Code library woes, Paul Walsh book and more – freelancers meet up 13th Dec

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A small chalk sign reads Reserved The Farm 7pm

Being close to Christmas, our freelancers meet up on the 13th December 2023 was a small one. Six of us met in the Battle of Trafalgar to chat programming, freelancing and various nonsense.

Topics of conversation included…

  • When you rely on a library but the maintainers are awkward about what they’ll support
  • City Fibre rollout and when they might hit areas we live in
  • Tesla’s trade in policy is rubbish
  • Christmas plans
  • Board Game Geek has useful filters for finding family presents
  • Pursuing unpaid invoices in standard and non-standard ways
  • A Kindle ebook for the collected writing of Paul Walsh
  • Knowing which projects you can’t do and being honest with clients
  • Looking for a CodeIgniter developer
  • Trustpilot awkwardness when you want to leave a negative review
  • Can you claim medical treatment costs within your company? – Yes, at least partially
  • Haze is available for work
  • A friend in Doctor Who!
  • The advantages of having multiple home assistants in different rooms
  • Clients who understand the stats of A/B tests make doing tests much easier


Library awkwardness

This is a deeply technical topic – if you use a library for your project, that is, a collection of code that someone else has written to do particular tasks like talk to the API of a service you’re interested in, you are very reliant on what those people are willing to do with it. The advantage to using a library is it saves you a bunch of time in writing the same thing yourself and testing it. If many people use the same library, you all benefit from the testing and feedback everyone does. But, if your needs are either a bit obscure or different from what the people who write the library (the “maintainers”) want to do with it, you are stuck. You either need to write lots more code yourself, sometimes replicating a lot of the library, or spend a lot of time convincing the maintainers that it’s a good idea to make the changes you need.

In most cases, paying to support the library can help smooth the way a lot with changes, but it wasn’t helping in the case we talked about.

Paul Walsh book

Paul sadly died last year and a family friend who is an author has put together a collection of the writing he’d sent her over many years. It includes short stories, poetry and parts that never made it into longer stories. I liked Paul a lot, and wish I’d known him better, he was a man of huge and eclectic tastes. I’m enjoying getting to read some of his work. You can get the ebook for Kindle here, and there may be a paperback version next year.