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How to get my project off the ground? (a gamified study site)

Discussion in 'General Business' started by Dirk the Web Phoenix, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. #1
    Hello, everybody:

    I am a former web developer trying to get back into the profession. Dealing with ageism and a jungle of new languages, libraries, frameworks, and standards, I have failed to get employed so far; but I also have ideas for projects that could make me money running them myself. One of them is a gamified online study tool I am currently building.

    This project faces me with a bunch of issues where I could use some good tips, for example in which forum to persue any of the following issues (and am I overlooking other important issues???):


    ___1.)_Funding___
    Since the tool should probably be free in order to grow a user base, I think I should start it out as donationware (a free website with optional donations). Problem: (A) How to implement online donations (personal payments? register a business?)? (B) How to avoid chargeback fraud costing me for example $20 in chargeback fee for a $1 refund when there should be no permissible refund requests at all? (C) How to avoid that a third-party transaction service like PayPal, Stripe or Patreon meddles with my complex transnational tax situation (wrongly reporting my money collection to wrong tax agencies, rather than leaving the reporting to the one held responsible: me)

    ___2.)_Traffic___
    How to easily measure number of visits & users? With certain hosting services? With WordPress using traffic plugins? Or build myself a PHP code that saves user visit totals inside files named as cryptic hashes of the users' IPs? With lots of users might this overwhelm a server? Would a database be less easily overwhelmed, say by a million users? (Quizlet allegedly has 50 million!)

    ___3.)_Community/CMS/DB___
    To let users save and share learning material, maybe make it a WordPress site? Or is it better today to link a frontend site to some database via API calls? Or is it all too risky because of potential copyright violations?

    ___4.)_Quizlet-API___
    Maybe manage to link it up with Quizlet's learning materials (allegedly Quizlet has an API for that) so I can focus on the gaming code AND don't have to worry about copyright violations of learning materials? Anybody know anything about this API?

    ___5.)_Freemium___
    If it grows, but donations are lacking too much, time might come to advance to a freemium model. What's a good way to do that? Binding the project into WordPress and use some kind of Fremium plugin? Or set up some money transaction that delivers a random code then hashed with the user's IP as a server file? Or do the latter as a cookie on the user's device so there is no server-side account management needed?

    ___6.)_Copycats___
    Potential competitors with deep pockets and the possible audacity to copycat my project or even outright steal the code could ruin it all, too, especially if I am slowed down by the other points mentioned. Any ideas?

    ___7.)_Hosting___
    And what might be a good hosting service to use? (ideally free to start out with, paid when the bandwidth rises, and not blocking potentially necessary things like PHP or PHP's mail() function; maybe offering automatic backups, easy maintenance, easy scalability...)

    Can anybody give me some clues about any of these issues (or others I failed to mention)? What's the fitting forum for getting deeply into any single issue?
    SEMrush

    Thanks a million for any hints or clues. :)
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Oct 18, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    Hi - well done for doing your homework before completely committing to the project

    1. ...
    2. Use google analytics
    3. There are many dedicated education CMS like Moodle. I would be looking at WordPress as a last resort unless you find a decent plugin but even then... meh Not what it's designed for
    4. ...
    5. Freemium is a great idea, but I'd need to see your plans re target market, the length of time they'll use it etc before I'd know for sure
    6. Protecting your intellectual property is always going to be a big part of running the site. You want to be big enough to make money but small enough to avoid being ripped off. Talk to your real-world lawyer about what real-world protections you can put in place.
    7. You should be able to use pretty much any competent hosting company. If your userbase is likely to be large then a dedicated server would be good or you could look at Google's Cloud hosting or Amazon. The right answer will be obvious when you've picked your software and worked out your projected loading. I'm kind of involved in a project delivering distributed training to thousands of users - but in reality, we'd be lucky to have more than a handful online at any given time and that would be a huge success for that organisation because of the nature of the information imparted. Others need much, much more traffic to be considered a success. The software might be identical but the hosting requirements will be different.

      Oh, and don't rely on mail() if you have a big site, it'll be throttled. Look instead at services like Mandrill and MailGun. A small extra cost which is easily justified.
     
    sarahk, Oct 20, 2019 IP
  3. Dirk the Web Phoenix

    Dirk the Web Phoenix Greenhorn

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    #3
    Thanks, sarahk. :)


    > 2. Google analytics

    I thought about it too, but (A) it may be overkill (like tracking where visitors came from when I mostly just want to know how big the user base is and how often they re-visit) and it may cause trouble with new privacy laws like the awful European GDPR. But maybe I should take another look at it.


