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Minimalist Programming

I think Nick Hammond’s costs for ACBLScore+ are high, but I have no proof. I am guessing that because he is using the greatest and latest technology, his development is more expensive. I’m a minimalist. I think the job can be done for less, with software that is very easy to maintain – but I could be completely blowing smoke. I’m terrible at estimating cost when I’m my own head programmer.

So what the heck? I’ll develop my own application, as a hobby, and see what happens. Development will be very slow, because I’m one guy. I play way too much bridge, and enjoy the postmortem more than anything else, and consequently drink too much wine. I might only spend 20 hours a week.

Here are some issues that will come up.

      1. Will I file monthly reports? No, but I’ll share my cost and hours data as I go along on Bridge Winners, to help establish if savings exist.

      2. Will I consult with Club Managers? No, I am a club manager.

       3. Will I seek feedback? I’ll publish the prototype, and anyone who wants to watch its progress is welcome to do so. I will read all incoming messages containing suggestions and wish lists, but won’t reply.

       4. Will I accept help from others? It’s mostly an experiment. But anyone who can identify a chunk of the application that they can work on independently is welcome to help. If the application is sold to someone, contributors will be paid for their fair share of their contribution, whatever that might be, as determined by me. Most likely outcome – never sold, so no one gets a penny.

        5. Why aren’t you going through GitHub? I’m too lazy.

        6. Will you demonstrate the program in person? No.

       7. Will you relocate if ACBL gets interested? No.

       8. Will you maintain the final application? No. Someone else will have to do that.

      9. Will it work on iPhones? No.

      10. DOS? No.

       11. Will it seed knockouts? No.

       12. Will it help ACBL Headquarters? No, it is only for club managers.

      13. What language will you use? Access. If it isn’t robust enough, I’ll quickly migrate to VB.NET and perhaps convert the Access database to SQL (the new ACCESS database engine is probably compliant already). I am interested in LINQ and Code First: Entity Framework, and may use them if I move up to VB.NET. If VB.NET begins to compile too slowly, I’ll divide up modules and finish the remaining work in Lazurus Object Oriented Pascal, as should have happened the first time around (in my opinion).

Here is my status report.Microsoft now has a free version of Visual Studio that remains free as long as the team size is 5 or less. It supports C++, C#, VB.NET, Python, and I’m told it even supports Delphi/Object Oriented Pascal. Also, Microsoft is teaming up with a company that comes from the MONO project that will allow C# and VB.NET (not as much) to be cross compiled onto other platforms. So I think this provides a good backup if I get tired of Access. I think the new Microsoft CEO is bringing in a badly needed new perspective, so I’m not as reluctant to play in the .NET camp as I used to be.

I bought ACCESS 10. Bridgemates are Access based, but they come from a previous version. I’ll cross that stream when I get to it. It cost $100.It’s been a long time since I used Access. I’m an old slow guy, so I’m not very productive yet. The first 8 hours I designed my first 8 tables. Now I’m developing my first form which will have a list box that displays previously held bridge club games. I’m hoping that by the end of the week I can have a crude prototype ready that says “Hello World”. I’ll probably post on the “Azure Blob”. I’m curious how that might work, so I’ll try it for a while. So far, at $100/hour, the project has $1K in development costs.

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