I know it's been said time and time again; the importance of the concept of community in the software development bubble is one of the most powerful and effective ways to improve the overall state of software development as a whole.
I had a great experience with the power of "The Community" recently and just felt compelled to chronicle it here, both in order to point out the compassion and helpfulness of these particular people, as well as the power it instilled in me.
Let me start by saying I often find myself feeling like a fraud and not just because Scott told me so, but because I've always felt that way. So in my latest endeavours (trying to create an Android app from scratch) I decided there was no way I was going to be able to do it alone. I had to admit to both myself and those I asked for help that there's nothing wrong with asking for help, I'm not pretending to be an expert, so why act like one...I had to stop trying to cover up my insecurities about being a fraud and tap into the community.
The first big roadblock was well, just getting started. So, like a gift sent down from on high, I just happened to see someone tweet about a set of tutorial videos on YouTube from a group called SlideNerd.
The one that really nailed it for me was the particular playlist on Android Material Design. Because really, that's what I wanted to learn, I understand the basics of coding in Java and even some of the Intent/Event system of Android programming so it was a great way to keep it modern and learn something new. I can't imagine how I would have learned what I learned from these videos on my own...I know it's possible, but without that community support it would have taken me much, much, much longer and I'd probably have missed out on some of the intricacies and tricks that Vivz gave to me.
The next thing was that I reeeeally wanted a simple Floating Action button one that basically just took some coordinates and an OnClick event. I started to make one on my own, but thought there's got to be one already made somewhere. Don't reinvent the wheel, right?
There certainly were several libraries already created for this purpose. After trying to use them, I either found them a bit too difficult to use or just way too overblown in features. That being said I was blown away by the time and effort being put into these things and being given to the community for free.
This foray into GitHub's floating action buttons made me realize what I really wanted. I wanted a decent example of how to make my own and customize it to my liking.
With my goal in mind and the fact that since it's inception, I've always loved the simplicity and look of the Floating Action Button being used in Talon by Klinker Apps I knew what I had to do next.
So I went out on a limb and used Talon's feedback feature to send the Klinker devs an email. I honestly didn't expect a reply, let alone a reply in under 5 minutes, with a link to their GitHub Floating Action Button library! I was floored! The Klinker brothers even endured several emails back and forth with me just asking newbie Android related questions. I felt so encouraged and grateful.
I was able to get my app Materialized and Floating in no time thanks to these members of the community who took extra time from their busy schedules just help fellow coders.
This is just a small example, but it moved me so much that I just had to write about it. It also made me realize how much I would love to help someone else out in such a way, because I appreciate it so much that I really want to give something back.
This is the definition (in my mind) of a great community. People giving and sharing and doing so in such a way that it makes you want to give back out of sheer appreciation.