I reached a milestone in my project progress yesterday. I have just put a very crude version of my app out for alpha testing. Unfortunately this is three weeks later than I had originally planned back in January. At that time I was hoping to do an alpha release over the Easter holiday. About half the delay is due to problems with the place I decided to host the app, Heroku. My app seemed to screw up their import system and for days I could do nothing. It also seems a bit slow – noticeably slower in production mode than my old laptop in development mode. When I get to beta testing I’ll probably move to a different host. I can’t complain too much, as their service is free and in beta. They are definitely worth checking out for small developments or hosting.
The other half of the delay is caused by the time taken for my expectations to return to their original level. Over the last three months my ideas on what the app should do have expanded greatly, and that week of delay was me trying to add some last minute features. I could have kept going forever before releasing anything. Ultimately I decided it would be best to get something out even if I knew it was a crappy bare minimum. I hope my alpha tester will persist through some trying times, but right now I need a little direction. The app is definitely not as easy to use as it needs to be and I suspect the design is atrocious. The plan is my alpha tester will help direct me to the areas that need most attention, and guide me away from those that are less important.
I have decided that my next milestone will be the end of May for expanded alpha testing. By then I hope to have something that I can show to a small, but slightly larger group of people. Anyone interested?