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|Thursday, October 27, 2016|
I've spoken before that whatever it is that you chose to work on, you're going to be married to it in a way you can't possibly fully understand until you're knee-deep in some edge case a week or more past whatever internal deadline you've set for yourself.
For instance, I thought I'd write a quick app to manage creating podcast feeds. And owning your feed really is one of the most important things to do when you start a podcast. Writing a quick utility like that shouldn't take long, right? It's just XML with some madlib spots, essentially a long
From rufwork.com (for heaven's sake, don't download these ancient VB6 apps):
Child's play, right?
Sheesh, no. Once you start programming for others (which even the wack apps really aren't), you've got loads of overhead you'd never expected.
Here's an example. For podcasts, you need to add a duration. Instead of asking users to slap in durations in a specific format, I split hour, minute, and second into separate textboxes.
Simple, right? Well, sorta. What's wrong with this code?
Well, duh. What happens when any of the textboxes aren't filled in? How about if one is? What if they aren't numbers?
And I thought I was saving myself validation work...
This is a very simple thing to fix (first cut is below), but the point is that small decisions like this add up.
I mean, how about this one, where I insert a subtitle for your new episodes based on the date, just as a default:
Great if you keep the current time, not so great if you edit that time to something different. Then my attempt at giving you a "shortcut" doesn't work at all. In the above screenshot, we have a publication date of the 30th, but the subtitle still says the 27th.
So what to do? Do you look for dates in that format and automatically update them if the pub date is changed? Yes, you do, but what a pain... I don't want to have settings in an application this simplistic, but that also means you have to make sure all the "features" aren't ever annoyingly in the way.
See? You can't just skip stuff and expect users to figure out what actions bring down the app and what don't, like some unpatched, extremely rushed Playstation game. You have to mind the p's and q's and actually finish your work.
And that means you'll be doing whatever app work you decide to do for a heck of a lot longer than you ever expected. It also means, luckily, that you'll be a lot prouder of what you've made once it's finally out of the door...
This is the life of an indie.
posted by ruffin at 10/27/2016 12:26:00 PM
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