I’m developing a new, secret hobby project.
Well, not so secret, as I’ve been regularly posting my progress on Twitter. I’ve been working on it since March 20 and I’m pretty happy with my progress so far.
What I’m Building
All I have is a faint idea of the type of product I want to build: a beautiful, low-code, statechart editor. Doesn’t have to be full-featured, but enough to be dangerous.
Of course, a statechart editor is not a new idea at all, many software products like these exist already. My favorite one so far is Stately, founded by David K. Piano, creator of XState and a popular advocate for state machines and statecharts.
But I’m not trying to build a power tool like Stately! I want this to be more of a delightful toy tool. Or at least I want that to be the driving idea.
What Do You Mean by Beautiful?
UN1 to be nice to look at, even if it’s at the expense of some performance. I want it to be easy to use, visually-appealing, and interactive. I do not care if that complicates my project or I have to sacrifice some feature for it.
The good thing about having no commercial incentive for working on a project is that I can make decisions that don’t make economical sense. I’m just in it for the fun of building it.
I want to work on rendering the arrows between elements, to build the infinite-canvas layout with pinch-to-zoom and panning.
I want this to have eye-catching visuals, a great UX, and a playful tone.
I am currently working on a very ambitious low-code product at Airkit, so I think about problems like these all the time. Having side-projects like
UN1 help me explore ideas beyond the scope of my work while still exercising my creativity in a similar context to the problem I try to solve for a living. It does wonders for my easily-distracted brain.
I want the graphical user interface to allow me to build statecharts without having to even think about code – except for maybe side-effects and guards. And even then, try to reduce those to a GUI whenever possible.
Let’s See How it Goes
I am explicitly avoiding naming this project until I figure out the finer details of the design. The last time I was so excited about a project was back in 2018 when I was working on
M1N, which turned into Minimo.