Monday, February 26, 2007

It has begun!

(bonus points for knowing the movie reference)

Sunday night I started the process to create an LLC. So someday when I'm a hit shareware developer, mark this as the day it all began.

I have set some relatively low goals initially, although that is mostly due to a lack of ideas (the irony of this will be apparent at some point in the future). I have 2 semi-complicated spreadsheets that I use for regular tasks, and I would like to make them easier and more powerful. So I'm going to develop them into standalone programs. After I get those done, I'm really not sure what will be next, but hopefully I'll have some epiphanies by then.

I'm not really going to break any new ground, probably, so I'm not too afraid to talk about the programs even before I've written a single line of code. I have several years' worth of these spreadsheets that can serve as prior art if need be.

The first, and what I assume will the be easier of the two, is a mileage spreadsheet. At a basic level, it just keeps track of the mileage for my car, but there's a lot of information about my car I like to keep track of. I know how to use my spreadsheet, but I couldn't possibly hand it to someone else and expect them to know how it works. And there are a lot of manual tasks that I'm sure could be automated. There are capabilities that I would like to have that would be a royal pain to implement with my spreadsheet, so I figure if I need to invest the time anyway, might as well come up with something that other people can use. I hope to have this application to a 1.0 version in calendar year 2007. If Cocoa is everything everyone says it is, I think this should be easily doable.

The other spreadsheet is for budgeting. I gave up on Quicken years ago for a number of reasons, and although there is a growing number of budget shareware apps for Mac OS X, I still haven't found one that approaches this the way I want to. My spreadsheet for this one is much more advanced than the mileage one, but still not overly user friendly. And things that could/should be relatively easy require major surgery. Function-wise, I'm in a pretty good place, I think, as it has proven to be a very useful tool for my own budget needs. But this one needs a lot of polish. I'd actually like to have this one as a standalone program first, but I know it is going to require a lot more skill and planning than the mileage one. So that one will be the practice that hopefully points me in a good direction for this one. The sooner I can get this one done the better, but realistically it will probably be sometime in 2008.

I'll talk more about my programming background in a separate post. And after the paperwork for the LLC is complete, I'll talk more about the full scope of what I hope the company will become.

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