When I moved Working Set over to Micro.blog, I’d thought I’d be constantly writing micro-posts about what I’m working on, as a form of working in public. I found that didn’t really work for me, for a few reasons.
I’ve got a strange relationship with this blog. I wanted a place online to write about the projects I’ve been working on, but every time I publish something here, I always get the feeling that I’m “showing off” in some way: ooh, look what I’ve done, aren’t I cleaver? And okay, I’d be lying if there’s not a part of me that wants others to see how I spend my time. If I didn’t want that, I’d be content with these posts existing in a private journal.
And maybe this is a form of self-justification but I’d like to think that there’s a bit of that feeling in every developer that keeps a public blog on what they do. Maybe not exactly “showing off”, but I’m sure they feel proud on what they work on and they want to talk about it. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. In fact, the posts I tend to enjoy the most are those from other devs talking about the projects they’re working on.
So yeah, I admit that having others see what I’m working on would be nice. They say write what you want to read, and this is my attempt at doing just that.
But that only explains why I write about it on a public blog instead of a private journal. Why I should want to write these posts at all is that I’d like to keep a record of the the projects I work on. Nostalgia is one reason: seeing a project progress over time or remembering projects long since abandoned. But another might be a way to track where I’m spending my time. This is theoretical at the moment, but if there ever came a time when I wanted to find this out, I have to have the record written somewhere.
But not as micro-posts. I think a fixed weekly cadence is more appropriate. I tried this a couple of years ago, and although it worked for a while, I fell out of the habit. But after seeing the weekly entries by Jonathan Hays, I’ve been inspired to try it again.
So that’s why I’m trying these weekly update. They’ll be frequent enough to be useful to act like diary entries, but not so frequent that they will bother people who aren’t interested. They’ll be long enough to warrant a title, making it easy for people to skip it. And they’ll be any anything related to a side project I’m working on: either current or abandoned, public or completely private. And I’m giving myself permission not to feel bad about it.
Anyway, we’ll see how we go.
Update 6th July: I’ve gone back to just making posts when I have something to write about.
Big week for Dynamo-Browse: I finally got v0.2.0 out the door. This is the release with scripting support (yes, it finally shipped). The scripting implementation has been finished for a while. The thing that was blocking it’s release was all the documentation I had to write: both the section in the manual and the API reference.
The build was also a bit of an issue. The release builds are built using GitHub actions. To get them published as Homebrew casks, the actions need to push them to another repository. The secret token used to access this repository expired, and I had to create another one. Not difficult, but the fact that I had to create a whole new secret instead of rotate the existing one was a little annoying. Getting the permissions right, and being forced to choose a different name (“Deploy Homebrew formulas v2”) didn’t help matters either.
But got there in the end. The v0.2.0 release is now available on dynamobrowse.app and GitHub.
I’ll reduce the time I spend on this for a little while. We’ll see how long that lasts. I use this tool for work so often and I’ve got a whole list of features I’d like to see added to it.
I got the editor up and running again last week and I spent Saturday designing a level with the working name “The Beach”. I’m a huge fan of the Developing series on the Game Makers Toolkit YouTube channel, and the latest video was about how difficult it was for Mark to design levels for his video game. I found I had the exact same problem for designing levels for mine (although I think the lack of effort I put into it doesn’t help). He pointed to a blog post by an indie game designer that had some useful tips to help with puzzle design. The one about using two elements that interact with it.
The one I worked on was for a custom element that will change boxes with a square indicator to blank tiles when pressing the yellow button. I’ve had this element around for a while but I haven’t actually used it in a level yet. I’d thought I’ll be time to do so, but the level I came up with seems a little simple. Not sure what I’d do about it. I could either rearrange it so that it appears earlier in the level set, or I can make it a little more difficult in some way.
One thing that releasing Dynamo-Browse has given me is the opportunity to do a small client project. I’ve talked about this on lmika.org and the latest update is that I think I’ve convinced him to consider a static site, seeing that it would be easier for him to run (don’t need to worry about plugins) and would be easier for me to build (I don’t know how to use Wordpress, especially not their new block editor).
This week was basically coming up with a site layout. I had the opportunity to use Figma for the first time. Works reasonably well, but I’m wondering if Balsamiq Mockups was probably a better choice for a rough outline of what the site is to look like. But that’s all moot: a layout was put together and sent to the client for him to get some feedback.
Anyway, still early days here. I’m looking at possible Hugo templates to build the site in and possible hosting solutions that would work with the client. I’m not aware of options for static hosting other than the AWS, Cloudflare or Azures of the world. Not sure it will work for the client, although it’s totally possible that I’m just not looking in the right places.
So that’s it. Update one done. Although next week I’ll be taking some leave so update two might be slightly shorter (at least there’ll be no preamble) so it may be less about current updates. I guess we’ll find out together.