Not so rapid application development

I recently re-launched, my super, super simple birth announcement service. I’ve rewritten it in Laravel: a PHP-based rapid application development framework. And one thing I learned is that launching even a super, super simple web application in public is a far from rapid process. is basically a big red button that changes the word “NO” to the word “YES”. Other than that function the app needs user registration, and log in and log out functionality. And yes, that’s pretty much it.

Except, if you’re making a thing like this public, search-engine indexable, social-media optimised, responsive/mobile friendly, secure and spam free. If you want it to handle outgoing email well, include analytics and be user friendly. And probably a host of things that I’ve not considered.

At one point, the app was, to all intents and purposes, functionally complete.  But my todo list for it looked something like this:

  • Add analytics
  • Write privacy/cookie policy for cookies and basic terms and conditions
  • Add welcome notice after login
  • Add ReCapthca to prevent spam
  • Configure transactional email (MailGun)
  • Send email to admin on signup
  • Explain form fields
  • Add OpenGraph and other meta data and sort titles
  • Test in Facebook debugger
  • Add favicons
  • Add about page
  • Configure email forwarding
  • Add sitemap
  • Make sure webmaster tools works
  • Add to uptime and domain monitoring

And so on.

I knew all of these things had to be done, and it didn’t take me long to rattle through the list, but the process reminded me that rapidly developing an application is one thing. But there’s so much ancillary stuff that you need to do to make something public on the internet.

Don’t be fooled. Tools help developers achieve great things in short spaces of time. But a good launch requires thought, planning and knowledge of quite a few things that go beyond the realms of just coding something.

I’m sure I forgot some things too. If I did please let me know in the comments.

And feel free to share the site with any friends you have that are expecting. Being constantly asked “has your baby arrived yet” is a bit of a bore. ?