Inspiration Came! Building “That” App

Inspiration Came! Building “That” App

1/28/2021 Status

  • Prod, Staging, Dev and Test Environment Setup:  COMPLETE
  • Automated build and deploy from github:  COMPLETE
  • Backend Mongoose CRUID operations built with automated Mocha testing:  COMPLETE
  • UI:  In progress.  Is this ever really done?  See here.
  • Registration and Login via email / password:  COMPLETE

Staging Server URL (note that it may take a minute to spin up as this is on their free tier):  https://pen-pal-staging.herokuapp.com/

It’s time!  For months I have known that I needed to build my own app.  More than just building fun apps like twitter clones and the like.  But as with anything else in life I wanted to be inspired in order to do it.  For a while I have been kicking around an idea that I had and then I finally decided to go for broke and do it.  It’s a bit more complicated than that as this also ventures into the “make some money” territory because it will be based on subscriptions.  Over the years I have come to realize that passive income should always be a goal:

  1.  Make a site where people will come to create the content and view content that other people have created.
  2.  Get them to pay you money for the service

In my past life I was bestowed the title of “architect” to go along with my senior dev hat.  In the software world this is an interesting title because it implies that you are both a master of the technology as well as organization.  While I love being the technical go-to guy I am happiest when I am given a task and told to run with it.  I love starting at the beginning of a project with no specs and only a vague goal to be accomplished.  One of my proudest moments in this area was when I was asked to create and execute a plan for moving an entire environment to the cloud – it has nothing at all to do with making software.  Management had identified that I am good at organization and asked me to take on the task (it was a big success!).  Anyway, at this point I get all prickly and I go away and think on it for a bit.  And then I start writing.  LOTS of writing.  Why?  One of my mottos in life:

Measure many times.  Cut once.

So I spent a week mulling over my idea and then I got to writing.  Or in this case, creating a spreadsheet:

I wanted to approach this project as if there will be a team working on it.  The dev in me wanted to get right to hammering because that’s what devs do.  I don’t know what my future holds – maybe I will continue down the path of freelance work, maybe not.  I wanted to create a project template that could be re-usable.  At some point I plan on taking a course in how to formally do this but for now I’ll go with what has serve me well:  trust my instincts and use my intellect to create and logically organize large tasks into smaller tasks.

Ok, enough of the flowery stuff.  What am I making?  Well, for now I won’t get too much into the details.  Maybe I am being paranoid, I don’t know.  But I can share some details:

  1. I will be using the MERN stack (MangoDb, Express, React, Node)
  2. The application will have three environments (dev, staging and production)
  3. Every function will have an associated test using Mocha.  It’s a good idea but I also don’t have a QA team :-).
  4. Continuous integration will promote the application to staging / production.
  5. There will be a subscription / billing component to the application (first through paypal, later on stripe and more).

So that’s where I am at.  At this writing I am knee-deep in the project writeup and happier than a pig in… well, you get the idea.   I’ll update this as I go along.

 

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