diigo.
As my primary work these days is as a full-time student, I’ll eventually be blogging about my studies. In the meantime, I have a backlog of post topics expanding on items mentioned in this post. Thanks to Andrew Nacin and the CoPress gang for inspiring me to get back into using my blog again.