Unstealthing, Incrementally

by Jens Alfke ⟿ April 12, 2008

I got about 14 minutes of fame back in January with a blog post, wherein I grumbled about (among other things) how I disliked Apple’s culture of secrecy, and announced that I’d left Apple to work on my own, unspecified, project. In the intervening three months, I haven’t said anything about what that project is, almost as though it were … secret.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

Admittedly, there are things about my app that I do want to keep under my hat until they’re ready to show off in their full glory. I want to spend my one minute of remaining fame wisely; ideally accompanied by a large friendly “BUY NOW” button on my website.

But the main reason I haven’t been talking is just that I’ve been lazy. Well, not lazy, but focused on coding rather than talking. I’m mindful of a quote by (I think) John Crowley, which goes something like:

—There are two kinds of poems: the ones you write, and the ones you talk about writing. They’re both important, but never get mixed up about which kind you have.

I feel like I’ve been talking about writing this type of app (if only to myself) for a decade now, so it’s really been time to buckle down and make it happen.

But now I’ve got a lot of stuff up and running, and I’m excited about it, and feeling annoyed that I can’t just blab about my progress. Oh wait, but I can! So starting now, I’ll be writing about my project here — I want to post high-level overviews, geekier details of the innards, and progress notes. Sort of like those “developer diaries” the videogame sites love to run.

The catch is that I’m going to talk about the architecture of the app, and its core functionality … but not the primary user-level feature, the selling point. Not yet. Even without that, I hope this will still be interesting to some of you.

Meet Cloudy.

Cloudy is a comic-strip character my son Jed started drawing two years ago, when he was ten.

I’ve already appropriated Cloudy in the past for a mix CD and a t-shirt, so it was a no-brainer to make her the mascot of my new project as well.

I suspect the app itself will have a more descriptive name by the time it ships, but Cloudy’s a good name to keep for the underlying architecture. And what’s that?

Next: What Cloudy Is.