Solving Problems with Code

Published May 25, 2024

Reading time: 2 minutes.

I’ve always viewed software development as a tool to solve problems, and since I’m not a full-time software developer these days, I find that a lot of the code I write is to solve my own problems.

Today I wrote a real app with Vue.js.

Here’s the story…

When I’m not working, I make electronic music. I use the Ableton Live software to compose, and I work with hardware synths.

Ableton Live lets you send synth patch changes to hardware. In other words, I can tell the software what sound to use on the synthesizer. This way when I load up a song I can make sure it loads all the sounds I need.

However, to use this, you must know how your synth’s patch number translates into the Bank, Sub, and Program fields in Ableton. The frustrating part is that this process is different for every synth. One of my synths has a fairly complex way of storing data that I can never remember.

This is a niche problem. Nobody’s going to solve this for me. And that’s why I love being able to write code; I can solve this for myself.

In just a couple hours I made a small single-page web app using JavaScript and Vue.js that calculates the values for each of my synths.

My first version was a single ball of HTML and JavaScript, and I spent most of the time reading the manuals to figure out the algorithms I needed for each synth. As I added more calculators, things got unwieldy. It made sense to reach for a framework. I’ve always liked how Vue.js works, especially with its single-file components, but I’d never used it before. What a perfect time to learn it.

In no time, I had a working app. Now, I won’t have to interrupt my creative flow when I’m trying to figure out what settings to use to save my synth presets with my song.

Why am I sharing this? Software development doesn’t have to be a career. It’s a skill you can use when you need it. I don’t get paid to write code, but I write code every day to solve little problems that I’d otherwise need to ask others to do.

Being able to automate things and solve problems with software is the original reason I learned to code as a kid many years ago, and it’s still how I operate today.

Consider adding software development to your personal toolbelt. You don’t have to do it for a full-time job, but you might learn skills that help you do your job better.

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