Me, myself, and Universal App Development

I have been listening to a bunch of podcasts lately, mainly the MS Dev Show (hosted by Jason Young and Carl Schweitzer). They have some great speakers on discussing app development in general, best practices, tips and tricks etc. It’s gone a long way to renew my interest in development, specifically around apps. I’ve had a few ideas for apps over the last couple of years; nothing mind blowing or overly unique, I just really wanting to broaden my knowledge and say “I built that”. My problem is I over think these things:

  • It’s going to take way to long
  • I’ll need to add in so many features for it to be worthwhile
  • Someone else has probably already done it
  • It will end up being some crappy half finished project I get bored with
  • People will laugh at how crap it probably will be
  • When am I ever going to find time to work on it?
  • How can I monetize it?
  • God I’m so stupid how did I ever think I could write decent code

And so on, and so on, to the point where I basically talk myself out of doing anything and end up mindless surfing the web and looking at Twitter far too long.

In my day job I have recently started doing development again, and for the last eight weeks it’s been full time writing a MVC internal web application. It’s made me prove to myself that, actually, yes I can still write some decent code. It’s been a massive learning curve (I’ve only ever previously done ASP.Net Webforms, and it’s all been self taught and I was the only person who was ever going to look at the code again), but getting my teeth into an Enterprise level app with things like webservice endpoints, Entity Framework, Bootstrap, caching, even using TFS properly, automated build, Octopus and all that other meaty stuff that makes a real webapp has done wonders for my self confidence.  And on top of that listening to the MS Dev Show has inspired me to pull my finger out of my ass and prove to myself I can actually do something.

But, building apps is still a lot to take in. I’ve done it before though, but I’d hardly call a NZ only targeted app with 450 downloads and in-app purchases totaling $4.18 USD in two years a roaring success. But, I have done it. And I can do it again. But rather than spending months on building some massive app with flawed features and I try and work out what I am actually doing, I decided that I am just going to push out a bunch of small, single function apps. Heck, I am not even going to be original, I don’t care if there are already loads of other similar apps out there already, I just need to start building something, and before long, working on something bigger should then be a whole lot easier.

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to aim to push something out every week or two. Each just polished enough to be useful, but nothing mind blowing. Because everyone has to start somewhere right?

And yes, I am going to stick to Windows Universal Apps. Why?

  • With Windows 10 coming just around the corner, these are going to take off.
  • I already know C#.
  • I an invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • I own zero Apple devices.
  • I really don’t fancy heading out and spending thousands of dollars on Apple hardware just to learn to write iOS apps, especially when there are plenty of highly skilled people in that space already.
  • I’ll consider Android at some point later, but right now I really don’t need to learn yet another platform and all it’s intricacies.

My first app is going to be a Sudoku game. I know, the world really does not need any more Sudoku apps in the store. But I like to wind down at night with a quick game, and honestly the current Sudoku app I have on my phone is full of gamification bloatware that I really couldn’t care less for. Plus, apart from the mathematics involved, it should be a great introduction to building a small, couple of page app which is completely self contained.  And I really just want to build something, push it out to the store, and pretty much forget about it again.

I’ve a couple of ideas for what to work on next, but if you have any ideas as well, please do let me know. Hit me up on Twitter, it’s pretty much my second home.

Let the journey begin!



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