This is a first in a series of Software/Shareware developer profiles as presented by MP3-CDBurner.com. Let's get started with a brief profile of Unrelated Inventions.
Unrelated Inventions - http://www.unrelatedinventions.com is an umbrella for shareware developed primarily by Andrew Fish. The name comes from fact that Andrew doesn't want to be tied down to writing collections of software with related purposes, preferring to keep his imagination in tip-top shape by developing a broad range of applications and using lessons learned developing one to improve other unrelated inventions. He also feels that he should develop software which doesn't pander to broadest range of people by only including those features which most of them will use, but to provide for a broad range of people by providing software which is flexible enough to be adapted to many tasks, providing many unusual features whilst lacking none of obviously useful ones. Few people will use all of features, but all will benefit from some. Hence motto: Catering for uncommon denominator.
Q: What motivated you to create shareware software? A: I never actually intended to create shareware. Audiotools was developed to solve a particular problem that I faced back in March 1998 and release as shareware was an afterthought. After that I was drawn into continuing its development by interesting code and by user feedback. Q: In developing software, what part of process do you most enjoy?
A: I love actual process of working out new algorithms and techniques - Audiotools is not an off-the-peg package by a long stick of limestone, so there's a lot of scope for imagination. I also like responding to user comments - when I used to work at BSS, marketing manager told me that nobody ever contacts you just to say how well you've done: well I've got stacks of email that proves him wrong, so I'm quite happy about that. Q: Do you have a clear vision of what end product will be?
A: Haven't a clue. The software is partially driven by my ideas and interests and partially by user requests and, since one effects other, I can't really predict future. I'm continually working out ways to increase feature count without overburdening software with complexity, so I imagine that "end product", if there ever is one, will have some unique user interface features anyway. Q: What is your favourite feature of your software?
A:. In development terms, probably auto-track - it's a very elegant piece of code and there were some good ideas went into it. Q:. What do you think is key to developing good software?
A: Good ears. The key is to listen to your customers - don't blindly take on every feature that they request as they request it, try to distill it into something more general which serves a wider set of purposes.
Q:. What were some of your setbacks and highlights you encountered in developing software?
A:: In terms of setbacks, obvious and periodic one is unexplained bug. I have a virtual armoury of tools to help me test Audiotools on different versions of Windows, but I can't test for different combinations of hardware. There's nothing worse than a showstopper bug which you can't reproduce. In terms of highlights, fact that two of my users have freely given time and effort to translate program into French and German and to continue translating as I make changes is incredible. I just couldn't have predicted that degree of support when I started out.