Project Avocado Part 8, Steal and plant that damn tree

(Just meeting Project Avocado now? Check out Part 1; I am not your Guru, here)

At the time of writing this, I have released Project Avocado and released two updates in the two days since.

This means I can tell you how long it took to build.

10 hours.

Now, that’s not a lot. However remember that as an indie, every minute I spend doing this I am not doing other things. I have a family and all the normal trimmings of life. So I used 10 of those hours to make this lovely little app.

On the flip side, I am able to do this only because I have spent 2 years figuring out how, learning along the way.

Without going into all that backstory, I want to talk about what makes my life easier now.

Firstly, Visual Studio and UWP are an AMAZING pair. The tooling to make apps is simply superb.

Secondly, I get to use wonderful components made by others; the UWP Community Toolkit has been a staple of mine for months appearing in just about everything I have in store. In Avocado Writer you’ll see it in the Markdown view. I didn’t have to write that part; just implement it. I am forever thankful to the many (Many many!) awesome people who have contributed to this.

In Kanban Ink I actually DID write that Kanban control myself, but the expanders come from the Telerik tool kit as I found they had much better performance.

Both apps use the Drop Shadow Panel from the UWP Community toolkit for shadow effects.

And of course, there are the many tutorials and other developers who have helped from the very beginning. You can’t overstate how important they have been.

And now, I have a HUUUGE catalog of apps I’ve experimented in. I may have a dozen apps in the store but I have so many more that either didn’t make it or were only tests/experiments in the first place.

I can copy/paste from those with reckless abandon! Need to open and edit an image? I have code for that. Open OneDrive? Yep; got it. On and on the list goes.

Everything you do can add to your skill. So keep on doing stuff! Don’t know how? Try it!

The final (current) incarnation of that is this:

At the end of last year I realised I was doing the same thing a lot; the basic setup of an app was more or less the same. It’d have a main page, navigation control, settings, licensing, remote analytics/crash reporting, a menu system, review/feedback, welcome and update screens.

If I want to be more effective, surely I can simply stop writing the same code???

So my Valley template was created, and you can do this in Visual Studio too. Just get a project you’re more or less happy with, open it and chose “Export Template” from the “Project” menu.

Now, what am I going to tell you about if your project is good enough?

Just do it and iterate!

For the first few weeks I kept going back and re-creating my template with the new features added. Over time it has gotten less and less frequent but I wouldn’t have it if I never started. Are you ready for probably my favourite quote ever?

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. “

You can do this. “Embrace the suck” (less inspirational sounding but also very important) and do it.