A Side Project: Part 1, Getting Started

"A Side Project" is a series of articles about an online web application I am working on. In Part 1 I share some of the thoughts and motivations which brought me to starting this project in the first place.


The seed for what is new, has some old roots
In 2005 I became involved with Drupal after discovering it in the course of working on an ambitious side project of mine. It was a discovery that would change my life, professionally and otherwise, much for the better. Ironically, the very thing, which got me into Drupal in the first place (e.g., online side projects) had became one of the unfortunate casualties in more recent years as my professional Drupal activities increased. Sure, I had little projects - went to meetups, cons, made some patches here, contributed this there - but building my own online site/service from the ground up with the intention/hope of achieving something big, that went by the wayside.

A couple months ago I realized that this situation of no-large-side-projects needed to change for many reasons. A few of which are:
1. Side projects are fun. I personally enjoy having something to obsess over and tinker with in my free time.
2. Side projects provide an opportunity to check out new (or at least new to me) technologies.
3. It's one thing to develop web technologies. It's another thing to be responsible for managing a real live website, its content, its community, and everything else that comes with it. It's my belief that experience with the latter helps the former.

So once I convinced myself that I really needed a project of my own to work on again, the only thing left was to figure out WHAT I would work on. For this I took some time to consider things, as I realized that building one more version of a TodoMVC is probably not going to change the world, and probably wouldn't teach me much either. I wanted to come up with an idea for something that would really matter to me, something I can get excited about, and actually use. Something REAL.

And you know what? I have found that kind of idea for myself (more on that later), and I've been working very hard on bring my ideas to life. I'm not at a launchable point yet, but I'm feel like the decision to start this project is validated every day I wake up right now. Besides just feeling generally inspired and motivated, I've been learning a TON of stuff (more on this later, too!).

Thanks for reading Part 1 of this series.

19 March, 2013