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404profound

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The past few months have been a firestorm of trying to get the ship back afloat with job applications and interviewing, and I've finally resecured a slowlane JOB that will allow me continued stability / funding for fastlane ventures. I have certainly learned from this year's f***-ups, and I will not make the same mistakes twice.

With the JOB situation out of the way, I have refocused on my fastlane pursuits! I am now deeply immersed in programming hell learning software architecture; specifically learning how the MEAN stack works and the intricacies associates with UX design. It's a nearly vertical learning curve, but I've got a vision for a badly needed service, and I'm not going to let it slip away. A major THANK YOU! to a couple technically-inclined fastlaners is in order, as they offered me some guidance in response to a couple tech questions I had earlier.

I look forward to getting things back on track, learning, and committing to this venture. I will be in touch once I've made meaningful progress.

- Cheers
 

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404profound

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Update:

Deep in the bowels of learning Angular. It is an unforgiving framework to say the least, but once mastered will be a powerful tool for wealth.

Here's a screenshot of my first app. It's still in progress, but it will allow backend data binding to allow product list updates, and allow users to filter based on search criteria. A very simple app, but as you can see to the right, the root directory is basically Russian. I will have to be patient in order to fully develop this skillset, but I will not give up.

- Cheers
 

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How is your app coming along?
Hey, thanks for asking! It's going great. I have more to learn than I imagined, but I've been up to it. I'm nearly done with the client side of the app, and now am working through building the API. I had scheduled user testing with a small group of users for the end of March, but I'll probably need to push it out since I'm not quite where I thought I'd be with API development. I'm staying patient and consistent with progress, but not gonna lie, the closer I get to completion the harder I want to hit the gas to finish the MVP. I've been working 6 hours after work and staying up until 1 or 2 am coding.. which is probably not sustainable on a daily basis haha.
 

srodrigo

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Hey, thanks for asking! It's going great. I have more to learn than I imagined, but I've been up to it. I'm nearly done with the client side of the app, and now am working through building the API. I had scheduled user testing with a small group of users for the end of March, but I'll probably need to push it out since I'm not quite where I thought I'd be with API development. I'm staying patient and consistent with progress, but not gonna lie, the closer I get to completion the harder I want to hit the gas to finish the MVP. I've been working 6 hours after work and staying up until 1 or 2 am coding.. which is probably not sustainable on a daily basis haha.
Can you fake the API just enough for users to be able to give you feedback? This way you'd get feedback earlier and take advantage of the client-side which you've already implemented. If you want to get feedback ASAP, I'd even forget about the backend and focus on shipping a client application with faked data. It depends on whether your focus is on finishing the MVP or getting feedback.
 
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404profound

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Can you fake the API just enough for users to be able to give you feedback? This way you'd get feedback earlier and take advantage of the client-side which you've already implemented. If you want to get feedback ASAP, I'd even forget about the backend and focus on shipping a client application with faked data. It depends on whether your focus is on finishing the MVP or getting feedback.
I appreciate the suggestion. Because of the architecture of the app faking sample data would require an equally intensive build in the state management modules. So rather than spending a lot of extra time replicating the functionality through mutations, getters, etc., I'm electing to keep my state management clean and spend the extra time getting the API right.

That being said, your question got me thinking about another option, which is doing two testing sessions. The first would be a conceptual review and feedback, the second would be a full UX test. The danger there is having a user decide to compete after getting exposed to the idea, so it's probably better to be as close to launch as possible to discourage a "competitor uprising" so to speak.
 

srodrigo

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I appreciate the suggestion. Because of the architecture of the app faking sample data would require an equally intensive build in the state management modules. So rather than spending a lot of extra time replicating the functionality through mutations, getters, etc., I'm electing to keep my state management clean and spend the extra time getting the API right.
I was just saying that because you seem to be learning the tech stack as you build your product, which might lag you a bit. But you know better at what stage your app is. If you are building the API fast, definitely carry on. But remember that it doesn't need to be perfect in order for users to try it out.

That being said, your question got me thinking about another option, which is doing two testing sessions. The first would be a conceptual review and feedback, the second would be a full UX test. The danger there is having a user decide to compete after getting exposed to the idea, so it's probably better to be as close to launch as possible to discourage a "competitor uprising" so to speak.
I'd do a "mockups tests" session with 0 software :) that would give some feedback and save some building time.

