Every so often I’ll be asked why I work on phpScheduleIt. I’m not profiting from the project and the time I spend developing, supporting and on general housekeeping adds up quickly. The short answer is that the time I spend is fun and rewarding.
I’m a technologist at heart. I have been for many years. I crave learning and exploring new technologies. My day job gives me the opportunity to build some very cool software as part of an extremely talented team (more on this in a future post). The main drawback for writing software for someone else, though, is that freedom of design and technologies can be limited by deadlines and corporate decisions.
You’ll typically hear that open source developers are in it to “scratch an itch.” I’d completely agree. Building a calendaring application – with all the supporting functionality like permissions, administration and such – is a big job. There are plenty of technical challenges when working with dates and times and scheduling, especially across multiple timezones and cultures. These are completely different challenges than I face day-to-day, which makes them a lot of fun. And besides the code, I have an opportunity to envision and build a user interface to hide all of those technical challenges.
In addition to working with different technologies and design philosophies and so on, phpScheduleIt is an avenue for me to give back. I use a lot of open source tools and have benefited greatly over the years by looking at code. This application lets me take what I’ve learned and share it with others. My genuine hope is that phpScheduleIt is useful as an application to an organization or as a learning tool to an individual.
phpScheduleIt affords me freedoms I can’t get anywhere else. Don’t get me wrong… I get to work on plenty of emerging and fun technologies at my day job. But phpScheduleIt is a different type of fun.