I'm perpetually mystified by the human propensity for self-delusion: we seem to be able to talk ourselves into the most ridiculous things, whether through hopelessly naive optimism, stupidity or selective memory. A wiser head than mine (George Santayana, if I recall correctly) once summed it up quite well, saying "Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them".
From the preceding paragraph, you should be able to glean the idea that I'm not best pleased with myself at the moment. I've got myself into a quagmire, and like all quagmires, it's wider and stickier than I ever expected. I'm talking about the changes to the internal object interface used by Pegasus Mail.
When I originally took this on, it was a logical, worthwhile futureproofing modification that was only going to take a week or two to finish: that was nearly two months ago. Now, don't get me wrong - the "worthwhile", "logical" and "futureproofing" parts are all still completely valid, but seventeen years of doing this should have taught me that it was never going to take only a week or two - especially when the addressbooks became involved.
Pegasus Mail's legacy addressbooks are a source of unending grief for me: they're some of the oldest data structures in the program, dating from the DOS version. Back in the DOS days, programmers had to be really, really careful about how they used memory, because there wasn't much of it available. As a result, the addressbook code is incredibly contorted in places to allow the smallest possible memory use, even though in the days of gigabytes of RAM, the notion is now totally irrelevant. Unfortunately, slanting the entire development of a piece of code towards one priority like this is quite pernicious, because it debilitates almost every other part of the code. The result is that the legacy addressbook code in Pegasus Mail is fragile, awkward, convoluted and unbearably tedious in places, and I really don't like working on it very much.
Now, Pegasus Mail v5 will have a new addressbook format which will, I believe, be an absolute market leader - much more an information manager than an addressbook, its capabilities will make it enormously useful to almost everyone, unlike the antiquated and minimalist excuse for an addressbook we have at the moment. The design for the new format is done, and quite a lot of the code is even written: the problem is that I can't abandon the existing format - I'd get lynched - so I have to make sure that the two formats co-exist, if only to provide an easy migration path for existing users. This means that I have had to overhaul the old addressbook code once more so it can use the new interface I've designed.
The update on the old code is now mostly done, fortunately - although it's been quite a trial. There's still a bit to do though, so it's back to the salt mines for me. *sigh*.
-- David --
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