Monday, January 7, 2013

Making software for me

After years of using open source code in many forms, I'm finally giving back to the community in mongo-helper, a simple wrapper module for MongoDB (which I mentioned in a previous article) under node.js.  mongo-helper won't be winning any awards for innovation or code awesomeness but it solves a problem I had, namely my code was cluttered with lots of database calls.  I tried out Mongoose and found it versatile and too advanced for my needs.

I doubt many other people will end up using mongo-helper (after the fact, I discovered that someone else had the same idea).  I don't really care.  I'll be using it to assist me in a few side projects.  There are some quirks that are due to my newness to node package design.  It's ok, I know them.  I also learned a LOT (and still am as I fix it up).

I didn't bring you all here so I could brag about mongo-helper.  I made it for me, it works for me, and if others want to try it out, great!  This "I made it for me" attitude becomes less great when you're actually making software for other people.  It's very easy to assume your target audience thinks pretty much like you.  This has plagued the open source community for eons.

As such, it's very important to identify who your audience is (yet another revelation from my groundbreaking "duh!" series).  This leads into a topic I've wanted to hit for a while: "Who is this blog for anyway?"

Let me start off by telling you that you should also write a blog.  It's not easy, keeping a schedule and coming up with ideas.  It's even worse when writer's block strikes.  However, I've found it invaluable for expanding my knowledge and discovering what I really enjoy writing about (instead of "yeah, that'd be nice to do something about").  Plus, Steve Yegge and Jeff Atwood [0] told you to.

I didn't think anyone would be interested in my writing, so the blog's original audience was me.  It helped me organize my thoughts and explore the realm of programming and business through a new avenue.  The blog's still mostly for me, consisting of my semi-organized thoughts about, well, stuff.

Recoding's published publicly so it isn't entirely for myself.  Originally, it was also for an open-minded teacher who was willing to let me write a blog for a class.  Now I'll get 100 readers on a good day (and 4k+ on a day I'm still trying to replicate).  I love the fact that people are reading my blog and I hope they get something out of it.  I know I did.

Just ask rlemon of Sour Coder or Amaan Cheval of What the Dude? how starting a blog worked for them.

If you do start a blog, send me a link on Twitter and I'll check it out.

[0] You should care because Yegge worked for Amazon and currently works for Google and Atwood co-founded StackOverflow.  Names and places aren't everything but these guys know their stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment