2 Million Downloads and Still Going Strong!

April 2nd, 2016 | Nick Fox

GpsTracker has now been downloaded over 2 million times on SourceForge. It’s also very popular on Github. I’ve been working on GpsTracker for about 10 years. I’m doing much less software work right now for several reasons. The first is I’ve been writing software for 20 years and I’m now 55 and writing software just isn’t as fun as it used to be and I’m no longer interested in dealing with all the stress.

So I decided it was time for a change. The first thing I did was to sell my house near Seattle, give away all my possessions (except for my stratocaster and tools) and move to France. I’m living in the mountains in a small chalet near Lac Leman where it is very quiet, very peaceful and very beautiful. Three things that I really need and want in my life right now. Also, I have decided to change careers. For the fifth time. So now I am writing my first book which is a work of fiction. I’ve been doing research for the past seven months in preparation for the book. This is definitely one of the riskier things I’ve done but life is too short to sit on the sidelines and in no way am I’m going to retire and watch the world go by. I don’t even know what “retirement” means to be honest. It’s just not in my DNA to sit around and look for amusing ways to fill my time until I die. People in my family tend to live a very long time, many close to 100. So as far as I’m concerned, I’ve just reached the halfway point in my life and I’m just getting warmed up.

Another reason why I’m winding down writing software and in particular, more software for GpsTracker is that it has not been as financially successful as I would have liked. I get approximately 200 to 300 dollars a month from Google Adsense which is nice. In the past 10 years, I’ve gotten about 400 dollars in donations. Nothing in GpsTracker is really that complicated (except for the WordPress plugin). When I first wrote GpsTracker, my goal was to write something that ran on several platforms as a learning tool for me. At first it was a simple PHP server running MySQL on the backend and a java ME client. This was before iPhone and Android came out. I, of course, added those clients as well as Windows Phone. And I wrote a complementary .NET server. Next I created a WordPress plugin which I consider to be the best piece of software I ever wrote.

The last piece of software I created for GpsTracker was a TK103 server and client. Have you ever seen those GPS trackers that you can just plug into the OBD (On Board Diagnostics) port in your car? Well, you can buy them on amazon and then you can pay some company about 20 to 50 dollars a month so that you can track your car. There are lots of companies that will do that for you. Well, I wanted to know how they did it so I ended up writing my own PHP socket server and client and integrating it with my WordPress plugin and there I was, tracking cars for free. I will admit that was a fun project. It was something I always wondered about.

I had a fellow developer, Brent Fraser, join me and he expanded the back end by creating SQLite and PostgreSQL databases for GpsTracker. The whole point of all this was to create a very flexible starting point for other developers so that they could take GpsTracker and work on the platforms that best suited their needs. I think we’ve done a very good job in achieving that goal.

I like helping people and I will continue to do so as time and desire permits. I’m going to create a forum here on websmithing to better organize questions and responses. At this point in time, I will not be taking on any new clients. I wish you luck and success with your software endeavors.

So anyway, that’s where I’m at and that’s where GpsTracker is at. Did I just end that sentence with a preposition? I really need to work on my writing skills…