Programming, Life-style, Random

New year, old and new challenges

2023 ended with me falling in love with Rails again after 15 years. I have always been a huge fan of 37signals. I like their products in a weird way: I have always wanted to use Basecamp, but I always worked for people who used and hated Jira.

Then Hey mail came out, and I decided to migrate from Gmail because I fell in love with all those odd features that “actually make sense”. I can stay at inbox zero with ease for the first time in my life. I will always pay good money for that.

Then they came out with Hey Calendar, and that freed me from Google Calendar for good.

Recently, they released Campfire: a web app chat, built in Rails, that you pay once and run on your server. I’m probably buying it to use it for my courses and to learn from an actual real-world product how to build Rails apps with PWA support.

This is a very strange time for me and my relationship with Android. I have been doing it for over a decade, and I loved it. However, lately, it has begun harder and harder to focus on the real problems instead of being sucked into bureaucracy, terms and services, consent, privacy policies, app store quirks, quality constraints and whatnot.

Warning: I have my IndieDev hat on right now. I’m not talking as an employee/contractor Android dev. Usually, all that work is done by other people “at work”, and you ignore it. When you are alone though, working on your ideas in your spare time, you have to do so many things nowadays that it’s exhausting. I find this concerning. I have a feeling that this is scaring people away, it’s gatekeeping at its best.
Since forever, if you wanted to build and ship an Android app, you always needed to be a bit of a designer, for sure. Then a project manager, then a data analyst, then a privacy expert, then QA engineer, a bit of a lawyer when it comes to ToCs, a DevOp, and who know what in the future.

At the beginning of the year, my oldest Android app was pulled from the Play Store, again. They unpublished the app without warning, as usual. You simply get a couple of emails from the Play Store saying the app is suspended, and from Admob about your ads being shutdown.
I should have been furious for the injustice! Instead, I didn’t have the mental space to fight it right away. I was too busy building my first SaaS in Rails.

The joy of learning, building and shipping a web app in Rails was outweighing the frustration of my Android app being suspended.

Eventually, I won the appeal, my app was unblocked, ads started again, but my reaction was a big

“Whatever. Let’s go back to Rails”.

And this is where I am right now. My first project of the year, my first-ever SaaS, built in my spare time, in Rails, is in private beta. I have a few testers that are using the app, and they will use it for a few months. Then hopefully, it’s going to be a bit more polished, I’ll add a nice Stripe subscription flow, overcome my new “entrepreneurship fueled impostor syndrome”, and present it to the world.

2024 is my first “12 projects in 12 months” year. The first project was a SaaS in Rails. In February, I’m revamping an old Android app, and I’m experimenting with subscriptions on Android as well. That’s the only Android app in the 12 app list: the rest are web apps that maybe will be PWA, or not. All will depend on how excited I’m going to be about mobile development in the upcoming months. 


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