Today I released v19 of POP Forums, which is one of the biggest releases I've ever done. For years I've largely been updating it with maybe one feature and an update to the latest framework version, but I don't know that I was really making it better and more useful. I focused a lot on performance, which most people probably don't appreciate, but it's the reason that I can get away with spending as little as possible to make it run in a redundant and resilient environment.
I also think that some of it may have had to do with starting on the anti-depressant. It really started to have obvious effects later into March, which is when my coding tear really started (see contribution graph below). I also got unblocked on the direction that I wanted to take with the front-end code, honestly making a lot of it up as I went. But it went, and I was into it almost every day. I was deploying it with regularity to CoasterBuzz and letting those folks be my involuntary beta testers. In July I felt pretty good about where it was and let things marinate. Then last month there were a number of smaller things that I further wanted to improve, and took on the bigger task of rewriting the private messaging to be real-time chat. That wasn't even on my radar, it was just something in the back of my mind that I always wanted to do. Once that was done, I let it rest some more, and today I cut the release.
As happy as I am with this release, and as fun as the last six months were improving it, I don't think that it's ever really going to be a business. When I launched the commercial hosted version, I didn't really have any expectations, but I figured I might make a little from it. I've had one customer that wasn't me, for a couple of months. What I see out there that isn't some cheap ad-supported thing is a few over-engineered products that clearly have a sales force, which I do not have. Forums also are still somewhat out of fashion, though I expect that will change as people become more skeptical of platforms and social media. Independently run niche communities are still better, I think. I'm waiting for millennials to rediscover the medium, like vinyl. Of course, I recently landed on a blog post by some young guy who was pissed that there weren't more apps for things, believing that it's better than having to go to a dot-com, so there's that.
I think I'll let this rest for awhile. I want a new coding project, but I'm not sure what it will be. Maybe it's time to do that drink-around-the-world web app.
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