Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Coding and learning and sharing and earning :-)

Sometime in 2005 I created a website to share practical information on software programming and design. The idea was to share practical programming tips, best practices, howtos, gotchas, etc. The material would come from what I learn writing actual code, and the medium to share it would be a blog, audio, and screencasts.

I started this venture with the intention of doing something I enjoyed, and generating revenue. The website grew steadily, though very gradually. After about a year and a half I had about 27,000 page hits a month, and a few comments per post. I know it is very modest, but I believe it was at a point where it would have grown much more rapidly form there on. But due to various reasons, I was not able to dedicate enough time to working on the website, and eventually I shut it down.

Even though I shut down the website sometime last year, the desire to be able to work on open source software (that has a social impact), share information, and generate revenue from it, persisted.

I started this blog a few months back as the first step towards this goal. I also changed my work pattern and commitments to support this goal. I do actual work (work that pays) for part of the month, and I spend the remaining time keeping my knowledge current (through books, blogs, and podcasts), experimenting with code doing coding katas (right now I am learning Groovy, so my katas are pretty much at the Hello World level in Groovy), writing (this blog), and well... thinking and researching about how I can make all this work.

To be honest, I am very positive that type of work is feasible, but it will need lots of patience and perseverence. No problems, I have both :-).

However the fact is that even though I am seeing an increase in page hits and recent posts have started getting comments, things are not moving ahead at quite the speed I was hoping (in terms of the number of readers and interaction on individual posts). But then again I do not post as regularly as I should. Sometimes I post twice a week, while sometimes two weeks go by without any post at all. This is not good. I have to be more consistent. I am thinking that a frequency of 2 - 3 posts a week is maneagable for me. I think it is also a frequency people would find useful without getting overwhelmed (with too much quantity). If you have found my blog useful, I need your help. Please tell me what frequency of posts would be most useful to you.

My posts have just started attracting comments, so I assume that people do read them and find them useful. Please remember that if you leave a comment, it helps me realize that there are people reading this blog, and to a large extent it motivates me to write regularly :-)

I have a Google Group for programming, and design related discussions, but their isn't much activity on it. Again I am to blame. I should post more frequently to the group and share useful information from time to time. I promise to share more stuff on the group as well.

Sometime back I started @coding_insights, a Twitter feed to share small and useful bits of information related to programming. Some people have found it useful and follow the feed. I am planning to publish as least 1 - 2 Tweets a day.

So along with doing actuak programming I try and share what I learn through this blog and through my Twitter feed. I think it is time to add one more thing... a long time passion of mine... podcasts. I plan to start publishing a podcast sometime next month, and it's going to be all about coding. I will publish a small program which either explains some API, so a coding or design best practice, and then create a podcast to explain the code. If you think such a podcast will be useful, do give me your feedback about what you would like to listen and how much you would like to listen. By how much I mean the length of the podcast. What should be the optimal length of the podcast so that it can deliver value without distracting people from their work.

I will look forward to your feedback. Also if you have any other thoughts, do share them as well.

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