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Going back to MyKidsLibrary.com

I've been playing hard with AppEngine, Python and Django for a couple of weeks now, and I've managed to come out of it with a useful application: this blog.  While I'd hardly say that it is finished, as there are still some features that I'd like to add, I have climbed the steep -- and thus challenging, interesting, addictive -- part of the learning curve.  So, I can no longer justify continuing to blow off MyKidsLibrary.com.

MKL is my primary off-hours project, and it has been for almost a year now.  It's been in public beta for a couple months now, and I am just beginning to implement the larger features that were suggested by the very helpful and considerate testers.  Apparently, as it stands, it lacks the stickiness that is mandatory for a successful social/crowd-sourcing web site.  Last night, I designed the data models for the new capabilities, and I started getting that buzzy feeling of excitement that I had lost during the last few months of coding that preceded the start of beta.

Getting back in to the Ruby on Rails groove was easy and enjoyable.  As cool as AppEngine is right now ...

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Another release -- this time with all new tags!

I've just uploaded another release of my blog software, and this time it has TAGS!  Tags, of course, are clickable links, and you can use them to search for all posts that also have the given tag.  Cool, I think.

I'm rather proud of the fact that I wrote the tagging-related classes to be completely transportable to anyone else's Google AppEngine code, and integrating this functionality is as easy as making the taggable class a super-class of any Model class.

I'll update this entry once I have release the tagging code as a Google Code open source project.  I might see if I can run it by someone who is a more experienced Pythonista, so I can get a quick sanity check.  I'm just the tiniest bit nervous that while my code might be valid Python, it might not observe common idioms of the language.

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Life is good (for a frugal New Englander software entrepreneur)

Legitimate Spring weather has finally arrived in New England, seemingly to stay.  The Red Sox have the best record in the AL; the Celtics look like they are poised to cruise through the Eastern conference, and the Bruins made a good show of it.

What's not to like?

Oh yeah, and I've been thinking recently about how being a software entrepreneur today is so much more interesting and fun and full of possibilities than it ever has been before, at least in my experience.  Why?  Because the barrier to entry is so low.  It was once the case that creating and selling an application required investment in compilers, distributable media, advertising, hosting, staffing, office space...a seemingly endless list of overhead-hangover-inducing rigmarole.

Today, I can create a revenue-generating application with nothing more than a laptop and a good idea.  There are excellent development tools that are free (NetBeans, Komodo Edit, Aptana, Eclipse, Visual Studio Express), hosting providers that are free or so cheap that they don't hurt (Google AppEngine, Amazon's EC2), powerful frameworks that speed development (too many to list, but Ruby on Rails and Django spring to mind for web applications and .NET/Mono for ...

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