Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feature plan for 2010

Three years ago, I laid out a plan for getting FromThePage to general availability. Since that time, I completed most of the features I thought necessary, gained some dedicated users, and saw the software used to transcribe and annotate over a thousand pages of Julia Brumfield's diaries. However, most of the second half of 2009 was spent using the product in my editorial capacity and developing features to support that effort, rather than moving FromThePage out of its status as a limited beta.

Here's what my top priorities are for 2010:

Release FromThePage as Free/Open Source Software.
I've written before about my position as a hobbyist-developer and my desire not to see my code become abandonware if I am no longer able to maintain it. Open Source seems to be the obvious solution, and despite my concerns about Open Access use, I am taking some good advice and publishing the source code under the GNU Affero GPL. I've taken some steps to do this, including migrating towards a GitHub repository, but hope to wait until I've made a few test drives and developed some installation instructions before I announce the release.

Complete PDF Generation and Publish-on-Demand Integration.
While I think that releasing FromThePage is the best way forward for the software itself, it doesn't get me any closer to accomplishing my original objective for the project -- sharing Julia Brumfield's diaries with her family. It's hard to balance these goals, but at this point I think that my efforts after the F/OSS release should be directed towards printable and print-on-demand formats for the diary transcriptions. I've built one proof-of-concept and I've settled on an output technology (RTeX), so all that remains is writing the code to do it.

I'll still work on other features as they occur to me, I'm still editing Julia's 1921 diary, and I'm still looking for other transcription projects to host, but these two goals will be the main focus of my development this year.