Ludovic Frank - Freelance developer

At the start of 2024, it's time for a new side project

ionicons-v5-k Ludovic Frank Mar 20, 2024
79 reads

Hey, hello there 🙂,

Say, doesn't it smell a little like spring right now? 😛.
Ah yes, I digress... that's not why we're here 😮.

This week, we're going to talk about "Side Projects", those little projects that are basically there for fun and sometimes become big.
Indeed, if you follow this blog, you'll know that they're at the heart of my life...

Developers and Side Projects

Before anything else, I'd like to take the time to talk about the relationship between developers and side projects, and give you my opinion on the matter:
being a developer is one of the only professions, to my knowledge, that gives you the power to create tools that solve problems, your own or those of others. For me, this is an integral part of the job, because as I said in a previous article, I don't know how to do projects for practice... I have to have a goal, a problem to solve. Writing "hello world" doesn't solve anything...
For example, this site and this blog are basically "side projects". This too is a side project, and this too.

The three projects mentioned above are things that were originally in my head... just a joke, and, 3 years later? We're not really at the level of a joke anymore... it meets real needs...

After all, we always talk about what works, but never about what doesn't. It took a lot for these three projects to "work"...

(yes, I put "works" in brackets, because it's not an ultimate goal... and if you say to yourself "yeah, I'm going to work on a side project and only do things that work", you're heading straight for the wall).

As I was saying, for these three projects to work, I had to scrap at least 10 of them:

  • A payment system for restaurants, with Josselin, at the end of the meal, you scan the QR code, pay and leave.
  • Dynamic QR codes based on geographical location: on the Frères Marchand bags, there was a QR code, and when you scanned it you got the nearest cheese shop.
  • A Dynamic QRCode for restaurants, to have the restaurant's map on your phone (a classic when covid), this was integrated into the reservation application in fact.
  • This site is this blog, it's the continuation of a site I created in 2011, silentkernel... by the way, the domain redirects here.

And just like that, I'd say that since I've been coding, that's just under 20 years (I started writing code when I was 11 or 12), there have been so many projects that have come to nothing... That doesn't change the fact that I'm writing about a blog that was originally a "side project", and I'm writing about another "side project"...

So, let's stop chillin' in front of Netflix, and let's get to work creating stuff that our imagination and the world around us inspire, let's get to work.

The story behind the new Side Project

Just another Saturday afternoon ...

One Saturday afternoon, my dear Josselin is in Nancy with his girlfriend, cool, we haven't seen each other in a while and I've never met his girlfriend 🙂.

I join them at the restaurant after their meal, I'll let you guess which one... then we wander around town a bit, telling each other about our lives... "so how's it going, the wife, the kids? the goldfish?"

For those wondering, yes the goldfish is fine he does about 40 rounds of the jar a day... he's in great shape 😁.

Time to settle down

After walking for 15-20 minutes, we think it's time to settle down in a bar, problem, where do we go?

Me, being a notorious asocial, I know a few bars in Nancy, but hey, we need something in line with Josselin and his girlfriend's desires 🙂.

So we go to Mc Carty, and, it's closed, it doesn't open until 4pm (Bah I told you I was asocial... 🤣)

And then Joss starts looking on his phone, or come on, I'll stop giving ideas because at this rate we're going to end up in the Meurthe..., it's refreshing, but that's not the point.

In short, after some fruitless searching - Google Maps isn't what it used to be 😮 - we decide to take a break at the Café des Artistes.

We have a great time there, me, being 3 years old mentally, having a hot chocolate... and them being adults, having coffees...

We talk, we remake the world, we talk about our projects, we talk a bit about the goldfish, because after all, he's a good guy...

They were having an evening out in Nancy after our time together, and at the end of our time together, I see Josselin relaunching Google maps...

When the idea is right under your nose... TWICE!

Now it's time to find a nice bar (for them, of course), with aperitif boards and the drinks they like...

Josselin, looking again at the bars, tries as best he can to find the information he's looking for, but it doesn't look like anything conclusive, in fact the information isn't necessarily easily accessible, we find it, but it takes time, and it's not "sure info".

After that, we part ways, say goodbye, kiss each other goodbye and talk about the goldfish one last time (yeah, that goldfish is really something...).

The Digital Marketing Act, DMA...

After such a wonderful day, I say to myself "what's become of someone I met two years ago", who runs a maintenance agency in Luxembourg... (yeah, I talk to lots of people from lots of different backgrounds).

Problem is, I can't remember the name of the company... (The brain cleans out the memory and the useless info, it's gone)

What's this?

I innocently type in "Luxembourg cleaning company" on Google, and ...

And then I think "Ah yes, the DMA is coming, we'll be able to compete with Google Maps in certain niches...".

Now you have to imagine a moment of hesitation, the moment when my brain starts to connect ...

"Oh F***** !!!!!"

Then I think of all the possible niches (that's it, the brain is gone, good luck stopping it...) and the obvious jumps out at me...

We're not going to do the project on our own...

I contact Josselin, it must have been 11:30 pm (yes, everything's going well in my life, I send messages to talk about projects at 11:30 pm to buddies yes, otherwise are you okay? 😁).

I tell him the idea, and he says "OK, I'm in"...

So, what's the idea behind the "Side Project"?

On this blog, I've already told you about Typesense.

It allows you to carry out ultra-specialized searches, as you can see, for example, with our friends at the Fédération Française de Cyclotourisme.

What if we created an ultra-complete directory, so that when you want to drink a certain beverage, want an aperitif board and have a person with reduced mobility in the group, you can find it in less than 3 seconds?

Welcome to Bars en France 😁.

The name is made to be ultra simple, we're not here to do crazy marketing, the app's name is what the app does.

The app is only at the beginning of its conception, and we want to do things right, so we'll open up the cities little by little, the aim being to put quality before quantity (it's in my values and Josselin's too).

The fact that Google is opening up to forced competition means that we'll be able to use my SEO skills to rank alongside the others :), but we're only interested in bars, we'll take a subject and go into it in depth, we don't want to leave this niche.

Like any project, there will be iterations, some things we'll get right, others we'll totally screw up, but that's the game...


So there you have it, the story of the beginning of Bars en France, we've already got the domain and the name on the networks, and we're just getting on with it, remembering that this is just a "side project", it's going to end up in the garbage can, but, maybe not 😁.

If you've made it this far, thank you very much for your time, and see you soon.