I’ve been working on Roomie all day, fixing up things here and there. Here’s another silly demo. It uses the WebHook.SendScript and Computer.Speak commands to simulate a conversation between my laptop and my TV.
Silly. Here’s a screenshot of the Roomie web interface displaying the script. I did a lot of refactoring today, and I am so close to being able to un-XMLify RoomieScript and make it look like a real programming language.
As stated in my previous post about Roomie, I’ve been using a lot of brain juice to rewrite Roomie’s website. I wrote the original website in ASP.NET with Web Forms, which was pretty standard for the time. Although technology like ASP.NET MVC and the Entity Framework existed in some form, they weren’t even on my radar. So after some coding and hacking and pushing through unfamiliar problems, I eventually got a workable website. (This website, though not the final version, is pictured in this post.)
After merging all of Roomie’s desktop and web components into one self-aware Visual Studio solution, learning a ton of new technology, and a little trial and error, I now have the Roomie desktop client talking directly to the new website. Best of all, I can locally debug everything which means that I can get quicker feedback on code changes and (shrug?) even develop offline. Below I have a simple example pictured. A more impressive example is when I tell the Roomie desktop client to say something using text-to-speech, but obviously that would not convey over a screenshot.
Woooh! I have not blogged about Roomie in a looong time! Just like I came to a dead-end with Roomie’s desktop client component and re-wrote it, I came to a dead-end with Roomie’s web component. I started out using ASP.NET, C#, and Web Forms. Web Forms made it really easy for me to do web development using my experience programming desktop applications with WinForms. Last year I reached the limits of what WinForms would offer, and I needed something more powerful. I discovered ASP.NET MVC, which was totally new and strange and awesome. But woes, the darn thing updates all the time! That’s great, except that I was learning MVC2 while MVC3 was in development.
Well that title is a mouthful. Long story short, as an exercise in regular expressions I wrote a utility class to convert strings to TimeSpans and DateTimes in C#. This made great usage of named capturing groups. (The download to the source code is at the bottom of this post.)
Here is the DateTime regular expression. Note that when I new the regular expression object, I set whitespace and casing ignoring.
Named capturing groups allows code like this:
In the end, the utility class allows code like this:
I’ve been working (rather obsessively) on Roomie for the past week. In specific, I have rewritten the XML-based protocol that allows the desktop client to communicate with the web service. (Say “hi” to it here.) The new library (which I call WebCommunicator) is sooo much easier to use than my old one, but still has all the nifty (and important) encryption and anti-hacking features. I will eventually publish the protocol as an independent library. (Give me a bit to use it more and work out all the kinks.)
But enough technical talk. Lets get to serious business. Here I have a little RoomieScript that I wrote, just as a proof of concept.