Popularity is the hallmark of mediocrity

Published August 26, 2012

So said Dr. Niles Crane, quoting an unspecified "great man".

I've sunk a lot of hours into building various different programs. Partly because I enjoy it, partly due to necessity and partly because sometimes I genuinely believe I'm creating something useful. The latter encompasses a bunch of my projects and with these I aim for painstakingly high quality because I want people to use them. I spend hours making sure code is written and formatted well, making sure unit test coverage is good, and ensuring that APIs are well documented, etc.

And then we have loljs. loljs is my LOLCODE to JavaScript translator/interpreter. It's a proper translator with a recursive descent parse, not just a hideous regular expression thing, but it's still pretty rubbish. Probably its one saving grace in my eyes is that it correctly converts LOLCODE's prefix notation to JavaScript's infix notation for operators with arbitrary arity. I wrote it as a "let's learn JavaScript project" in about two days. It's very rough, the internals are awful (it's pretty obvious I didn't know JavaScript) and it's not exactly easy to use.

And yet it's had literally thousands and thousands of visits. It's far and away the most successful project I've done. Even taking into account professional projects, and I've worked on some for a few big names, I think loljs is a pretty strong contendor in the popularity stakes.

It's recently been the subject of a "learn to program" video on a popular channel on YouTube and according to my primitive stats, it's had six thousand views in the last 36 hours (not *all* from YouTube). Which is great. My web host is earning their monthly fee. I'm very happy. I just wish you'd all be so interested in the stuff I spent more time doing.

Filed under: javascript, lolcode, loljs, success

Talk is cheap

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