Sanity check your Web App dev strategy with Dion Hinchcliffe – PART 2

In my followup to PART 1 of this post I have listed Dion Hinchcliffe’s next 25 recommendation for developing a web app strategy:


Is your Web Architecture made from a house of cards?

  1. Monetize every page view (26.) – As a SaaS app will be charging a monthly subscription service fee. So, no ads.
  2. Users’ data belongs to them, not you (27.) – Tell Facebook this! We intend to enable customers to export their historical data as part of our service.
  3. Go to the user, don’t only make them come to you. (28.) – Great ideas for creating Facebook applications, OpenSocial gadgets, and enabling use from mashups. have successfully taken this approach with Facebook, LinkedIN,etc.
  4. SEO is as important as ever, so design for it (29) – We’ve learnt alot from this blog and on data URL address-ability.
  5. Know thy popular Web standards and use them (30) – We think open standards is the future, so embrace it 😉
  6. Understand and apply Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA) (31.) –  We are using a leading proven and stable web-app development framework for rapid dev and differentiation. We understand the need for standards for customer interaction.
  7. Online products that build upon enterprise systems should use open SOA principles (32.) – SOA is not a factor for our service.
  8. Strategically use feeds and syndication to enable deep content distribution (33.) We intend to offer feeds for key data points that matter to our customers. Our customers’ feedback will drive our direction.
  9. Build on the shoulders of giants; don’t recreate what you can source from elsewhere (34.) –  ‘First Rule of Architecture Club’ – reuse where possible! Our framework gives us much reuse capabilities, however sometimes we have needed to build ground up to bring flexibility.
  10. Register the user as soon as possible (35.) –  The 37Signal’s FedEx form is a great example of improved forms/registration. Simplicity is the key. Not thought about OpenID.. an idea to think about 🙂
  11. Explicitly enable your users to co-develop the product (36.) – We want to co-dev as much as possible but first we need a product to start the conversations.
  12. Provide the legal and collaborative foundations for others to build on your data and platform (37.) – Open API is a goal.
  13. Design your product to build a strong network effect (38.) – Good idea for many social Web 2.0 apps but not sure this one fits so well with our service.
  14. Know your Web 2.0 design patterns and business models (39.) – We believe we have a product and revenue model which should work.. Only time will tell.
  15. Integrate a coherent social experience into your product (40) – Web infrastructure monitoring is primarily a internal concern.  However, experiences and advice could be shared on our forum.
  16. Understand your business model and use it to drive your product design (41.) – We are going to be Freemium and our value proposition is tuned into the changes resulting from the current economic climate.
  17. Embrace emergent development methods (42.) – Companies such as MindTouch and Intalio have embraced this Crowdsource approach, however healthy profits still  need to be made to survive and grow.
  18. It’s all about usability, usability, and usability (43.) – An obvious but excellent point. UI is king!! And we want to put as much time and effort into this as we can afford.
  19. Security isn’t an afterthought (44.) – Simon, my co-founder,  has a strong background in security working for a Global Credit card company/Bank. SaaS startups must understand security because it’s a major barrier to uptake.
  20. Stress test regularly and before releases (45.) – Already cover this one.
  21. Backup and disaster recovery, know your plan (46.) – Again Simon and I have a background in infrastructure so we know the rules and will stick to them
  22. Good Web products understand that there is more than the Web (47.) – .Humm, let’s crawl first 😉
  23. Look for emerging areas on the edge of the Web (48.) – Innovate but don’t educate the market at your expense. We are being careful with this one.
  24. Plan to evolve over time, for a long time (49.) – That’s why we love the Tech business – it never sits still 🙂
  25. Continually improve yourself and your Web 2.0 strategies (50) – Stop, reflect and start again. The best form of design 🙂

Interestingly there were some negative comments of Dion’s post:

“this is a terrible article… it’s like hearing about someone is development saying ‘be nice, love others, do your homework'”.  I responded saying:

“I do not believe there is an ‘insightful’ silver bullet solution any problems in life including web app dev. Following the basic principles extremely well is often the answer plus a little bit of lady luck. But we often find the obvious is hard to follow.”


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