Deadbeat Dads

Software developers who launch programs and then fail to support them are sometimes referred to as “deadbeat dads”.  It makes me wonder, what is the female equivalent of a deadbeat dad?

Don’t panic, I don’t plan to abandon Preposterous , but from all outward appearances it might seem like I have.  Preposterous was born in a fit of fiery passion, version 1.0 being released just days after the project began.

After taking a week off from the project (something I try to do with every type of project) I sat down renewed and penned a somewhat (by comparison) ambitious plan for a 2.0 release, a release that would make Preposterous have the capabilities that are expected from a blogging platform but would retain the elegance and simplicity of Preposterous 1.0.

Charging forth, these features fell to my keystrokes one after another and within two weeks all but a handful had been committed to the repository.  With only a few more remaining, I felt confident to let the scope creep a little and work in a few things that I thought would be really cool.

Now mind you that I’ve been doing this long enough that I should have known better, and I definitely should have known that, consciously or not, I had pushed the hardest problems to the back of the line.  What I should have done was stick to the original list and kill all the original bugs and features before adding more, but you know, hindsight and all that.

Then came the new bugs.  Some came from the new code I was writing, some came as the result of more extensive testing and use of 1.0, but in either case the amount of work that needed to go into 2.0 started to mount, and this wasn’t the fun kind of work like building new features, it was the not-fun kind of work like trying to figure out why every email program on the planet did different things with embedded/attached images, seemingly even between versions of the same program!

This state of affairs was really wearing me down, so much so that I stopped using Preposterous frequently because my own dog food was just making me too sick.

What I did do right was continuously integrate the 2.0 features into the mainline and release them into production unannounced.  So in reality by the time I made the 2.0 release announcement, most of the new features would have had plenty of production use and may have even been through a few debugging cycles.

This is where Preposterous stands today.  A considerable subset of the features slated for 2.0 are (and have been) available to production users along with a few “bonus” features I slipped in along the way.  What is missing are a couple of things a real blogging platform should have (like proper deletion of posts) and a few very nasty bugs around handling attached/embedded media.  Instead of letting this “almost 2.0” state get me down, I’m going to embrace it, and begin working frequently with Preposterous even if I have to limit that use to the “happy path” until I’m able to address some of these shortcomings.

Along the way I hope to encounter others who see the beauty in the idea of an email-only driven blog, and can feed off their encouragement and help bringing Preposterous to a point where it’s valuable to a wider audience.

- Jason