What coding projects might be interesting to do?
April 4, 2016 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to create a few small projects to potentially include in a portfolio, but of course I'm out of ideas. What might be fun to do in Javascript, C#, Swift, Ruby or another language?

I'm interested in learning more Javascript, Ruby, C#, and Swift. I'm already familiar with C++, Python, and Java if that helps narrow things down. I'm leaning more towards applications, but I'd be interested in other project types since you can never learn too much.

One project I've settled on is a 3D texture pre-viewer/visualizer application in Javascript using three.js, but other than that I'm drawing a blank on ideas.

I've looked through lists of ideas online, but many of them seem to just be "clone Tetris!, etc" over and over. What might be some project ideas that are more interesting or useful?
posted by Chicoreus to Technology (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Find an itch and scratch it seems to be pretty common advice. Following that, I've:
  • Used the Flickr API to create a creative commons photo searcher that includes all the necessary attribution info
  • Built a word game that nobody likes to play with me
  • Made a one-link-per-day bookmarking service
  • Made an ultra-lightweight NFL scoreboard so I can see game scores faster
  • A browser/game rating system for the arcade machine in our office
Really, anytime I try to do a project that's suggested to me, I lose interest pretty quickly. It's only the things I want to work on and can't get out of my head that I end up seeing through to the end.
posted by paulcole at 11:30 AM on April 4, 2016

Is there anything you want to know about how your town or region works or is evolving? Can you hook up to public GIS data and do even a rough visualization or analysis? (This comes to my mind because I have such a project but inadequate spoons.)
posted by clew at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2016

As someone who might look at it, whatever it is, I would want to see some documentation, as well as testing routines to validate critical behaviors. If you add that sort of stuff, even a tiny project can get large fast. But it shows you grok agile methodologies.
posted by nickggully at 12:31 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Suggestion #1: a program for some pastime or hobby that you are interested in. For sports, it could be a scoring, league scheduling, rosters, standings, statistics, emailing results, etc. For cooking, recipes, nutritional, cost, or ingredient supply, etc. For model railroading, car inventory, track design.

Suggestion #2: read back MetaFilter questions that begin "Is there an program/app that..."

Suggestion #3: Think of some subject area in which your knowledge greatly exceeds the knowledge of the average bear. It could be quantum mechanics, it could be the paintings of the old master. Write a program to share what you know.

Suggestion #4: Decide what exact programming trick you want to learn about, and start from there. Never done a phone app? Then do a phone app.

Since you mention a pre-viewer, it could be a special purpose design program that outputs files in a standard CAD file format, or perhaps a plug-in for a CAD program.

By the way, I like clew's suggestion about using regional data from public sources. My daughter did just finished a program in urban planning, and it's amazing how much info about land use and infrastructure is available. I'm not sure how you get access to it though.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:34 PM on April 4, 2016

If you have a pet peeve about some software you use often, build an add-on to solve that problem. Here's mine, about Outlook... I get a lot of email that I think of as "future trash:" coupons that will expire, daily specials, newsletters, etc. I want to be able to create a rule that enables me to do X (move it to trash or a storage folder) after a specified amount of time has elapsed. Ideally, this would happen automatically, but I'm willing to press a button to run all of these Rules at once. At present, the date-based rules require the user to specify a date or range, e.g., Do X to for every message that arrived in a date range or before 1/1/16. It's cumbersome.
posted by carmicha at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

How about native mobile apps for MetaFilter (or at least AskMetaFilter). With their support and cooperation of course.
posted by OCDan at 10:43 PM on April 4, 2016

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