Getting ideas

Back in the 70s and 80s, I was a programmer and then I switched to technical writing. Well, the writing market is drying up and I have an urge to return to programming, er, development. I’ve tinkered with Xojo to the point where I have a couple of apps for personal use under my belt and think it could be time to start thinking about a small commercial app or two to test the waters (and my abilities).

However, I have a problem.

Absolutely no ideas! Ridiculous, I know.

So, my question is simple: where do you get your inspiration? I’m NOT looking for specific ideas for an app, just a general process or strategy that can help me back onto the right road. I appreciate any serious comments you can provide.

My ideas come from personal needs. If I need to do something and there’s no existing solution, or the existing solution is terrible, I create my own solution. When I was younger one of my private personal use apps actually took off, so evaluate your private projects. Do they solve a problem nothing else does? That may be something to share!

This little blurb from the creator of CodeKit shows just how most great apps come from the needs of the creator.
It’s a builder’s “I can fix that!” attitude.

Or from Robots: See a need, fill a need!

Robots rock!

Only one problem I see with “CodeKit”… uh… What does it DO? No where on the website does it say… even the Help docs, don’t provide a functional overview…

Yes, pay attention on what you are doing on a daily basis.

My latest project (not in Xojo, but same process) came from sitting in my easy chair on the second floor. I was watching TV but realised I had to check for milk in the kitchen (a floor down). But, I didn’t feel like getting up an check it at that time. Then I realised: what if I had an app that would tell me to check for milk when I actually arrived in the kitchen. So I wrote some indoor location algorithms, put it in an app on my phone. And now, when I remember having to do something at a certain place, I’ll just add it to my app (Bleemer it’s called). When some time later I enter that room, I’ll get a reminder notification.

As for now it is only for personal use, but I’m sure others would also find it useful, so this will probably grow into a bigger project later this year.

Most of the ideas do indeed come out of a personal need and it turns out a lot of other people have the same needs.

Yes my main project came about needing something to queue 6 render Jobs instead of typing the code by hand… then it evolved to reading the scene file to get camera names… then a server to send the commands to the render engine… plus 3 spin off projects …

If you have a personal use for the software its easier to keep motivated, mines 4 year old now and I keep finding new ways to improve it or make it faster to use…

Thanks for the thoughts, guys. Time to watch what irks me, by the sound of it!

Hi Dave

For me CodeKit takes away all the pain when writing CSS files using SASS. I have set up CodeKit and now don’t have to go anywhere near the Terminal. Of course, that is not all that CodeKit does, but that is mainly what I use it for.