10 Years of HydroOffice

Published on Sunday, February 21, 2016 by Milos Gregor

This month it is 10 years, during which I work on the HydroOffice project.

I think, it is amazing, where the project got. At the beginning, this website was running as simple CMS on php server. Software package contained few simple tools that arising from PhD thesis as a byproduct. With gradual development and updating I create relatively large software package in which many people don't believe me that all development and management is controlled by one person.

Because of the tenth anniversary, I decided to show several numbers and interesting information from the project background. Project was launched online in February 2006. Over the time, without major marketing effort, HydroOffice has spread to 130 countries, with more than 1,500 registered users, who have made more than 12,000 installations of individual tools. Currently HydroOffice package contains 15 independent installable tools and another one is ready to launch. HydroOffice software contains about 2 million lines of code in 7 programming languages. Development of these tools always started as my real need in hydrogeological practice.

The following chart shows the growth in website traffic (unique visitors) between 2012 and 2015. As can be seen, traffic constantly growing and significant declines are localized in summer seasons.

Next plot shows monthly increase in the number of registered users. This increase over the last four years is relatively constant.

With the growing of registered users, grow also the number of installations. Installations vary significantly between months, but in the last time the average number is around 170 installations per month.

In January 2014, I launched the ability to purchase a license for commercial HydroOffice tools. Until that time, the entire package was distributed as the freeware only. This part of activities is also developing promisingly, with ~380% annual growth.

The most important motivation for me always was to understand the nature of solved problem. I would never be able to understand the nature of any hydrological method to a depth if I did not create generally applicable software for it. In the process of software development and testing, you can understand the essence. Very interesting views or questions can arise for example from simple user questions. I’m for example influenced by nature of local hydrological data in Central Europe. But when I receive question from user that is living in arid region, I must change my vision. This greatly enriches me.

In addition, I get a number of interesting international contacts. Very valuable side effects for me are the lessons that I learned and experiences from other non-related areas. After 10 years, for example, I am able to develop almost any type of software that can run on a variety of platforms.

All of this can prove one man after dinner. Therefore, I recommend every student to try to build a similar project. Even if it didn't work as expected, you can get a lot of new experiences that shift you in finding of future employment into the front of all candidates.