Today I release Counterly, a simple sign counter app for Mac. It’s nothing special. It solves just one simple problem: count the number of signs used in a text. There are plenty of tools doing that so why would I create one more? The answer is simple: to learn, to stay critic and to scratch my own itch.
It’s not about coding it’s about logic.
I keep building small apps because I want to keep coding. I’m not a coder or developer at all. But I think it helps to build simple projects to see how simple or complicated things can be. Buildings little apps help me keep the developer logic fresh. In fact, I don’t really want to learn to code but to get the logic of coding. This helps me to have better discussions with developers when I work with them. When they do complex things, I couldn’t do them. But at least I get the logic of the process.
Dan Saffer wrote a great book about the concept of microinteractions. It’s a great book to read for any creator. One of the ideas that Saffer shows in his book is that there are services, products or apps that consist of a tiny simple interaction. Nothing more. If you can’t, remove anything in that interaction. Since I read that book, I try to build microinteractions services and apps. In a way, I see it as a way to stay critic and stay focused. Clients usually want a lot of features in any of their projects. They usually give us complex problems that need complex solutions. By building microinteractions apps and services, I try to explore how tiny solutions can solve problems. A good example for this is the Michelle service. It’s something that helps you learn something new in 7 days. And the service consists of just two text fields and a button. The backend of the service is just a newsletter service. Buy building such services I keep an eye on the notion that simple things can solve a lot. And because I experience it I might bring the findings back into client projects.
Scratch my own itch
Fun and well served
Of course, when you build your little solutions to your problems it feels great. First because you build something. But even more because you build precisely what you wanted. There is always something that bothers you about tools. So when you build your own tools you get want you to want. At least if you can make it. Making is just fun. You start from an idea, and you finish with a product. You can share it with your friends that have the same problem. That feels great too.
So, why did I build counterly? Because it helped me keep the programming logic up to date. Because it helps me understand that simple solutions to work too. And finally, because it’s just fun.