A few people have been asking me when Mides is going to get its bugs fixed. A few others are asking about Git & Subversion, yet a few others have been asking me about code completion, syntax highlighting and shortcuts. I thought I would take a moment to post about what I have been doing, what the future of Mides looks like, and what I hope to be doing.
A few months ago, 5 to be exact, I thought I was in a stable place, where the coding challenges were hard, but not too hard, I worked with some great people, and we were having a great time. Well, most of that was true, unfortunately the stability thing became an issue, and I started looking for a new job. I was contacted by an awesome founder looking for a technical co-founder to help revolutionize the concept of whiteboarding with a strong focus on usability. I accepted, and am now the CTO and Co-Founder of ZigZag.
Since we are a lean / agile outfit, we have an iteration loop that consists of building stuff and putting it in front of customers, and repeating. I am having so much fun, and there is so much to do that there just isn’t time to do anything else. When I was working at my old job, the breakdown looked like this:
I just had the ability to do a ton more stuff, and one of the things that I really wanted, and still want to do, is make it possible to do serious development while mobile. The thing is that right now I just flat out don’t have time to work on it. My available time and space for working on other projects looks more like this now:
So what do I see as the future of Mides. Well, after ZigZag gets funded, which will take a ton of work, fortunately less from me since I have a non-technical co-founder who is awesome at sales, and we can hire a few quality engineers and usability people, I’d like to come back to it. Its a tool that I currently use for working on our RoR web stuff, and since we use GitHub, pivotal, and AWS, I’d like to build in more integration with those tools. I originally built Mides so that I could be more efficient, and I still see it as a tool for doing that. Some things that likely will go away are plain old FTP access. It is too complicated to support FTP, and I can’t find a library that isn’t encumbered by the GPL, so that probably will go away since I have to write it all from scratch for it to work.
What will stay, and get added? Some other things that I would like to add include code coloring, git and subversion, more RoR support, a shell to work in AWS, a service to compile and run code in an on-demand instance, some other goodies like that. I am currently thinking about that kind of stuff in the few seconds between when I am hacking Erlang, and Objective-C… Granted those seconds are precious and hard to come by, so while I am not saying that I will be dropping work on Mides entirely I am not going to be doing any sort of hard core coding on it until ZigZag Board is completely off the ground and flying, which I hope is soon, I am putting everything I have into it.
The good side is that when I do start working on Mides again, the quality of the implementation will be much higher as my Obj-C skills are improving by leaps and bounds. I am constantly amazed by the stuff that is possible on the iPad and iPhone, not that it isn’t challenging to work with, but it is an awesome platform.
Changing jobs was a great decision for me, I am challenged by something new and different every day that I log in. I was atrophying before, and now I find myself asking myself what is important to do right now, and what can we ship right now so we can learn from our customers. It is a much healthier place to be in, even though it is tinged by paranoia about money. I am becoming a much more focused developer, and working with a co-founder who can clearly articulate his vision for the product, and who is also well versed in lean / agile, is hopefully going to make me an even better leader than I have been in the past. Unfortunately my other projects will have to take a seat way, way back in the balcony.
I hope to get through even some of that for Mides eventually, if I can, then my vision for Mides will be complete. It might take a couple of years, but I still want to do it. Building tools is extremely difficult, not the least because developers are frequently not willing to pay for tools ( thanks Sun! ), they are incredibly critical of said tools, and getting the usability story right is nearly impossible. That non-withstanding, I have learned a bunch from people using Mides, other developers are typically very clear about bugs, and the offers of support and help have been wonderful. Well, that’s the news, I felt I should update everyone on the status of Mides. It is definitely a side-project, and is likely to remain one, I can’t really see any reasonable business behind it, it is fun to work on, and will continue to be.