New MSAgent data spec released!

Microsoft has recently announced that it is discontinuing development of its MSAgent technology (http://www.microsoft.com/msagent).  In light of that news, I have decided to release my latest MSAgent data spec sheet, which I have been holding on to for several years, as it now includes full details about MSAgent’s compression algorithm, as well as adds new information about the ACF and ACA file formats.  I was not sure how Microsoft would react to the compression information being released publically.  However, since they are not developing MSAgent any further, I figure it should be safe now.  Other people are already starting to implement their own MSAgent replacement engines, so my latest spec can be helpful for them.  I am still planning on working on my own MSAgent-related projects, as described in earlier mailings and on my website.  It is just a matter of having enough free time to do so.

New ICQLaunch version released

I just released a small update to ICQLaunch. It contains a bug fix for the Shortcut Wizard that was causing it to fail on some sytems when the “QuickLaunch Bar” option was used. The location of the QuickLaunch settings calculated by the Wizard would end up missing a backslash in the middle of the path, thus the Wizard couldn’t create any shortcut files for the QuickLaunch bar correctly. This has been fixed.As always, ICQLaunch is available from http://icqlaunch.da.ru or http://icqlaunch.lebeausoftware.org.

New SourceView beta is now available

For those of you who have been trying out the beta version of my source code editor/viewer, SourceView, v1.0.0.17 is now available for download. I have recompiled the program to use the latest version of the editor control, and have thus also added syntax highlighting support for several additional programming languages:

C#, CSS, HTML, Javascript, VBScript, VB, Ruby, Python

In other news:

– Last night, I just started experimenting with incorporating AJAX into my website. So over the coming weeks/months, you’ll start to notice some changes in the look-and-feel of the website.

– This past week, I’ve been working on my MSAgent character processing/rendering engine again. It is coming along quite nicely.  It is still primarily tied to Windows for right now, but I’m working on cleaning it up and generalizing its interfaces so I can plug in other platform support later on. I’m hopeful that I can start incorporating this engine into my projects in the near future.

I’m published!

For you Borland C++Builder developers out there, I’d just like to mention that my first-ever technical article has just been published in this month’s issue of C++ Builder Developers Journal. My article got the top slot in the issue, as well as the cover art, and I got some major praise from the journal’s editor:

Let me first say that your article was, hands down, one of the best we’ve had. It was *extremely* well-written, both grammatically and technically, and the demo application was just perfect (not too simple, but not too loaded with irrelevant features). You should take pride in your technical writing skills. I sincerely appreciate the time and effort you put into providing such a well-polished submission–thank you. And, I hope you will consider writing for us again.

Not too bad for a first-time writer, huh?

Ok, enough bragging for now. That made my day. Now on to other news.

With the recent announcement that Microsoft Agent has been updated in Windows Vista to finally support SAPI 5, I have begun updating my AgentCB application to support it as well. More on this to follow when a new version is ready for testing.

My Microsoft Agent processing/rendering engine is coming alone nicely.  Being able to display and run ACS, ACF, and ACA files without using Microsoft’s products is quite refreshing, from a programmer’s standpoint. I recently updated my engine to use GDI+ on Windows systems. This will allow me to support transparent images, as well as resizing images (such as when the character window is stretched), much easier. I’m also working on incorporating the engine into a new application now (adding a Preview tab to the Properties dialog of ACS files) to help me iron out the interfaces better so that I can then start incorporating the engine into the other appications that I have planned (which are listed on my website).

Version Control

I have begun using Version Control software to keep track of changes to my source code. As a result of that, I can now begin publishing more detailed reports about what is changed from one version to the next. I am now
working to add “Project Release Report” links on all of the download pages for my website. This will be a running log of all reported issues and implemented features for each product.Right now, only my AgentCB product has this report implemented. You can view it online now. I will continue working to add similar reports to my other products.