    > 3. Moodle vs WordPress

    Since my project is a self-study tool rather than classroom platform, and since I know WordPress (WP), I prefer the latter. My main worry is that if I use WP for letting users save their learning material and share it with others, it creates an inflexible connection between a given learning material and a chosen game version (when I may create multiple versions and a variety of games)

    It would be best to somehow let users choose both the game (version or type) AND the learning material independently from each other. Hence my musing about some form of API call approach to some database or some PHP coding linking to a same-server database or some such. Any tip there could be VERY useful.



    > 6. ... You want to be ... small enough to avoid being ripped off.

    That part I fail to understand. If the project got big, how would it/I be ripped off more than otherwise?



    > 6. ... Talk to your real-world lawyer about what real-world protections you can put in place.

    Hm... any tips on how to find a suitable lawyer? (there are so many lawyer specializations, which to look for, esp. in the U.S.?)



    > Oh, and don't rely on mail() if you have a big site, it'll be throttled.

    Hm? How?


    Thanks, anyone, for more tips and experience sharing. :)
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Oct 23, 2019 IP
  4. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #4
    Moodle and the other education platforms allow for self-paced study. I'm rusty but I'd spend time evaluating the main players in that space before choosing WP just because it's comfortable.


    From re-reading your first post you seem to have identified copy cats as a very real threat. If your server is secure and you have proper login processes your Intellectual Property should be secure. If someone signs up, pays up, there's little you can do to stop them stealing your concepts - but because of the gamification with users getting different content depending on their progress - they'll never see absolutely everything.

    My point was that if your niche is very specific you'll evade the casual copycat. We get them on this forum all the time asking questions like "what's the next big trend?", "how to identify a high paying niche".

    So if your site was educating folk on natural hoofcare for horses you probably don't have to worry about copycats
    But if your site was on becoming a highly paid copywriter you would



    Your family lawyer should be able to refer you to someone they respect.



    Hosting companies will "throttle" the number of emails you can send to, say, 100 per hour and if anything goes wrong they'll simply turn it off.

    I have a client that uses Mandrill, we pay the bare minimum fees at MailChimp and that gives us pretty much unlimited emails. We send them in one big batch and, yes, they're still throttled but I can view their send progress and the throttling is more intelligent than a simple counter. We control the subscribe/unsubscribe which means fewer integrations of our customer information. We also get callbacks so I can feed back to the users how many opens/clicks they get and we get intelligent feedback on bounces.
     
    sarahk, Oct 23, 2019 IP
  5. jrbiz

    jrbiz Illustrious Member

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    #5
    You seem to be thinking through a lot of the "product" issues you will be facing and that is great. @sarahk has given you some great points on those subjects. Are you at all concerned about how you might market your service once you have built it? "Build it and they will come" really does not work on the Internet. :)
     
    jrbiz, Oct 27, 2019 IP
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  6. Dirk the Web Phoenix

    Dirk the Web Phoenix Greenhorn

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    #6
    Thanks, both of you, for your helpful comments. :)

    Oh, I see. When it grows, it attracts more copycats. And, yes, I have noticed those odd $$ questions in these forums when I conducted searches on my issues. We live in such a money-desperate world now.


    Oh, you were referring to outgoing emails (that I am currently not aiming at). I've been using PHP's mail() function for contact forms. A contact form usually seems sensible to me, which is why I like the function to be available on a server.


    Hm... I expect to have the user base grow mostly by word of mouth (a.k.a. sharing). But you are probably right that at the beginning I should somehow arrange for a sufficiently large starter group of users. Of course I lack dough for expensive ad campaigns, but thanks for hinting at this issue that I haven't thought enough about. :) *sigh* As a techie, such business aspects tend to be quite alien to me. It's quite a jungle I am forced to get more familiar with.
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Oct 29, 2019 IP
  7. NetStar

    NetStar Notable Member

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    #7
    Personally I think your concerns are holding you back. To get started you just need to execute. Don't be concerned about copycats... you can't stop them and they aren't interested until you actually have a presence and a profit margin. Most major companies are SLOW to execute. I work for a company where an idea can take MONTHS to deliver a product with all of the corporate BS where I feel I could personally code it over the weekend.

    For hosting you just need something that can get you started and allow your to slowly burst. A decent VPS will give you plenty of room to grow before you need to worry about cloud hosting and AWS etc.

    If you have a VERY custom niche idea you most likely will need to program yourself. However, it is in your best interest to use already made solutions that can speed up development. So for instance, if your web site requires a Forum then purchase an existing forum like Xenoforo and modify.

    You need to take an MVP approach. Which is Minimum Viable Product. This means you develop the bare minimum features to get your product in to production ASAP. This allows you to 1. test the market and 2. acquire customers as you extend your product. The worst thing you can do is spend too much time developing a product that never reaches your market. This is the problem with copycats... they try to develop EVERYTHING to compete with a successful 10+ year existing product while trying to skip the foundation steps. Your product must grow in maturity. It will never start off as a mature product.

