So, due to my newly-found free time, I have been participating in a “Government Challenge” to keep my skills sharp. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I also hope to develop and extend my skill set beyond where it is currently. So far, that has been a success.
My only problem is that the documentation for some of the APIs I am using is, shall we say, missing pieces. Thankfully, I’ve been able to think imaginatively and either find a workaround or utilize undocumented calls in the API. This has been useful, if not frustrating.
Imagine trying to build a house from parts you got from the hardware store, simple enough. However, you didn’t pick out the parts and someone else loaded them into your truck. So you have no idea where they put the wood, mortar, or half of the nails. So you have to do your best guesswork to find them, or move on without them and find another route to finish your house. This has been my experience with this challenge.
However, while I may be missing some things, I have had to think my way around those hurdles. So far, I have accomplished my goals, but I still have a long way to go on this project. I’m not rushing myself to finish it though, as I would rather do a job correctly the first time than get it done quickly and have to rebuild it multiple times to correct further issues.
I plan to submit my entry to this challenge, but I don’t expect to win as I am only one person and they allow organizations to compete as well. I have thought ahead, though, and even if I don’t win I believe this site can still be of use to the general population. At least to those in the United States, at the very least. So all is not lost and I am not wasting my time.
All in all, I am using this as a hobby and a learning experience. I have to tackle problems I have never encountered, think my way out of said problems, and if I fall flat I have only myself to blame. So this has been a very useful learning exercise, if nothing else should come of it.Tags: API, challenge, government, imagination, learning, population, problems, solutions, thinking