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Tech Tuesday: Motives, WPF, Mobile 6.5, Android, Databinding

I have been continuing Tech Tuesdays.. except this time it was on a Thursday.  Two hours at a Border's, sipping some Decaf Latte, working on code.


I find myself split in many different directions, with different motives.


Motive #1:  To Monetize my time.


 I was listening to DotNetRocks 522: Walling and Taber on Micropreneur Academy, and I found myself envious - of people who had released a product into a market, and actually made some money from it.  


"I could never do that" was the first thought.

"Hey waitasec" was the next thought.

"I am worthy and able to do this"

I'm not setting the bar very high.  If I make $200 off whatever I do, that would be awesome.  I could buy some really cool headphones for that.


To whit, the motive of: I would like to monetize my time spent playing, came into being. 

I then consulted my resident marketing expert (also my wife) as to my various ideas that I could work on, and she picked one that made sense to her, and I started ambling down that part.


Emerging Motive #2: To Enjoy Programming


As I have picked up this project of programming "for fun" again - I realize there are some things I like doing more than others. 


One thing I definitely do not enjoy is plumbing. 


As I looked at what it took to program apps for the Android Platform, I was amazed at the amount of plumbing involved.   (I guess .Net has spoiled me there)


I briefly looked at IPhone programming - holy buckets.  A lot of plumbing.


So what I would enjoy, in the mobile world anyway, would be Windows Mobile programming.  Currently  released with .Net Compact Framework 3.5, SDK level 6.5.   Yet, there's a new deal coming up: Windows 7 Phone "OS", apparently redesigned from ground up.    Should I wait?  There's always something to wait for.


Conflict with Motive #1 - the Windows Mobile marketspace is very small, compared to other markets.  Bummer.


Emerging Motive #3: Higher and Higher Levels of Abstraction


I loved programming for Mud's.  The language, LPC, was wonderful - its like a mix of C# and Perl of today.  It was so easy for me to go from something in my head, to something implemented and working, given a night of coding or so. 


Looking at what I do for work now -  there are DAL's, BLL's, unit Tests, Presenters, Views, View implementations, some Javascript.. Its very complicated.  To get something done, takes quite a while.  I guess that's the difference between Software Engineering and just plain old Coding for Fun - the former is "build it right so you can maintain it well", and "were all the requirements met", and the second was a burst of creative energy.


So when I found Databinding, I was very interested in it.  It solved a lot of plumbing code that I'd always had to do in the past in Windows Forms. 


The Crossroads


As I started considering what I would do for Windows Mobile 6.5,  I wasn't sure of my interface.. So I decided to play with WPF, flesh out my interface.  All went well, until I got to the Databinding part.   I tried to bind a List<string> ListItems { get; } in my codebehind to a Listbox. 


There's no frickin' examples on how to do that.


There's examples for binding from an Xml Document

There's examples for binding from a new object which contains the strings.

There's examples for binding to embedded resources in the Xaml file.


So,  after 2 hours of not succeeding (but discovering a lot) .. And working on a small screen on a laptop instead of a dual monitor setup..  I gave up.


It didn't help my Motive #1.  At $50/hour, that was $100 spent in time.    Good thing I'm not keeping track.


Where to Go?


I Don't know.   I know that I will do a Tech Tuesday again..   I'm at odds between investigating cool stuff vs getting a product out there.  


If I go with "get a product out there", then I can revisit it with cool stuff to make it better second.  

I suspect if I go with cool stuff first, I'll never get the product out there.


So, I guess that's the direction.  Do it easy, do it fast, do it dirty, don't be perfect, get it done.   Play with it later.


I'll probably change my mind back and forth 5 times before next week.


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