Retrospective of Trackyt.net or Best Project I Ever Accomplished
The product did not gather any meaningful amount of users neither good amount of traffic. For almost 2 years I was investing money/time on it. So, from the first sight it might appear as failed project.
Any kind of business should be evaluated in terms of assets. It's not necessarily means money. Or more correctly, it does not meant "direct" money. I had no paying customers and I actually never thought to sell the product. But, I can prove it - every hour I spent on the project got back to me as value. And the most valuable asset for developer is skill, of cause.
I'll try to analyze what actually happened:
- Web development and design: even my professional involvement into web applications, did not give me a feeling of web development. I blame ASP.NET Web Forms for that, but I realized that I lack that kind of skill. That was my first project were I did everything by myself, all HTML/CSS/JS were handmade, not stupid WebControls. My eyes opened on how many things I did not understand, how difficult the front-end might be. Crafting of UI is a huge pleasure for me, I simply like beautiful things. 2 years after I will never call Trackyt.net beautiful, but it was a great point to start.
- ASP.NET MVC: Never used ASP.NET MVC before, I armed with great book by Steven Sanderson I've started to learn new framework. And Trackyt.net was main playground. Starting up with MVC2 and lately ported it to MVC3 I had a chance to play different aspects of framework. ASP.NET MVC was my first serious step into web development world.
Outcome: I became a huge fan of this technology, learning it from deep and posting information on it. I had a few speeches about ASP.NET MVC.. and the biggest one on MS SWIT 2012, there ~300 persons were listened to me. Then the company I worked to were deciding about back-end technology for API of new product I helped to integrate ASP.NET MVC into existing web site and we successfully built API on it. I assisted my team mates to understand the framework, it was not difficult at all, since I knew the stuff. Currently I have a training course on ASP.NET MVC as well and already conducted some.
Outcome: I successfully used the same ideas on other projects and it worked really well. For now I'm consulting few companies that tries to adopt same ideas. The most popular post in my blog is about build REST(like) services with ASP.NET MVC.
- Continuous Delivery: being annoyed by manual update of production environment I've built simple continuous delivery pipeline that worked really great for me. During the way I've met such great tools as Jenkins, UppercuT, RoundhousE etc. That was my first try of this approach and I felt huge power and advantages of Continuous Delivery. Slightly it became one of the professional areas of interests for me.
Outcome: Continuous Delivery and Chuck Norris tools was the topic of my first talk on KievALT.NET. Since then I became an active participant of community and I really like it. Also, I'm talking about things like RoundhousE on my other speeches and trainings and I got a lot of pleasure than people stand by saying: "You know, we've tried that and it worked so nice, thanks a lot".
Outcome: I didn't thought above that initially, but Trackyt.net codebase also helping me to see what improvements I've made so far. For instance, I reviewed the API controllers recently and realized that I would never write anything like that. Having some code that you produced year or two ago you peer and compare gives some really interesting insights. Besides of application code itself, I've made an C# API adapter and the most significant outcome is ELMAH.MVC.
Concluding this, I would say - Trackyt.net changed the things radically. I've became a speaker on KievALT.NET and UADevClub communities, my blog received an MVB status, I improved my skills and knowledge and I do trainings and consulting. Basically, I've "rebooted" developer inside me and saw my way of constant learning and improving.
Looking back I definitely say - it was only possible because of Trackyt.net. Without any doubts, that was the most successful project to me!