JasonNewell.NET - Past, Present & Future

Published on Monday, March 5, 2012

I wanted to take a moment and update everyone on the status of JasonNewell.NET. As you may or may not have noticed, I've been really quiet over the past several months. Over the last Christmas holidays, I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on where I've been, where I'm at and where I'm going with JasonNewell.NET. During that time, I made some decisions about the direction that I want to take moving forward and would like to share those thoughts with you now.

Past

I have been programming for Solid Edge since around 2000. During those early years, I was frustrated by lack of API documentation and lack of an active programming community. I took it upon myself to become an expert in the Solid Edge API and be very active in the community and help as many people as I could. I have spoken at many Solid Edge conferences and shared as much as I could for the betterment of the programming community. In 2005, I launched JasonNewell.NET in an attempt to start a public Solid Edge programming community. Since that time, JasonNewell.NET has grown into one of, if not the, largest Solid Edge programming communities in the world. I am very proud and appreciative of all the members that have contributed over the years.

Aside from the community aspect of the site, I also used my newfound presence on the Internet to share custom tools that I developed. Most notably, Solid Edge Spy and PowerToys for Solid Edge. I don't have an accurate download count but I do know that these two applications are heavily used. Shortly after starting the site in 2005, I almost immediately started getting contracted by 3rd party integrators and customers. While this was a great thing for me personally and financially, it basically took me out of the game in regards to contributing to the community and keeping my custom tools up to date. To give an example, Solid Edge Spy is still version 1.0 which was released in 2005! You can't begin to imagine how many times I've started working on a new release only to get interrupted by [insert interruption here]. By the time I got around to getting back to work on the new release, something else would come up and take me off working on it. Same scenario for PowerToys for Solid Edge although I did manage to get it to version 1.3.

Present

One thing that has become glaringly obvious to me is that I can't do everything that I want to do and do it well. Considering that I have a full-time job, wife, four kids, website, consulting, products, etc., something had to give. Up until now, that "something" has been my health and well-being. I won't bore you with the details other than to say that even though I haven't done as good of a job as I would have liked, my body has paid the price for me trying to meet my own expectations. My family has paid the price as well. It really was time for me to reevaluate exactly what it is that I want to accomplish and what I wanted to put my focus toward. Since I can't do much about the full-time job, wife or kids, that left everything else to consider. The website and community is relatively low maintenance. Consulting is feast or famine but in general consumes the majority of my extracurricular time. Regarding the products, I felt that I either need to do it right or not do it at all.

In January of 2012, I decided to form JasonNewell.NET LLC with the intention to sell my products online and significantly limit my consulting efforts. The first reason that I'm taking this direction is because of my desire to allow as many people as possible to benefit from my talents. When I do custom consulting for a single company, only that company benefits. My rationale is that if I can focus on my products, a broader audience can benefit. The second reason is that in the past, I simply could not justify my time away from my family working on software that I gave away for free.

What I've been doing since January is getting my company in order, starting a new website and figuring out how I want to package and sell my products. In November of 2011, I released a PowerToys for Solid Edge (Beta Preview). This new release is focused on Windows 7 and the new property system that was introduced in Windows Vista. I went through a round of beta testing with volunteers and by most accounts, went really well. Since that beta preview was prior to my decision making process, things have changed a bit. The direction that I'm taking PowerToys for Solid Edge is that it will now be a single integrated UI whereas in the past, it was multiple separate applications. The property system editor, batch operations, Solid Edge Spy (*to be renamed) and whatever other cool tools I \ we can come up with will all be integrated into a single application. The licensing details are still to be determined but my intent is to keep it very affordable. Regarding my beta testers and those who have donated to the project over the years, they will be receiving lifetime licenses.

Realistically, I don't expect everyone to understand or even agree with my decision. If you fall into that category, please accept my sincere apologies. Considering the alternative of terminating development of my products, I genuinely feel this is the best direction for the majority.

Future

Those that know me personally know that I have A LOT of big ideas. I always have but focus has been one of my biggest enemies. I'm trying to focus my efforts and develop some of the coolest damn tools for Solid Edge that are out there. Realistically I know that I can't compete with larger companies offering solutions but that's not really the point. The point in my mind is making a difference and sharing my talents with the masses. We all know that the Solid Edge app ecosystem could stand for some more active players. Also, I haven't forgotten about the developers. I've had some really cool macro and addin templates in the past but like everything else, I didn't do a good job of keeping them updated. After I get PowerToys for Solid Edge established, developer tools is next on my list.

In closing, I just want to take a moment and thank everyone that has supported me over the years. I appreciate you all more than you know. I'm excited about the future and am hopeful that by focusing my efforts, we all come out ahead. Thank you and God bless.