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Gaurav Chaddha
Gaurav Chaddha

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You can't pull project ideas out of thin air

This post was originally written for my blog.

I noticed some free-time coming my way as my current project is now completed. Now I'm not that creative to pull ideas out of thin air. Thus a need arrived - where to look for these inspirations.

First - I needed to decide the field I was going to work in - An app, or a front-end landing page maybe - or a full blown platform with scalable back-end.
I decided to build a full blown platform. This was important as my search will gravitate accordingly. I would suggest to choose the field and not the language . Rather build the project in the language which most suits the needs.

Second - Go hunting!

I needed to compile a list of ideas before I can find a diamond among them.

  1. I hunted the apps present on my own phone. I got some brilliant ideas I can recombine and some that I would love to re-do.
    I categorized them and my categories were social media, wrapper clients (like Boost for reddit etc.) and services (Note-taking etc).

  2. Next I explored public API's and aimed to find something easy to do. Maybe write a client above an already established API.

    You can also combine different APIs into a common client making it easier for a person to use multiple platforms.

  3. Then I went to the buzzword Machine learning and tried finding machine learning models using github.
    Other buzzwords are Artificial intelligence, Deep learning, AR, VR, Blockchain etc.

  4. The best place in my opinion I trekked to was Github Trending. You can explore different langauges of your selected field and see what's new. Integrate these github repos ideas with each other - and you have something new!

  5. Using Github search led to something interesting - a compiled list of project ideas (tons of it).

  6. Spent some time with HackerNews everyday. I found some really interesting tech news and ML model submissions there.

Some stuff I didn't do personally but you can try it out are:

  • Find sub-redddit of choosen language and keep an eye on its submission.
  • Devrant collabs (Of course- Take ideas with permission)
  • Explore the new apps on PlayStore

Project ideas

Here are some of the project ideas that I compiled

  • Use security API's to make a platform to scan files for you through different APIs
  • Air quality / Water quality API clients
  • Client which finds - other github repo like this (not based on topics rather more on context)
  • Plugin on some editor to analyze code and offer advice to turn code more functional (Functional programming)
  • Analysis of publically available data streams like Twitter to generate a report around a keyword (Like "android" was mentioned this many times, it's usage has come around this century, it's meaning, latest articles on this keyword etc.)
  • A HackerNews client
  • CamScanner clone
  • News app
  • Note-taking app with backend and offline sync functionality
  • Markdown electron app
  • Visualization of finance world
  • Use those awesome Art API's to provide a way to search through art
  • Rich-text editor plugin or component. Should be plug-and-play type and configurable.

Top comments (7)

xtrasmal profile image

Most of the things in your Project ideas already exist. So you might have to add some extra steps in your "Go hunting" section.

gauravchaddha1996 profile image
Gaurav Chaddha

I think Simon has correctly grasped what I was trying to tell. I do side-projects for learning and self-growth. For those type of projects you don't need something new, you need to implement the stuff yourself to learn something.

xtrasmal profile image

Ok, I'm a happy and positive guy and sometimes I read stuff that have a very firm grasp of the obvious and I can not resist the urge to respond sometimes. In this case I just had to do it. Sorry if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
So, the whole post in one sentence is something what we all already do like:
Look around and re-build stuff that you haven't build before and find interesting?

Thread Thread
gauravchaddha1996 profile image
Gaurav Chaddha • Edited

No worries man. You have the right to express your opinion. Yup, in one sentence the post is presenting something obvious.

But, I was sharing my journey, because even though it seems obvious, and it is, many devs don't take the leap.They know where to look - but don't.
I've known this fact for a while: Re-implement a thing, learn something new. But did I act on it? No.

I guess the point was to kind-of motivate people out there who are stuck at level-0 of a good project - finding a good idea.

scleriot profile image
Simon Cleriot

I think the idea was more to find interesting (and challenging) projects to work on than finding something new that had never been done before.

marlysson profile image
Marlysson Silva

Awesome!! Do you already have some this projects in a github repository?

gauravchaddha1996 profile image
Gaurav Chaddha

I wish I had the time to make them all. Slowly yes, I would make some of them. When(ever) I do I will link them here.