The Wheel Reinvention Jam is a one-week-long jam where we turn a fresh eye to "solved problems".
The tools we use every day are broken. Software is slow, unreliable, and bloated with thoughtless features. It disrespects the user and forces settings that no one wants. And yet, people defend the status quo, claiming that what we have is fine, and that trying to change software is "reinventing the wheel".
Screw that. Progress is only made by inventing new things. It's not "reinventing" to break new ground. Nor is it "reinventing" to take a broken thing and design something better.
This is your chance to reinvent something.
We had many incredible entries last year. Here are a few of our favorites:
Scroll is an experimental new typesetting format and editor. The document structure is inherently non-textual; in fact, even words within paragraphs are individual nodes that can easily be selected and moved as a whole. It's a great proof-of-concept of what "word processors" could be—and it even has a PDF export.Full Submission ➜ Recap Interview ➜
Near (or Near Manager) is an experimental file viewer that breaks away from a plain hierarchy. By allowing you to flatten folder hierarchies, create custom groups, and reorder your files, Near allows you to tame any complex file structure and view it in a way that works for you.Full Submission ➜ Recap Interview ➜
This project extended an existing personal project with a unique way of exploring Twitter threads. When the author found existing layout algorithms insufficient, he decided to roll his own. The project submission is an insightful look at why you sometimes need to do things yourself.
This project was featured as a demo at Handmade Seattle 2021.Full Submission ➜ Recap Interview ➜ Handmade Seattle Demo ➜
This project explores a new way of querying SQL databases, by throwing away SQL in favor of a visual node graph. It allows you to incrementally build queries, seeing the data at every point along the way, and to reuse smaller queries in a way SQL cannot.Full Submission ➜ Recap Interview ➜
The jam takes place from Monday, August 15 through Sunday, August 21. Here's how you can participate:
After the jam starts, create a Handmade Network project to track your work. Then, build your program! Share your work in progress in #project-showcase on Discord, or directly from your project page.
Your Handmade Network project is your submission. Fill out the project description, making sure to explain the goals of the project and how it improves on what came before. Also consider posting an update with video of your program in action!
There are no explicit winners, but we will be selecting a few of our favorite projects to highlight in a recap stream following the jam.
Your Handmade Network project is your submission. We will be looking at the project's description and any extra updates you share toward the end of the jam.
The Handmade ethos and Handmade community are software development superpowers. Don't be afraid to question your foundations and rebuild what needs rebuilding. The community is here to help you take on those challenges and do what others might consider impossible.
Of course, this is a jam, so focus on what matters to your project. There are many excellent libraries in the community that can save you time and help you focus on your core ideas. Don't be afraid to use them. But don't be afraid to do your own thing if they're holding you back.
This is a chance to build something truly new. Learn from previous work, but don't settle for “the same, but better”. It would be a huge shame to spend a week building nothing more than a clone of the same broken software we use today.
This is where working with a team can really help. Bounce ideas off each other, do some research, and brainstorm before the jam starts. The software you end up building might be pretty different from your original ideas.
In the end, this is a jam. Get weird and try something different.