DEV Community

Cover image for Journaling as a developer

Posted on

Journaling as a developer

Hello 👋

I came here to tell you about a small habit I started to have during the first lockdown, here in France.

As the days passed by, I began to watch my girlfriend journaling, and writing down the things that she does daily.

It was clear that looking at the "backlog" of her days and weeks helped her a lot to feel that her projects were still going on, even though the situation felt quite paralyzing.

I quickly felt the same need.

🧵 Keeping the thread

When I started writing things down for my journal, I did it in my Macbook notes.

Even though I love notes app, this pattern did not felt right for how I wanted things to be for me.

When all I wanted was to write down an idea, all I ended up with was losing my focus while switching apps, creating a note and so on.

🔧 Ergonomic challenge

While maintaining that habit of switching apps, I slowly felt like this habit was getting close to something I do daily, writing commit messages.

I started to think that it needed to be included in my daily tools.

As I've, since I own a Mac, been a user of Alfred app, I though that writing my notes from that command prompt could be amazing.

By that point, I started to scaffold a little API that could handle that data input and store it inside a simple database.

💍 The product

I chose to use Laravel for this API, as it is my favorite backend framework.

At that time, the first version of Laravel Livewire has been released and I though it could be cool to learn it and use it to create a simple web interface.

In a few days of work, I ended up with a minimalistic but perfectly working web interface, and a simple API working with tokens.

The first way to add entries I implemented was through the web interface as it was already wrapped into Laravel.

After that, I reached my first objective, being able to write from Alfred, by allowing the access to my API through a token and building an Alfred workflow to communicate with it.

I also built a simple CLI tool, so I could also write from the terminal, so my tool was integrated everywhere as it was a native app command from my Mac!

🎁 Wrap it up

Once I got all that running, I built and documented the two major ways to write in my journal: an Alfred workflow and a CLI app.

I also documented the API, so everyone could use the tool and write their own integrations.

All this was written and made public through Notion, which is a wonderful tool to open good looking documentation pages without having to host anything.

The whole code of the app is also open source, that way if anyone does not want to use the public version of the service, it is really easy to self host it and cable the integrations to your own instance!

The app is called Journapi.

🤗 Conclusion

Start from a simple problem and use my skills to build a solution around it is what I love the most about coding.

Since I've built that tool, I've used it almost daily.

Journaling is proven to benefit your life in a lot of ways.

It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, it improves your immune function and it helps your memory function.

I can easily say that both journaling and giving time to such project has made my lockdown way better than it could've been, and I left it being proud of having that new tool in my life!

I hope this story will encourage anyone here to use your development skills to build simple tools to improve your daily life.

👋 Bye

I hope you enjoyed reading this story, it was my first on!

If you liked it or have any comment, please let me know!

You can reach me on Twitter or through direct messages here.

Top comments (1)

rahxuls profile image