Jeremy Harris

This post is very old. Technology, especially open source, moves very fast and it's likely that some of the information could be out of date. Please take that into consideration as you read this post.

Apr 2013

Goodbye Drop to Cloud

After absolutely no thought whatsoever*, I've decided to shut down my first real project that I unleashed unto the masses, Drop to Cloud. It will remain in service until June 1st, 2013.

Drop to Cloud was an idea birthed out of a desire to work in collaboration - something I hadn't gotten very often until just a few years ago. I still remember the day my two friends and I worked on it.

It was a typical boring and "perfect" California day (I prefer the grey and rain). We all decided to meet at my friend Tyler's house to "work on something together." That was as specific of a purpose we had. But hey, his house is a stone's throw away from the beach, so inspiration is likely to come, right? Well, it did. Our friend Brandon first sparked the idea: "What if we made it easy for people to dump files in your Dropbox?" At the time, Dropbox had shared folders - but this required and account and knowledge on both ends. Dropbox also had the ability to let people download files from your Dropbox, but not upload them. We had encountered this need several times and even knew of others who wanted it. So after about 8 hours of work, we put together the prototype. (Most of the 8 hours was myself struggling to learn and understand Oauth for the first time.)

I continued to work on the project after it launched. I created a drag and drop uploader, some nifty progress bar/rings, and added some flair and personality. I loved it, and enough people used it to make me want to work on it. We never officially launched and promoted it, so our entire user base was word of mouth.

But time passed and the code wasn't maintained. For those who don't know, the technology industry moves ridiculously fast. If you skip a month of updating, chances are the libraries, tools, and frameworks - heck, even the language -you use are out of date. The further out of date your software becomes, the harder it becomes to update it. (Updates require a lot more work than clicking a button. That's how things break.)

Like a lot of developers, I'm a perfectionist. When things don't work right or look good, it weighs on me. Putting a half-completed project is also very hard. A problem with me is that I see a lot of potential in the sites and apps I work on, and both the physical and mental todo lists grow faster than I have time to implement. Projects become black clouds, and my mind convinces me that I'm not good enough or not dedicated enough if I'm not working 80 hour weeks. They haunt me, and in their incompletion, it becomes justified that I should feel bad for not working more. For me, this is the first step towards burnout.

Drop to Cloud was a lot of fun for me. It was a wonderful app to work on, and I couldn't be happier that we had users who enjoyed the service. I learned a lot and am sad to see it go, but at the same time it will be the much needed relief I need to prevent myself from burning out - something I'm an expert at.

To our users: Thank you for using the service! I'm glad you got some use out of our idea. I hope you understand my reasoning behind shutting the site down.

*Of course I gave it a lot of thought. I just find it interesting that people who shut down their projects need to somehow justify that they didn't just do it on a whim.

Jeremy Harris is a web developer with over 10 years of experience. He's coded in many languages and currently focuses on PHP, both agnostic and framework-based. When he isn't at the keyboard, you can find him walking @riverthepuppy or brewing beer. He only talks in the third person when peer pressure dictates he should, such as on his blog.