Coding for fun,

[Warning this is a very nerdy post]
See I must be getting a bit of my life back, I’m starting to think about what I could code for fun. Which is always a sign that a) I have to much time on my hands or b) I’m not being challenged enough in work. I think this is definitely B.

so looking through the directories of dead projects on my machine. The endless reams of C/C++ and C# code I copy from computer to computer but never look at. I am trying to see if there is anything that captures my imagination enough for me to go back and finish it off. So far, I have

poopcell – it’s freecell, I started this a few weeks before we got married, just purely as a way to hide away from the real world of organizing the wedding. It’s actually quite advanced, written all in C++ it looks like freecell (that was the aim, build freecell, then expand to do more cool stuff) but the wedding came and I suddenly had better things to do.

minipom – this is ancient, the name means nothing (well the pom doesn’t), miniPom is a TAPI program for monitoring your phone line, logging outgoing and incoming calls, and I seem to remember pausing winamp when the phone rang, this is university time code this, I think I did it to hide away from the real world of exams in my final year. It’s lost a lot of its appeal now, because

  • we are broadband so I don’t care about dial-up,
  • we are on broadband so a phoneline doesn’t come within 50ft of the computers
  • we’re grownups and we have phones all around the house.
  • and we must not forget, I wrote this code in 1998-99, it is probably horrid

WebLibrary – this is the latest of the lot, the code that is propping up our online library, currently the interface is ropey, the backend has been extended to support DVD’s, Videos, and CD’s, but I think the interface needs an overhaul to cope as do the webpages (all very nice, but I don;t want to confuse people by having DVD’s half way down a list of books). This is written in C# which at least means I could do stuff quickly with this.

Colab8/9 – this was me messing about, when we got some content management systems in work, they where either far to complicated, or pap and expensive, so I thought, “I could knock a low end one of these out”, and I could, but I never got into it, it turns out storage is boring.

and then there are the things I started for fun, that ended up being used in work, that I could actually finish off to a public standard, and these are

FTP Server – links in to the Active Directory and connects people to there homeshare via FTP. This is cool, and to be honest, 99% public ready, (I would almost sign of on this).

Build on Build – now this is mature, it’s being in use for about 5 years now, as the build system for the first set of Windows 2000/XP clients in the university, written in C/C++, it works with the active directory, and group polices, and in my opinion rocks. Except political battles means it was side lined before it got a change to go mainstream across the uni. I could decouple this from JMU (most of the work was done outside of work) and push it out to the world, but I have baggage, that would effect my motivation.

Mail Server – this is based on the core of the ftp server, it’s never gotten very far, but the work I did with the FTP server, means the whole world of little internet server tools is a possibility.

[not so nerdy bit]
looking at this lot you may think I’m a bit faddy, that I start things and never finish them, well that is true, but it’s not that I never finish programming, I do, but unfortunately from the home programming point of view it’s always in work. The truth is as I said at the beginning, I mostly start these things to keep my programming muscles going, and before I get to finish anything, work kicks back in with a programming task, and the home stuff gets left, because I’m programming again in work.