As I mentioned before, I needed a tool to store my ideas. I did some initial research to find out whether there was a similar application out there. I came across a few online notepads, but most of them supported rich-text or HTML formatting. If I wanted that, I thought to myself, I would have gone to Google Docs, or Microsoft Web Apps. I didn’t care for fancy, I just needed speed, reliability, and universal accessibility. Obviously, the rich apps were not the way to go and were not my competition either. Phew!
The closest to an online notepad was Google’s Notebook app. Whereas it is made of the nice, familiar Google interface, it is a little bulky and you have to be logged into the same Google account to which your notes belong. Yeah, there is sharing, but why worry about that? Also, it is not exactly plain text either and is not even supported anymore, as far as I’m aware. Worst of all, it auto-formats links and has this weird separation of bookmarks and note content. All in all, seemed like a poor choice as well.
Never mind, it was going to be my way or the highway, which usually turns out to be my highway. Or at least my sidewalk.
So I asked myself – could I do this?
Before I could start with any coding, I had to sit down and try to wrap my mind around the entire idea. I had to know what I was about to do and I had to know whether I was actually going to be able to do it. In other words, I first tried to remember all I knew about programming already:
- I decided for the technology with which I was most familiar – ASP.NET and C# for the user interface and Microsoft SQL Server for the data backbone. Visual Studio as the environment of choice is ideal for this setting, because it nicely integrates all the components and makes coding and debugging a piece of cake. Plus, virtually all the tools one needs for a simple app like this were free (remember buying Visual Basic 6.0, anyone?). Way to go, Microsoft!
- I had some experience with databases – that was crucial. All the data for Scribz.net™ was to be stored in a databases because if there are many users, this is probably the only way to efficiently store a lot of data. This one was quite a no-brainer.
- I knew how to handle a simple web application consisting of forms. I’ve done my share of web coding back in the day so I was familiar with the ASP.NET architecture and workflow. Always helps.
- I knew how to tie things together. I had also had some experience with making a data-driven application and so I was not worried about this aspect.
- I had an idea of how I wanted to lay out the user interface (UI). I am pretty particular when it comes to UI. I like pragmatic, clean and functional interface, accessible and intuitive to use. I’ve seen too many school-boy mistakes and this was the chance for me to prove that I can do this well. After all, I’d have to put up with it myself if it were poorly designer…
- I had a hosting company which I thought could support my attempt. Since I had played around with web apps before, I had an idea of which host to use to start with this. One database and one web server on the latest .NET Framework was all I needed and I could get it easily.
- I was eager to make a useful little application which other people might find useful. Simple as that. I knew I would use it, and if anybody else hopped on, it would only make me happy. So don’t hesitate to sign up if you’re not in yet, please :)
- I didn’t really have the time to do this, but whatever, right? A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
So there I was, confident that I had all it took to begin. Now the real question was – where do I begin?