    Use PHP libraries, Frameworks (bootstrap, laravel etc)... ignore people like deathshadow who will slow you down.
     
    NetStar, Nov 1, 2019 IP
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  8. Dirk the Web Phoenix

    Dirk the Web Phoenix Greenhorn

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    #8
    Thanks NetStar. :)

    That sounds quite reasonable to me. Copycats are not my main concern. The main reason I want to clear the path relatively well before I start walking it (i.e. putting my project online) is that I will then be able to move ahead fairly smoothly. This happens to match well with protection from copycats which otherwise might outrun me and take over my niche. What adds an actual worry about copycats to me is an Ee-commerce course I was driven to take in which I became uncomfortably familiar with unethical greed-driven people hounding the web.


    What would be nice would be an easy transition when it becomes necessary.


    That's one reason why I posted my questions. My main issues along that line are #2, #3, and #5 because I lack experience with them. Especially #3: how best to connect learning materials with the game(s) flexibly, so that users can store them, share them, and pick them independently of the game they pick to study them with. On a WordPress site, users could simply post their learning materials as posts, but the game might be non-flexibly connected to the same post. It might be better to create a WordPress site only for the learning materials and host the games separately if I knew of a way how to link the two together. This may actually be simple (decades ago I had JavaScripts move data among pages), but I haven't gotten around to address this, yet. Another worry, though, is not so much technical: Could I be hammered with copyright violation accusations concerning the materials users post?



    That's basically my plan. For this I need to know how to test the market though (question #2), and how to turn free users into customers or contributors (questions #1 and #5).


    True. In that case the project would revert to what it started as, namely a portfolio element to show to potential employers or clients. Having it make money for me directly would be preferable, though, but that is a new territory for me. Hence I try to inform myself before I possibly make big mistakes or get stuck claring these questions at a time when I should be advancing the published poject.


    Well, that's one of my problems. Figuring out which of these would fit the project well if I can indeed not stick with the pure languages (HTML, CSS, JS, (PHP)...) that I am familiar with as an oldtimer (and which interestingly seem to be on the horizon again).

    Uhm... "deathshadow"? Is that a member of the digitalpoint community? :-}
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Nov 8, 2019 IP
  9. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #9
    Well he is kind of shy and usually doesn't say much, but yes I do believe that @deathshadow is a member of the DP community.
     
    Spoiltdiva, Nov 8, 2019 IP
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  10. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #10
    You folks rang?

    Dirk, let's go down your list.

    1) Funding. Honestly, I think you're getting too hung up over the third party side of things. A simple Paypal donation button is easy to implement: they hand you the code. When it comes to reporting income you can print out reports that are no more complicated -- often they're far simpler -- than if you were trying to manage this yourself.

    I don't advocate off the shelf a whole lot (we'll get to that shortly) but when it comes to financial transactions, just do it... and since you're taking donations without a sale, there is no need to worry about refunds and charge-backs. At least, not through Paypal or GoFundMe.

    I would probably suggest goFundMe, but if you're really worried about it try to find the refund policy of whatever service you go with, and as a rule of thumb treat all donations as if they do not exist for 180 days and keep 20% of all money collected as a backup ten-thousand series (assets) fund for fees. I know that's a harsh waiting period but it is one by which you can be reasonably certain of keeping your head above water.

    2) Traffic. Any decent hosting plan should come with a log analysis tool like webalog or analyzer. All the information you would/should/could need is right there. If you're REALLY worried about the pointless minutia of your traffic because your inner marketing executive needs a good wank, add something like Google Analytics on top. As to handling traffic numbers that really goes with your third point.

    3) CMS/DB. What you're doing sounds a bit unique. Off the shelf answers particularly for content delivery don't do unique well. ESPECIALLY steaming piles of dung and poster children for everything wrong with modern development like turdpress. Might make you THINK you got off the ground quick, but over time it will make life harder, and in general more often than not tell large swaths of users to sod off with the inaccessible broken bloated code.

    No matter how many people sing the praises of such things.

    If you craft a custom database, use good practices like hashed passwords with a MODERN algorithm like whirlpool or SHA512, maintain a "push" attitude towards security (never pull security data from the DB engine, only verify against it in the engine -- hence PHP's password_verify is right out), and plan that when traffic levels increase you will have to research and spend into scaling and distribution, and you should be fine.

    4) Quizlet. Tying yourself to another site's functionality when what it provides is the core of your functionality -- the entire thing you're wrapping game-like interactions around -- might be a bad idea. What they provide isn't rocket science to implement, and having your own implementation will make it easier to customize for interacting with your gamification. I mean it might save you some percieved time at the very start, but it could take more effort to maintain, limit what you can do, and overall long term whip around and bite you. I've seen this far, FAR too often.

