This article is part of the “Side Projects” mini-series.
There are several constraints in these 2 projects. These constraints shape the way I work on the projects. I think it is quite helpful to have them in place - without them I would not have been able to come this far. The 3 most important are: Time, fun and money.
Time is a constraint for two reasons. First my time is quite limited at the moment. I work full time for a client, have some administrative work to do and I want to have a life after work. I spend only very little time overall on improving these projects, and I sometimes have only as little as half an hour to work on them. This means I have to structure my code so that I can get startet quickly - even after a long break - and I sometimes only make minor improvements.
The other reason is that I set myself (somewhat arbitrary) deadlines. The first deadline was “The site must be online in May 2011”. The current deadline is December 2011 - I want to finish a couple of missing features by then. This helps me to stay focussed.
Fun Fun is a really important constraint for my side projects. I do these projects in my spare time, so they better be fun! This also means that I might skip tasks that are not fun - or at least defer them as long as possible.
Money Of course my side projects should not cost any money. I am willing to invest a little amount though. For example, I run gclimbing on a root server. This is rather cheap, I can easily afford it. But I would not spend thousands of Euros on advertising or design work or anything like that.
The rest of this mini series will explore how these constraints effect the way I work on these projects.