Writing Software For A Living And For Fun

April 19th, 2017

Last week, I spent an evening fixing some bugs in the Linkage program. It’s a bit buggy since I added a bunch of complicated features like gears and fastening. Writing software is hard to do well but not hard to do badly. I once had to tell someone, in regards to some software having a bunch of bugs, that the software in question had more moving parts than the space shuttle and was written by one person over a few years. the effort put into the software was probably 0.00001% the effort put into building the space shuttle.

I forgot to publish the Linkage update so I’ll do that tonight. A few of the bugs were just annoyances that cropped up due to my not writing good code. For instance, I had added data to the linkage files that listed the selected connectors and links in order, instead of relying on a flag on each connector or link. But then the software processed the list front to back and ended up reversing the selections when doing an undo operation. I simply forgot at the time I wrote that code to check the order and do it right. It’s hard to do that sort of thing right when there is nothing in the code that is a reminder that the order is meaningful or that it might ever be backwards.

I did a little research last night on how I might make a simulation of a board game using HTML5. HTML5 is a shortcut for “JavaScript using HTML5 and maybe CSS3 features.” It’s the panning and pinch-to-zoom that is the hard part. I might just use SpriteKit for iOS. Speaking of iOS, when I typed “iOS” in an email using Outlook 2016 on Windows 10, the text got changed from “iOS” to “Ios” and then the stupid software automatically turned on the caps lock. WTF is with that? I should mention that a board game simulation is really just a computer game that is limited to interactions that could also be done with physical pieces on a physical table. It’s not really any sort of simulation.

The boss just asked about the time I would need to port a Windows client-server business app to iOS. I recently finished 90% of a project to port the same app to the web and the last 10% is being a bitch. The JavaScript to display the app UI was fun and the Java on the server to create the pages and deliver the data was almost fun. The feature to let users save their data and then load it up later, is not being so much fun. Mostly, it’s difficult to put a lot of effort into what seems like a badly-thought-out feature. I just can’t come up with an elegant architecture for this.

I am not prolific like some software guru types. There are people out on the internet that have published large numbers of interesting software experiments. But I still write a lot of software for fun on the side. I knew programmers that didn’t even have computers at home – it was clear that they were not really interested in programming and just worked in that capacity to have a job.

So the plan is to finish this web interface to the client-server business app, write an iOS version of the app, keep the Linkage program up-to-date, write a board game style app for iOS, keep working on the physical version of the board game (I’m designing the game itself while using the simulation as a way to test it), and do non-programming stuff like finish an almost done RBS, work on a new RBS, and play a bit of Forza Horizon 3. It’s going to be a busy spring and summer.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.