    5) Freemium. Normal subscription service for better features. The implementation for that being no different than any other subscription... they pay for a time period, your system acknowledges the payment by changing the user's expiration date in a table that you load into the session when they log in. Not rocket science.

    6) Copycats. Using unique code for unique features will help make it harder for someone to just blindly upload turdpress, slop some shoddy insecure plugins into it, sign up for some off-size quiz api, and be exactly where you are. But really it's better to be copied than ignored. I agree with @NetStar on this, you get big enough for anyone to try, you're already top dog.

    Marketing 101, never acknowledge the existence of your competition when you're top dog. If this is a unique concept that currently doesn't exist, you're top dog if your the first foot in the door.

    7) Hosting. Because you'd be starting out small, a $50/mo or less VPS would likely easily handle your traffic numbers, though that depends on the size of your content.

    Finally, in your opening statement -- and my response what gets @NetStar's knickers in a twist -- you say:

    Stick to the standards and core languages, ignore derpy halfwitted mentally enfeebled TRASH like frameworks.

    There are NO good front-end frameworks in that they all make you work harder, not smarter. I don't care how many "experts" in the field run their mouths about how much simpler or easier they are; they either don't know enough of the underlying languages to flap their yap about how to build a website much less tell others how to do so. They promote bad and ignorant practices, pissing on good concepts like separation of presentation from content, semantic markup, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, and dozens of other proper / useful methodologies from so on-high you'd think the almighty just got back from a kegger!

    Back-end frameworks look appealing, but more often than not fall into the same traps of bad practices, or worse trying to shoe-horn programming models into the underlying languages that do not fit the operational flow of a website. See how many people cream their panties over MVC when to be frank, in languages like PHP it is a total task complexity mismatch. The end result are bloated slow sites where you've not even learned how anything works, leaving you high and dry when something goes wrong, up manure river without a means of locomotion on doing anything unique/custom, and dealing with server-load above and beyond your traffic numbers.

    The fanboy's of such trash's usual defense always being "well we can just throw more hosting at it" or "let's throw more code at it". Because of course when you're riddled with bad practices and a slow site, more code is the answer. Of course it is.

    For those of you lacking a sense of humor, that was sarcasm.

    You want to be unique, you want to keep LONG TERM costs low, you want to address user needs, you're not going to get that with off the shelf site generation methods like CMS or frameworks.

    For language choices, I'd stick to the big dogs and those you have to use, and do so vanilla. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL... well, MariaDB not MySQL, though the difference is more philosophical than real. MOST people are just still saying MySQL even though their host is actually running MariaDB. It's like still saying OpenOffice when you mean LibreOffice, or saying JavaScript when we actually should be saying ECMAScript... or saying Linux when you actually Mean GNU plus Linux. (Yeah, RMS can go **** off that last one).

    If you're a former web developer you likely at least have a passing familiarity with those, they're all -- despite many wild claims -- alive and thriving, and if you learn the ins and outs of those base languages you'll quickly discover that these derpy "frameworks" are monuments to the three "i" of web development.

    Ignorance, incompetence, and ineptitude. Don't believe me?

    Do you know why tags and attributes were deprecated in 4 Strict? Do you understand what semantic markup is? Do you understand progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, accessibility norms, leveraging logical document structure, and how to favor selectors over classes? If so, doing a view source on this:

    https://getbootstrap.com/docs/4.3/examples/pricing/

    Should make you recoil in horror at the 3i. It becomes plainly apparent that those who created bootcrap, actively maintain it, and write their entire website are utterly and completely unqualified to write a single blasted line of HTML. That they then have the unmitigated GALL to call their bullshit easier, or simpler, or faster to develop, or better for collaboration amounts to nothing more than bald-faced LIES!

    See just this little section of "I cans haz teh intarwebs" of:

    
      <body>
        <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-md-row align-items-center p-3 px-md-4 mb-3 bg-white border-bottom shadow-sm">
      <h5 class="my-0 mr-md-auto font-weight-normal">Company name</h5>
      <nav class="my-2 my-md-0 mr-md-3">
        <a class="p-2 text-dark" href="#">Features</a>
        <a class="p-2 text-dark" href="#">Enterprise</a>
        <a class="p-2 text-dark" href="#">Support</a>
        <a class="p-2 text-dark" href="#">Pricing</a>
      </nav>
      <a class="btn btn-outline-primary" href="#">Sign up</a>
    </div>
    
    <div class="pricing-header px-3 py-3 pt-md-5 pb-md-4 mx-auto text-center">
      <h1 class="display-4">Pricing</h1>
      <p class="lead">Quickly build an effective pricing table for your potential customers with this Bootstrap example. It’s built with default Bootstrap components and utilities with little customization.</p>
    </div>
    Code (markup):
    With the endless pointless presentational classes for nothing, gibberish use of numbered headings, anchors blindly slopped into NAV as a run-on sentence, and whole host of other "I don't know how to use HTML properly" doing the job of:

