9 Years to Gautier RSS

I embarked on a journey to produce the Gautier RSS program I did not know would take 9 years. Throughout this time, I lived in over 6 states, 16 residences and had between 8 to 10 jobs. Yes, I moved around a lot in the years following the Great Recession of 2008. Job situations were very uneven for many people following that event and became part of the norm rather than the exception. Times were tough and though I am still in a long-term recovery in terms of life situation, I made peace with conditions years ago and appreciate life as it is.

One of my top 3 activities (spirituality technology writing) that has remained steady throughout these past 9 years is work on the RSS program. I never intended to create it but it followed from investigations I was conducting into interactive graphics technology I was using for 3-4 years prior. I was curious to know more about the underlying mechanism that girded that tech called WPF. I began looking more closely into DIRECTX. The short of that story was the more I understood, the more I shifted from Microsoft to UNIX and decided cross-platform was better.

Due to a wide variety of life difficulties, I would get a month here or a few days there to continue the review of topics related to native graphics technology. After about 3 or 4 years of maintaining my own custom web site, I switched to a public blogging platform in 2011 with an ultra-brief analysis of technology itself. I wrote my first articles on the subject of native graphics in late 2012. I had achieved enough personal research by then to express what I had understood and concluded about native graphics technology. Over the 6 years following 2012, my progress accelerated during long waves of unemployment or underemployment culminating in my first substantial results in 2015. I could not do anything about jobs but I could stay productive, spend more time with my mother, and be more involved with real life.

Wide fluctuations in life circumstances, schedule, and environments resulted in another 2 and half years to improve on the milestone I reached in 2015. Recently, as of 3 months ago, that refinement process reached its conclusion. The core essence of the RSS program was achieved in early 2015 and meets many of the conditions I set forth in late 2012. The core framework I setup in 2013 was the basic template for the RSS program in terms of approach. The concept comes from the 1980s and earlier, control the screen geometry rather than rely too much on automatic layout (a deeper story exists for why you would do this). During 2013 – 2014, I worked on the project until I had something I felt was suitable to publish online. Following from late 2014 was a process of achieving personal consensus on the core qualities and representation of the program. I reached a few dead ends until I found the right mix of granular manipulation of graphics and data exchange by embracing GTK+. The use of GTK+ was to achieve a more stable level of cross-platform compatibility that was also productive in terms of native code.

The length of time seems short from the perspective of a lifetime and maybe one day I will see it that way. However, the last 9 years, in terms of effort versus result, seems excessive. In some ways, this process took too long and was partially the result of far less than ideal life circumstances that I do an excellent job of making appear non-existent (adaptation and perseverance). I try to hide struggle and difficulty because despite it all, I believe the positive outweighs the negative and life is higher than death and despair. Generally speaking though, 5 years of research, prototypes, experiments, and another 4 years of successive refinements seems overly long for a small, simple program. You could say nearly a decade of my life went into this program.

Yet, the final result is probably far better than where I would have been prior to 2013. I may have reached a more substantial point of completion earlier but there probably is an imperceptible benefit to the long stretch in time and life experience, dead ends, dark alleys, and densely compressed efforts squeezed into available free time of 1 or 3 hours here or there sprinkled across a decade. Despite the final outcome of this process concurrent with other life events, it is for me a defining journey in the pursuit of ideals for which there was no suitable compromise or alternative.

I wrote this to begin the description of the program. Do not make the error of thinking this program or process gives me meaning. The meaning was already within me and merely found an area for expression to take place. Moreover, some things I start, I strive to finish even if that requires an unyielding determination to see it through to completion across intervals of pause (forced or natural). I would regret giving up. I like the RSS concept and would have preferred to use RSS programs made by others. During 2008 – 2015, the choices were not great and I said to myself, “how hard can it be?” Well, I learned my lesson on that, but despite obstacles of many kinds, seeing this completed was one of my goals. That, my friends is the human side of software development.


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