The state of hobby-coding

This is something I’ve talked about for quite a while already on my personal journal, but never really mentioned in public. Hence it’s probably no surprise to a number of you–or maybe even to all of you, as I’m sure it’s been obvious that development on Enthusiast, and pretty much all of my other linkware scripts, have stalled. Being rather out of the loop recently with anything fanlisting-related, I actually have no idea if anyone’s still interested ;) but I would like to explain a little about what happened behind the scenes.

I enjoy coding. I enjoyed it many years ago when I made my first website from scratch, and I continue to enjoy it today. I especially enjoy making things that I can use but make it so that other people can use it, too. I like finding out that something I made is useful for others. That’s the whole reasoning behind all of the linkware scripts that I have done.

And then, Enthusiast happened. For whoever of you who have no interest in the fanlisting online community, you probably have no idea what it is. Enthusiast is a fanlistings and fanlistings collective management script, and a pretty damn good one (at the very least, back when I was active in the community). I have no idea where fanlisting scripts stand nowadays, but I’d like to think Enth is holding its own even if it’s old and “clunky”. I started writing the earliest versions for myself, prettied it enough to make it downloadable, and in no time at all it was huge (figuratively and literally).

It’s still my baby. I loff it the same way I loffed it before. But after months (a year? more?) of hemming and hawing, I’ve decided that I needed to step back from it, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently. Enth has affected my life a huge deal, in many different ways.

The good things:

  1. The no-brainer: easier fanlistings management! I love fanlistings, they’re cozy and cuddly. But they can be crazy in droves! But Enth has really pulled through for me on this.
  2. I learned a lot about PHP coding from making Enthusiast. A lot, from things I researched myself, and things people taught and showed me.
  3. I’ve met a lot of people via Enth; from users to fellow coders. A number of them I’ve grown quite close to, even if we’ve all slowly moved away from fanlistings.
  4. I can’t begin to imagine how much time I’ve spent on Enthusiast, but the time spent with it has been, on the whole, very enjoyable.

Enth’s popularity does have its downsides, such as:

  1. Enth’s slowly morphed into something almost unmanageable. I’ve felt a bit of pressure with doing this and doing that simply because, well, it’s what users want. While generally these are things that I do want somewhere down the line, it’s just slowly gotten to the point when my hobby project has become a bit of a burden and yet there’s this pressure to work on this, to fix this, to add this feature.
  2. The pressure related to this has affected my participation in the fanlistings community. I’ve felt guilty working on my fanlistings when Enth (Enth4 specifically) is still not done. I haven’t applied for any fanlisting in ages because of the same.
  3. People’s expectations seem to keep rising and rising. I have no idea what people expect now, but that’s because I’ve purposely avoided knowing what they are, now. I want to make Enth better so much, and I have a lot of ideas on how to do that; but can you imagine how many will complain about what happened to this feature, or why is this doing this now, or I’m not moving because it’s a pain to upgrade. These are certainly all part and parcel of getting a script up for others to download, but little ol’ me feels overwhelmed.

I feel it’s sad that the reason why I worked on Enthusiast (that is, fanlisting) became something I avoided or felt guilty about doing because of Enthusiast.

I’ve gone through months and months of agonizing about this. The fact that I do have other things on my plate doesn’t help with the indecision and the pressure that I was getting, too. When I finally made the decision to put Enth on hold, I finally felt that I could breathe easier.

And thus, there you have it. Enthusiast is officially on hold. All development is stalled, I haven’t looked at any Enth code in months. It doesn’t mean to say I will never go back to it, but it won’t be for a good while. :) Maybe when I can get back into the fanlistings world, eh?

If you have any questions, concerns, or any general comments about Enth (or anything else dev-related I have done), please feel free to comment and ask. (Don’t ask me for troubleshooting support though ;) that doesn’t change, haha!)