    
    <body>
    
    	<div id="top">
    		<h1>Company name</h1>
    		<ul id="mainMenu">
    			<li><a href="#">Features</a></li>
    			<li><a href="#">Enterprise</a></li>
    			<li><a href="#">Support</a></li>
    			<li><a href="#">Pricing</a></li>
    		</ul>
    	<!-- #top --></div>
    	
    	<div id="pricing">
    		<h2>Pricing</h2>
    		<p>
    			Quickly build websites without the ignorant Bootcrap. Use semantic markup and leverage it via selectors to simplify site generation above/beyond what the derpy frameworks do!
    		</p>
    
    Code (markup):
    But how dare anyone come right out and say that of the beloved media darling... and in a nutshell that's what all frameworks tend to be. "For those who know nothing about web development, BY those who know nothing about it" is not a recipe for success. No matter how many know-nothing fanboys try to claim otherwise with lame excuses and a complete lack of facts.

    Some advice: Anyone telling you to throw classes at the markup where the class says what it should look like has failed to divine the intent of CSS and why certain tags/attributes were stricken from HTML 4 Strict, failed to understand what HTML is or what it is for, and pretty much has their cranium wedged so far up 1997's rectum we need to find an orthodontist to handle the extraction. These are the same halfwits, morons, and fools who spent the past two decades vomiting up HTML 3.2 and calling it 4 tranny, and now put the same broken, bloated, ignorant bad practices under a HTML 5 doctype so they can back-slap each-other over how "modern" they are... when HTML 4 Transitional literally meant "in transition from 1997 to 1998 coding practices". All HTML 5 has done for such folks is give them a way to stop advertising how unqualified they are to write HTML in the first place.

    There's a reason the framework fans sound more like religious cultists than programmers. You'd almost think survivorship fallacy, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance were all somehow involved.

    Any of these off the shelf answers for creating the site itself are going to do is make it take longer to develop, leave you having learnt their systems and not the underlying languages hamstringing your ability to fix anything or do anything unique, or provide your own scalability should you actually achieve success.

    Again, I've seen it happen with really big clients that should have had the $$$ and intelligence to avoid it... like banks and public utilities.

    Basically plan long term for operational independence from the codebase up, instead of short-term flash in the pan payouts that just gut any chance at long term success.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    deathshadow, Nov 8, 2019 IP
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  11. jrbiz

    jrbiz Illustrious Member

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    #11
    jrbiz, Nov 9, 2019 IP
  12. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #12
    One sweet day @deathshadow will come out from the "shadow" and finally learn to be a bit assertive and speak his mind. Why go through life as a wall flower?
     
    Spoiltdiva, Nov 9, 2019 IP
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  13. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #13
    Your forgot to mention the "orange commander in cheetos half tweet" thing.
     
    qwikad.com, Nov 9, 2019 IP
  14. NetStar

    NetStar Notable Member

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    #14
    Barely.
     
    NetStar, Nov 10, 2019 IP
  15. NetStar

    NetStar Notable Member

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    #15
    Ignore the shit in deathshadow's post that will slow you down. It's rubbish....
     
    NetStar, Nov 10, 2019 IP
  16. Mike2718

    Mike2718 Greenhorn

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    #16
    Good that you analyzed so many factors from the very beginning.
    But... you cannot predict everything. Things will change after you start. You will find out that a lot of you predictions were wrong.
    So, I would suggest just to JUMP into it if you feel you want to work on this project in a long run.
    Also, think of giving out something for free... to acquire user base, if you get a lot of users, you will find the way how to monetize.
    One more idea, websites such as hotscripts can be also useful for promotion
     
    Mike2718, Nov 17, 2019 IP
  17. Dirk the Web Phoenix

    Dirk the Web Phoenix Greenhorn

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    #17
    Thanks again for the replies, everyone! :)


    ___Answering Deathshadow's Reply___

    Thanks a lot for such a long reply, deathshadow. I much appreciate such efforts. :)

    That's exactly what I want. Uncomplicated, with easily accessible reports I can feed into my tax declaration (but please not be erroneously reported by PayPal or GoFundMe or such themselves to the wrong tax agencies when my nomadic situation is too complicated for them to do it correctly), and without such BS as chargeback fees. Donations shouldn't come with a chargeback possibility performed by those third-party transaction services. If a donor actually DID make a real mistake (like adding unintended zeroes), he/she should contact me for a refund rather than automatically getting it and me getting hammered with a chargeback fee, a procedure exploited by scammers like credit card thieves to enrich themselves.


