I know it's been a while since I've checked in and let everyone know what's going on, so I figured I'd drop a nice bombshell or two and then slink back into my corner, to continue slaving away on Version 3.
As some of you may already know, I've started a new job back in November as a web developer for a gaming consultancy firm. This has had a positive effect on the project, in that the new job (and all of the new challenges that have come with it) has served to inspire me to look at the direction that version 3 has been headed, and to explore some options that were previously left unconsidered. Bottom line? Program O Version 3 is now heading in a new direction, and will have a completely new architecture than before.
Now that may sound like bad news, but it's really not, because the past couple of weeks have seen vastly more overall progress (not to mention specific progress in certain areas) than everything that had gone on since development on version 3 began! Here are a few details:
1.) Version 3 will be built on the CodeIgniter PHP framework, which provides a concise but extensive library of PHP classes and functions, helping to reduce development time. there will also be the added benefit of simplified testing, to help reduce bugs, and a "load only what you need" philosophy, which will improve performance. CodeIgniter is a robust, mature well supported framework, used by a huge number of websites, so I'm quite happy with this development.
2.) I've added an optional "membership system", which will add the ability to have users register and log in. This will allow botmasters to add a layer of user accountability that wasn't previously possible, and can also open up possibilities for enhanced content for users who are logged in, restricted access to certain chatbots (think: Adult oriented bots here), and other features, just for starters. The membership system also improves security for chatbot administration (not that it was insecure before, mind... It's just harder now to get in for someone who doesn't belong).
3.) Based on discussions I've had with folks, both here and elsewhere, there will be improvements and enhancements to a lot of admin functions for Program O, including the ability to import or export an entire chatbot (AIML files, bot personality, chatbot config, etc.), a training interface that's more like what Pandorabots uses, individual custom web interfaces for each chatbot, and a host of other goodies, as well.
Overall, I firmly believe that Program O version 3 is much better shape than it was before. My only really big challenge at this point is in the area of supporting AIML 2.0, but that's something that I'm confident that will be overcome.
More to follow, later. In the meantime, back to work for me.