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Web software development ain’t unlike Dating

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Just for FUN

Nerds! You have the right skills to succeed at dating.
Romeos and Juliets! You have the right skills to succeed at
web software development

OK! Before the puritans of software development shout “BLASPHEMY”, let me clarify the above a little. While I tried making this article light-hearted with such a comparison, I really want you to understand that the attitudes needed are similar and you just have to apply them correctly depending on the situation – dating or web software development.

Celeroo Builder is all about making web software development fun and easy for developers and business users. Here is a series where I will give a thousand feet view of web stuff in a way you love (pun intended!)

The first article in the series is an overview written for entrepreneurs, application architects, business analysts and programmers. To understand it, you need not know much about software development. But it helps to read up a bit about dating, though.

By the way, if you are really phenomenal at web software development and spend all your time doing it (I mean web software development), you can use this article as a tutorial for your next date. I wrote it like that as you, most certainly, need it!

One Be presentable.

You are a nice person. But the first impressions are made based on your looks. You must be clean and take care of personal hygiene. A disheveled look, a bad breath or BO is not going to help you at all.

Web software development

Likewise, your web app must be presentable. Users, on an average, spend less than 30 seconds on your site to decide if they want to dig deeper or not. You must cut down gibberish and unnecessary hype. You must present the information about what your app is all about in a concise, simple, neatly laid out format, and in easy to read fonts.

Two Allow them to speak too.
Software development
Photo taken from http://personals.aol.com/articles/2008/09/11/are-you-boring-your-dates-to-death/

I am sure you have had at least one date with a person who just goes on and on about themselves: their problems, their smartness, their life… yawn! I am doubly sure that that was the last date you ever had with that person.

Next time you design a web application, be aware that it works the same way. If you are in command all the time (YOU write the content, YOU get the users’ data, YOU control their navigation), you are bound to bore them. The more you dominate, the more boring it gets. On each screen/page, ask yourself, “what AND how can my user contribute to this page on his/her own?” If you don’t, know that that was the last date you have had with the user.

Three Even better, let them chat and discuss with friends as and when they want.


A note for the non- programmers - The above two concepts are so revolutionary to the nerds that when they realized their power, they unleashed a new era called web 2.0. It took them about 10 years of intense internet coding to realize that a bit of talk makes things fun.

Four Get close and personal as you get to know them more.

I mean, whoever wanted to date someone who said “Welcome Ms. Thompson” on the 10th date. You are expected to learn more about your date each time you meet and take the right step forward in the next date. Don’t act as though you can barely recognize them from others.

Original photo taken from http://iamiconic.net/shy.html

You think it is obvious, right?

Then why in a web application do you think “Hi Juliet” or “Welcome Romeo” is the greatest and the only way to customize the application?

Instead, you should track what Romeo and Juliet and John Doe and others like by understanding what they are using on your app, and throw them up for them as a surprise. As more people use the application, build the smartness in the engine to figure out what people like more, and bring them up for the new users.

Power of a web application (unlike a desktop application) is that many people use it. So, you can learn so much from their actions to serve each customer better.

Five Don’t fulfill all promises in a rush. But, don’t get miserly either.

Send a really valuable (need not be in terms of money only) and thoughtful (think…think) gift often. But, be sure to surprise them. A routine gift a day is more boring than you think. They simply don’t get the attention they need. Don’t get misled by their fake surprised look. This will not be the only thing they will be faking and soon, you may be in for a bigger surprise.

Original photo taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/moxmas/489036548/

Currently, there is an intense debate raging in web software development community.

There is this old school of developers who load their software with features and more features. Then, they come up with a dotted release every month and a major release every quarter where they add even more features.

There is a new school pioneered by 37signals-like folks that says “less is more”. They choose to offer less than their competitors. Ease of use is far more important than richness of features.

If you have to blindly choose between them, go for the later. But, then less does not mean miserly. So, don’t go crazy blindly adopting “less is more” concept. Research what features really matter and add them all. Research a lot and narrow down to all the required features.

