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Old February 28, 2012, 07:52 AM
Cornell Cornell is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 202
Default Re: Do you need to be an expert in coding to build a successful startup??

Hi Duane:

How did I learn )

I didn't really.

I just approached it as describing how I saw the software working and interacting with the user and within itself....I sat in 3 different situations...1 as the visitor, 1 as the web site owner, and 1 as the developer. I knew what I wanted the software to do so in my mind I went through each step a visitor to the site would go through in using the site. As the site owner I looked at what I would have to do to set each and every step up to make it all work. And as the developer - can I understand what his guy is trying to tell me.

To answer your questions this is going to be a long post and I may have to spread it over 2 posts.

To give an example I'll have to use our software...it is web site building, content management, etc.

Just like writing a book I started with an overview of what I wanted the software to be able to do and its purpose.

Then I sectioned it off into sections such as templates, graphics, affiliates, products, forums, blogs, eCommerce, etc.

Then I sub headed each section...for example templates...design, functionality, editing, graphics, WYSISYG editor, etc.

Then I simply described my vision of each and the interaction that I felt was needed and also added more sub-sub headings as needed under each sub heading.

Then for each subheading I did a summary, and again at the end of each section a summary.

This sounds rather simple but actually it is quite complex as if you don't lay it out exactly the developer can only second guess what you really want and also cost a lot of money if they have to redo things.

Just a quick example...let's take something relatively simple that everyone has some experience with...shopping cart...


Section: eCommerce

Sub Headings: Display, Checkout, Continue Shopping,Taxes, Shipping, Carriers, Payment Gateways, Special Codes, emails,...and several more and none in a specific order here.

So under the Sub Heading 'Payment Gateways' it would be something like this:

Software must be able to interact with api gateways to process credit card purchases (ie: Authorizenet), third party gateways (ie: PayPal), self testing software gateway.

Software must provide option of choice for the 4 default api gateways with integration into these api's and configuration area as required by each by the user. After configuring by the user the software must apply the configuration in the install and provide encrypted setting of same. Api's to be obtained by developer from gateway's sites.

Software must provide third party section to accomodate system such as PayPal with a configuring area to enter users PayPal information and then apply configuration in the install and provide encrypted setting of same. Developers must program to interact with PayPal as per info obtained from PayPal. This configuration must also include optional use of PayPal sandbox with user able to select that mode and also turn off that mode. Software must recognize when sandbox setting is enabled.

Self testing must be written by the developer to allow the use of false credit card info to do a false system check by the user such that the shopping cart is completely functional such that when an order is purchased while self testing is enabled, the the cart processes the payment throughout the system including the sending of emails to the user, the site owner, and other systems within the software that are tied into the type of purchase according to settings for the different classes/types of products, shipping settings, carrier settings, etc. This system will over ride all other settings for the payment gateways while it is marked to be in use. When canceled then the selected and configured gateways will then be applied to the shopping cart.

Summary:

This section should be accessible by a link from the eCommerce main page.

All options must be on the same page with headings clearly marked. Within each section for each heading there must be a configuration button to open a window where user can input necessary info and then an apply button to apply his configuration to the software. Window will close when apply button is clicked and the information has been added to the software and successfully encrypted.

A secondary radio button is to be available in each section to be marked by the user to indicate which of the configurations are to be applied to the cart and when selected the software will implement these as options at the time of selection of the checkout button on the shopping cart with display as noted in the Sub Heading section under eCommerce named 'Display'.

It is to be noted that only one default api gateway can be selected at any given time and if more than one is selected software must provide a warning screen that selection is incorrect and that only one can be checked for use.

I should also be noted that third party gateways can be used in addition to the default api gateway.

It should be noted that when the self test is activated that at the completion of a test of the shopping cart a popup warning be displayed on the screen to remind the user to return and disable the self test when finished. Secondarily the software will send an email to the site owner if the shopping cart sits idle for a period of 15 minutes while the software is in self testing mode with a warning that the self testing mode is still activated. This process will continue in 15 minute intervals until the self testing has be turned off.

It should be noted that when sandbox is selected in the PAyPal configuration and is not deactivated after a period of 30 minutes an email is to be sent to the owner notifying owner that sandbox has not been deactivated. This process will continue in 30 minute intervals until the sandbox has been deactivated.

Just a bit of an example...shortened just to give an idea of what was needed....some of the descriptions above would have been even more expanded as needed.

We had many conferences with the developers on the blueprint to clarify and answer their questions and explain things even further where necessary to relative understanding of processes, etc....this blueprint was a starting point and guidelines to build from.

Hope this helps a bit in answering your question about the blueprint.

We started with one developer and now have 2 plus a back up developer.

Yes I was a partner in this development and we both were as green as grass when we started.

Well rather weird about the partnership and skillsets.....

We partnered up 11 years ago and we have never met face to face.

We compliment each other in that we each have our strengths and when put together everything is covered....a very unusual situation given that we have never actually met. He is more into technical (servers, etc.) while I am more into design, copy writing, etc....and together there is a synergy.

Hope that answers your questions.

Cornell
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