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Better Late Than Never


Published in: DevelopmentPosted by Tyler on 06/25/06


I should probably be upfront and admit that I started this blog way too late. I originally had this grand idea to keep a running journal of the entire Snipplr development process. But, seeing how Snipplr is only a few weeks away from launching and this is the first post, that didn’t work out. Better late than never.

The idea for Snipplr came about organically. I wasn’t trying to come up with a great idea or a way to make money, I just realized that I needed a better way to store all the random bits of code I reuse all the time.

In the past I had just kept those code snippets stored in text files on my machine. Invariably, however, they’d get out of date. Plus, it was never easy to find the code I was looking for quickly. The process just didn’t fit into my workflow.

The very first working version of Snipplr was written in six hours late one night in March. The idea for the site solidified for me earlier that day at work, so I knew exactly what I wanted to build as soon as I got home. The website was to be modeled after del.icio.us. Instead of cataloging websites, Snipplr would catalog bits and pieces of code.

All of the major features of Snipplr were present in that initial version. Some were a little rough around the edges, but they worked. Over the next week I cleaned up the code a little, got the website into a stable, working state, and began using it.

For nearly two months I left the source alone. I was too busy at work to worry about developing the site further, and it had integrated into my workflow well enough that I saw no reason to rush back to it. I think this time off was a good thing. It gave me the distance I needed to realize that while Snipplr’s feature set was well thought out the implementation wasn’t. The design wasn’t great, the code was sloppier than I’d like, and I used a little too much javascript.

Fast forward to today. During the last week I’ve picked up development again. I’ve completely reworked the site from the ground up. The layout, while similar, was rebuilt with much cleaner CSS. Knowing in advance my layout requirements helped keep the stylesheet more managable. All of the PHP has been rewritten. The biggest addition has been the use of my custom database object class. It completely automates all of my CRUD code – easily cutting development time in half. (Yes, yes. All you Rails people can pipe down. I don’t care about Ruby.)

Initial reactions to Snipplr have been overwhelmingly positive. (Especially now that the TextMate plugin is working.) I’m happy with the code base and have plenty of ideas for improving things in the future. But, for now I’m focused on getting everything polished and ready for the initial public launch. I expect that to happen in the next few weeks. I’m aiming for July 15th.

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Posted By: vijucat on June 29th, 2006

Hi, Snipplr is a rare site for me : I started using it right away!

However, the “copyright Tyler Hall” below *my* snippets is definitely not OK. Please consider changing the notice to mention that the copyright belongs to the author. Or better, that by using Snipplr, that code authors are releasing code into the public domain (Attribution Sharealike, I think it’s called? I’m no expert on OSS licenses…).

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