Cutting deadweight is one of the best things you can do for your life as a programmer.
In 2007 I created clintonio.com as a free service to anyone. Over the past 3 years it consumed all spare “code time” I have to just maintain it. It killed all motivation, drive and passion for me as a programmer, and it was not the least bit successful financially.
This is not the only time this has happened; every time a new project was added on top, my drive, motivation and interest dried up slowly. Yet, each time I binned a project I would be euphoric. Yes! I would say knowing that time for a new language, project, design, or few hours with a book were ahead. And not long after would I be called up by another friend for a project. We’re just gonna build a CMS for …, and I’m back in the cycle.
I’d advise anyone who is currently struggling to maintain interest in their hobby, especially enthusiast programmers, to first cut the deadweight before anything else.
Today, after culling Clintonio.com and the Rotatr project, I left them both with a new, fledging framework in my hand, which is pretty functional (Rotatr Framework) and within just two days completed two new projects, even though they were small. A wordpress gallery extension I promise to make for my fiancée’s website back in August, and a new small startup group site called Digital Uppercut. I also made two blog posts in one day!
A new ethos has come out of killing my gargantuan project; fast development. I don’t just mean that in a buzzterm sense either. I’m talking “stop over-engineering solutions”. While my Rotatr Framework is my favourite piece of software yet, it still didn’t help me release my products, even it isn’t released yet. Today, rather than spending time creating tonnes of widgets for both of the projects I completed, I said “Fuck it, I’ll use the least code possible to get to the solution, and as much pre-existing code as possible”.
The gallery was approximately 100 lines, maybe less and the project site was about 50 lines of PHP inside the Rotatr Framework and 2 rewrite rules in lighty, and 5 lines of CSS on top of the Rotatr Framework.
I recommend both of these approaches! Have fun developing. Please comment with opinions and suggestions! All are welcome.