Checkpoint 2023-11-01

by FPSD — 2023-11-01

[2023-11-01] What's up?

Hello everyone, long time no see!

After a break I've finally found new topics to work on and write about but, before jumping to the upcoming plans lets take a look of what has happened meanwhile.


Unrefined is the closest thing to a product that I have developed in the past year, it is currently used at $WORK and I have tried to understand if it could be valuable to other teams. The feedback I've received was not great, the most positive comments were "interesting" and "I see the value proposition" but it haven't move past that and, worse, haven't reached the point to start a trial with the teams I've been in contact with. At least I've had a lot of fun working on it and learned a lot in the process, so the glass is still half full ;)

Unfortunately I've realized that to move it forward it would require a non trivial effort compared to the potential revenue I can expect from it, based on the feedback I have received by potential users. It will be on maintenance mode for my only user, and if someone else wants to try it, it is still free (as in beer and in speech).

Clojure Bites

The series covered simple topics, mostly targeting Clojure beginners like myself and usually centered on the work I was doing on Unrefined. After few posts, I've had an hard time finding interesting topics to cover, which is reasonable given that I was not progressing with Unrefined and writing about something not directly useful was feeling a bit too artificial. If I have not experienced a problem that I wanted to solve I find it hard to give an honest perspective on the solution that I am covering.

This does not mean I haven't tried, this is a list of topics I had (have) in the backlog, loosely based on my own requirements for Unrefined, but not limited to it:

So yeah, so many topics at hand but I did not focus on any of them, and I was stuck (and it sucks!).

Next steps

Taking Unrefined out of the equation is making it easier to decide where to spend my time, optimizing for having fun while learning something, and the winner is: revisiting Mazeboard's code base to finally have a way to test its gameplay, with real players, building on top of what I've learned in the past months.

This will cover so many topics, possibly creating material for posts targeting people with different levels of experience in Clojure and its tools/libraries, for example:

I think these are reasonaly simple topics to get started again, fueled by the future work on Mazeboard. After this step, it will be possible to focus on broader topics, like identity management systems, scaling, logging and monitoring and who knows what. At least at this point the basics will be covered and experience should suggest what/where to look at.

The plan look very interesting (at least for me) and doable, and knowing that I am back again at experimentation VS building a product (that no one needs, anyway) is quite exciting! This is my sweet spot, happy to be back at it!


The game should be a rogue like board game where player explore a maze (I haven't decided on theme yet, a dungeon? An alien spaceship?), trying to get a treasure and bring it back at the starting position, other players can move towards the goal or prevent other to win; it should be possible to print the board pieces and play with a normal dice or a coin (I still have the paper prototype somewhere...). It is not a surprise that it looks boring, I've had the idea during a boring meeting after all! :) Maybe it will turn out as a playable but I will never know until someone will play with it; relying on local, in person tests, is for sure out the equation, so online game it is!

Few years ago my go-to approach was to build the logic on a sorts of backend, just to abandon the project when it came the time for the user facing part. This is silly! Now I've leaned that having a user facing prototype is much, much more valuable, so I am revisiting Mazeboard's code base to quickly provide a way to play it, favoring user facing work.

Sources will be available here, I am halfway on re-doing the frontend part, at least the UI components, and I have started using dumdom + portfolio; excluding few headaches when setting everything up, so far the experience have been quite positive!


Finally I am back again at the whiteboard, experimenting with ideas and libraries, gaining experience and hopefully giving back in form of posts or live coding sessions. (quite unlikely but I'd like to try again! ;) )