What's next after CodeQue VSCode extension release?
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What's next after CodeQue VSCode extension release?

Tags
CodeQue
Published
December 14, 2022
Announcement of CodeQue Visual Studio Code extension release.
A few thoughts about building value in free time.
Plans for the upcoming months.

Long story short

I think I finished the VSCode extension. It was a lot more work than I expected. I’m pretty happy with the result.
I’ve experienced several ups and downs recently regarding this project. I wish it would gain some more traction organically and some feedback. I still strongly believe in the idea, but…
What’s coming next is to prepare great introduction page for VSCode extension, maybe work on SEO for codeque.co to gain some search engines visibility. Then I will open a new chapter, which is…

Visual Studio Code extension!

It took one round year to get there! First commit to this project is dated to 4th of December 2021. At that time I got covid and had some time to experiment with new ideas. Maybe that’s the reason why this project is sick haha.
Anyways, coding VSCode extension took me around 5 months and more specifically around 80 hours plus additional 20 hours for other improvements in core search logic.
notion image
I like the final result, search feels fast and it’s really helpful in day to day work. I use it a lot especially for anything related to refactoring.
Building foundations for async communication between extension host, sidebar and search results gave the most fun.
VSCode API communication API offers just simple message event emitter, similar to what’s available in web workers in browser. I’ve implemented nice abstraction over this, which offers type safe way of dispatching and listening to different events.
I feel like I used 1% of APIs and capabilities of VSCode extensions. This software is really a monster.
This is how the final UI looks like
notion image
Supercharge you VSCode using the link below if you haven’t already.
Join 87 happy (hopefully 😀) users.

Delivering value in free time is hard

When I was starting my CodeQue journey I was very optimistic about the project, I was eager to share the progress and I thought It I will find a lot of people excited about my idea.
But the reality turned out to be brutal. With my Twitter account with 160 followers I have 0 reach of my posts. 12 people subscribes to this newsletter, maybe 3 of them are reading this post. I didn’t expect that it would be so hard to reach people, really.
It makes me doubt about the sense of this project, but on the other hand I feel like there are a lot of people around the world that could benefit from my work. I’m wondering what’s the path to actually succeed with some open source software. As a small maker, unless my work will be posted by someone with broad social reach, I have no chance to gain some reasonable size user base. Some projects perhaps goes viral, some have huge marketing budget as they are backed by companies. What I’m trying to say is I’ve realised that making good useful stuff is not enough to shine.
Or maybe it’s only useful for me?
I also think that the more a tool is a general purpose tool the harder it is to showcase it’s capabilities. I work on search tool atm, and very few people are looking for new search tools, because they do not realise they can exist. At least that’s my assumption after introducing CodeQue to couple of my dev friends. They have a habit of using basic VSCode search. And habits are very hard to change.
Let’s see how people would react to ESLint plugin. Problem of searching is solvable without additional tools in most common use cases. But the creating custom ESLint rules entry point is a lot higher. Maybe CodeQue would be more useful in that area.

Let's keep moving forward

I’ve decided to try gain some more users (and feedback) in other way
  • prepare vscode ext introduction video and ask for sharing
  • maybe reach out to some people manually
  • work on set of articles that would hopefully funnel people to codeque.co
These marketing actives are quite new for me and does not come naturally. But that’s one of the skills that I feel really incompetent with and which is essential for finding users or customers (somewhen in the future for this or other project).
So I’m challenging myself to do it and to acquire this know-how.
After that or maybe in the meantime I will work on making ESLint plugin for CodeQue. It would incorporate quite a lot of refactoring to make the core logic programming language agnostic.
CodeQue uses Babel to parse source files, so using all other parsers officially supported by ESLint would be technically like supporting other programming languages, as the ASTs are different for each parser.
I feel like I would like much more to work on coding than marketing, so we will see, maybe I will skip marketing activities.

Summary

That was quite pessimistic post, sorry about that, but I wish things would go smoother.
Wish me luck and If I can ask you for something, don’t hesitate to share feedback and support to your friends and maybe even strangers if you see they working on something valuable.
These people are very rare (even if social media makes opposite impression) and each word of appreciation is priceless motivation shot for those very few people that do more than it is expected from them.