More on UserLand

I sent this to Cam in response to his Mail about UserLand webpage. I'm archiving a copy here, Just In Case.


I've been fighting Frontier's (and later Manila's) template problems since I first found the validators for html 4. Don't remember the exact date, but it was probably sometime in 1999. By March of last year, I'd had it with their template system and HTML generation, and started moving away from both Manila and Frontier. describes part of the migration process, but I'd also been working inside Frontier, and had built templates that actually generated clean HTML 4. I think that was sometime in mid-2000, but I'm not sure, as I didn't make any special note of it at the time.

But in doing that, I had to go in and change UserLand-supplied code. So every code update from that point on meant manually merging my changes back in.

My solution was to stick with Frontier 5.0.2b20 for generating, the last free version of Frontier (released May 29, 1998). I kept my changes there, and gave up on Manila in March of last year (as I said before). It was a workable solution for a while, as a lot of the changes that UserLand had "burnt into" Frontier (turning UserTalk code into C-code, for performance reasons) were things that worked fine, and I could modify the UserTalk code to make it do what I wanted.

But there were bugs in the application that I couldn't fix, and that's what finally drove me away completely. It meant throwing away a lot of work I'd done in patching up Frontier, and reimplementing it first in server-side includes, then PHP and BBEdit scripts.

I really can't express the frustration I felt at the time. I'd spent a significant part of my free-time for four years trying to work with UserLand to improve Frontier and Manila to the point where they were workable solutions for me. Sometimes Dave was very supportive and I would see changes I'd suggested rolled back into the application, but sometimes I was a whinerboy, and that was that.

I'll probably be adding this mini-rant to my website, but you're more than welcome to post it. I'd appreciate it if you didn't publish my email address, but rather use the address for my website.

To use one of Mr. Winer's phrases: Thanks for listening.


Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:09:02.