Side projects are like comfort food for coders

An interesting post that I saw, and liked this part which I can relate to:

Excessive side projects. Side projects are like comfort food for coders. I’m a believer in doing a side project here and there to keep burnout at bay. Unfortunately, there was a period where I overdosed on them and was working on enough side projects to rival my real startup. I think it’s particularly easy to fall into this trap when your company is new but not brand new, i.e. traversing the Trough of Sorrow. Better to just suck it up and stay focused on product.

Developers in Pain

A few days ago my friend Don sent out a Twitter message linking to this crazy funny video. The video shows “homeless” developers with cardboard signs saying things like “Every day my boss changes his mind about what we’re building.” The somber piano music only adds to the effect.

Choosing a Platform: Ruby on Rails vs. Other Languages

Here’s a few links about Ruby on Rails vs. Other Languages which I received from a Ruby on Rails developer we are working with on a separate project.

Designed Settings Page and Our Default User Picture

Today, I designed the settings page for our web application. On this page you can enter and change your username and password, view billing receipts, change your credit card, export your data (in CSV format), and also upload a user picture.

For the user picture, we’ve decided to go with the typical square image, since that’s what everybody is familiar with. We’re thinking about trying something unique, and that is to also allow you to upload an image of your logo. It’s unique because only you will be able to see it.

As you can see, we allow people to upload two images. The image of the cowboy just might be our default user profile picture. We’re still trying to decide. What should we name him?

That’s an example of how it will look once you integrate both images into the header. It’s a nice and clean look, and is one of the ways people can personalize the web app.

Amazon S3

amazon s3Several web applications have begun using Amazon S3 for all of their data storage needs. It’s a fascinating idea because they offer incredible prices for data storage, all o fthe redundancy and backup you could ask for, and remove the cost of dealing with hard drives, computers, and backup ourselves.

I’m not quite sure yet whether Amazon S3 can store a database, and what it would really cost considering all of the constant data transfer, but if Amazon S3 can handle what we want to do, and for less cost, we may consider using it for Roundup. It would enable us to scale easier and without the added cost of additional servers and infastructure.

Defining Roundup

ponderOne of the key things I’m learning about as we build our web application, is that it’s far too easy to lose sight of what your product does.

Originally when we set out to build Roundup, it was just a tool for tracking your time.

Over time we realized a lot of people create lists of things they need to do, and then track time against those lists.

So we added a task area.

Of course, we couldn’t stop there. We knew we had tasks and tasks are always associated with a project. So we had to create methods for managing projects and clients.

Before we knew it, we weren’t sure if we were building a time tracking application, or a product that helps you manage your projects.

This presents a number of questions. Where does our product fit in the market place? Does it compete with time tracking applications or project management applications?

Do we market it as a time tracking application (its strength) or as a project management tool?

And does it step up to the plate in every area? Or is it strong in one and weak in another?

These are the challanges we are facing at the moment. I will of course continue to post here about our progress.