Archive for the 'Trade Profiteer' Category

Published by Kenneth on 16 Oct 2009

Trade Profiteer – Next development release

Ahoy all,

Let me give you an idea of what is going to be coming down the pike in the next couple days. I will be making an unstable release of the next version of the Trade Profiteer, which will include support for large fonts and Java 6. My target for release is Sunday at the latest (Central Daylight Time), and everything appears on target.

First, this release will be an alpha release. For those who don’t know, this means the release will be feature incomplete (won’t have everything targeted for the next stable release), and you may encounter some bugs and issues — I haven’t encountered anything that has crashed my computer, so that is a good sign.

Now I’ve gone to lengths to allow both the stable release (1.0.1331) and this upcoming unstable release (1.1.[something]) to be installed at the same time on your computer. Plus the version detection will only detect new development versions, and the stable versions will only be able to detect new stable versions, though I may expand this to detect both, or make it a configuration option. What do you think?

So keep an eye out in the next couple days for news of an unstable release, if you’re willing to test it. I’m also getting a different bug tracker up and running on my web site that should be less intimidating to the novice so you can report any bugs you do find.

Fair winds.

Note: This has also been posted to the Puzzle Pirates forums.

Published by Kenneth on 16 Sep 2009

Trade Profiteer – New script to create a desktop shortcut

The question I’ve been asked the most about the Trade Profiteer is in regard to setting up the desktop shortcut. Well, I’ve got an easy way to do this now. Simply download and run a quick little tool and it should be taken care of for you.

Download CreateShortcut

Fair winds.

Published by Kenneth on 15 Sep 2009

Latest Puzzle Pirates updates

I went up to the Puzzle Pirates forums tonight and noticed that there was a post saying the Bleach uploader is broken thanks to the latest Puzzle Pirates updates. So what happened, and is the Trade Profiteer affected?

First, the shoppe and ship interface is what changed. They combined several commerce functions into one tabbed interface. This means that the “Buy/Sell Commodities” interface on a ship or in a shoppe is no longer compatible with the Trade Profiteer.

This means that if you want to import the data, you will need to go to a commodity market to do so. I will see what I can do about getting it to work elsewhere. I don’t anticipate it taking much, but I likely won’t be able to really look into it until the weekend.

So until I’ve released an update to correct this minor annoyance (watch this blog for updates), you’re currently relegated to the commodity market buildings and forts for getting market information.

Published by Kenneth on 07 Sep 2009

Another data patch

Following an investigation into a reported issue regarding the inability to see any listings for cannonballs in the Trade Profiteer, it was determined that the cause of the problem is the name of the commodity in the database. As such, I’ve prepared and released another data patch.

The issue was in the word “cannonball”. In the database (which can be viewed using the Data Manager feature) the word was spelled without a space between “cannon” and “ball”. However in Puzzle Pirates, the commodity is named with the space between “cannon” and “ball”: “Small cannon balls” instead of “Small cannonballs”.

So download the patch and apply it to correct this issue.

Fair winds.

Published by Kenneth on 07 Sep 2009

Release management

Every software developer and engineer who has released software onto the Internet has gone through some kind of release management cycle, whether formalized or not. Previously at Colony West, our release management was entirely informal – actually more or less disorganized.

For the longest time, I didn’t use a source control system. About four years ago I started using Subversion, and it’s companion Windows program Tortoise, and I won’t part with it for anything else. I love using it, and after using it, I can no longer imagine not using it, and I couldn’t see how I was able to actually develop software without it.

Release management obviously involves the source control system, so what does the release cycle here at Colony West involve? I’ll use the release cycle for the Trade Profiteer as the example of what I do. Now how I release software may differ from what you require, and will likely vary between projects.

New Release Branch

The first step in the release cycle is to create a new release branch in the repository. This step may or may not be optional. That will depend on the project itself. During the Trade Profiteer’s beta release cycle, this step was considered optional, but became mandatory with the first release. Keeping a separate release branch allows you to target fixes for that particular version, while also making sure to keep any fixes updated in the main source trunk.

Release test builds

When the decision is made to create a new release, final test builds are made to ensure the current source state will build without errors. Once this is verified, scripts are executed to update version numbers within various files in the source tree with a test build executed to ensure everything still builds clean.

A test installer is also built at this time. The installer is tested on multiple operating systems running through virtual machines as both upgrade installations and clean installations. Any installation issues are corrected and changes made to correct issues checked into the repository.

If the installer runs clean on all supported operating systems, the changed files containing the new version numbers are checked into the repository.

Tagging the release

Anyone who has used a source control system should be familiar with tagging. Subversion makes revision tagging easy. For those not familiar with tagging, I highly recommend reading the section in the Subversion manual on branching and tagging.

After everything is checked in, the new revision is tagged within the repository with the release version number (major, minor, and build) as the tag name. This tag ensures that the source is readily accessible should I need it down the road to troubleshoot a reported issue.

Release build

After everything is tagged, the tag is checked out of the repository into a new folder for a release build. Final release builds are performed for the executable and installer and the installer may be packaged into a compressed file.

Preparing the web site

There are multiple steps here. Obviously the first step is uploading the packaged installer to the web site and making it available in the download repository. That part is easy. Once uploaded to the web site, it is available immediately.

Along with uploading the file to the repository, other files are shifted around. Previous releases are moved to their appropriate folders on the repository so they are not immediately visible, but still available if anyone is interested.

