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Personal Projects

Nearly everybody in the 'Means or End' thread below said that they love programming, and that they'd be writing software in their spare time even if they won the lottery.

So I'm curious. What sorts of personal projects is everyone working on off-the-clock to escape from the tedium of writing business applications at work? What applications do you write to get your brain interested in stuff again?

Benji Smith
Thursday, March 27, 2003

As for myself, I'm currently tinkering around with the D programming language ( ), developed by the Walter Bright, the developer of the DMC++ compiler. At the moment, I'm writing a finite-state-machine implementation of an XML parser (since no version exists yet in D, and because I think xerces--which I could call using C calling conventions--is way too big for its britches).

Benji Smith
Thursday, March 27, 2003

I'm writing a novel.

I've got 23 chapters done (out of 30) of the second draft.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Philosophical discussions on Joel on Software

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Right now, I'm learning Python, which is rapidly becoming my favorite language.

My next project is going to be something to help my wife generate reports from data she takes in during speech evaluations (she's a speech therapist), and I'm hoping to do it in Python.

One-Armed Bandit
Thursday, March 27, 2003

Andrew Reid
Thursday, March 27, 2003

I manage an open source attempt at a MUD server in Visual Basic. There's a fair size community and programmers trade tips and component locations.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I am working on a Java IDE that is natively compiled for Windows. I started it because I could not find a Java IDE that felt zippy enough for me and thought it would be cool to have a tool that worked exactly as I wanted it to. Here is a screen shot for anyone interested:

Personally I am a huge fan of having a hobby project. Often you can't show prospective employers what you work on in the day job due to confidentiality requirements, so a hobby project is a great way to show what you can do. Additionally, if your hobby project is a development tool or related to the development sphere, it can really help expand your network of contacts when you do need to look for a job.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Nice looking IDE! :)

Brad (
Thursday, March 27, 2003

I actually work in tools development (currently mail servers)
so for me business apps are an escape.

I am currently working on software for insurance agency management

Daniel Shchyokin
Thursday, March 27, 2003

Nice app, Gerald, quite obviously in Delphi :-)

I don't know if this counts, but I'm the author of Ultra Fractal, which started as a hobby project, but has turned into a small business.

Frederik Slijkerman
Thursday, March 27, 2003

Btw, Gerald's native Windows Java IDE is really, really good!

I have tons of small java things, which I hate to work in JBuilder with, because it's too slow. His Windows app is really fast, and it has all the features that you want in a good IDE, like code complete and a good class browser.

It integrates nicely with javac and works well with html and jsp files as well.

Nice work, Gerald!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Yes, Gel is written in Delphi. While my bread and butter these days is doing server side Java and J2EE applications, Delphi is still my tool of choice for building a GUI application. 

Thursday, March 27, 2003

(People might be sick of hearing this, but here goes anyway.)  I have written message board software that operates like Joel's board.  I wrote it because I saw so many requests here for the software that I thought it would be a major chore.  As it turns out, it was'nt that bad.  It also sounded fun and I simply wanted to see "if i could".  On top of that it was my first ASP project.  I learned a lot.  The ASP, MDB, CSS and Global.asa files can be downloaded here:

- -

Feel free to modify and use them as you please.  Of course I welcome comments and suggestions.

By the way, the fractal and IDE programs are awesome!!  Nice work guys! ( Anyone every use Fractint? or POVRay? )

Dave B.
Thursday, March 27, 2003

Ok. I'll bite:
- bioinformatics research in LISP (sort of spare time, sort of work)
- maintain a mundane SQL/web personal intranet for myself, friends and family
- work on audio processing applications
- work on code generation tools (i have to write a lot of java at work; i actually hate java, so i write python scripts that write my java for me...)

Thursday, March 27, 2003

building an app with Mozilla + pyxpcom (a local app with network access...not browser related in any way).  So much fun it should be illegal.

fool for python
Friday, March 28, 2003

Mozillz + python <-- so much fun it should be illegel.

not my's a financial fun could that be?

fool for python
Friday, March 28, 2003

I have 2 personal projects which I have been neglecting recently:

Visual Music is the geometrical visualization of musical structure found in J.S.Bach's music.

HyperNet is a visual programming framework based on graphs.

And finally, my 2 personal favourite little creations:

Simulates underwater light shafts, waves and motion blur.

My company logo based on an ancient chinese glyph with wave reflection and lighting effects.

Friday, March 28, 2003

An Open Source .Net e-mail component.

Ian Stallings
Friday, March 28, 2003

The home project that I've just finished was writing a high-end book for Apress titled "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging", on sale in April 2003.

Now that I've nearly recovered from that project, my new project involves writing a state-of-the-art chess program using C# (I was a chess pro in a previous existence).

The common thread to these two projects is that they both gave me a motive to learn new technology that enhances my worth as a freelance consultant and developer.


Mark Pearce
Friday, March 28, 2003

I've been neglecting:


Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Friday, March 28, 2003

I'm trying to get a program ( ) to run 100% bug-free on all 32-bit versions of Windows (without the resources to buy VMWare or 25 PCs).  If you think it should be straightforward, you're right.  If you think it actually *is* straightforward, you've never tried it...

Friday, March 28, 2003

All of my extra work is in Perl:

OpenInteract - a web application server -

SPOPS - an object/relational (and LDAP) mapping system with security bolted in -

Both of these are fairly large and have been on CPAN for almost two years.

I also have a few separate (small!) Perl modules on CPAN -

I agree that it's a fantastic way for potential employers to see what I can do without violating any work agreements. Not that I'm looking right now, but planning never hurts.

Chris Winters
Friday, March 28, 2003

I'm writing a web-based game that lets you manage a software contracting company.

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, March 28, 2003

I wrote some applications to work with my new Sony NetMD (Mini-disc player).  Unhappy with the apps that shipped with the device, I wrote an application to create CD disc images from mp3 files that I had ripped from my CD collection.  Additionally, I created a Win2K device driver to act as a virtual CDROM drive so that other applications could read the images.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Etch-A-Sketch and Lite-Brite!

Matt Kennedy
Friday, March 28, 2003

I have a page with personal projects. Some of them larger (and popular - my soccer management simulator), some are just pet snippets/scripts/articles that I felt like diving into.

Eli Bendersky
Sunday, March 30, 2003

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