Out with the old and in with the new! It’s an all-new file area for 2011.
Back in January of 1999, Philips released ProntoEdit 1.01, creating the first fully customizable computer programmable remote control. Shortly afterwards based on user demand, Remote Central launched the first Internet-based file area for sharing remote control-related files. What began with a dozen files today totals over 18,000 entries!
Of course the have been a lot of steps in-between. Back in 1999, “updating the file area” consisted of myself furiously editing completely static HTML files to put the day’s submissions online. Manually editing HTML files like that couldn’t last very long, and within a year I came up with a partial flat-file table format for data entry, along with a simple program that automatically generated static HTML files from those files. This method was preferred at the time versus an “interactive program” due to relative slowness of the average web server, but it still wasn’t good enough. You couldn’t search, sort or cross-reference entries, and categorization was crude at best.
In May 2002 I finally decided to write a more advanced file area that was entirely “flat database” driven. The new program offered multiple file areas, more versatile file categorization, and some basic linking between system files and their device components. Amazingly, the same basic program remains in use today – albeit after many, many updates over the years.
While the file area has been functional for those looking for files, it hasn’t been so good on my side. Without any sort of administrative functions, all 18,000 entries have been entered in flat files manually using a text editor and liberal use of the TAB key. If you’ve ever submitted a file and wondered why it took a while to be posted, this is why! The Pronto device area alone is a 1.2 megabyte text file with over 6,600 lines of text. Not to mention that everything about every file area was hard-coded in the program, so something as simple as adding a new section required code changes.
For the longest time I’ve been planning on updating the file area. It’s needed it, if only to make the design match the site’s current standard. However the largest sticking point has been... how. The existing program is actually rather complex and completely custom-tailored to the needs of remote control files. Updating the file area was at the back of my mind as I did my first database program, this news area. Then when I completely rewrote the forum system. During development of the Wiki and other smaller areas. Finally, it clicked.
And here it is!
After much planning, development and wear and tear on my fingertips, I’m very pleased today to present the first beta test of Remote Central’s brand new file area. As someone who only programs occasionally, this is by far the most complex work I’ve had to do – and that includes the forum system. Because of that, and the fact that there’s over 10,000 lines of new code, I’m sure there’s going to be bugs that will need to be fixed.
What should you look for?
- Typos – there’s a lot of new text. Please check for bad spelling and grammer (hey, that one’s for free).
- Design glitches – bad spacing, misaligned elements.
- Browser compatibility issues – things that just don’t look right. Improper white space, bad borders, overlapping text, and so forth.
- Program bugs – error screens, or anything that doesn’t seem to be doing what it should be doing.
- Suggestions – don’t like something? Wish it could do something? Let me know all your thoughts!
The new file area is already populated with the entire contents of the old file area, along with the past few month’s worth of file submissions which have not been posted to the old file area. And you’ll be able to get to it from a handy new address:
For today, I’m not going to release a list of everything that’s new. Just explore, click things, and please let me know how it goes!
Don't forget to UPLOAD!
I'd also like to remind you that if you have a remote control-related file that others could benefit from - be it a system file, codes for a device, discrete codes, a manual, bitmaps or anything in-between, please take the time to upload it!
With the new file area, files will get online much quicker!