A Major Announcement

06/30/2017 06:49:50

Some Background…

For most of my life, my sense of time has been built around the academic year. School starts in the fall, and ends in the spring. This remained true until the third year of medical school, when “summer break” narrowed to the small gap between June 30 of on year, and July 1 of the new academic year. Even this year, as an academic hospitalist (inpatient doctor for adults), my life is organized around the concept of the academic year.

Until now.

(Sort of.)

I have been working on software, in one way or another, for over 30 years. The early days consisted of just learning the basics and experimenting with what computers could do. I advanced through creating a really bad version of a flight simulator, creating a framework for a stock market analysis app (I couldn’t afford to buy one, so started tried to build my own), and countless other small projects.

I even tried to sell software once about 15 years ago. It was a backup program for Mac OS X that was sort of like Time Machine before Time Machine existed. From a technical perspective it was interesting, but the user interface left much to be desired. My marketing strategy sucked. I sold exactly 0 copies….

Then I created a small fork of a Perl script called Markdown. My initial goal was to implement some features that John Gruber had alluded, in the hopes he would catch up and my work would be deprecated. That never happened, and I ended up working on MultiMarkdown for the last 12 years.

Over that time, MultiMarkdown has gone through many iterations as new technology was available and as I learned better approaches to programming. In addition to the MultiMarkdown tool itself, I have developed several other open-source and commercial programs.

All of this work was done during my free time, which has become more and more limited as my “day job” has become increasingly demanding. Which was fine when I thought of programming more as a hobby than as a career. But over the years, I began to find myself feeling that I was unable to devote the time to software that I wanted to. Projects took longer to develop than I thought they would, and many other ideas never had the chance to develop beyond an idea on a metaphorical shelf.

Which brings us to today….

What’s New for the Coming Year?

After a few years of experimenting with different approaches to my work/work/life balance, I’m trying something new this year. I am very fortunate to work with a fantastic group of physicians and teachers, and was able to work out an arrangement that will let me devote the coming year to software development, without having to entirely give up my medical practice. Effectively, I have cut back to roughly a third of the amount of medical work I used to do, allowing me time and flexibility to work differently this year. This means I will be almost “full time” as a developer, as opposed to squeezing that work into nights, weekends, and vacations.

I plan on devoting this time to a few obvious and a few not-so-obvious projects:

  1. MultiMarkdown Composer v3 – v3 has been in beta for a couple of years. A great deal of work has been done during this time (including entirely rewriting MMD into version 6). In fact, over the last year I have actually been working on a “brand new version 3”. My new schedule will allow me the time to finish work on this in order to release it for others to use.

  2. Once the macOS version of Composer 3 is finished, I can devote time to an iOS version. The core engine is the same, but obviously the GUI is quite different. I had created a beta version of Composer for iOS years ago, but I never had the time to really get it to the point where it was ready for sale. I plan to change that. Along the way, as I develop the iOS codebase, there will probably be a version of MultiMarkdown Converter for iOS as well.

  3. I have some other ideas for some interesting projects that are still in the brainstorming or prototyping stage. These may or may not turn into applicatins that are ready for public use, but I am happy to have the time to explore them. I’ll share more about these ideas when they’re further along.

  4. Finally, I want to take this opportunity to restructure my life. Over the years, “work” has taken up more and more of my life. I enjoy my work, but other things are important as well. I am going to experiment with some different strategies for time management, exercise, friends and family, etc. to make some changes to the way I live my life. And, of course, I have some ideas about how to try and create some software tools to make this easier to do….

Finally…

I’ll post periodic updates along the way. I’ll let you know what’s going on with Composer. If I have interesting things to say about the process of working for myself, I’ll do that. If you have questions, let me know.

As always, if you want to keep up with announcements and new information you can check out:

  • This website (or the Atom feed)
  • Twitter – @MultiMarkdown
  • The MultiMarkdown Software Mailing List: http://multimarkdown.com/signup/

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