    Hopefully. Back when I skimmed through PayPal's policies, I found them very vague. I think they claimd that "personal payments" to "friends" did not come with a chargeback procedure, but will the users of my site or any other donors be considered "friends" making a "personal payment" by PayPal's management?


    Thanks. Coming back after ages of having been gone, such information on how things are done today are very valuable. Today's hosts coming with the hits logging = cool. Not having to use Google Analytics would (A) reduce the number of steps to take (and time to spend) and (B) eliminate another possible risk of attacks based on (ugh!) GDPR or similar new privacy laws... (like possibly the new California Consumer Privacy Act or Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information...maybe they are warped, too???)


    Hmm... At least for now I want to focus my efforts on the gaming portal I create (the gaming quality and also the flexible use of the learning materials), not the storage and distribution of the learning materials themselves (the car I build, not its gasoline). Plus I worry about copyright infriction accusations concerning learning materials, since they may often come from pre-existing publications of which there are a LOT. So, at the current time I am thinking about keeping the two things seperate, as seperate projects -- such as by having the learning materials stored on a seperate site and even possibly on social media platforms as much as possible by the users rather than me, as much as possible disconnected from me and my gamified study site. (even though this may make the stealing of code (or even of the mere usage concepts) look even easier for copycats, but for a skilled copycat it wouldn't make a real difference anyway)


    Well, depending entirely on it would be risky. It could however be merely an additional source for learning materials, one that already has lots of them, thus getting the project off the ground with a big pile of them. OTOH, I by now discovered that Quizlet opposes commercial use of their API, so possibly even the request for donations might perhaps cancel its legit availablity and get it blocked.


    Except that I have never coded that, yet. And these subscriptions would have to be linked to the payments made via a third-party transaction service like PayPal or such, automatically, not manually by me... too many potential users with small donations. (different from expensive online courses)


    Well, core language code is (at least from my own experience) easy to copy, read, and modify. (that was one reason for me to consider tying it into a WordPress site, making my own code less easy to find, copy, and comprehend for all too uninformed copycats).

    As for the claims that pushing sites out of the market with clones (or similar products, anyway) is rare... I am not so sure. The arguments made in tis discussion sound very plausible. Still, Facebook ousted MySpace (which, I think, I heard wasn't the original social media platform, either). MS DOS was a clone. MS Windows was a shabby copy of the original Mac OS, and so on... Perhaps most of us just never hear of the ousted originals.

    To stay alive in the niche I place an own project in, I probably need to make it grow fast enough to not be easily pushed aside. That's a main reason for me starting this discussion. So I can be better prepared for some of the hurdles that will come my way and thus not be stalled too long.

    jrbiz's reminder not to overlook marketing may be an important point in this aspect, too. Get off the ground quickly enough to reach a livable, growable size early enough. (boy, I wish we weren't livingin such a profit-driven world)


    That could be a reason for a site like Quizlet to keep me unattached and secret (my project could be considered as a take-over attempt, even though I have more focus on the games aspect than the learning materials... me basically coming from the opposite direction... which is why I'd rather partner than compete with sites like Quizlet...).


    To be frank, I prefer to run my own project with the core languages and standards, rather than spend who knows how much time to learn the meta-stuff of libraries and frameworks placed on top of everything to only produce the same results but with loss of time working myself into these things plus a loss of page speed.

    OTOH, while I am unsuccessfully applying to web dev jobs, I keep seeing the employers' demands for familiarity with these libraries and frameworks. So, unless this project takes off quickly and with huge success, I may still have to learn some of that modern stuff to get paid employment. *sigh*


    *chuckle* Time and again, in stackoverflow, I come across jQuery proposals for JavaScript issues easily solved in vanilla JavaScript...

    That raises my doubt, too, and may confirm your claim that many framework fans are ignorant of the core languages underneath. That's not what I assumed so far. So, perhaps Iam not as ignorant as my potential employers have been thinking, but rather not part of the current club. Maybe.

    So, yes, I have my doubts about the frameworks, too (not protecting me from having to learn some for employment, I suspect), but -- OTOH -- back in the Internet stone age in the 90's when I was a paid developer, WYSIWYG pagebuilder softwares were developed. Some (maybe most) were horrible. But I did like Symantec Visual Page. It created pretty clean standards-compliant code, let me see visually in real time the code and outcome, and with its graphic interface made complicated building of convoluted nested tables an easy matter of seconds. That was sublime, back when tables were the main skeleton.

    When, about a year ago, I dove back into website building with its modern concepts like responsive design, I looked for equivalent software (like BlueGriffon) that disappoined me big time (by, for example, not working with CSS stylesheets, only inline styling, which flies in the face of the whole CSS concept... that I originally didn't like when still working on small sites or single pages (where CSS was overkill), but which I began to embrace for larger site consistency especially with responsive design using @media breaks and such).

