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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Electron Adventures 50 episodes so far

She's either helping me code or waiting to steal my pencil. #theLatter by AMsloan from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

Two months ago I got an idea of starting a small Electron coding project. And lacking any kind of moderation, I decided to just post daily coding episodes for like a 100 days. I'm halfway there.

There were definitely some technical issues early on, but I got that out of the way.

Since then I blogged at a rate of about 1 post a day - either creating or updating a small Electron program, and then doing a short writeup about it, with code samples and discussion of issues encountered along the way.

When I started, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to head:

  • I wanted to try out new code blogging platforms.
  • I wanted to collaborate with people. It's something I used to do a lot before the pandemic, but had too few opportunities since.
  • I wanted to figure out how I can code Electron in something that's not Javascript - Ruby, Python, basically anything whatsoever. Either purely non-JS, or in some kind of hybrid mode (JS frontend, non-JS backend). All other languages desperately need a good UI system, and I thought this might be worth investigating.
  • I wanted to be able to create Windows UIs for my Total War modding tools (and potentially Paradox modding tools too). I did them before with JRuby + Java-based toolkits, but none of that works very well.
  • mc more or less broke after software upgrade, and it freezes if I do anything funny, so I wanted to investigate how I can make my own Orthodox File Manager in Electron
  • and I might get some Electron and Svelte practice, as I don't use them too often

So far the adventure led me mostly somewhere else:

  • I did a few coding sessions with Amanda Cavallaro, but it's actually quite difficult to get someone to join such a big ongoing project for just an episode or two.
  • I started coding a file manager. Blogging about every tiny commit is fun, but it takes much longer to blog than to code, so I doubt I'll get even MVP this way.
  • I did some coding with Javascript frameworks I don't normally use like Vue or Marko; but zero with non-JS languages so far
  • I didn't even try to connect anything with my Total War modding tools
  • I definitely got that Electron and Svelte coding practice.

This is fine.

The series is available on two platforms, with the same content:

Each post has about 71 views total (60 views on and 11 views on hashnode).

Those numbers feel very low to me, as back in the good days a typical post on my blog would get thousands of views, occasionally tens of thousands. My most read post had 170k views.

I also don't know how many views new vs old posts get, so if people would read that for years and it would add up, or if they'd just fade away being barely searchable.

I'm also not sure how much value this series even has to the readers. A 100 post series is not something people really do, ever. Am I expecting people to read from start to finish? To pick it halfway? To just read random a post or two?

A number of the posts are reasonably self-contained, but especially the ones about building the file manager sort of assume some familiarity with existing code. I also didn't really make it obvious which episodes are self-contained and which aren't.

The codebase with each episode's code also has very little interest so far, at 2 stars and zero-activity 3 forks.

I'd probably still be coding something like this anyway, but the main point of writing is having some readers, so if people aren't very interested in this kind of content, I guess I could stop, or do something different.

I'll continue for the rest of the 100 episodes and then write another post about the whole experience.

Oh and I was contacted by multiple different people, who wanted me to write various educational content. Unfortunately I don't really have time for that.