- Learn new things - this project is a variant on the "learn one new language a year" meme that's been going around. I'm just taking on five things (not necessarily languages) in much less than a year.
- Bust some code - it's been a while since I've been able to do any hard-core coding. This will be a sprint which can blow out some cobwebs.
- Improve my development practices by trying some new techniques and focusing on refining existing ones.
- Google App Engine (with Python, not Java)
- NetBeans Platform (not just using the IDE)
In a way, each week's technology is a bit like a "spike" in an agile project, only I'm not looking to evaluate/sketch out solutions to application problems but rather evaluate technologies in a more abstract sense. Although, in some cases (e.g., NetBeans Platform and Griffon) I have some application ideas I'd like to implement, and I really am spiking possible solutions.
For each technology, I've got a modest application in mind. I have (or will have) a series of story cards describing various aspects of the application I'd like to create. And then, I will sprint for a week to implement as many of the stories as possible. I'll also post at least one blog entry as a retrospective for each sprint.
I've been planning this for some time - ever since the end was in sight on my last contract. The most significant threat to this undertaking is not failing at one or more technologies, but rather if I find another contract before I've completed the technologies. (There are worse things than finding a paying job when you're currently between jobs.) Another known disruption to the "five weeks" is that I'm taking one week off to go to the Java Posse Roundup, which will technically make this five technologies in six weeks, but that isn't as snappy as five in five.