Wanted: Programming Project Idea
May 7, 2008 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I need a new hobby programming project (preferably something web based but not necessarily). I want it to be useful to someone (well preferably more than one person) but non-commercial in nature. Can you suggest one?

I'm a fairly experienced software developer (over 10 years building commercial stuff) and buzzword compliant (for those that care my day job is mostly in Java and more recently with Ruby). Looking for something to get into from the ground up, that is fun and interesting and challenging. Ideally, it will push me to learn something new. I'm happy to work with others on it but I don't mind working solo either.
posted by monkeyx-uk to Technology (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if you're interested in doing something in php, but that's what I'll probably use for the backend if I ever get back to working on the pet project that's in my profile (click my username....)
posted by twiggy at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2008

Check out Wikipedia...tons of stuff to do over there, and plenty of people would love it if you would make extra gadgets that automate tasks over there.
posted by legotech at 10:47 AM on May 7, 2008

I have almost the opposite problem, I keep starting new hobby projects and then don't have the time to work on them :)

If you're interested in any of the following ideas, I'd gratefully receive your help:
  • A GUI for editing lilypond musical notation - arranging or composing music isn't very pleasant when trying to mark up lilypond documents by hand, but lilypond does make some very nice output. Basically an open source version of popular commercial score editing softwares like Sibelius and Finale. Current work in Java based on eclipse stuff (GEF). It's entirely probable this is a silly wheel-reinventing idea, since alternatives already exist.
  • An object-based peer to peer network infrastructure and distributed web cache - this one is a bit more vague in its aims, the idea is to base a generic p2p network (see JXTA) on the ICE middleware framework, and then to build on top of that a distributed web cache. The rationale for this was to counter things like slashdotting, but it'd be quite useful within an organisation or LAN as an ad-hoc web cache. The reason for not using an existing framework was to make something that was truly cross-platform and language independent, hence ICE, or originally CORBA rather than using JXTA.
That's probably enough to be going on with, unless I think of some more ;)
posted by kothar at 10:51 AM on May 7, 2008

How about contacting a local charity, non-profit or church? You may be able to donate your time and create an application that would make their lives easier.

You might be able to write off some of your time on taxes, and I'm sure anything you did would be greatly appreciated.
posted by wrnealis at 2:32 PM on May 7, 2008

There are three specific areas where Linux is still not there for me: Visio, Project, and Palm.

Visio: You would make a lot of people very happy if you could help Dia look like it was designed after the 1950's and make it compatible (flawless import/export) with Microsoft Visio files. It's a fantastic program, but it needs some fresh input.

Project: You would make even more people happy if you could write a project planner app that is compatible with Microsoft Project. Planner has been a constant source of disappointment for me and development seems to follow a glacial time scale. Or, you could join GanttPV, GanttProject, OpenProj, Open Workbench and help them focus on compatibility. Or, you could take the best from all of these, (and the Mac apps, too) and build something extraordinary.

Some people want OpenOffice.org to expand to these fields, but I firmly believe stand-alone apps are the way to go in these instances.

The third app I mentioned is Palm. I find it absolutely ridiculous that, in this day and age, I cannot sync my Treo to my Ubuntu machine reliably. Open formats seem the way to go, and ical is making great strides, but I dream of the day when I can sync my calendar, contacts, to-do list and notes between Windows, Mac, Linux, Palm, Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android, and anybody else who wants to. PLEASE, if you have the talent and skills to help, and it sounds interesting, choose this!
posted by Cobalt at 11:44 AM on May 8, 2008

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