Another final stretch…
A solo software development project will always take far longer than anticipated. If the solo person is an engineer, double that again.
In my travels I’ve run into the challenge of trying to book events, be they small school events or a former workplace, where the person involved eventually threw up their hands and went with “normal catering.” Too many variables, to many options. The paradox of choice?
The final feature that has pushed FoodTruckYP well beyond reasonably late and firmly into uppercase LATE is the core ability to book events, where an Event is any location that will host a truck at any time. Yes, a single truck for lunch once ever is an Event just as a 50-truck mega-rally every Tuesday at an amphitheater is an event.
The UI has been a challenge since I am not a UI designer by any stretch. Forget about the UX, I predict that will need work from the moment it hits the air. But initially, with only a small number of vendors to get things started, they will be booking themselves into locations for events, which makes for yet another challenge… how to deal with the transition from self-booked events to host-booked events. That is still something I’m not looking forward to.
In the mean time, I took some feedback from some initial sign-up experiences and made the path to normal-sign-up a bit more obvious. I was initially not going to have the typical email address verification loop in there, and in fact I was going to use email addresses as usernames, but both of those things are problematic… individuals will use their vendor email address even though that isn’t really the intention of a personal account, and then there’s still an expectation of a verification email, as I was informed more than once. So there is DKIM all setup and ready to go, and plain text+ html MIME email seems to work just fine.
This is just as well, because email notifications of some sort will enter the picture soon enough, email from FoodTruckYP should work and should be greeted with warmth and happiness anyway, may as well get that connection going immediately.
But what will email notifications do? Initially we’re supporting vendor signups, and then very soon after organizer signups (those are the people booking vendors for Events). Clearly if you’re a vendor and someone wants to book you, you want to hear about it, so email notifications are a must. Similarly, the cancellation market, and in short order the real implementation of the MarketPlace will make use of notifications… so email, fully supported.
I was looking at Amazon’s SNS for more generalized notification services, that is not off the table. But email is fair, it’s supported everywhere and works across mobile devices (everybody has a smart phone, right?) and other computers, they can be forwarded and whatnot, so in the end they work better than text and other point-to-point messages. But support for those forms might also be desirable, that we’ll find out.
Leaflet has come a long, long way since I first looked at it way back in March (and in fact, there were a lot of things I looked at way back in March… it seems like a lifetime ago), so integration of that mapping tool for the public-facing front end is in the cards. Since initial roll-out will have no vendors in the directory, the public-facing front end will lag by a couple of days so we have some volume of different vendors (and their logos) to check for size and whatnot, with maps and public profile pages. And various other things.
Anyway, it had been a while since I posted an entry here. Much has gone on, including non-food-truck-related food poisoning and a horrible case of writer’s block, to slow the final descent to stall speed on final, but I think we’re okay. The big test will be how real the support is for this effort in the silicon valley food truck community with which I’ve been in such close communication. The great unknown, when the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
A re-cap is in order of features, especially given the serious re-architecting that went on, some things are going to have to get shuffled out of v0.9 and into v1.0 (aka about two weeks after?) and some things will come online in between (like fuzzy search… not much to search for on day 0 but soon after, if all works out).