Indie Development & Coppice Delays

This blog post is going to be a bit different. You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet of late. It has been 6 months since Coppice 2021.1.1 was released. And in that time there has only been a single post on this blog. You're probably wondering what is going on with Coppice and when the next version is coming out. So I would like to give an update and explanation.

You'll also have noticed something in that last sentence: "I". Previously on this blog I've used "we" in all posts, though in reality they have all been written by myself: Martin Pilkington, founder and owner of M Cubed Software and creator of Coppice. It has very much being the Royal We. While Coppice does have some outside contributors, its development is almost exclusively carried out by myself.

In a way I've been hiding behind that "we" on this blog, and it has been a bit restricting. So going forward I'm just going to write things on The Coppice Blog in the first person. That way you know you're hearing directly from the person who writes the software you use.

I'd kind of forgotten one of the key assets of being an indie developer is being able to be out there a bit more and be closer to those who are using your apps. Not trying to hide that Coppice is written by a single person also has another benefit: it lets me better explain the process of developing Coppice, including things like delays.

The way I structure my work week is I spend about half of it doing contract work. This helps provide a steady income to allow me to spend the other half of my week working on other projects. Ideally "other projects" would mean "working on Coppice". Unfortunately, 2021 has mostly had other plans.

The lack of updates to Coppice have largely come down to two things taking away that extra time. The first was temporarily needing to spend more time working on contracting. Software development ebbs and flows and occasionally you need to put more time in on some projects, especially when software is getting close to release. So I lost quite a lot of time there.

The second big thing has been moving house. Needless to say, moving house during a pandemic, especially when lots of other people are having a similar idea and causing delays to things like banks and solicitors, is not the most relaxing and peaceful of tasks. I was often finding that the week days I'd set aside for Coppice were mostly being taken up with phone calls, emails, and reading paperwork. And by the weekend I was too exhausted and stressed to code. And this all went on for the best part of 6 months

Sadly the stress didn't end after moving house. Buying new furniture, sorting out problems with the house, and simply getting everything organised is still an ongoing problem, even several months after moving in.

When you're the sole developer, designer, support rep, etc for a company then things like this mean delays to the product. It's often a lot easier for big companies to deal with an individual not having as much focus, and it's easier for that individual to focus if they're only doing one thing. So hopefully being more transparent about the size of the "team" behind Coppice on this blog will make such issues a bit more understandable.

Thankfully, things are starting to settle down a bit more. I'm getting back into the swing of developing Coppice and am having a lot of fun doing so. The next major release, 2021.2, is coming along really well and I'm hoping to have it released before the end of October. It features a bunch of great new features and improvements, including a re-designed Page Selector, a new Link Inspector, and much more.

Coppice's Page Selector window, now with a more compact layout than previously An inspector in Coppice titled Link. It contains a text field with the word 'Link' entered. To the left is a page icon and the right a button with a cross. Below is a menu showing auto-complete options matching the entered text, plus options to create a new text or image page

As always, if you enjoyed this post and want to stay up-to-date on everything to do with Coppice (including an upcoming post with a more in-depth look at Coppice 2021.2), then don't forget to subscribe to The Coppice Blog. Also be sure to follow @coppiceapp on Twitter, where you'll often see retweets from my personal account that show off in-progress features and bugfixes.