I had a problem: And the solution was terminal

By Antti Kontoniemi, Software DeveloperAug 7, 2019 • Read time 3 min

We all encounter a range of everyday problems in our lives, both large and small. At Wunderdog we’re no different, but we do have the advantage of being excellent problem solvers with some pretty advanced technical skills — helping us to find innovative answers to some of life’s tricky problems.

A dark and drizzly problem

It was the end of October 2016. The hazy and drizzly weather made Helsinki resemble the mean streets of some film noir movie. On the day in question, I was just finishing my workday: closing applications on my laptop before throwing it into my backpack and heading to out the door.

That day, like every other day back then, I needed to catch the bus back home. And as usual I’d left work without checking the timetable — I was in for another long wait before the bus turned up. As I watched the city lights reflect off the cold, wet streets I asked myself the question I had asked a million times before: why was I always too lazy to check the timetable before leaving work?

A terminal solution

Back at work, the last application I had open was a blank Terminal window. I am certain that every programmer knows the magic of that solitary cursor blinking in a pure black window. The minimalistic beauty of a raw and robust tool without any dropdowns, inputs, popups, or mouse clicks. While watching that blinking cursor I thought how cool it would be if I could just write my timetable query into Terminal and get the results I needed delivered straight back to me. As I stared at the black screen I suddenly realized the answer: a coder’s got to do what a coder’s got to do.

That evening, I began to code a command-line-based route planner using JavaScript and it wasn’t long before I had the first version published to npm. That’s one of the reasons I love JavaScript: you simply get things done with it.

Problem solved

Here we are back in 2019 and my route planner has been downloaded more than 4,500 times. I have happy memories of programming the application and it taught me quite a bit — not to mention how much time it’s saved me from waiting for the bus or tram to arrive! One thing’s for sure, I couldn’t have done it without @HSLdevcom, so big thanks to them for providing such a great API for their public transport timetables. Check out the code of my route planner here.

Piispa, an homme fatale with a terminal solution, has been coding at Wunderdog since 2015.