The Colony West web site contains a version management system that is used to track version numbers easily. The Trade Profiteer queries this system when it checks for a new version, so we add a new entry into this system to reflect the new version. When the Trade Profiteer queries the system, it will see the new version and will alert the user to the new release.

With everything uploaded to and entered into the web site, the release cycle is now formally complete. However there are still a couple informal details left.

Publishing details

Informally, now we need to alert other communities to the new version’s availability as well as providing details as to what has changed in the new version. This occurs through this blog, which will always be the primary source of news information for this company, but also through other venues. For example, with the Trade Profiteer, I will also post updates to the Puzzle Pirates forum.

Concluding…

Well that’s pretty much what goes on right now. Since the Trade Profiteer is a small, independent application, this way of managing our release cycle is reasonable. As the Trade Profiteer grows in complexity, or more software is released, the release process may need to be modified, but for now things are working well.

One thing that will certainly complicate the release process will be the upcoming addition of globalization. There are two international oceans on Puzzle Pirates. As those oceans were designed to be populated and navigated by native German and Spanish speakers, though an English interface option is available, it doesn’t seem fair having support for Opal and Jade, respectively, without having a native German and Spanish interface.

Including globalization will complicate the release process a little, but it will likely more complicate the testing… We shall see.

If you have any questions on the release process here at Colony West, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be happy to clarify anything.

Published by Kenneth on 06 Sep 2009

Trade Profiteer data patch released

In light of a recent report through the Puzzle Pirates forums, I’ve released a data patch that will correct a couple of records in the Trade Profiteer database.

First, it was reported that Rambutan was misspelled, spelled as “Rambuta”. Obviously when it’s misspelled, the Trade Profiteer isn’t going to be able to detect it in the market information.

Second, in the first beta release of the Trade Profiteer (build 1204), the commodity “Fine persimmon cloth” was not included. It was added to the database for the second beta release (build 1218), but no patch was distributed for those who were using build 1204. This patch will correct this as well.

As always, be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

Fair winds.

Download the data patch

Published by Kenneth on 31 Aug 2009

Trade Profiteer reaches stable release

Colony West Software Company is pleased to announce the first stable release of the Trade Profiteer. We decided to push forward with a stable release and will be releasing another development (unstable or beta) release sometime soon that will contain the updated OCR code along with other enhancements that need to be tested thoroughly.

New version: 1.0.1331

When the new development release is made available, there will not be an alert from the Trade Profiteer that a new version is available. Bug fixes will be periodically released for the stable version where necessary.

The first development release will be version 1.1. It will contain the new OCR code that will support large fonts and Java 6, along with other enhancements.

Enjoy, and feel free to e-mail me if you feel you have an issue to report.

Fair winds.

Published by Kenneth on 15 Aug 2009

Trade Profiteer delayed

This is just a quick update on the Trade Profiteer. Thankfully since the last beta release – 1.0.1219 – there have not been any issues related to functionality reported, however I’m not entirely ready to move forward with a full release, yet. Due to current projects where I’m employed, time has not really been available to maintain the code and I’ve already fallen behind on the “early August” target.

I’ll keep this blog updated with any pertinent information.

Published by Kenneth on 31 Jul 2009

Software safety

This afternoon a user on the Puzzle Pirates forum posted an interesting question:

Im [sic] sorry to ask this question, but how do we know this software is safe from account hackings and such?

It is certainly an interesting question, and while my response likely won’t quell concerns much, it did get me thinking about safety in regards to software. How do you know that every piece of software running on your computer is safe? Even if you examine the source code, is there a way to know for sure? In actuality, not really.

Now I know that there likely will be some open source advocates who will say that open source software is safer than closed-source software, statistics don’t really support that. Any application on your computer can be used as a conduit for compromising your computer’s security.

In my response to this concern, there wasn’t much I could say, but I finished with this statement:

The Trade Profiteer will not harvest any information about you and, to the best of my knowledge as the sole and principal developer of this application, cannot be used to compromise someone’s account.

About all I could provide are verbal assurances. And this was not the first time this concern was raised. Not long after the initial beta release and the announcement on the forum, forum user hugnam posted this:

Sounds pretty good for an application, but unless it’s proven to be safe, i’m not gonna use it.

Software safety is certainly an issue. Any data you enter into any application has the potential to be harvested and sent somewhere. An application may hook into the system to capture keystrokes. Unless you have an application to detect applications like these, you can’t know entirely.

To help quell fears a little, I responded to the most recent concern on the forum with this:

If you are concerned that my application might harvest data about you, your computer, or your installation of Y!PP, you can certainly configure your firewall software to block the Trade Profiteer from accessing the Internet. Unlike with the Pirate Commodity Trader with Bleach, you will not be interfering with the Trade Profiteer by doing that. If you configure your firewall to block the Trade Profiteer, the only functionality you will be blocking is its ability to check my web site for a new version, which is the only reason it will ever connect to the Internet.

Further, I added this, which may give a little more assurance:

I have also been playing Puzzle Pirates since late 2005, I’ve built up considerable wealth in the game, and I’m not about to risk all of that.

Creating an application that can be used to harvest account information is an offense that will get you banned from Puzzle Pirates and likely reported to applicable government agencies. It’s not something I’m going to risk.

Published by Kenneth on 19 Jul 2009

Quick update release for Trade Profiteer

A quick update release was provided for the Trade Profiteer today. The new version is 1.0.1219. There was an issue reported that the Trade Profiteer was reporting that the large font setting was enabled when it wasn’t. That issue has been addressed in this release.

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