After all, if you were to go on a blind date, wouldn’t you want to know a lot more in the first date itself, and see if it is worth continuing?

Six KISS. No, not yet. What I mean is, Keep It Straight and Simple.

Human beings like simple people. No complications. A bit of laugh, a bit of fight, a passionate hobby, a passion filled job. If you are like this, just know… that line below is for you.

It is same with web software development. It is not how many or how few the features are. It is how simple each one of them is made.

At Celeroo, we have developed a very good (and simple) way to measure it. We see how long our help documentation is. In the next version, we make it 20% shorter, not by removing features, but by simplifying them. We have a “20% less” goal for every new version release. Similarly, when we add new features, we first identify all the workarounds available for each feature. We add a new feature if and only if we can reduce the number of tasks by 40%.

Seven Respect privacy.

They trust you. It is your minimum responsibility to live up to that trust, and to trust back. Lasting relationships are built on truth, honesty and trust.

In web software development as well, the data and user information is sacrosanct. You must ensure that the application is secure in all respects.

Eight It is not the language but the execution that matters.

Full moon night, candlelight dinner, red Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon or sweet red Adesso 2006 Cagnina di Romagna (nerds! Learn to pronounce these names correctly), melodious music, flowers all around. Who cares whether you talk in Greek or mime? The environment is beautiful and perfect for your romantic date.

.NET, J2EE, PHP, Ruby or Python? It does not matter. Plan the architecture, coding standards, frameworks for scalability and robustness. Get advice from the experts. Once these things are done correctly, you can do wonders with any one of those technically capable environments.

Some of the most powerful applications are built in scripting languages. So, it really does not matter which language you choose. It is the execution that matters.

Don’t waste your time on those millions of threads dedicated to mud-slinging on why one language is superior to another. It just gets noisy with proponents of each language (and they are all intelligent people) putting forth arguments in favor of their preference and against others’. You will only end up confused.

Nine You need to understand before starting to act.

Don’t try to kiss in the first fifteen minutes. It does not simply work that way however charming you are. You simply cannot create that kind of a bond that early, that is, if you are looking forward to a long-term relationship. If it really works for you, just realize that you are playing Bond, and it is just a movie. It will end pretty soon.

A still from Dr. No

Many a times you find people who are upset that coding is not started on the second day. If you are used to bidding in freelance sites, I am sure you know what I mean. The most hilarious requirement I saw was:

It is a different matter that the budget was all of $250-$500. Of course, the bids also ranged between $150 and $500. Come on! If you cannot spend time analyzing, documenting, envisioning your app, no one else will.

Whether you are a programmer or an entrepreneur, spend enough time discussing, brainstorming and documenting before starting with design and coding. A project like the above with the conditions and budget has FAILURE written all over it. Why bother even starting it?

Ten Good dates ain’t easy. You better put in everything you got.

Whether it is a web app or a date, they demand your thought, energy and resources.

Good teams, reasonable timelines and budget, and a decent infrastructure are a must for successful web software development. Don’t think a programmer from a far-off country can build you a YouTube in $500, or the above spec in $150.

Thinking that web software development is just coding is like thinking that dating is just having dinner in a restaurant. Don’t kid yourself.

Eleven Make sure it is working before you take the plunge.

Check all aspects (and reconfirm) before you announce to the world about the development. Let them guess till then.

Original photo taken from http://blogs.smh.com.au/lifestyle/asksam/archives/2009/03/

Allocate enough time to test all aspects of a web app, modify and make things better, and ensure that it meets the business objectives of the original requirements, before you finally launch your app.

Nerds! Enjoy your next date.
Romeos and Juliets! Enjoy web software development.
Celeroo Builder will help you succeed in web software development. You can build
web apps cheaper, faster and better. Click here to see all the benefits you will get.

We look forward to a long lasting relationship with you.



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