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31 July Progress Update

July 31, 2006

We continue to make progress on our web engine. Almost all of the bugs we are finding now are user interface related, regressions from other fixes, related to the pecularities of folding HTML code into a format that the web engine understands, or fit/finish.  Key parts of the web engine such as the translation component have not had a bug in more than 6 weeks.  That is a very good sign. Though we may launch with some fit and finish issues that we’ll clear up during the beta period, I’m sticking to our beta launch date of between 7-10 August

 The rest of the bugs not listed above are what I’ll call “dependency bugs”.  This class of bugs means that the funcionality works but there is a internal dependency on a certain format or type of input. Every once in a while, our programmers write a snippet of code that inevitably works but has a limiting dependency that isnt obvious. Normally, these bugs are completely invisible to the user but go against our longer term plans for the web engine.

To give more insight into the web engine, the design criteria is that it can process broad sets of data that are self-defined in a variety of languages. As a simple example, this means that land properties can have a completely different set of inputs, outputs, and languages than commercial properties and the web engine can still process both without error. This gives us a great deal of flexibility in our processing our properties that many sites simply dont have.  If we expand that thinking and remove all real estate property dependencies, the web engine could produce personalized web pages for selling real estate services, tractors, candles just as easily as real estate properties.  Hopefully, this provides some insights into the real power of the ForSaleByLocals(tm) web engine. We’ll be making decisions about every dependency bug this week to decide how to handle them with respect to launch.  In some cases, we’ll wait until after launch to rewrite certain portions of the web engine code.

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