Chronicles of Swallowbush – Collaboration then and now

My first attempts at putting a team of developers together were with the fourth build of swallowbush. You see, every six months or so I would have learned enough to make my previous version of the application look like an embarrassment. One of the best ways to learn anything is to actually do it. You can’t learn to fish by reading about it, and similarly you can’t learn to program with out programming. Along the same lines, you are going to learn programming best if you are doing it with others, asking questions, getting questioned and for the most part, looking for reason behind actions.

I desperately looked for partners in crime, asking friends, foes and strangers to work with me on my site. Graphic designers, programmers, artists, and writers all came in at one point or another, and would eventually disappear. Although that makes me think that I was possibly doing things wrong, I have seen that people want to do what’s cool, in their late teens & early twenties; they aren’t really willing to put in honest effort to build a blog when they already have one on myspace that is traveled much heavier than their own site. They don’t want to help you create a new scheme for your site because they don’t need to on their site. I prefer to keep things free and open source to drive myself by actual craving for the activity, versus selling the applications that I have made over the years and making a few pennies. Some would argue that It’s idiotic to do this, but if you are truly interested in something you will overcome far more.

The fourth revision of my site began in august of 2003. The site was still screwed up something fierce, but I was learning, basing my designs on the other sites that I liked off the web and adding my own touches where I could. I was a budding graphic designer and having a good time showing off the sites. Remember that I was already working, building websites off of the talent that I had already put together over the previous years. Most of the time I was doing the work free of charge, trying to build up a portfolio and expand my fan-base, but with more customers comes more pressure to put more things together in the same amount of time. I needed a partner.

Most of my friends were scarcely even interested in computers, let alone the internet, having only recently found that google was able to find images of boobs made a couple of them perk up when I said I was building websites. I sat down one Saturday evening and wrote out a list of everyone that I could think of that would and or could possibly help me with the development and eventually realized that it was going to be a losing game. Most everyone on the list was not even willing to write on my pre existing blog, let alone help me create one that would work better than this one.

Alone, but not broken, I pressed on. There had to be someone that would help me out through my forums or the bulletin boards that I frequented. I asked a number of people, but the one person that was interested wasn’t interested in PHP: PHP won’t last a year; It’s a really terrible language. You should be moving towards JAVA… and with that another fat red x went across my listing of people who would ever be considered intelligent.

I asked friends of friends and folks I hadn’t talked to in years that I knew were already out working in the IT industry and it was an utter landslide. No one was willing to work with me on my projects. The overwhelming response was id love to, but I’ve already got this one that I’m working on, would you like to help me with it? And that’s when I realized – people who work on projects because they like it will often find themselves alone, they will more likely than not be asked to join projects, but will be compelled to stick to their projects, since they have already got their ideas straight for it, and would have to break train in order to get used to yours.

What does this mean? Well fast forward to today. I have a number of projects, not all posted by myself, that are idling. One of them is a project management suite that is written in PHP; it is going no where as fast as life allows. I am putting in the time I can, but I’m already spread pretty thin as is with gneu, 2ndv and WAW compounding any load I may want to take care of. Developers are selfish in the wild. If you are one that has come to this site looking for the ability to learn, I would urge you to join in and help with the development, if you are one of those who just read my blog and think I’m a goofy guy that just rants on frequent occasion, I would urge you to join in and help with the development. Gneu is not going to become the haven that mike and I want it to become without the blood and sweat from its members. I have written countless pages in the last year for this site, and would like to see reason to continue with its cause in the coming year.