Last Saturday, in a canyon of a hangover, I decided to ditch my client work and just make something fun. I’d encourage others to do the same. Maybe not in favour of client work but do try and make some time just to play around, experiment and recapture that feeling of why you first got enraptured by the web.
It's fun to just mess about with code like no one is watching. That was the real lesson.
I gave myself a few guidelines:
- Not to get wrapped up in best practices
- Chose speed of development over maintainability. In fact, ignore maintainability.
- First thought, best thought.
The last is one I borrowed from Jack Kerouac. I didn’t know what I was going to build and so it made sense to make the outcome an organic production of my erratic, pickled in alcohol, thought process.
I wanted to build something involving images so I dragged out an old chunk of code from a previous project and tapped into the Flickr api. I liked the idea of being able to build a grid of photos based on some parameters. Maybe based on recent keywords from a twitter stream or using geolocation. I started out with just a search box and a lazy grid built of four columns with a ragged y endpoint. A cheat of a solution but I was determined to cheat where possible: I wanted quick development and iteration.
Once I had the gallery mode working on search I got distracted by the idea of using filters to see if you could create instagram like photos with CSS. I could have used a js library but had heard that chrome canary had introduced support for CSS filters so I fired it up and built a little webkit only control panel, a grin on my face from the anarchic approach I was taking in light of recent industry dialogue on the matter.
What I learned?
It’s fun to just mess about with code like no one is watching. That was the real lesson.
What improvements would I make?
It took around 6 hours to make, although I split that time with 6 nations rugby, but if I had had more time I’d build in instagram support and add the ability to switch back and forth between the two modes more easily.
Maybe I’ll add that in the future but it’s more likely I’ll just build something new. Either way, in the future, I’ll definitely be building something just for the sake of it.