    So, I have been thinking that frameworks and platforms (and even some libraries) may be trying to fill that gap. I just don't know enough about them, yet, to have a firm opinion of my own about them. I have been hearing some criticism from some of their long-time users, though, suggesting that these frameworks are bound to disappear, especially with shadow DOM and virtual DOMs being too much of a burden.

    I admit, when I was building my own first long & responsive CSS file, I felt like making it a template for future work,... sort of like the start of a self-made library or framework... It's easy to understand why people don't want to write the same wheel re-inventing code over and over again. I can also see the limits imposed by such prefabs, though, and that over time they can get overly bloated and complex, much like any software.


    Yes, a worry.


    Could well be. (the learning materials aren't much different from simple blog posting, though)




    ___The Frameworks Debate___

    Samples & my replies:

    Perhaps why potential employers keep looking for framework familiarity in job applicants like myself. They may find themselves trapped.

    Honestly, I am too unfamiliar with frameworks to take a meaningful position on that debate. This debate is also not directly connected to this project-dedicated discussion thread, more of a side-line; and I am sure that thorough debates on the pluses and minuses of frameworks have already been held in other threads, possibly even dedicated threads. I could probably learn useful stuff from some of them. Hence links to such pre-existing debates could probably be useful to me and other readers and would be more efficient than repeating this debate all over in this thread. I also don't wish to be part of fueling a firestorm. So, I suggest to post some links here to those already made debates, rather than that you welcome contributers to this thread fight each other here.

    I appreciate everyone's contribution. :)




    ___MISC___

    *smirk* I must say I have been wondering all along to what extent the references made of deathshadow are serious or tongue-in-cheek.

    I work on it on the side so far. I am looking to prepare for a good start when I go public. That's all. Especially, I want to save time and avoid avoidable mistakes by getting some clues from helpful people who have already experienced or solved some of the issues that, correctly or not pop up on my horizon, like -- for example -- avoiding chargeback scam attacks that I heard about when I looked into simple donations collection via PayPal.



    Thanks a lot again to all contributors! :)
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Nov 19, 2019 IP
  18. Dirk the Web Phoenix

    Dirk the Web Phoenix Greenhorn

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    #18
    Of course, I'd love to hear more. :)
     
    Dirk the Web Phoenix, Nov 20, 2019 IP
  19. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #19
    He is scared to death that something he may write might offend someone. So he tends to remain hidden away hiding in a shadow. Thus his username @deathshadow.
    However on rare occasions and from time to time, we can manage to get him to say a word or two.( or even three or four);)
     
    Spoiltdiva, Nov 20, 2019 IP
  20. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #20
    Technically MS-DOS wasn't, nor was PC-DOS... though the 86/DOS it was based on was loosely based on CP/M. Though being utterly incompatible with entirely different command line syntax kind of put the "clone" idea to the lie.

    An industry lie when one considers that Microsoft had started work on it before the Mac even came out. The concepts of window based UI's for both Microsoft and Apple's systems (as well as GEM and others) came from Xerox's PARC.

    Which is why crApple's dipshit lawsuit was unfounded, and they had to lie their way to victory. Just like how Apple LIES about just about everything else in computer history and their place in it.

    Xerox PARC, CP/M... yeah.

    This is because:

    Trapped. Trapped by bad choices that painted them into a corner. Trapped by their own ignorance and the ignorance of those they've hired in the past, choosing specific technologies they are unable to divorce themselves from without starting over from scratch.

    Even if what they REALLY need to do is start over from scratch. I deal with this in accessibility consulting all the time where I often have to threaten to walk away -- then show that it's not a threat -- becuase the client's IT staff is unwilling to make the changes needed to get out from under continued fines and litigation. "Bootstrap can't be at fault, React can't be at fault, Laravel can't be at fault. Millions of sites and developers use them!" -- sure Lemmings, keep running straight at that cliff.

    Bandwagon of "everybody's using it, you should to", glittering generalities with the unfounded claims of being "easier" or "faster" or "better". Transfer of feelings through exploiting people's visual orientation, name calling (the subtle marketing style, not the crass type I use) by claiming to be "easier" implying that not using it is "harder" (an utterly unfounded claim that reality shatters), Plain folks by way of claiming to be "just like you" and "when I was a begginer", card stacking by taking incompetently coded HTML+CSS examples then making their own slightly less incompetent but still completely incompetent version, and of course the endless testimonials of people who likely don't know enough to realize how screwed they are.

    Is that all seven? Yup, think so. The seven core propaganda techniques, and "rank and file" people not trained in them fall for it every blasted time, no matter how big the lie being sold.

