When I was 17, I bought a simple book about HTML. I had some basic experience
with C programming, but it wasn't very much. I didn't know where to start,
so I decided to try HTML because I heard it was very easy to learn. I read the book
very fast and began to create some pages. After some time, I tried Adobe
my HTML skills advanced, I noticed GoLive was not very professional
and much too expensive for a private person. I then used SimpleText with the extension
"SimpleText Color Menu" which
allowed me to easily view a file in one browser. I got more and more experienced
with web design and realized that I had to optimize pages for IE and Netscape.
Then SimpleText wasn't enough anymore. I tried all HTML text editors I found for the Mac and
didn't like any of them. They all didn't have the features I needed. I especially found it ridiculous
that those table wizards weren't a help at all.
I then decided to write my own HTML text editor and to learn programming this way. Learning programming
is not very easy, and I bet in most cases people stop with it because they don't have a clear goal about what to
do with programming. Programming books are full of small examples that don't really get you on the way.
They are showing mini-problems and mini-solutions, but you just don't understand what to do with your knowdledge.
So I was quite happy that I had a concrete goal.
At that time, REALbasic 2.0 was released.
I tried this programming environment and immediately got excited about it. I
wrote many small tools which did some smaller tasks where AppleScript couldn't help.
I then began with my HTML text editor, which I called JazzText because I play the Saxophone.
(The splash screen showed a saxophone and played some tunes with QuickTime Musical
Instruments :-) This is also why CreaText's creator code is JAZZ. I began writing
and I learned so much in that time. And I had ideas and ideas... The first version
did what I originally wanted: I could edit files which had no resource fork and
view it with all browsers I wanted to. Then some time later I added syntax coloring,
which was very bad, even slower than today. I startet to create webpages with it and so
I can say the application is built from what the users (=me) really needed :-)
All the time I called it an alpha or beta version, until one day I thought
it was quite good now, and that I could benefit of other users' comments.
But first, I didn't like the name anymore. I don't know why, but one day I
called it CreaText. Then I finished a release, I called it Public Beta 1 and made
it available for everyone. The first comments were... well, not so nice. Users didn't like it, they didn't
like the features. They wanted more and more stuff, although it was freeware.
They even did want features that only Dreamweaver offered... Some time after that,
I released Beta 1, but the comments weren't better. I wasn't very motivated to publish updates, but
from time to time I uploaded a new version. From Version 1.0 through 1.3, comments became much more
positive. In fact, there were quite a few users who already liked the application
and were aware that it was only Freeware. So I created the CreaText page and
wrote everywhere that users whould tell me what the liked and what not. So
I got a lot of comments. There were many feature requests, and I think I realized
most them, except the impossible ones like syntax coloring for PHP, ASP, ColdFusion
and so on and WYSIWIG editing.
So I continued with it, and for a year or so I programmed on it nearly
every day. In school I wrote algorithms which I then implemented at home. And
one day I was so proud, because I successfully built the (still used) table dialog,
which lets you really create tables with col- and rowspan, not only define numbers
of rows and columns, which is quite useless. I also bought REALbasic 3.0 which
was very expensive for a pupil but I was very disappointed because the announced
features were buggy and slow. And to support the final Mac OS X release, another update
had to be bought. I was very frustrated and didn't work on it for a long time.
A big problem was that my Mac was too slow now for convenient development and crashed
The next time I continued was when my mother bought an iMac with
a G3/500. This was the beginning of the 1.4.x releases. But development was still frustrating.
Additionally, I didn't have the money for a new Mac, so I had to buy a PC and tried Java and Visual C++.
I had begun to study Business Information Technology and therefore had no access to a Mac anymore. But for Christmas 2003 I was back
home and my father allowed me to work on his iMac (G4/700) and
it was fun to optimize it for Mac OS X (which at that time seemed to be dog-slow if
compared to WinXP or BeOS wich run on my PC).
Mac OS X version
CreaText 1.5 was far from being finished, I still had some ideas to implement, not enough graphics and icons. So I decided
to publish a preview release so people had at least a usable Mac OS X version with
some goodies in comparison to 1.4.5.
I then started to create Version 1.4.6 but quickly realized that I had
added so many features that it was a worthy 1.5 release.
But I couldn't finish it, because I didn't want to spend so much spare time
in front of this machine. And then I moved away to study Business Information
Technology, and so I didn't have a Mac anymore.
When I visited my parents, I created CreaText 1.5 preview release 1 and 2.
But in the meantime, all Mac OS X applications were moving to the new application
package format. It's just a folder with the suffix .app, but Mac OS X recognizes
them as applications. The problem was, that CreaText didn't. The applications
don't have a type and creator in their Resource Fork (a part of the application
used to store data like icons, pictures, text strings and so on). So CreaText
didn't find any web browser any more.
And then something more evil happened: CreaText was saved on an iMac, whose
hard disk had to be formatted. Well, I saved the code on a CD before and then
formatted the disk. But then I couldn't find the CD anymore - all the code, my work,
was gone! I spent entire days looking for it. And I also looked for older versions
of the code, but I had thrown it all away.
...to be continued... :-)