CaseDetective Development On Hold

The festive holidays are a dangerous time of year, spending time with family and friends and generally having a good time away from your computer can be disastrous for an ongoing project.

This year, it’s been doubly disastrous for CaseDetective, not only has development time been non-existent and support reduced as usual, but I’ve had time to reflect on CaseDetective’s future, and more importantly on it’s place in my life.

I’ve come to the (long overdue) decision that development on CaseDetective is to be put on hold, I’m not going to work on CaseDetective or any other significant development project in my spare time for the foreseeable future.

For a long time I’ve struggled to balance time with my family and friends, personal interests and health, (money making) consulting work and CaseDetective, something has to give.

My family is everything to me, I love my wife and daughter and the last two weeks have enforced my long standing regret at having to spend a considerable amount of my (and my family’s) free time supporting and developing CaseDetective. There’s also a knock-on effect to the rest of my family and friends, who don’t get anywhere near the attention they deserve, neglecting them makes me sad.

I’ve also completely neglected my health in the last few months too. The year started well as I lost a good bit of weight and improved my fitness through running and watching my diet, but running has gone out the window as time got squeezed out by more CaseDetective support and development of version 2.0. I’m feeling very unfit, and am at my heaviest in ten years. I need to make time for running and biking again. I used to love mountain biking in my early twenties, getting up early on a Sunday morning and going for a 25-50 mile ride up and down hills coming home covered in mud was bliss. I want to have the health and time to enjoy physical activities again.

Reading and sleeping, I want to do more!!!

I think CaseDetective has also impinged on my mind so much that on occasions it may have had an impact on my consulting work. Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in something I’m doing with CaseDetective that I feel I’m not giving my real job it’s deserved attention. That is unacceptable, and with my current contract being a pretty intense project with an aggressive time scale, I can’t afford to slip up because my mind is elsewhere.

Many people would have put a stop to development of CaseDetective a long time ago just because of the terrible return on investment. CaseDetective has been in development since September 2004, with a few hiatuses along the way, let’s say that’s 156 weeks (3 years) worth. With a conservative estimate of 8 hours development/support time per week (it was actually full time for about 6 months), that is 1,248 hours. Let’s take a reduced consulting fee of £25 per hour for a grand total of £31,200 worth of my time spent on developing CaseDetective. Seeing as CaseDetective has had a net revenue (according to eSellerate) of approx. £1,885 ($3,771.47), it really doesn’t stack up well, and that’s not even taking into consideration expenditure on tools and hosting etc.

One of the major problems I have with CaseDetective though, is that I no longer have any need for it myself. Most of the functionality I need for bug, feature and inquiry tracking is in FogBugz, and I rarely want to report on the data held in FogBugz any longer. So you can imagine that my enthusiasm for developing and improving CaseDetective is somewhat diminished. I still believe CaseDetective could be a great product, and one that I would use if I added some of the features I have planned, but to get it where I want it would take considerable development time. At the moment, I’m simply not willing to commit so much of my free time to make it happen.

So development of CaseDetective is on hold. Support for existing customers will continue for the time being (at least six months), but I’m going to take down the majority of the CaseDetective website and stop taking any further sales.

There is a slim chance that development could resume if I find myself at a loose end without full time employment so I’m not thinking about selling or otherwise releasing the CaseDetective source code.

If there is anyone out there with a product that could help CaseDetective customers continue to extract CSV files and/or PDF reports from FogBugz without having to know any SQL, please drop me a line and I’ll pass your details onto my customer base. If there is a free license or “competitive upgrade” license available, all the better.

Thank you to all the great people in the MicroISV/BoS community that have supported me with kind words of encouragement and advise throughout my time developing CaseDetective, you helped me immensely.

A big thank you must go out to everyone at Fog Creek, especially Michael H. Pryor, without your help I couldn’t have got as far as I did.

Also, thanks to all my customers, thank you for showing your support for CaseDetective in the best possible way, by buying a license! And thank you for being such nice people if we had any communication.

And finally, thank you to my wife Mandy, for putting up with my countless hours working on CaseDetective and supporting me all the way. I love you so much.

No comments.

  1. You only get 24 hours in a day, maybe 18 of them spent awake. You can never get the time back so you really have to decide what you want to spend those hours doing. Sounds to me like you’ve made the wise choice – good luck!

  2. Definitely the wise choice.

    Is there any way it could go onto Sourceforge so people could pick it up and poke around as needed?

  3. Good luck in your endeavors.

  4. This is where I would put on my free software evangelist hat and say: had this been free software, if other people had the need and the capability to do it they would just pick up the project.

    All the best for the future.

  5. I don’t intend to open source CaseDetective as I may have time to come back to it one day.

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

  6. I can appreciate your struggle between family and projects, it’s one I also have been thinking about alot lately. Best of luck, and take care!

  7. Hi Ian,
    Sounds like you’re making the right choice. We’d love to work with you more in the future! Good luck with the rest of your work and newfound free time :)

  8. Hi Ian,

    So did you ever release a non-REALbasic version of this product?
    Do you think programming in FLEX was the right decision?
    Was programming in FLEX boring?
    Did it suck the life spirit out of you? ;-)

    I am continuing with REALbasic even after having a look at Flex. Flex may be the future but it stills seems a little pokey to me.

    Good Luck with everything. Next time you are in Sydney make sure that you schedule in a stopover and a visit.

  9. Hi Gerard,

    No, CaseDetective 2.0 was being developed in Flex, and I’ve put it on hold.

    Was re-writing in Flex a good decision? Yes and no. I probably could have got CaseDetective 2.0 out and completed very soon now if I’d updated my existing REALbasic code to use the FogBugz API as a connection option. However, there are so many benefits to switching to Flex for my and CaseDetective’s future, it was a time hit I needed to make.

    Did Flex suck the life out of me? No, it was great, I had so much fun learning Flex and ActionScript.

    Flex isn’t quite as mature as REALbasic, and has some security constraints when running in a Flash browser plugin, so I can see why you might think it a little lacking in some areas. But pokey? I think that’s a little harsh.

    You bet Gerard, next time we visit the southern hemisphere, we’ll be sure to stop over in Sydney and meet up with you.