BusyFlag, the project I previously wrote about here and here, went live last month (update: now defunct!). This post is a collection of miscellaneous thoughts about getting the project developed and released, promotion and a few thoughts about the future of this project.
Development and Release
BusyFlag is a pretty small, simple project by most standards. It doesn’t really do all that much! But I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out and with the experience of developing it. I had a very clear idea about how the application would work, right from the start, and it ended up looking very similar to those initial screen designs. I kept it as simple as possible. I certainly wasn’t following a lean startup methodology (otherwise I would have tried to validate that the application was actually solving a real problem before I started!), but I did want to keep it as minimal as possible: just enough to demonstrate the potential usefulness of the idea without adding any extra stuff.
A big reason for doing this project was as a learning experience. I got to use Django on a major project for the first time, and learned about a number of other things: Django’s testing framework (which is really good), Python stuff, deploying Django applications, Vagrant (which I used for setting up a local development environment).
As with most development, getting something initially working was pretty easy. The hard work comes in getting it ready for public consumption: testing, fixing bugs, making it look nice, figuring out how to deploy it, writing the home page copy etc. This always ends up taking up the bulk of the time spent on a project.
Is It Useful?
BusyFlag was definitely an idea that came from personal inspiration, rather than from any identified need that people already had. So partly it’s an experiment: given that this application now exists, does anyone find it useful? At the moment, it’s too soon to tell. I’ll only know when a significant number of people have been using the app for long enough, and when I start getting feedback about how useful it is and in what ways it can be improved.
My hope is that there are teams out there who are looking for something just like BusyFlag, and that they will find it, help me improve it through their feedback, and spread the word. Promotion is about helping these people to find out about BusyFlag. So far, this has included a Show HN submission, some submissions to various startup directories (most of which aren’t live yet as they are hand-curated), a few emails to people I think might be interested, and the links from this blog. That has brought in a bunch of visitors and some sign-ups, but it’s too soon to say if anyone will stick around and start using the app long term. I have a few other ideas for promoting the app, but mainly I’m happy for it to tick along, picking up users gradually over time as they discover it. As this happens, I may find there are improvements I want to make to the application, and it can evolve into something that is really useful to people.
In the meantime, I have a lot more project ideas to work on!