You can judge better what's the risk of someone copying you, but I'd say is a rather small concern. What's your users' profile? Are they developers than can ship a clone of your product quicker and better than you? Are they business people who could see a good opportunity and start copying you? If so, be cautions; otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much.
 
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404profound

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I was just saying that because you seem to be learning the tech stack as you build your product, which might lag you a bit. But you know better at what stage your app is. If you are building the API fast, definitely carry on. But remember that it doesn't need to be perfect in order for users to try it out.



I'd do a "mockups tests" session with 0 software :) that would give some feedback and save some building time.

You can judge better what's the risk of someone copying you, but I'd say is a rather small concern. What's your users' profile? Are they developers than can ship a clone of your product quicker and better than you? Are they business people who could see a good opportunity and start copying you? If so, be cautions; otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much.
I am admittedly a bit paranoid about copycats. That's probably the thing I need to work on most haha. It's probably not a justified concern yet.

As far as the API, the biggest reason I want to get it done before testing is authentication. I want to test user reactions to the way I have certain functionalities reserved for account holders. My hypothesis is that I've included enough functionality for unauthorized users that it will provide adequate value and allow them to become invested in the app enough to register. But we will see.
 
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404profound

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What's the quickest way you can validate the idea?
Go outside, and, on hands and knees, beg the deities above to confirm or deny that I'm not building a piece of shit.

..

But in all seriousness, it would be to have a landing page that excepts email addresses in exchange for some kind of early access or notification about the release of the app. But that again makes me nervous because of copycats. Maybe I just need to let that go, idk.
 

NMdad

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Go outside, and, on hands and knees, beg the deities above to confirm or deny that I'm not building a piece of shit.

..

But in all seriousness, it would be to have a landing page that excepts email addresses in exchange for some kind of early access or notification about the release of the app. But that again makes me nervous because of copycats. Maybe I just need to let that go, idk.
There are always ways to talk directly with your intended users/customers--without going the open-access-to-all-landing-page route. Identify 20, 50, or 100 specific people who you think would be ideal customers, talk to them, show them your super-rough & ugly MVP, and get feedback. Getting out of the building & talking to potential users will shortcut your time, prevent missteps, and quickly show you whether your idea has potential or if you should kill it.
 

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srodrigo

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Go outside, and, on hands and knees, beg the deities above to confirm or deny that I'm not building a piece of shit.

..

But in all seriousness, it would be to have a landing page that excepts email addresses in exchange for some kind of early access or notification about the release of the app. But that again makes me nervous because of copycats. Maybe I just need to let that go, idk.
I'd seriously consider that. There is actually a great post about success using the landing page approach and how building stuff first failed for the OP:

GOLD! - How I lean startup’d my way to $240k+ on the saturated App Store
 
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404profound

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Update.

Dante wrote of nine circles in his depiction of hell. I think he forgot the tenth; implementing a user authentication process across a full stack application.

Holy smokes.

This is easily the hardest intellectual thing I’ve ever attempted. I’m getting closer to figuring it out, but it’s definitely extending my timeline. Unfortunately it’s not something I can come back to later.. it’s critical to the user’s data security. Will update again soon, hopefully with better news.
 

kila5454

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Sounds brutal. My app is using redux to keep track of a login and logout choice. This allows for conditional screen rendering as well since the frontend constantly re-evaluates redux state. Do you have a centralized frontend state manager? It makes life way easier in terms of full stack auth. We also have implemented google and facebook login, partially because redux makes it more doable.
 
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404profound

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Sounds brutal. My app is using redux to keep track of a login and logout choice. This allows for conditional screen rendering as well since the frontend constantly re-evaluates redux state. Do you have a centralized frontend state manager? It makes life way easier in terms of full stack auth. We also have implemented google and facebook login, partially because redux makes it more doable.
I’m using vue / vuex which also implements flux state mgmt pattern. I’m very new to authentication, however. I’ve been trying to use jwt and passport to persist the token in localstorage but my app is complex enough that I’m having a hard time routing the permissions. How does state managed auth look, is that essentially mutating a boolean to determine if the user is authenticated? Guessing a component reads the state map to trigger an axios call or something. If that works for you I may go that route.
 

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kila5454

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I’m using vue / vuex which also implements flux state mgmt pattern. I’m very new to authentication, however. I’ve been trying to use jwt and passport to persist the token in localstorage but my app is complex enough that I’m having a hard time routing the permissions.
The dart packages for google and facebook login that we use simply accept a token as an input and that allows the auth stream to be validated, rendering the user and pulling their information from the database. If you could link things to google or facebook with a js package then you wouldn't need to think about the token. In addition, more people would use it because login would be a breeze.

