A confluence of factors has caused me to spend less time coding recently, slowing things down with the development of Lagrange. The situation is temporary but worth acknowledging nonetheless.
Over the past month, the time I've typically dedicated to working on the next major update to Lagrange has been spent on attending a conference, preparing and giving a presentation about said conference, and dealing with a sick toddler at home. Consequently, I've been more tired and less in the mood for any fun coding, and there hasn't been the usual larger monthly update to the app. There has been only a little progress toward v1.7, although I do have a general outline of what I want it to include.
The desire to not break a streak and keep up with a steady pace is an interesting psychological phenomenon. It can act as a motivating force, but if the behavior in question isn't sustainable — it drains too much energy for the received benefit — one will eventually burn out and the streak ends for good. On the other hand, a steady rhythm is good for staying focused: fun coding projects that lack such a guide rail can veer off tangents that ultimately lead the project into a dead end, causing it to be replaced by another project that has more exciting potential.
While streaks are about internal motivation, interaction with an engaged user base is another topic entirely. It provides an external motivating force that, at times, helps a project out of a rut or brings one back from an extended hiatus or other kind of downtime. But this force can also weigh down on you: once a behavioral pattern has been established, there's a social pressure to maintain it and to not disappoint people. Of course, it is good to bear in mind that this is not based on formal customer relationships or business contracts but is instead driven by the goodwill of software developers. One cannot be expected to work for others against their will, without compensation.
The situation with Lagrange remains quite good. Once my calendar clears and I've rested enough, it will be easy to jump back into coding. I have plenty of large and small ideas to work on for improving the app in various ways. As the immediate next step, after I determined that the way the mobile UI currently works is untenable, I'm planning to redo much of it for v1.7. This will enable me to refine and differentiate the UI in ways that have been infeasible hitherto.
🏷 Lagrange, Life