Mad props to Paul Stovell for his 'pet project' in WPF

Recent readify hire, and the only person I know who bought a BlogML t-shirt the DAY they went on sale Mr. Paul Stovell recently announced his side-project, “trial balance” - an app to help teach Year 12 level double-entry book keeping. He sent me a build of it a couple of weeks ago and it is very nice looking, and built using WPF. It sounds like his experiences with WPF have been quite positive (although I wonder how the two WPF talks I co-delivered helped to convince him). I think “side projects” are a great way to sharpen your skills on technologies that are too bleeding edge for your day job, and let you design your app just the way you like it (or give yourself enough rope to hang yourself). I also think personal projects teach you a great deal about pragmatic project management and the iron triangle. You have fairly fixed resources (your free time) a negotiable set of features, and all of your free time until you die to deliver your opus. What will you trade off? Are you prepared to ship something working but less than perfect? How do you prioritize bugs? All valuable lessons in the real world. Kudos to Paul for doing this, and also for choosing accounting as the subject for your side project - it makes me feel like my side projects (which have all been development tools of one kind or another) are MUCH cooler than before.