12) don't shake the jello « Tidepool News

Today I uploaded our first release candidate, which means we’re (almost) ready to let people play Tidepool.  For weeks, I’ve been scrambling to complete the last Alpha 1 features, finding and fixing bugs and more bugs, like some demented game of whackamole.

Along the way, I’d think of a new idea.  “Hey people will love this.  It’ll only take a few hours.”  Days later it’s done, with now a fresh set of bugs to whack down.  Software’s just like that … a shifting amorphous mess with no master.  Change something here, now that doesn’t work.  As an industry, we’ve gotten better at making change safer over the years, but even now it’s often a crapshoot whether something will take hours or days to do, especially when your codebase has reached a certain size.

In the last few months, I’ve written roughly 44,000 lines of code, which printed out single-spaced would take almost 800 pages.  To do this, I’ve spent about 425 hours, not counting business development time.  Were I to charge a corporate client for this work, I’d be at $85,000 worth of billable time.  (Yes, that’s my wife Paula you hear moaning in the background.)

Yet here we are!   The foundation is complete and our first creative steps are before us.   All important now is to freeze features and fix bugs, letting things settle enough to be generally useful.  My “shakedown team” will be putting Tidepool through its paces in the next week.  We hope to announce the alpha soon.

I am personally exhausted, having worked perhaps the most intense hours of my professional career.   My body’s aching, my family misses me, the house is a mess … but I’m done!

I’ll now take some time to rest before doing this all again for Alpha 2.  Stay tuned.

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