Monday, April 20, 2015

Startups take note - we're building the same damn thing over and over.

Got a new web based service you want to start selling? Well you're going to need to start coding the same damn thing yet again for the umpteenth time.  The same damn thing incidentally that the rest of the web development world is building over and over again.

Could some enterprising startup please stop this madness and build a generic web application that I can get going in 30 minutes with zero code?

Here's the components and requirements definining what is needs to do - easy to define because it's the same damn thing everyone is building. There are plenty of "best in class" companies in each category but none pull it all together into a seamless whole.  All assume that you're happy to start coding and integrating and getting bits from all over the place.

Website
I want my users to be able to come to a gorgeous looking site (or at least clean and professional anyway) - must work well on mobile. The website is a very substantial part of the requirements. It should look like my website and not show any signs that it is actually constructed using something else. No "powered by Shopify" or anything on it.
Who does this part well: ThemeForest, Shopify, Strikingly, Wix, SquareSpace, TemplateMonster, Bootstrap

Authentication
I want my users to be able to sign in and create an account using whatever the common signin services are (i.e. oauth)
Who does this part well: http://oauth.io

Authorization and user management
I want the back end to handle all aspects of user registration and handle all the crap involved with sending out confirmations, password resets etc. the back end must provide me with an API. the back end must provide me tools for backing up my user and account data cause I don't trust that they won't go out of business one day the back end company must exude the sense that it's my customer base, not theirs. if I get the sense that I don't trust them then I'm outta there.
Who does some of this currently: StormPath, MailChimp

Commerce
I want to be able to set up a simple price plan schedule of service levels and present it in that well known pricing table format that almost all websites seem to use.

Payments
MUST allow me to do subscription payments through Stripe - nothing else will do here.

API
Stripe have shown everyone how to do API's well. I want a incredibly thoroughly documented API with lots of practical examples and wide language support.

Integrated
All the above must be nicely integrated, with ZERO coding required unless I choose to through the API.

Setup and configuration
Hard to see why it should take me more than half an hour in an admin interface to set up all the above.

See what I want? A beautiful, mobile ready site that my users can sign in to, create an account and buy my subscription service.  It should take me 30 minutes to hand over my credit card, choose a nice template, set up my pricing schedule and type in the text.

It's 2015 and I really shouldn't have to do three months coding to pull all this together. Neither should the rest of the development world because that's what a substantial number of developers are probably doing.

Give me an integrated, broadly featured up-and-running batteries included web based business in a box. I will pay because I value my time - I don't want to spend three months coding the same damn thing every time I want to launch a new product.





1 comment:

  1. Wait what, you posted this 'brilliant idea' in 2015 and zero comments! Must fix that! :)

    So, 'brilliant idea', in quotes.... why? Because it's not brilliant? No! It *is* brilliant! It's just that it seems so *obvious* that you wonder why not everyone has this same idea!!

    I've actually been looking at fixing just one part of this whole problem with cloud services, the database. Because setting up a database is easy, but setting up one that starts out as a normal db serving your small web app and then is able to scale up to handling millions of users is actually very, *very* hard. Not even mentioning backups and all that. Still. Looking into the big cloud providers, you quickly find out that, even though they all have 'high availability', 'horizontal scaling' etc, you actually still have to do a lot of (complex) work to actually get all those features.

    Tell-tale sigs are often that you have to pick a zone where you database will be running. Mmmm. Will my users be connecting from us-central or from eu-west or from us-pacific.... Ehm.. It's a WEB APP dammit! People will be connecting from *everywhere*. You are a cloud provider. Why are you making *me* pick the zone? How am *I* supposed to know which one is best? Just monitor my traffic and relocate to the best zone automatically will you? And you tell me you can easily scale to millions of users but I then find out I have to *manually* scale! Why?? Just monitor load and scale up and down automatically. Instead, they try to sell me their monitoring and load balancing solutions....

    Same for all these other cloud services. Yes, you *can* make highly scalable, highly available solutions with them but almost none give you this out of the box. Google's Spanner DB is the closest I could find for databases, but it uses it's own version of SQL so you get vendor lock-in... And actually, I don't *want* a database in the first place! I just seem to need it. Because I need it to back the other parts of the puzzle that I seem to need to build this thing that I *actually* want, which is exactly what you are describing, an out-of-the-box e-commerce ready app.

    I would sign up for your service right away! There seems to be a great need for a product like this but I haven't found it anywhere. Please let us know if you com across it!

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