Kathy raised some excellent objections to the team of apprentices idea I considered yesterday. She pointed out that I’d be managing rather than designing, dealing with unreliable young workers instead of creative issues. Why in the world would I sentence myself to such punishment? It’s a powerful argument. I still think that there’s some merit in taking on a few apprentices, as an educational endeavor, and they could be useful if they do programming work that I will never want to deal with, such as 3D facial animation. Still, I think I’ll move slowly on this option.
The option that’s looking brighter relies on my learning how to use Java for Internet delivery to browsers. I have always regarded Internet stuff as voodoo, something obviously very complicated, a mire that I don’t want to step into. However, after a perusal of the material in two different books, my fears are looking more like superstitions. I recall that, many years ago, I was terrified of the prospect of learning file management on the Atari operating system. When I was finally forced to take the plunge, I was astonished at how easy it was. I suspect that much the same is going on here.
The basic technologies to learn look simple enough. Sockets are trivially simple, and Remote Method Invocation, while messier, is still something I should be able to pick up in a week or two.
It’s true that full-scale, secure Java code that can handle millions of simultaneous interactions is a complicated mess, but the kind of stuff I need to do is fairly simple. I doubt that I’ll have to deal with more than a single user for a while, and handling a few dozen should be no problem.
This appears to be the solution to my problems. I’ll start experimenting with it; a few days will give me a clearer idea of its true capability.