Confession: I stopped blogging and started working (and fighting. see http://stopforgetting.tumblr.com) But I’m back for a minute.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been working at a small but steady email marketing SaaS provider in Durham, NC. I’ve been doing tech support, account management, and QA. I’d like to focus on QA and have more time available to write unit tests and play in codeland, but as I said, I work at a small company. I have been programming in my spare time, though — a mix of PHP and Ruby.
Cool news: I have finally broken down the barrier of “I need someone to help me write the app I’ve been wanting to write for 3 years because I don’t feel confident that I can do something this awesome on my own.” Here’s the major bullet points of what I’ve learned and the route I’m taking:
- Writer’s block is silly. I sat down a few weeks ago and opened and closed an html tag and said, for all it’s worth, this is my app, and at least I’ve started it.
- Bare minimum functionality is my immediate focus. I’ll separate core functionality from ‘features’ and get this sucker working before making it pretty, even if it pains me.
- I’ll spec out the UI using the data I have on the existing idea. (I essentially have a “Smoke Test”/Vapor of what I want to build.) Focus on high traffic areas and features for those areas first.
- I’ll write it from scratch. If I can’t decide on a framework (and I tried), just do it from scratch. Why not? It’s liberating to know what every file and directory in your app is from the getgo, and I’m not scared.
- Use the resources available. Writing an app from scratch has advantages in that you don’t need framework specific examples for the tools you’re using. For instance, Googlemaps (I’m using their API) has wonderful examples for PHP and jQuery. Perfect. (not that I couldn’t use those examples for good if I was using a framework, but I’d have the extra thought-step of wondering ‘where does this fit in to my framework?’)
Edit: I’ve spec’ed this app out pretty thoroughly but then came to a bump in the road. I think Rails might actually be the best solution for this. After going to Ruby Hoedown this year, I got re-amped on Ruby and Rails… and I started digging in much deeper than I ever have before, into the nitty gritty of Rails 3, the intricacies of Active Record, and appreciating all the serious awesome that is done for me, rather than having to write 482 lines of PHP code for it.
So, I’m pausing on this. And I’m building out a Rails app to take the place of this blog as well as ashumz.com. Or at least moving forward with a blog/portfolio style site layout to get hands on experience. I think that project makes the most sense for now, and I still have my radar on this project for the future. Yes, this means I’m putting it off yet again, but I’m more serious this time. I figure, in the long run, it’s going to save me a lot of time and headache.
I know my thought process here couldn’t be more recursive– but that only means I’m still thinking, right?