Building an app I need
I really like new things, like new years, new food and new projects. And here we are, at the beginning of a new year and I’ve been thinking of an app idea I’ve had for a while which I now think it’s the time to realize.
Choosing what to build
I have many ideas for potential apps, and the list keeps growing. Don’t we all? And deciding which to build is not an easy task and cause a lot of doubt if the idea even is realizable at all and if it will be usable. During the fall and the holidays I finally picked one idea which I will implement. The idea I’ve settled with is perhaps one of my oldest and I now think that I have accumulated a lot of experience building full stack web based apps from scratch, which is why I think now is the right time to get going with it.
The app idea is not complete and not a new one, there are already plenty of apps in the same area. So why make another one, you might think? Yeah, I’ve asked myself the same question over and over again too. I’ve tested and used so many similar apps that it’s almost tiresome and I’ve found none that satisfies my needs and desires.
“If you want something done right, do it yourself”
Of all the apps I’ve found they are either too simple, too complex, too ugly, too slow, too buggy or lacks must have features like sync between devices, cross platform support, offline support, sharing with other users or teams, public sharing or responsive design/mobile plus large screen UI. In other words, the idea for building the app has grown out of pure frustration with the existing alternatives. Although I wouldn't have picked the idea if I didn't believe I will make a good app out of it or if it won't be fun to build.
What kind of app am I talking about then?
The main contender is Google Keep, which I use daily but am quite frustrated with, but my idea is not limited to its features. Other alternatives that my idea will be able to match feature wise is the now discontinued app Wunderlist (replaced with Microsoft Todo), Todoist, Things 3 and Trello, just to name a few. In the long run it will even compete with bigger “enterprisy” apps like Jira. Off course implementing a competing feature complete alternative to something like Jira isn’t an easy task and will perhaps never happen either. My initial goal is therefore to replace Keep with a less buggy, more reliable and faster alternative. When that goal has been reached I will focus on extending the functionality to be able to replace apps like Trello and similar. I already have great confidence in my planned data model that it will fit for both the initial goal and the next, and even beyond that. I will talk more about the data model in future progress posts.
I will mainly develop this app in my spare time and because I have a family and three kids it will be a long journey, but hopefully a fun one! I've been really inspired by Vadim Demedes and his work with Lotus so I will also build this app in the open. If you want to follow along you’ll be able to do it here on the blog (until the app has its own page), on my Twitter (@joakimbeng) and in an upcoming email newsletter for the app. Please reach out if you have any input, suggestions or just want to give a thumbs up!