Four Years of Blogging

Over the last years I have blogged about various things, but a quick look at the tag cloud of my weblog shows that a large number of posts had one specific topic: My hobby project GhostDoc. It’s easy to forget how long GhostDoc has been in the making (with large pauses in between, of course), so for this “blogiversary” I guessed I’d take a look at the history of GhostDoc in the context of this weblog.

2003–07–02: First Blog post. Just another blogger making his first appearance. Hey, give me some credit, I didn’t use the “Hello World” line…

2003–11–21: First mention of GhostDoc in a blog post. 3:15 am, a good time to post an announcement of a new project.

2003–11–28: Release of GhostDoc 0.5 consisting of a macro, a helper assembly and a looong list of installation instructions. The silence in the blogosphere regarding this release is deafening. Sometimes people see a tool, look past the limited scope of the first release and get excited about what that tool could do in the future. Not in this case.

2004–01–13: Screenshots of GhostDoc 0.9. That version never sees a public release, just a bunch of my colleagues are crazy enough to install it...

2004–06–30: GhostDoc 1.0 is entered as a contest entry to Roy Osherove’s Visual Studio add-in contest. Just minutes before the end of the deadline, in true geek style.

2004–08–13: 1st Place for GhostDoc. One of the prizes: A tour of the Microsoft Campus in Redmond – but I have to get there by myself. Did I mention I live in Germany?

2005–04–15: A GhostDoc Feature I Will Not Implement – this is a classic.

2005–04–21: I receive a copy of the book (Visual Studio Hacks by James Avery) I wrote a chapter for. It may be only one chapter of many, but mum and dad are very proud.

2005–09–07: Microsoft Campus Tour. A slight detour to Redmond on the way to PDC 05. I get there by myself (remember?), I get a tour of the campus. What a cool day.

2005–10–03: GhostDoc 1.3.0. The last version for Visual Studio .NET 2003, and (praise the gods of Extensibility) the last time I have to mess with COM registration of Visual Studio add-ins.

2005–10–04: GhostDoc on Channel 9 – sort of. No interview, just the video that was shown before at the “Show Off” session at PDC 05. Please don’t ask how much time and effort went into these 4:36. It’s ridiculous. And by the way: yes, that’s a German accent.

2005–11–11: GhostDoc is one of "10 Must-Have Add-Ins" in MSDN Magazine –sounds good. Depending on the point of view, the fact that the article was written by James Avery (author of Visual Studio Hacks mentioned above) may have helped, but people seem to agree.

2005–11–15: The results of the Larkware Contest 2005 are in: GhostDoc 1.9.0, the first release for Visual Studio 2005, makes the confusingly named second place (“1st prize” behind a “grand prize”).

2006–04–01: A Sneak Peek at GhostDoc 2.0. Some people obviously didn’t check the date. The “real” 2.0 is released in May 2007.

2006–09–21: GhostDoc Wins the Audience Award at BASTA! Conference. Imagine yourself standing on a stage in full stage light, looking at a pretty huge audience. Imagine ten nominated projects to be voted for by show of hands. Imagine your project getting virtually as many hands as the SharpDevelop project (what? wow!). And then imagine a completely different project receiving the prize, causing overall confusion. That’s what happened on that day. And before things could be cleared up, the tight schedule forced everybody off the stage. Fortunately a review of the notes taken by the beautiful, but slightly numerically challenged hostesses responsible for the counting followed. In the end it turned out that GhostDoc received three votes more than SharpDevelop. Three votes. Funny, that’s two votes by guys of my .NET user group, and one vote by somebody who later told me that he had no idea what GhostDoc was before I gave my elevator speech on stage.

2006–10–20: Whoops... I Just Asked a Question and Now I Won a Prize… Strange stuff happens to me at the Microsoft Visual Studio Extensibility Contest.

2007–01–30: A chapter on GhostDoc in yet another book. Needless to say, mum and dad are proud again.

2007–05–01: GhostDoc 2.0.0 is out. No more thanking my girlfriend in the help file – we married one week after the release of 1.9.5 in August 2006. Version 1.9.6 took much longer than expected and finally became 2.0.0. The huge number of downloads makes me check my hosting package. OK, enough headroom left for many more downloads.

2007–06–24: GhostDoc 2.1.0 is out. VB.Net developers love me again.

2007–07–02: Four years of blogging. Time flies by. Development on GhostDoc will slow down again over the next months as I’ll be working on another hobby project. But I’ll stay in touch with the topic of Visual Studio Extensibility – GhostDoc has turned me into a speaker. Small user group meetings (Paderborn, Leipzig, Braunschweig), the BASTA! conference in September and other appearances are in the pipeline. Things promise to stay interesting.

OK, enough blogging, back to preparing the talk on Friday.

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