Development strategy ideas

2024-05-24 11:43:00 +07:00 by Mark Smith

Thinking about overall development strategy is a big topic. In a sense, as a developer it's always somewhat in the back of your mind, but the landscape is so vaste it's easy to get lost. It's easy to bite off way more than you can chew. Yet it's important even if it's vague, because it helps you chart the general direction you are going for. Over time, the specifics change, as do the technologies, the methodologies, and even the ways you describe things. It's this constant churning of ideas, that over time results in some of the aspects that are most important to you rising to the surface.

I guess I'm passing through another period where development strategy is important again. Figured I'd write something about it, as I pass through these waters for the umbteenth time. This post is that. Maybe it will help solidify some of my thinking, then again maybe it won't. Such it is with developing long term vision. Partly exciting, partly frustrating, it always seems like everyone else has their long term vision perfectly in focus, and sharpenned. That's not the case for me. For me it always feels just out of reach, like most of the pieces are present, but some are the wrong shape. It rapidly gets too big and that causes paralysis. Getting the balance right is very elusive.

I've been lucky in a way. A number of years ago, I chose a very specific place to start. A single well focussed project, a great place to learn how to build out a SaaS product. was a product that I used myself as I was building it. There were so many things that needed to be built out, the infrastructure, the app's software, the billing system, the documentation and marketing, and lots more. I really learnt a lot on that project, even though I ultimately ran out of runway.

Anyhow this latest bought of strategy reflection was triggered by a great Changelog Interviews episode. They talk to Birk Jernström, developer of Polar, a Patreon style platform that's built specifically for developers, so lots of Github integration style features. While listening to the stories behind his development journey, I thought about the places I passed through on mine.

Though my SaaS didn't succeed, I've kept on writing for the web, and I've been developing my personal website, my personal platform, expanding the different channels I use. I've gotten back into blogging, continued linkblogging, started a newsletter, dipped my toe into podcasting, and started publishing short text posts I call notes. I've thought and experimented with finding what I call the blogging virtuous circle. I've made it a mission of mine to find the right balance when it comes to personal publishing. It feels like I'm making progress dispite a seemingly endless stream of setbacks.

All the while I've become even more of an advocate for freedom tech and open source software, gotten very interested in Bitcoin and crypto, and continued observing with great interest developments in social media, especially around open protocols. I feel like I'm still true to my Linux and scripting roots, but I'm now a bonafied Nodejs developer. I still love music of all genres and I've got a healthy curiosity for slightly out there stuff. I'm not sure why exactly I'm giving this seemingly not very relevant backdrop, to the next big project, which I've been working on for a few years now. That is of course my static site generator.

I use the static site generator to build my personal website. It's very customisable and extremely flexible. The plan is to open source it at some stage. I wish I could do that now, but I'm not currently in a position to do that. Times are really tough, and I am severely constricted resource-wise. The details of that are outside the scope of this post. The point is that I want the tool I use to build everything to be available to all.

I'm pretty close to having my personal website configured in a way that's optimised for blogging and personal publishing more generally. It would be awesome to be able to turn that into some form of hosted service, so others could get setup without the need to build their own platform, but with the ability to have complete control over their own data, and the ability to move to a self-hosted setup should they desire to do that. An open source static site generator would make that possible.

Longer term, I'd like to develop various online services that connect up to seemlessly offer functionality around modern web publishing. File storage, timestamping, bit torrent, Bitcoin and crypto, NFTs, URL archive backups, social media protocol integration, and so much more. And I want the services to be developer centric, so you could easily integrate them into your own projects. A platform for personal publishing on the web. Built to be robust, built with digital collaboration in mind, built with open source and user freedom right at the forefront.

That's basically the plan. It's not quite an Elon Musk level, colonise the solar system mega plan, but it's a plan nonetheless. And I think it's very doable, and I think it could make the world a slightly better place.

Let's see if the world will allow me to fullfill my vision.

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