It’s been a long week, friends.
We’re on the verge of launching a new mobile app at NewSpring, and as with most software projects, when it comes down to crunch time, things get hairy. Long days, late nights, and lots of caffeine. Fixing bugs, last minute features, and more than one bout of yelling at my computer about “WHY WON’T YOU JUST WORK?!?!?!”
Hey, I didn’t choose the dev life. The dev life chose me.
For real though, it did. When I was growing up I played a lot of video games. It started out with games like Pong and Pitfall on the Atari. Then it moved on to classics like Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo.
The first computer I remember us having in our house growing up was a Commodore VIC-20. It was awesome. It had a slot in the back where you could insert cartridges with games and other programs on them. It came with an external cassette tape drive for extra storage. I also remember vividly that we had a book that had programs in it (actual lines of code) that you could type out and run. This was my introduction to programming …
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… and I fell in love. I knew then that I wanted to be a developer.
Being able to make a computer do things (as long as you typed the instructions correctly) was intoxicating. It was creation at it’s finest. It’s more than just lines of code. It’s my craft. It was (and still is) an art form.
That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy
Far from easy, being a developer is more accessible but seemingly harder to do every year. All the different libraries and frameworks that keep changing all the time. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Things get really hard right around the time that you’re ready to launch a thing. There are a lot of “can we just add this?”, “but I thought it was going to do it this way?”, and “we’re close but I just want to fix this one last thing”.
In talking with my wife the other day about our launch and all the things that needed to happen, she described it in a way that I had never thought of before, but it perfectly defines what we’re going through. She said that launching a product is a lot like preparing Thanksgiving dinner. There are things that are cooking and there are things that don’t need to cook. There are desserts, main courses, and bread. There are the guests, when they will arrive, where they will sit at the table, and “Oh look, someone brought a friend they didn’t tell us about.” There are a lot of moving pieces and it’s your job to make sure that all of them come out and are done and presented at the table (or wherever you set out your food) at the exact same time.
Yes! That’s exactly it. It’s so much more than just the code, right? There are app stores, and databases, and websites. There are other pieces of software that need to get hooked up so you can get data about the app and a ton of other pieces that all have to be ready for that one button push. It’s nerve-wracking good fun. In the end, we all have something that we can share and enjoy with everyone around our table.
There’s just something great about having created something. Especially something from scratch. To have taken some base materials and crafted it, by hand, into something great. There’s a feeling you get when you know you’ve taken the time (and it does take time) to put together something special.
This app, this thing we’re building, it’s something special. Will it be perfect? Probably not. There will always be bugs and things we need to tweak and new features to add or take away. But think about that one great piece of furniture that’s been handed down through the generations in your family. There’s something special about it, right? There’s something awesome in the way the grain in the wood runs, or the knot you always stick your finger in. There’s a story behind every dent and bump and knick. There’s meaning to it. It’s special.
That’s how I feel about what we’re building with this new app. It’s special. There are stories we could tell about this feature or that color. The decisions we made and why we made them make up the backbone of what you’ll see when it launches. I’m looking forward to the times, even years from now, when we reminisce and tell the “Remember the time we … “ stories.
This app has a purpose. It was created with each of you in mind. I’m so excited that it will be in your hands soon. I seriously can’t wait. I guess you could say I’m “pregnant with anticipation.” It’s Christmas morning and you just know there is a gift under the tree that you’ve been waiting for forever. It’s right there. Thanksgiving dinner is right around the corner. I can almost taste it.
My prayer and expectation for the app is that you use it, and that through it Jesus would change your life.