Building a Product

I think I’ve hit a point in my career as a software developer where practicing within my area of expertise has a much lower return of investment than it used to. So I’ve been looking at other programming languages and other programming paradigms to help me evolve my career and become a better developer.

So I’ve decided to re-open my long lost blog (which I started back in 2004 but eventually deleted it a number of times) to document my progress about not one, but two projects:

  • An Android application for Rescue4x4
  • A web application for joining and managing dog-related events

The first application is rather straight-forward as it needs to be some sort of mix between Google Maps (so people that need help can position themselves on a map and create an incident) and Pager Duty (for those with 4×4 cars that can help with an incident). An add-on feature might be the live chat, which could simplify communication between rescuers.

The second one is a bit more complex but thankfully there’s a tool that’s already built and used called FTMS. Right now it’s used only in the UK and it’s only for Field Trials, but it helps simplify a lot of the work people involved in managing events.

In Romania, where I’m based, virtually every dog club has to implement a tool for managing registrations and payments and sometimes that’s quite error-prone for both the dog owners and the event staff. It would be a lot simpler if:

  • Event staff could register their own event (with details like venue, location on map, contact details, fees and so on)
  • Dog owners would only need to enter their dog information once per dog (full pedigree name, pedigree number, date of birth, microchip number, performance results and so on)
  • Registration would only require a click and a confirmation email
  • Payments could be done online, via a debit or credit card
  • Titles and results could be added automatically to each dog, based on official results

There are some secondary features that could prove interesting from a business point of view, like tracking of the results of pups from different matings or automatically building web pages for certain stud dogs.

Why am I thinking of building these products?

In the first case, it’s a new platform, a new programming language, a different programming paradigm. As a software developer that builds APIs for clients having this sort of experience with a mobile client would only help. The second project is interesting because I already have the technical skills to build it but I’ve never tried to explore the business part of a product.

Also, I’ve decided to write about them on my site to document my progress and, hopefully, help me build a chain.