Announcing Dotplan Feb 18 2018

I've re-focused how I keep track of notes and thoughts for ideas and plans, and in so doing, given an update to an old concept.

In Masters of Doom, it details how John Carmack, genius programmer at id software, used .plan files to keep track of his todos and work plans when building out classic games like Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, and Quake. He eventually started to make these public, as a way of feeding back to his community and fanbase, exactly what he was up to.

Introducing Dotplan, a very simple content system based upon the excellent Middleman framework used for Ruby content management. It's a default Middleman blog style setup, allowing unlimited plans to be created. You can simply clone it and hit the ground running, and write all your plans in Markdown - build the site into HTML, and ship to your favourite static host or CDN. Or keep it all to yourself, and simply run it locally as a journal to keep you sane!

There are two ways of utilising Dotplan - if you like the idea of just writing, then clone the repository and do just that. All the plans content is by default excluded from the source control, meaning you can continue to pull down Dotplan updates as it changes, and you won't have to worry about merging or conflicts. Just make sure to back up your content through some other means - perhaps using Dropbox or another similar solution. It's a clean separation of the code to power the tool, and your content.

Alternatively, fork the repo and clone your fork, then feel free to remove the line in .gitignore which stops plans from being included. You can then check them into source control to make sure they are safe. The advantage is you can more easily track changes to your content, roll things back etc - the downside is it may make it slightly harder to pull down upstream Dotplan changes going forward.

However you do it, Dotplan is a simple way to start getting organised - or at the least, get all of those creative thoughts out of your head and down somewhere. That gives you the headspace to prioritize and focus, and makes sure you can always refer back to them in the coming weeks or months.

Check out Dotplan here.