My open source project focus

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 17, 2020, 4:30 PM | comments: 0

I spent a lot of time in the first quarter working on POP Forums, mostly in ways to reinforce it as a commercial SaaS product. The commits for the release I haven't released yet were very scale heavy, and I still haven't done any real optimization around ElasticSearch (using the language analyzers right). I'm really happy with where it is now, having run it across multiple nodes with serverless background stuff and caching and such. It's stupid fast and it hasn't broken a sweat even on mostly cheap virtual hardware. To that end, the run up to making it a hosted product burned me out on it a little, and while I'd like to spend more time improving it, there isn't much incentive to doing so unless I get some customers. I launched it, but between a new job and the uncertainty of Covid, I'm not comfortable spending anything on marketing. I want to modernize the front end of it all, but that's a heavy lift in terms of learning, and I'm not sure how to make time for that.

At some point, I did decide to start porting my blog to an open source project, because why not. It's simple and I want to have a shared code base that I can drop in as package references to this blog, but also two other projects. The first is that I want to enhance it with the podcast enclosure stuff, because I need to replace the aging CoasterBuzz Podcast site, which I built 15 years ago (!). We don't do the show anymore, but that's beside the point. We do a show once every seven years! 😁 The second thing is that I'm planning to resurrect SillyNonsense. That domain has been with me for 20 years, but I haven't used it since the early oughts. All of this quarantine and world chaos has me wanting to produce some video stuff, and you know I'm not content to just put up a YouTube channel without my own means of engagement and brand. I'll write about that part some other time.

Doing open source stuff can be a mixed experience. People often seem ungrateful for what you provide for free, and worse, often want you to support it immediately and for free, but I get just enough interest from people that it's worth it. The forum project only gets like a dozen clones a day, but I've had a few people contribute on and off. I've had the chance to share knowledge around design decisions and such, which is rewarding. I had one guy look at it all as a blueprint for how to do his own work, and I had to explain to him that there was stuff in there that was crusty, with a dozen plus years of ick in there!

The big thing though is that it keeps me grounded, and hopefully gives me a little street cred. I've worked with a lot of really smart people the last six or seven years in particular, and as a manager by day and not maker, I want them to know I get what they do. Fortunately I don't think any of them look at the code, but I can dazzle them with my devops automation that I barely remember myself!


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