What do Quanta Developers Really Do?

I don't think we can fully disclose all the secrets of the exciting lives of Quanta developers. Sure it's exciting and glamorous and there are the Quanta groupies waiting for us by the beer section of our local stores and the java joints but we'll stick to development. Have a look at our list which we actually use to assess and plan with. It is also where we point new developers. It's here and we update it fairly often.

Get Ready for the Kommander

Some of you may have tried Kaptain by Terek Zsolt. When I first saw an article on it saying how great it was I thought it was interesting but couldn't figure out how to make it useful. Kaptain allows you to make dialogs using a simple definition language. I used these to manage PHP classes and suddenly I could extend Quanta's feature set without even compiling! I became addicted to Kaptain. While reviewing it for updates one of our developers, Marc Britton, suggested he thought we could achieve our over all goals for this category tool by just going for it.

Here is how Kommander is different from Kaptain. Kommander uses a stripped down QT Designer to create dialogs using a special widget class. This widget class makes it easier for users to design because it associates the label text as a property of the widget. When you finish designing your dialog you save the file and then it is run by a Kommander executor. It can be run from the command line or from within a program. There are several key points to this program.

  1. It does not need to be compiled
  2. The dialog and each widget on it have the ability to run scripts and live update
  3. Any scripting language you can run in a console will run with Kommander
  4. Kommander is designed to speak DCOP natively to extend your application
  5. Any KDE widget can be prepped for use in Kommander by any developer
  6. Kommander files can even be written with a pristine QT Designer as long as it has the Kommander widget class available
  7. Kommander virtually blurs the boundries between fully DCOP enabled apps!

Kommander is being developed for Quanta, but it is intended to be available for general use in KDE. What Quanta will do is make a great deal of information available via DCOP such as what is in the project file or what was parsed from a page. This means if you create a dialog to manage a PHP class for creating data tables and you need to enter a CSS class you can have the dialog request available CSS selectors and populate a drop down box. You could just as well find data aware widgets, make a mini database app and use your favorite scripting language to check when a customer last ordered, send them an email with Kmail if it is past how long their stock should have lasted and tell Korganizer to schedule an appointment to call them. Got email orders coming in from your web site? Set up a filter in Kmail, pre-process the text, enter it in your database and pop up a Kommander window to check off each item as you ship it.

Quanta Ship Dates

We will release a PR 2 release by Monday September 9th and a full 3.0 relese by September 16th. The 3.1 release will coincide with KDE 3.1 in the end of October. And for the really exciting news I've confirmed with Dirk Meuller that Quanta will be in the official base KDE packages after that! For me that is an honor that I have to pause and think about. I would have never imagined a few years ago when I was looking for a web tool that this would happen.

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