Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
While I only admit to being 28, I can't help but notice that my daughters are now much older than me -- how could that be? This is a good time to take stock of where we are with WildTools and where I want to take it. And the last few years have caused me to rethink all the conventional practice, wisdom and dogma of software development.
I've come to the conclusion that the way software is created is obsolete and crazy, and from here on out I'm going to follow my own roadmap with the development of WildTools.
The conventional wisdom is that if you involve users in the design process, you will never finish. Yet that's the only way I work in WildTools, and I've never had a problem finishing.
At any one time, I've never had a plan for the development of WildTools. It just seems to happen over time, and it often takes on a life of its own. In the past few years, I've made an effort to follow the principles that Apple uses in their designs. In any field, elegant simplicity is always the hardest thing to achieve and always worth the effort.
It's been my experience that you can never do great work by yourself; it always involves collaboration with other people. WildTools began with Joe Burke giving me a guided tour of every idea worth stealing from Microstation, then over many years others have asked for this or that feature. WildTools 3D was a collaboration with Fred Goodman, PerspectiveTools with Phil Loheed, SketchTools with Matt Arnold and with many others along the way.
It doesn't make sense to me that software is created within the closed doors of a company, then every few years, you announce to the world that a new version is available and begin all the standard sales and marketing techniques to persuade people to purchase the software. It makes more sense to simply let people use the software and arrive at their own conclusion.
In some ways, the past few years have been among the most exciting times in the development of WildTools, and it has involved close collaboration with Matt Arnold and others on new features and tools. Matt came up with the Favorite Lines concept. The People and Shingle tools are largely his creation. Matt played an important role in creating the Tree and Shrub tools, in selecting the color choices and designing the watercolor tree styles.
The Magic Cube tool in WildTools 3D, the Tolerance and Dimension Text Needle tools with their ability to highlight edited dimension lines, the Armor Cable tool, Scroll Stepping, the enhancements to the Balloon Text tool, yellow highlighting of all objects on the target layer in the Find Layer and Magician tools, the Picture Frame tool, the WildTools Gradient Fill tool, the ability of the Knife tool to cut gradient fills and do the right thing, the ability to draw flexible tubing with the Tubing tool, the Bend tool, adding finger technology to the Scale tool, import and export ASCII survey coordinates in TopoTools, the 3D views in Find Contours and Analyze Slope, Nuts & Bolts 3D, the addition of Australian, British and European standards to the Tubing, Rectangular Tubing, I-Shape, Channel and Angle tools in Nuts & Bolts are all things that have come from a process of working with WildTools users around the world and from a passion for aesthetics and understanding the drawing process.
WildTools is in a constant state of development and always has been, but it's always fully reliable software that you can use any day, all day long. There is often a rough edge or something that may need more work here or there. It's just an arbitrary decision to declare a new shipping version. When I think I've got everything nailed down and finished, the next day I'll get an email reporting a minor problem or a call with a suggestion for a little improvement.
So for the next few years and beyond, I will be using the Updater in WildTools to keep everyone informed on progress and when things expire. When there's a significant change, the Updater will tell you an update is available, but you're welcome to check in with WildTools Updates in the PowerCADD Help menu at any time and to download the current version, which often changes every Friday. It is a slowly moving train that you can get on at any time.
New tools and features will expire at some point in the future, but I am going to keep all new features working until we have a new version for sale. The Updater will keep you informed on all of this, and you will get plenty of warning so you can keep things up to date.
This approach is similar in many ways to how iPhone and iPad apps are updated, and I think it's the best approach for everyone. Users get the latest tools. It's always good for user morale to see activity and forward progress in software. Happy users translates to more sales of the software, and it promotes the flow of ideas that make their way into WildTools. There are major breakthroughs happening in WildTools every month or so, we've got great momentum going, and we should have more of this process.
And for me, this is as much a life-plan as a software strategy. I want to keep active and going all the time. I feel sorry for friends who have retired and who have nothing to keep their minds focused and active. If you keep going like this, always working on new things, never contented with the status quo, always looking for ways to make things better, you will create wonderful things and you'll never get old.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.