Thursday, July 21, 2011
Vaadin and ramblings
Well, it's time for some more random thoughts about my hobby development stuff. It's been awhile since I've really had any major projects -- there was nothing that I was extremely excited about, and I was having still a lot of fun playing Starcraft 2 in the evenings. But now the momentum of groups of us playing together has died down (it took a year!), so I've been thinking it's time to start on another project.
Now the important question is "is there any larger-scale project that I will actually take the time to finish up?" I love starting hobby projects. But part of being a hobby project is that I have to enjoy it, or I'll stop. I've got quite a few hobby development projects that I stopped, mainly because they stopped being fun. (and one project that I somehow lost 2 weeks of work on, (did I really go 2 weeks without checking into source control? I can't imagine I did...) which really killed my desire to work on it).
So I've messed around with a number of smaller things recently -- I got an android tablet and was playing with android development. That was fun, but nothing really sucked me in for a longer term project. I toyed with the idea of making a clone of Progress Quest for Android, but qiuckly realized that most of the time spent wouldn't be interesting android-specific stuff, but instead general tedious stuff. I'd still like to eventually make my unofficial Blaster Master prequel, but that's going to have to wait until I find an artist.
So, for now, I've started looking at working on some open source stuff to scratch a few particular itches. I won't go into detail, mainly because I'm tired of talking about projects that I likely will get bored and not finish, but I've realized that to do this current idea right, it needs to be a web app.
I know there are a few other similar frameworks, like Eclipse's Rich Ajax Platform. I picked Vaadin for two reasons: first, the RAP ui was pretty ugly (visually) last time I looked at it a couple years ago -- everything looked like a desktop app, which is weird and uncomfortable when it's in the browser. (To be fair, I checked just now, and it's improved a lot) Second, and more importantly, Vaadin has GREAT documentation. While most frameworks have a 3 page tutorial then point you at the auto-generated javadoc/phpdoc/etc, Vaadin gives you a few-hundred page book with very detailed information about how everything works.
So I started typing this post a couple months ago, saved it, and then never published it. I pulled it back out today because after a couple months of fiddling around with Vaadin, I still completely agree with everything I wrote, and so I'm going to push the publish post button now.
Since writing this, I've made a little bit of progress on my "scratch-an-itch" webapp (not as much as I'd like) and also ended up using Vaadin for a work project where we needed a quick-and-easy but ui-rich tool. It was incredibly easy.
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