    Part of the reason I'm so harsh on them is I've had to learn most of them -- at least enough to fix when things go wrong or reverse engineer what they do so as to get clients out from under the HELL they create in terms of usability, accessibility, speed, search rankings, etc, etc.

    You WILL probably have to learn the basics of them, but anyone who wants you to build websites with them is an utter and complete fool you probably don't want to work for... unless you can throw every shred of decency and ethics in you in the trash.

    Doubtful, or at least doubtful any time after 1997. WYSIWYGS -- all of them -- rely on presentational markup and/or presentational use of classes, and that makes for some really shit code and is based entirely on the antithesis of why HTML even exists in the first place.

    Which is why all the browser-wars era presentational crap -- FONT, CENTER, ALIGN, BGCOLOR -- were stricken from the language. AND it's why anyone telling you to say class="text-shadow border-bottom col-2-s col-4-m col-6-l centered" needs a quadruple helping of shut the **** up!

    One of those statements I've heard a lot and never understood. Is alt-tab F5 really so flipping hard? Much less when those "real time results" almost NEVER match what the real browsers do?!?

    Which was the worst of times, a hack done because we lacked the tools for proper semantics and because most people had ZERO knowledge that HTML tags were supposed to have MEANINGS and that you should NEVER have been choosing any tags based on what its default appearance is!

    If you choose your HTML based on what you want it to look like, you're choosing all the wrong markup for all the wrong reasons.

    Then you missed part of the intent of CSS -- media targets. Even for a single page your CSS doesn't belong in the markup, hence why 99% of the time you see style="" and 100% of the time you see <style> you're screwing up.

    CSS means DRY in the markup -- not having to repeat the same presentation over and over again... which frameworks and the "throw a class at everything" know-nothings piss on by repeating the same damned classes over and over again.

    But more importantly, CSS means being able to have MULTIPLE appearances for ONE unified markup. I'm not just talking media queries here either. The MEDIA attribute on LINK and STYLE exists for a reason, and if you ever see it omitted or set to "all", you're also looking at developer 3i. Ignorance, incompetence, and ineptitude!

    Because again, HTML and CSS is about MORE than what it looks like on screens. IF you're not designing and developing with that in mind, do the world a favor, back the **** away from the keyboard, and go take up something a bit less detail oriented like macrame.

    They're not so much trying to fill a gap, as make excuses for people to remain ignorant. The solution is better education of the underlying langauges, but few people seem to want to do that and would instead prefer to work harder instead of smarter.

    THEN they'll claim the way that made them write two to ten times the markup to write half to two-thirds the CSS was somehow magically "easier". It's utter and complete bullshit I still cannot fathom how anyone could defend apart from -- as I keep saying -- not knowing enough about HTML or CSS to be flapping their yap about it.

    Sadly P.T. Barnum was correct, "There's a sucker born every minute".

    As was Ron White, "You can't fix stupid"

    So long as there are nubes filled with hopes and dreams, willing to swallow bald faced lies wrapped in the soothing-syrup of propaganda, and letting confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance make them unable to do anything but defend their own bad choices, there will be a market for frameworks.

    Again, kind of like religion. Get them early, exploit the common mental failings of the rank-and-file, recruit people when they're at their weakest, pump them full of propaganda, and soon you've got them all eating manure becuase you put it in a waffle cone and called it chocolate soft serve.

    Jquery and Bootstrap: Two developers, one cup.

    I don't entirely get that "reinventing the wheel" claim because the only thing being reinvented is the underlying languages. AT BEST all front-end frameworks do is add bloat to the CSS whilst moving what you write as CSS back into the markup where it has zero damned business being in the first place. It makes you repeat yourself over and over in the markup instead of leveraging your semantics...

    Which is where the LIES of things like "render time" start being used. "oh if you have 1000 elements and hundreds of classes it can take longer for the browser's render stage" -- so don't use 1000 elements and hundreds of classes to do the job of 50 elements, a dozen classes, and a half-dozen ID's!

    But no, the answer to EVERYTHING now by the know-nothings who get suckered into idiocy like bootstrap is to thrown more tags and more classes in the markup.

    But in whole the "don't reinvent the wheel" thing is stupid. Tell that to Dunlop and Michelin, without whom we'd still be riding around on steel hoops heat-shrunk onto wooden rims.

    It's like people talking about how "great" it is to "lower the bar of access". I think perhaps it's time to pull that bar out of the wall and start beating people with it.

    That was a joke.

    But in a way it's true. Sometimes that bar is there to say "you must be this tall to go on this ride" and by lowering the bar, we've endangered everyone's lives. You "lower the bar" and before long you've got kids flying out of roller coasters, falling to their deaths, and getting your whole park shut down for safety violations.

    Yet like most petulant twelve year olds, people don't want to think about it that way.
     
    deathshadow, Nov 25, 2019 IP