When my daughter was born, I thought already for a longer time about how to set up a:
- remote-accessible platform to add stories, facts, media(!)
- which are more or less automatically time-stamped.
We wanted to save the current steps of firstborn’s development, but not hand over the control of the data to a company. So external providers – even when they promised to be secure and safe – were out of question.
Drawn by the experience with some wordpress, which I had set up on the Synology NAS, which was first more and later less frequently used due to the quirky access to write entries and upload media, I decided against another microblog.
Of course, I even wrapped my mind around the idea of “what would be necessary to write an Android-app which synchronizes against my own server(s)”.
And then it hit me: just (ab)use the group-chat-functionality of one of the already used, secure messengers!
Data is immediately shared; it is secure due to the API-changes two years ago; it is possible to export the chronicle (with all the media); we can even alter it (remove unwanted entries); it is time-stamped;
and it costed me just two minutes to set it up!
(By the way: we chose out of the two candiates we use (Signal and WhatsApp) WA).
(I avoided the use of timeline to prevent the invocation of some weird social media-thoughts ..).
The reader may ask himself now: Ok, so why the entry? Nothing created, nothing implemented?
But I present this as one of the best examples of how to avoid to re-invent the wheel, something I’ve seen so often in my career. People start to re-implement given functionality from libraries just because they want to avoid the include or because they want to do it themselves (better).
But most often it is not about the LoC, but about providing usable, easy solutions. We* don’t have the time to do everything with our own hands if we want to be magnificent.