Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Java Hurts My Brain

WIP Update: After my epiphany yesterday and a lot of thinking about why I'm stuck at this particular moment, I've decided that what has me stuck is a lot of "I know WHAT happens, but not HOW it happens." On three different fronts. In other words, I've written myself into a corner yet again. So while my subconscious works on detangling that, I'm submersed in Java.

It's in my profile, but I haven't really gone into detail here on what I'm coding in Java. So here's the scoop.

Every time I find myself written into a corner on the WIP, I crave a tool. The tool I'm looking for will let me dump the random, unorganized stuff in my head onto the screen and then allow me to drag and drop it into a picture of perfect organization. Theoretically, at least.

The current tools out there, unfortunately, don't work for this purpose. I've tried yWriter, which is pretty good actually, but Mr. Haynes' mind appears to be more organized than mine. yWriter takes a lot more organization up front rather than allow you to dump-then-organize. Liquid Story Binder is cool-looking, but just doesn't feel right. I wish the windows were dockable, the color schemes you start with are weird, and the method for changing the color schemes is way too arcane. I wouldn't mind paying if it had hit me with a "YES! This is exactly what I was looking for!" but it didn't. Thank you, Black Obelisk, for letting me try it so that I could find that out. The only other viable option I can find is Scrivener, which unfortunately isn't viable for me, since I don't own a Mac. From the screenshots it actually looks fantastic, which makes me sad.

Therefore, says my geek mind, I must write a tool.

So what to write the tool in? I've always loved my Java text editor (JEdit, it's fabulous) and I use a Linux machine most often to write, so an Open-Source Java application seems like a perfect fit. That way, all those writers who use Linux and are bemoaning the lack of a tool will have one, and if it totally rocks everyone else can use it too.

The problem: I've been a procedural programmer for 22 years. O, how to reprogram your brain for the Object Oriented complexity that is Java. It hurts. It REALLY hurts.

Every time I think I have my brain wrapped around the intricacies of classes and objects and abstract classes and interfaces, something throws me a curveball. Every class having its own file leads to a veritable plethora of files ("Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?"), making it very difficult for me to even tell what I'm working on. My quest for organization is running into a Java wall of not being organized enough.

Such is life.

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