I also made a web application where I had to keep track of the token a few months ago. What I did was put it on the window as a property. It feels jenky but you don't have to f*ck with local storage if you go that route.
 
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404profound

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The dart packages for google and facebook login that we use simply accept a token as an input and that allows the auth stream to be validated, rendering the user and pulling their information from the database. If you could link things to google or facebook with a js package then you wouldn't need to think about the token. In addition, more people would use it because login would be a breeze.

I also made a web application where I had to keep track of the token a few months ago. What I did was put it on the window as a property. It feels jenky but you don't have to F*ck with local storage if you go that route.
You may have just saved my a$$ with the google / facebook strategy. I’ll give that a try this week. Thanks!
 

srodrigo

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Yeah, almost everyone has Facebook and is happy to log in with it for a project targeted to customers (not business).

I don't really get why people go the complex route (flux, redux, etc.) for something that should be a prototype, or and MVP. It just adds so much complexity, which is usually unneeded, that slows down the development. I would have personally built the MVP in a more "normal" way (which doesn't mean messy) and leave flux/redux for when there is enough state complexity to justify it.

EDIT: Grammar.
 

ManlyMansNegator

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Yeah, almost everyone has Facebook and is happy to log in with it for a project targeted to customers (not business).

I don't really get why people go the complex route (flux, redux, etc.) for something that should be a prototype, or and MVP. It just adds so much complexity, which is usually unneeded, that slows down the development. I would have personally built the MVP in a more "normal" way (which doesn't mean messy) and leave flux/redux for when there is enough state complexity to justify it.

EDIT: Grammar.
Even on bigger projects , firebase is the perfect database in most of our cases.
 
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404profound

404profound

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Yeah, almost everyone has Facebook and is happy to log in with it for a project targeted to customers (not business).

I don't really get why people go the complex route (flux, redux, etc.) for something that should be a prototype, or and MVP. It just adds so much complexity, which is usually unneeded, that slows down the development. I would have personally built the MVP in a more "normal" way (which doesn't mean messy) and leave flux/redux for when there is enough state complexity to justify it.

EDIT: Grammar.
Based on what I’m building there’s already enough compliexity for state management. State management is not the issue, that part is already finished. Authentication is the problem.
 
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404profound

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Even on bigger projects , firebase is the perfect database in most of our cases.
Firebase isn’t free after you exceed a certain data limit. If I can implement authentication with open source tools trying to avoid anything commercial. I dont want to have to worry about their contract sonetime down the road.
 

kila5454

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I think redux makes things way easier overall since you don't have to pass state around between components and it's in a central location. It's a tough learning curve but after you get it it really speeds things up.
 

ManlyMansNegator

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Firebase isn’t free after you exceed a certain data limit. If I can implement authentication with open source tools trying to avoid anything commercial. I dont want to have to worry about their contract sonetime down the road.
Firebase is free up to 1 GB , if you are implementing a few JSON files it should not be too difficult to store the data for around 8000 users.

IMO if you have 5k users you can then move onto other DB systems like PostGress etc
 
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3/20 Update:

It has been 168 days since I've begun developing my app. Last night I logged my 1000th hour of work on this app. This comes out to just under 6 hours per day of work towards the app (in reality it's 4-5 on weekdays, a bit more on weekend days). During this time here is what I've accomplished:

1) Gone from knowing nothing about coding to knowing:
- HTML5
- CSS
- SASS CSS preprocessor for optimized performance
- Javascript
- Vue framework for the front end
- Node javascript runtime for the server
- Rest API architecture
- Various javascript libraries for dynamic design, authentication, account management, and so on

2. Conducted exhaustive market research on a problem and its associated market. I've pinned down:
- The geographical dispersion of the target market
- Their average age
- Their purchasing habits with regard to solving the problem
- Their typical profession and income
- Their goals and motivations

3. Constructed full stack application to solve the identified problem

4. Scheduled in-person alpha testing for the MVP

5. Contacted multiple investors to get incite on how my idea can be made more marketable

Next steps:
- Finalize data structures to commit to the API and the front end
- Finish off user authentication (this has been killing me, but I've figured it out)
- Set up the database to scale so it doesn't shit out in the event I reach a high user count
- Write copy for the landing page and determine an appropriate design to engage first-time visitors
 

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