Monthly Archives: January 2017

New Year – Same Old Stuff

New year always gets you thinking about what you did in the previous and what you hope to achieve in the next.  To recap my side-project life in 2016:

  • Merged two of three Parse apps over to Firebase and to keep them running
  • Didn’t merge the other, will unpublish from Google Play until I get around to it
  • Spent a healthy amount of time writing a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) lineup generating program (I haven’t written about this, but TLDR; it didn’t win me millions)
  • Learned how to throw together a quick and dirty Chrome Extension and then take the first step towards robustification by adding a Flask/Postgres back-end and deploying to Heroku

Doesn’t look too bad from afar, but really I’m still not producing programs which can reach an audience.  I kept two lightly used Android apps alive, ignoring a third.  I nearly reached minimum viable product territory with a Chrome Extension, but stopped short.

The bigger thing I’ve come to realize is that by switching around and/or dropping things, I’m often stopping short of the point of learning enough to be useful in whatever language/framework/whatever I’m attempting to learn.  When I drop something and pick it up a couple of months later, I have to re-learn most of it just to get rolling again because I didn’t get deep enough the first time to have the lessons sink in.  That’s a problem.  I’m not producing anything and I’m not retaining a workable knowledge of anything I’m learning.

With that being said, what’s the goal for 2017?

  1. Finish that Chrome Extension
  2. Port that 3rd app
  3. ????

The Chrome Extension is something I’ll hopefully write about in the future, but it’s a minor utility that took a night to write with zero Chrome Extension knowledge.  The hard/fun/educational part is adding everything around that to make it a usable product.  I took the first steps by switching to Flask with a Postgres DB to store the data received from the extension (I originally just threw up an sqlite DB running with Bottle).  The next steps are users and views to access the data we’re now storing, breaking down and paying Heroku to host the thing, releasing it to the Chrome Store and trying to get people to use it (I have a partner to handle the latter of those).

I actually picked up the extension project tonight which inspired me to write here.  I fixed a lingering bug and did the preliminary research on how to add users so I could authenticate and allow view access to the data.  Just picking it up after a long layoff was a big step, I tend to drop things like that and move onto the next shiny idea that comes along.  I’m planning on pushing on this with a dedicated one night per week schedule.  Hopefully I will be returning soon to do a full entry about this.

As for the third Parse app. It’s not being used so it’d be easy to ignore it, but I like the idea of having working apps in Google Play, so I do hope to do the conversion.  It is a bit more tricky than the two apps I did convert because it is the only one with users and the requirement of storing user data.  I don’t imagine this will be difficult, I just haven’t done it.  I want to finish for completion’s sake.

Beyond that, I really just want to keep learning.  I would prefer to start getting deep into something(s) rather than continue to be jumping around.  Maybe I can find another project to work on using Flask.  I want to get to the point where when I sit down to start a new web project I don’t have to re-learn everything.  Over the years I’ve switching between Django, Rails, Bottle, and Flask (I think that’s all, I’m probably forgetting some).  It’s nice to have a familiarity with a wide range of frameworks, but for the sake of getting things done, I clearly need to narrow the focus.

I guess one concrete goal would be to post here more often.  If I’m doing that then that means I have been doing work, so that’s a win.