Saving Developer Life By Saving Developer Time

I’ve been a developer for nigh on a decade now. Before that, an engineer for a time, a high school physics teacher, and long time tutor. All that just to reinforce that I fully understand that some work is done by rote and the less time you have to spend on it, the more time you get back in your life. This is a personal mission for me. I hate avoidable wasted time and manual execution of what should be a dead simple automatable task. I figure Medium is as a good a place as any to drive my mission to save developer life by giving back developer time.

In this article I intend to share a tool which I am building for myself, but which I have decided to make freely available to the public. There you go, TLDR complete. This is just a developer trying to be useful on the internet.

Building your own library of templates and reusable tools is an essential long term project for every developer, but once done, share your tools and pay it forward.

The Project

Over the course of the last couple of years I’ve dipped in and out of freelance work and project after professional project, taking way too long to realize that much of what I was doing was simply repetition of things I’d done before. It speaks to a need for members of any profession to build him or her self a personal tool kit to get things done.

Enter DotNetNitro. A straightforward attempt to build a set of useful templates for .Net developers. Built so they get up and running on new web projects faster, and complete them in less time so they can go home to their families before the sun goes down. Granted, this isn’t going to be for everyone, one dev can only help so much, but I am confident that by choosing to start this tool with .NET and .NET Core I can help a great many developers pretty quickly…assuming I can get the word out.

Over the years my templates and sample projects have grown to fill Terabytes of space on my machines. This is an attempt to finally organize it so I, and anyone else who wants to use it, can execute better and faster with less rote work. It’s an attempt to give back some power to the developers to make the choice to work more deliberately on more code that’s interesting and to stop wasting our time (and thus our life) writing the boring boilerplate type stuff that we all eventually grow to hate.

Atop .NET, I’ll be building all of them with standard bootstrap and JQuery (being sure to keep their versions up to date) and expanding as I move forward into things like REACT and VueJS. I aim to build this into a tool that can make me more productive for my clients, and in so doing build the same for other devs, so the range of templates is by no means concrete.

To be completely clear, I believe that going through the exercise of building your own library of templates and reusable tools is an essential long term project for every developer, but once you’ve grasped the major bits you should be looking for tools to help you achieve faster. This is a tool I think is best used after you understand the fundamentals, the speed gains in that situation will be much better leveraged as you will find yourself fighting the framework less often.

Delivery

DotNetNitro templates will be delivered in two ways. My preferred startup method is via the Visual Studio project menu’s (what can I say, it’s my only real vice) so I’m building a Visual Studio Extension first. Soon after that I’ll be sure to deliver the same set of projects to the VS Code crowd, love that tool. All the while I’ll be delivering templates in zip format from the website itself, downloadable on demand at any time.

Several templates are already built and more will be added to this on a schedule somewhere between biweekly and monthly, so the available collection and the supported technologies and functionalities should be expected to grow.

All templates for DotNetNitro will be provided free of charge, open sourced with an MIT license.

Join the Cause

As of this writing, the extension is not live, but you can make sure you stay apprised of the project as it develops. Just hit up the website and sign up for the newsletter. Expect the extension and first batch of templates to be published to the marketplace and downloadable from DotNetNitro directly some time in May.

In the meantime, templates will be built and content created. I may even put together a more formal manifesto outlining intent and convictions I’d like to build into this early on. In the meantime, Cheers! Leave work on time, hug your families, share a meal, and spend some a bit more time living life for real and waste less of it on repetitive coding tasks.