Throughout this https://train44ir.org software and business development, I have wanted to build just enough to create a minimum viable product which would be taken to market to both raise funds from Sponsors and prove the concept works as envisaged with the Students. The goal was to get the Mobile App working with 5 Students using it as “guinea pigs”, which could then be shown to the Sponsors to prove the concept. In doing so I was challenged by someone to consider reading the book “The Right It” by Alberto Savoia.
Having now completed the book, I’m so glad I was recommended this book as it will probably save me both a lot of time and a lot of my own money. The concepts the author talks about are a specific instance of Prototyping called “Pretotyping”, which uses a lot less money and time to validate the concepts and refine the ideas, before spending too much effort building something which could well fail very easily. So, this is how my week panned out below, not as much Software development but more business development and thinking, with the goal of succeeding.
Refined the look and feel of the website
Before reading the book, I spent some time making the Website look better and crisper than the initial default WordPress template offered. This took way more time than I’d budgeted for but thought that it was important to make a good impression and have a more solid based from which to socialise this whole concept, so pressed on and finished it. Its good enough for now but will need a lot more work later.
Get email sending for the “forgot password” link working
While also still in development mode, my next goal was to get the “forgot password” link email sending working from the Mobile App, so that people could reset their passwords when they forget them. Pretty critical. This meant researching how to configure and send emails from within the low-code environment. I found an obvious library and tried that unsuccessfully for an hour, then decided to read up on how to do it. The very first thing I read was don’t use that old library X, things have moved on since it was released, use Y! Great! So, to cut a long story short, I ended up subscribing to sendgrid.com and got it working via an API. However, I had to use a completely different smtp domain name because initially I’d build the train44ir.org in Google Cloud Platform but without setting up the smtp email side of things. Just used gmail. I figured it was time to get the proper train44ir.org email domain working now.
Get train44ir.org email working
So I had to decide, do I configure the GCP VM for email and use Squirrel mail for webmail (which to me is now way past its sell by date) and have the hassle of securing it all or just move the email part over to a local ISP I’ve used for other sites. Not have it all in one central place but split out, mail here web there; at least the mail is free! I decided that using the local free option was better, because an email only domain is included in the package I already have and would be quicker. Not so. This took much longer than expected because I’m no DNS fundi and trying to configure Googles firewall and DNS to point some here and some there started getting messy and wasn’t working.
This led to get train44ir.org migrated
So I decided to move the website and email over and get it all local and at a very reasonable price all in. Also, all in one central place with less personal management necessary and well secured. The ISP support is really great 24 x 7 and efficient. With GCP you have to get it all working pretty much yourself without support, which if it’s not something you do all the time, one does need a little support every now and then.
This decision meant backing up the train44ir.org WordPress site both the files as well as export the database, to build the new environment which is on a different flavour of linux and trying to get it all working, without disrupting the existing website. As I write this there are still some issues getting https certificates installed and working, etc. By the time you read this post you will be up on the new site, which if it all goes according to plan, minimal to zero outage of the website and local so faster for locals to access.
Created a Business Model Canvas
Back to the Business Development side, which I started doing in between waiting for DNS to propagate and certificates to be setup, etc. As an Enterprise Architect I am always very conscious of defining proper Business Concepts that force thinking about the concept and assist in sharing the common business model. This will also be used to share the thinking for potential sponsors later down the line. This is what was defined as the first iteration of the thinking.
Created a Business Proposition Canvas
Similarly, I also built a related Business Proposition Canvas model which works for both Students as Customers and Sponsors as Customers. Later I might split it out into two separate models, one for each customer type as this is a platform business model. This is what was defined as the first iteration of the thinking.
Created a Not for Profit Sponsorship Fundraising timeline
In planning for a fund-raising drive to get sponsors onboard is not something I have ever done before so had to do quite a lot of research on how to go about raising funds. I started by thinking about the planning process and built up this model which can be refined nearer the time. My next plan is to build up some of the ideas learnt in the Pretotyping book, about gathering data on how many likely Sponsors this concept will get, before going too much further with any of it.
Started investigation on the Push messaging API for OTPs
As part of development also started last week, before reading the book, I signed up for a service called OneSignal.com to make use of their browser and mobile Web Push facilities from and to the Student Mobile App. The plan is to use this as part of the security feature of the Forgot Password as well as for general notifications such as one time pins (OTPs) to the Students. I found the documentation also rather out of date on this add-on plug-in for the Outsystems.com environment. There is a OneSignal.com plug-in, but since OneSignal.com themselves are refactoring and enhancing the product so quickly, the supporting documentation within Outsystems.com is a little dated. I now need to scour the Forums for others having issues and see if there are any articles in there that solve my issues. Progress. I got the plug-in installed, got a test button in the app to register approval for receiving push notifications, but just having issues on understanding what the various parameters are and mean.
So this week, with other different life challenges besides work, not as much development progress. That said, a lot of overall progress in the business conceptual thinking. My plan is to work on the various Pretotypes and some development next week.