Vincent Ritter

Code challenge - Prelude and Day 1 - Setting things up

This will be a regular (daily) series of blog posts for my own personal code challenge.

Prelude

This week I already set wheels in motion by thinking about the name for my web app. I never really liked businesses ending with ‘ly’, ‘fy’ and you name it. You know what I mean… something like ‘Appointly’, ‘Calendly’… *cough*

So, I came up with two very simple options for myself… they are not perfect and I might just change it:

  • Just Schedule
  • Simple Schedule

I wanted to go for Just Schedule as I named a few of my projects starting with ‘Just’ - kind of inspired by “Just Do It” and “It just works” but encapsulate that it “just” does what it says and nothing else.

I consulted my wife, who’s opinion I trust, and she recommended “Simple Schedule”. So did my sister.

Simple Schedule it is. I think it perfectly fits what I want to do at this stage… create a simple scheduling/appointment web app. I have to be honest, I am not great at coming up with names… just like naming methods and functions in code!

I registered simpleschedule.net with Gandi.net, a registrar I hold many domains with for many years, on Tuesday, 5th of December 2017. Naturally the .com was taken by some parked domain service. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There is nothing on the domain yet, still at the Gandi holding page from when I registered. Update 2017-12-10: This now points to one of my servers with a holding page coming up on 2017-12-11.

Gandi does offer awesome DNS service out the box, however I decided to use my DNSimple account in this instance. Their interface for adding domains and keyboard shortcuts are just awesome. Not to mention really awesome customer support. I run a few clients through the account so it doesn’t add too much to my costs. Yes, there are free services out there like Cloudflare and others, even Linode (which I also use) have DNS hosting. Anyway, more of a personal preference.

Day 1

Today was my first official day on the project. I already blogged about it earlier, to get me started. Blogging about something, especially a challenge, just helps me to motivate myself to keep going. Yes, I did try something similar in the past… unfortunately my work circumstances were not great.

I opened up TaskPaper today, to get me back into the swing of using it. I just started jotting down everything that was in my head about the app. I made several notes in my “pen & paper” notebook that I always keep on my desk. Without it I would be lost!

I wanted to jot down a quick feature set of the app, although it turned out I got into more details than I wanted. I also created a task list just for Day 1, to try and work through some crucial little steps.

To summarise day one from TaskPaper:

  • - Set up email @done
  • - Set up Mailchimp and link account to agency account @done
  • - Verify domains with Mailchimp @done
  • - Work on quick overview feature set @done

@done means it’s done :)

MailChimp I’d like to use for capturing email addresses for early sign ups and perhaps some beta updates as I go. Next week I’ll probably work on getting this integrated into a holding site. Down the line, I may use it for 'opt-in' marketing emails just to let people know what updates the app is getting, although that will be 'opt-in' only. I never liked spam and want to respect my users.

Email is set up and working through hello@simpleschedule.net and sent that famous test email to myself… something I always do to see if it all works. Always exciting! Gandi offers free mail service with your domains, which suited me for many many years.

Regarding the feature set… I did start work on a high level overview of the app and what it does. I also got into detail on pricing. Pricing is important and I want to do something a bit different. I want to avoid monthly pricing. Everyone does that. Perhaps it is too early to think about it… however I wanted to do something that is abnormal compared to the natural flow of things I see around the web. I’m not sure if it will work. But I do want to avoid monthly fees being charged for months and months for a customer that hardly ever uses the service. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I would rip someone off.

To save a headache and a half, I’ll run the site through my consulting business based here in Kraków… just to keep it simple. If it’s something that requires a separate entity down the line, I’ll change that. One tax return is easier than two!

So, here is a very early view of the app, ideas and pricing. I haven’t changed anything, so you can see how this works in my head:

Early thoughts:

A few random thoughts about the app to get me into the flow of thinking of everything.

Pricing:

  • - $2 per event.
  • - no monthly charges.
  • - free for early believers and contributors for life.
  • - Easy because you just do it once and be done with it. Don't want to hold anyone ransom and forget about their bill. Less support headache, maybe.
  • - Describe why $2. 19% to tax man plus fee to Braintree and conversion fees, yay.
  • - First event for free.
  • - BrainTree UI drop in integration (keep it easy)?
  • - Save credit card info.
  • - Allow Bitcoin? Maybe... BitPay? Can't use Stripe yet... not in Poland at the moment.

App:

  • - Simple to use, focusing on just making an appointment.
  • - Easy UI. Nothing dramatic and too fancy.
  • - Little details here and there (I know what that means).
  • - Built on Rails.
  • - Hosted on Heroku.
  • - Simple registrations.
  • - Have different types of possibilities for events:
  • - A full day event - useful for large gatherings i.e meet-ups, code challenges etc.
  • - A full day with time slots - useful when taking bookings for meetings.
  • - An event, running over multiple days, with either of the above.

Other:

  • - Run through my business to keep costs down.
  • - Do something like "by Vincent Ritter" - explain that on invoices and payment receipts.

I’ll expand this over the next few days. Also, for those that would like to see a screenshot of the notes above, here goes:

Overall slow today but steady progress. I've done a lot of offline thinking over the course of the last few weeks and hope to get everything down and 'locked in' over the weekend.


Side note:
I wrote this article mainly for myself, to follow along when I look back at it at some stage. If you did like what I wrote and are interested in some of the services I mentioned above please consider using the following affiliate links, this will help me reduce some of my costs. I use affiliate links because I truly believe in the service and use it day to day.

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