It all started as a simple challenge to create an alternative to the current tools we were using at work. Boredom can be a good motivator. I talked about it in a previous post and I finally have something to show. Bare in mind that the tool is still primitive. I have decided to make a break down on what happened in the past month or so.
I researched the competition is and how their tool work. One thing I learned is if you have an idea and there is absolutely no competition, there is probably no market for it. Google, facebook, tumblr, instagram and many more were not new ideas, there were plenty of competition before they got started.
I found some simple command line tools that take screenshots. I figured I can use a command line tool and wrap my framework around it, and it worked like a charm.
I tied the project to a webapi so I can make an http request to get the screenshot of a website. This was very basic, no validation was done, any request would pass for a correct one and tie ressources.
The basic version of the web interface was ready. I added a little bit of information on the homepage to explain how the tool works. I deployed a password protected version of the site so friends and family can test it and break it.
After consulting with a friend I have a pricing model finally. It seems fair and very affordable compare to the competition. $9.99 a month for hosting my api on a website, with unlimited number of request. $4.99 for any additional website.
This type of service can use a lot of resource, it will be very difficult for one machine to handle all the request. I decided to rewrite the application to scale horizontally.
Apparently I don't know much about computer networking. My network drives were extremely slow. After contacting my hosting company I realized that I had setup servers in different datacenters.
Tomorrow is the deadline and the two friends that started the challenge with me have chickened out long time ago. However their input were very valuable to the completion of my project.
I am posting links about the service, on popular websites like hackernews, reddit, slashdot and so on to get beta testers. The tool is not ready for prime time, I still have servers dying off randomly but the tool works most of the time.
I like the idea that I don't know what I got myself into. It started as a simple project that I can handle to something that I have to put a lot of time and effort to make it work. I am happy to already have positive and negative feedback. I will keep updating and fixing and hopefully getting customers. So far i had few registrations and I am optimistic. No matter how it goes I know that I can only learn from my own mistakes.
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