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The 16-year rewrite

Monday, May 26, 2008 by Dave Winer.

In February 1992, I started work a piece of Frontier called the scheduler. It's the equivalent of what they call "cron" in Unix-Land. You can put scripts in four different places: 1. everyMinute scripts, 2. hourly scripts, 3. overnight scripts and 4. threads. It was a simple bit of code that's been running now for 16 years, on every copy of Frontier, Radio, or the OPML Editor.  Permalink to this paragraph

It was built on the foundation for background processes that existed in 1992. A few years later a better foundation was built, but the scheduler was never adapted to run on that. Permalink to this paragraph

It's always had a certain flakiness, and I never had the patience to track it down. It's old code, written before I learned a lot of things about the Frontier environment, what works and what doesn't. I just lived with the flakiness. Permalink to this paragraph

Yesterday I got tired of it, and I did what programmers like to do, I rewrote it. It took a few hours, but the new version is *much* cleaner, and already runs much more reliably. Permalink to this paragraph

Proving the point that sometimes code rewrites are the way to go. Permalink to this paragraph

I've released the new part to OPML Editor users. There's no code that uses it yet, but there will be soon. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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