Saturday, October 11, 2008

Office space under 500Rs !!

My budget is for the stationery that I added - not the gizmos I had painstakingly collected over these years - that will be my next post - the stuff that runs on electricity.

Whats in my home office

1. Stickies - 40Rs
2. Color sketch pens - 20Rs
3. World Map - 200Rs
4. India Map - 150Rs
5. LIC diary - 0Rs ( given free by my agent )

I do miss having a white board but it is prohibitively expensive - a decent sized one costs 4000Rs - and also the white board markers are not cheap either.

The backside of the maps are very effective card walls - stickies cling on to them nicely. And I can move the card wall easily. Now I have a visual progression of my project.

You are wondering what is a card wall? It is a must have in any agile project - it visually depicts the "stories" waiting to be played, being played, the ones that are in QA's desk and the ones that have been passed by the QA.

In the first week I did not have the card wall and my partner ( Sangeeta - my wife who is supporting me in this venture) had a tough time visualizing where we are going. Then I hung the world map and laid out the stickies and both of us now have a better idea of what is happening. Now she is totally bought up on the card wall and has made her own now ( with the India map ).

I first thought of categorizing bugs, features, tech stuff with different colors - but then it became too corporatish so I decided to not worry about such things and now I use any sketch that comes to my hand. Its nice to doodle in different colors - keeps the brain in "invent" mode.

Next post : The hardware being used to create the online portal.



Why PHP?

I have decided to build the online portal in PHP, supported by Apache, MySQL hosted on Linux. The most cliched LAMP model. 

Did I consider other players?

* Ruby on Rails : It was very much on my plate. I have done small utilities ( a server status monitor and a code snippet repository ) in rails and was blown away by the speed and simplicity of doing things. However 2 things went against RoR.

ORM : My last project was a .NET project on Hibernate. It was a 2 year old project and already it felt like a legacy application with things tuned for performance to the maximum. They had crossed the return on investment period of Hibernate ( when relations stay simple at the beginning of any project ) and now were paying heavily for having Hibernate - performance, complexity, things moving to stored procedures..the usual pain points. So active Record did not interest me - being a one man army I did not want battles couple of months from now when I have to hack to implement a feature.

Server support:  Nothing can beat mod_php running on Apache. I had to configure nothing. zilch. With ROR things are still emerging - and I do not have the confidence in this space. A good part of my time does go in administering Apache but its something I am quite familiar. I neednot  muck with monit or spend lot of time playing with mongrel (a cluster inside one node!!) to have my app working. Apache just sits there smiling at me doing its work super efficiently. 

*Java : I am more familiar with Java and its framework than PHP. But the pace of development, team that is required, hosting requirements is just not feasible nor affordable. When this portal takes off big time I will rewrite it in Java - with a team. That will scale well, be stable - rock solid, and well maintenable. But the goal here is to bring something out as fast as possible, give it to as many people as possible and create a mind space. 

*ASP.NET : Forget it. I will not recommend it to anyone - even if I get a 1 billion dollar project to redo microsoft.com. ( well on second thoughts I might reconsider :D - I am not Howard Roark !!) 

Hosting : LAMP Hosting is cheap. I decided to go with a Virtual Private Server - gives me lot of freedom and flexibility. It takes some effort and linux know how - but its worth the trouble. More on this later.

In conclusion Php suited me well for the portal I am building - fast and quick ( but dirty like hell imagine code spread all over the place : $this->some_function($this-variable);  It hurts the eyes !! ) 

Next post : How I set up my office space for under 500Rs !! 

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A little about me and who this blog is for

Who am I?

I am a "techie" who lives in Bangalore. But now I have taken a break to embark on a journey - auspiciously on the day Lehmann Brothers went bankrupt, Goldmann Sachs got degraded and blood bath happened in Wall Street. A journey to explore what it is like to go on your own - to be your own boss and create a business.

Currently I am building an apartment management plus residents communication portal targetted at mid to large sized apartment complexes.  Its an alternative to yahoo groups, google groups and orkut that most of the residents use for apartment related communication. 

Who this blog is for?

I have been toying with the idea of starting something on my own for quite a long time. Have read lot of blog posts, books and finally now I have taken the plunge. I intend to help out the souls who want to take the plunge - share my experience and learnings in this new life of mine. Also inviting ideas, tips, tricks that you think might help me in my quest. 

Also, to keep myself committed to this blog, I am going to say what I am going to post next - on every post.

Next post is going to be about the choice of technology for my portal. Being a techie thats what I can think of first. Stay tuned!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Google has run out of space !!

Now I have to reschedule all my appointments because of this...ughh..

"
Thank you for your interest in Google Developer Day India.  Due to huge demand we unfortunately have run out of space and are unable to accommodate your registration this year.  We encourage you to check out our new APIs and Developer Tools on code.google.com. Hope to see you next year.

Sincerely,
Google Developer Team"