Planning an application

Since the last update on the Web App Challenge a fair few things have happened.

To begin with, I’ve been fortunate to connect with some amazing people, also taking part in their own web app challenges. We have a Google Group where we are currently sharing ideas and advice – you’d be surprised at how much overlap there is even though each of our apps are different.

Each participant has their own blog and I’ll post with links in my next post.

Now, an update. Nathan and the others have all been decided to spend 20 hours or less per week working on their app. So far I’m managing about 10 hours per week at best. Regardless, I am still making progress.

My app has a home, about, and pricing pages as well as some “internal pages”. I also have secure (in my opinion) user sign up and authentication built.

With any luck I will have a basic version out and being used by the end of February so I can start gathering feedback.

So far I am happy with progress, especially since I lost the last 5 days to poor health. I know the big picture of all the features my application should have. I also know which would provide the most value and therefore be included in version one.

My plan is to clearly map out the “flow” and user experience to make sure if nothing else my app does this one thing beautifully and adds real value for the user.

Once I’ve got a clear idea of how it should work I’ll get back to coding and hopefully be done by Feb 28.

Writing this now, I don’t think I’ve actually explained what I am working on or given much context. Keep with me and I will reveal all in the next few posts.

I got a Raspberry Pi!

Sitting at my desk on Tuesday morning I spontaneously ordered a Raspberry Pi. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking but I went on the site and just ordered one. I ordered a Raspberry Pi with a clear case. Unfortunately the package where the Pi comes in the case was out of stock, but I could order the two items separately and have them the next day for £1 or so more. (Surely it’s more expensive to put the Pi in the case and ship it?)

As promised the Pi turned up on Wednesday and I began to play with it. I decided that most things I could do with a linux box I could do with my VPS, so I decided to make a home media center with my Pi. Some swift googling led me to OpenElec – reviewed as being one of the better XBMC distributions for the Pi and only required a minimal amount of space, which was good because I only had a 2GB SD card handy rather than the recommended 4GB.

Long story short, I love my Raspberry Pi + OpenElec. It’s taken me a good few days to get it running the way I want and scan my media, but now all my media is just a couple taps away (using any android phone in the house as a control).

On the flipside, playing with the Raspberry Pi has totally distracted my time away from my Web App Challenge. I haven’t made any progress since Tuesday night. I’ll be getting back to business tomorrow night and will write more about how I set up the Raspberry Pi and more details on how I am progressing with the Web App Challenge!

The Web App Challenge: £0 to £3000/month in six months

It’s a new year. Time to re-focus on those life goals and keep life heading in the desired direction.

I was reading Nathan Barry’s blog today and have decided to join him in the Web App challenge. Unlike Nathan, I have some idea about the web application I want to build, but I’m still researching and planning at the moment. To be honest Nathan’s post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m hoping to be just as transparent and take inspiration from his aggressive approach and tight timeline (leaving me less time to procrastinate!).

What our challenges have in common

– Extracting ideas in the style of Dane Maxwell

– Building a web application

– Using Ruby on Rails

– Looking for to create a SaaS (software as a service) product.

How our challenges will differ

Unlike Nathan, I’m assigning a budget of ZERO. I plan on doing the design / development / marketing etc by myself, whilst working full time at my job (which is often more than the usual 9 to 5).

I have experience in programming with Ruby and Rails, but have never built a full web app, especially one I intended to sell. I’m hoping the next few months will solidify my knowledge of Rails and allow me to create software that provides real value to my eventual target market.

Join in?

Whilst the Web App Challenge isn’t an official challenge (as far as I know), I encourage you to join in. It would be nice to have some community to share the ups and downs and building a software product with. Besides, what better way to start the new year than to start working on a new project?

To our successes in 2013! Happy new year 🙂

— CD