I’ve been toying with the idea of taking on side projects, specifically helping people bring their web application ideas to market in the form of a minimal viable product. I have become very efficient at taking white board concepts and turning them into working software in a short amount of time. Production quality at that, not just prototypes or throwaway code. I’ve talked to a lot of people with good ideas that have similar problems, “I could get this going if I could only code!” Well, I think I can make that happen. First stop is standing up a static website for marketing.
Ruby has gone from a hobby language to my full time language over the last few years. Even though my current title is Architect, there are still a lot of development related tasks that I do, and currently I have an entire team writing a Rails application with myself acting as a lead. What this has done is forced me to be as productive as possible if this team is going to be successful. So far, I say it’s going very well. We’ve even created a side application as a way to experiment with different techniques or gems. What struck me one day was our side project is basically a MVP. Although we are focusing on technical learning, our approach was to define a problem we all have and solve it by writing a product. What we see as providing technical value, someone else could see as providing business value, possibly their business value.
So with that in mind, I realized this is something I can do for people looking to get their idea in front of some earlier adopters.
To get rolling, I’m going to stand up a marketing page with the services I can provide. Just same basic info, maybe some background on my process and some portfolio items. I’m not sure yet if there is any dynamic data I need to work with, but I suspect there isn’t. There are three options I can go with:
- Sinatra: I’m already well versed in Sinatra, I’ve used it for a few things
- Jekyll: I did a small POC in Jekyll years ago. While it could probably fit my needs, it feels geared more towards blogs
- Middleman: I’ve never used Middleman, but it looks interesting, and pretty popular.
Lets hop right to Middleman because it is what I want to try. There seems to be a lot of community backing, a robust extension library, sensible project templates, and who knows what else yet. My next step is to come up with a list of pages and what I want to show.