Even finding time to write this blog post is problematic, having to push it into the few spare minutes during my lunch break. I simply have not found the time to work on TDO Mini Forms. Well that’s not entirely true, I haven’t found time and motivation this last six months.
Part of the problem is that I implemented TDO Mini Forms for fun, a neat little plugin for WordPress I could use on some web projects (all dead now by the way). Then it was driven by my love of coding and the small crowd of users. But I changed projects in work several months back and could no longer slip the time in to bash away at some code for myself, at least during the daylight hours and now there is a mountain of support requests on the forums that I can’t even comprehend getting through and a slow disconnect between what I enjoyed about it and what I wanted to enjoy about it.
Essentially, it’s not fun any more. It’s bug fixes, RTFM and maintaince upgrades (with WordPress 3.0 is coming and that’s like a big stomping unstoppable giant, which I fully expect to splat my plugins…) it becomes daunting. I’ve added too many features (that can do wonderful things), and people either complain about them (“it’s too complex”) or demand more (“editable image uploads ftw!”). The whole code base of TDO Mini Forms evolved chaotically and the idea of re-writing (and having to maintain some degree of backwards compatibility) it’s quite off-putting.
And then I’m working on another creative project that I’m genuinely motivated about, but isn’t software. And when I have free time, I dive into this project, because I want to, not because I have to.
It might be more interesting if I was getting more out of it, say I was a web-developer (I’m not, I’m embedded engineer) and it was promoting my career or getting my clients, I was a big wordpress-advocate and people were coming to my blog to hear the cool things I say (I don’t have much cool things to say, unless you like tabletop roleplaying…), I was making enough money from donations I could afford to get a new gadget every once in a while or it was powering a big project I loved, but it’s not.
So I’m not sure where that leaves TDO Mini Forms. I think probably it’s been on an unofficial hiatus for the last while already. I don’t want to dump it, but I’m not sure of when I’ll get back to it. I have been thinking about it a lot, but not working on it. (I may write up those thoughts in a future blog post).
One thing I will say, if you’re building a professional website using WordPress and require some special user interface that hides the backend UI, it’s great to mock something up with TDO Mini Forms. But I can’t help but think, it would be better to build your own custom version. TDO Mini Forms is incredibly flexible, but it can’t do everything. And the more complex it gets, the more bug prone it becomes and hard to support and… well it also suffers the fickleness of an author that isn’t under contract to support it long term either. Just saying, it’s not as I’m being paid.
I have to send out a big thanks to all the people who have donated to the plugin. I really do appreciate it and it’s why I went so far with it. Thanks for listening.