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Havent posted for a good while.. been incredibly busy working on a side project which seems to have a life of its own.
Collabapi.com is not quite ready for release, but I’ve been using it to get real work done for a while. Its basically a much quicker way to develop data centric apps. This kind of app is useful for tracking all the information you need to run a business well – the stuff that goes on paper / word / excel forms. It would be great if there was a quick way to make it mobile / web and have the data in electronic format from the get-go so you could search it more easily and so on.
Example App : Gym Membership Sales Pipeline
We can start by making a form each for our Salespeople, and our potential Customers. I configure up the data model in the App Designer for these, save those changes… then the app comes up on web and tablet straight away :
I did this by configuring the fields, checkbox items etc, and the app reflects this ‘datamodel’ :
Apparently there’s a sales-cycle thing we want to keep track of –
- initial contact
- see if the customers interested
- what are their goals
- book a meeting
- get them to signup
- success! happiness! cash!
So here’s a go at modeling up a sales call…
… hmm, promising and a good place to start, I can actually put that in front of the Gym Owner and her Chief Sales Maven, and they can try it out on the web or on their tablet device.
The point of this article is not to say ‘you can do apps real quick in Collabapi’ … which is kinda true.
The coolness is really just the way we can iterate and experiment : get something out there quickly and get the users to make suggestions.
Its more of a GSD or MVP / lean-startup approach to making apps. Its not just for business apps, but I think it will be really handy for business … putting the love back into the ‘small-data’ that’s important to most people.
I’ll talk a bit about the technology under the hood at some stage – and there is a lot of tech under the hood – but for now, that’s a good place to pause and have a cup of tea :]
justgord at gmail dotcom
Lately I seem to be busy mainly with consulting to Internet and Mobile startups, and one of the things I get asked a lot is which technologies I recommend for a given project.
It seems to work best when I give two approaches to serving data, one based on newer tools such as Node.js and CouchDB along with a more conservative alternative using Ruby on Rails or traditional LAMP stack as underlying technology.
As a prelude to the detailed project plan and data design, I usually give an overview of current trends.. I get asked that a lot, so I thought Id put my observations online here as a few bullet points :
Technology Trends :
- Web and Mobile projects are converging [one usually implies the other]
- Most data is social data [for the user and the people they interact with]
- Most data naturally fits a tree or graph structure [tabular, not so much]
- JSON has replaced XML [hand-in-glove with web, iPhone, Android ]
- Scalability is a feature [can be deferred, but no easy migration path]
- The days of generating HTML from PHP are gone [use JSON feed + jQuery]
- People still use PHP and MySQL [it works, you can find developers]
- Code using MVC frameworks tends to be overly verbose [Zend, Rails, Django]
- Node.js and CouchDB are cool [but the newness of NoSQL is risky]
These are universally accepted as a good thing :
- iPhone vs Android : both are good, competition is great!
- Architecture : [ server data store ] <–> [ JSON ] <–> [ Web / Mobile client ]
- AppStore revenue model
These are technologies to watch for :
- SVG [allows new kinds of User Interface on web & mobile ]
The above observations and predictions raise some interesting questions.. but Ill save that as juice for another post.