Why are we still saving gifs like cavepeople?

It’s 2015 and my world is dominated by the web. I spend most of my work day creating the web (sounds more impressive than it is), and a significant chunk of spare time consuming the web. I’m a complete nerd about web tools (ask me about Pocket, Trello, Evernote, and Ermagerhd Sterff). Yet, whenever I come across an amusing gif, I right-click and save it to a folder on my hard drive named ‘Gifs’ — like some sort of cavewoman. So does everyone else I know.

There’s got to be a better way!

So I’m working on Gifery. Gifery is a Rails app and Chrome extension (Firefox support planned for when I can be bothered) that will allow users to save and tag gifs to their personal gif library.

Through the Chrome extension, users will be able to search through their gif library and automatically insert their chosen gif into their Facebook status, Reddit post, etc.

It’s basically Pocket for gifs.

Now, to be quite honest, if there’s something similar out there, I don’t want to know about it. Okay, there is something similar out there (in fact, it’s identical to what I want to do. Fuck). But that’s beside the point.

Building Gifery is mainly a learning exercise for me. It’s not that long ago that I had no idea what an API was. This year I’ve learned to build simple APIs, create Rails apps, and make very simple Chrome extensions, but I’m not extremely confident in my abilities, and I want try out different ways of doing things, new design patterns, and get stuck into API authentication. I’d also like to build a more complex Chrome extension and (obviously) improve my javascript in the process.

Where is Gifery at the moment? Well, it kinda-sorta works. I can browse the web, right-click any Gif, and save it to my library. But…I’m yet to implement tagging, and frankly I’m avoiding the whole authentication thing until I can dedicate a few good hours to it. I’d also like to create some views for the Chrome extension (similar to Evernote’s web clipper) that will allow full access to Gifery without leaving the tab you’re on.

The greater challenge here really isn’t the code — it’s all basic, bread-and-butter sort of stuff that I’m writing. The challenge is motivating myself to work on a personal project outside of work, figuring out what to work on next, and exploring ideas.

The even greater challenge is overcoming my own insecurities and putting my code, and my ideas out there in the world. You’ll often hear me refer to Gifery as ‘a silly project’. I’ll call my code ‘crap’, and I’ll emphatically tell you that it’s nothing that people haven’t done before. I should probably stop doing all of those things. Whenever I feel like that, I should probably refer back to the immense wisdom of Ira Glass:

 

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

 

All of those insecurities, ultimately, don’t matter. The point is, I’m working on something, and it kinda works. I’m learning, which is the best feeling in the world. And the stuff that I’m learning is making me better at my job, a better developer, and a more productive person all round.

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