Software and advice that’s not of this verse

Almost Shipping

After a year of discussions, planning, designing, programming, testing and making it happen, we’re about to ship the 1.0 version of Kifu.

But almost shipping is not the same as shipping.

The product is feature complete for version 1.0. It was a hard road getting here, and even harder to say no to features that would have delayed shipping. But it’s done, its almost shipping.

Almost shipping are where you are when there are still hundreds of small and sometimes large details that need to be right before you truly ship a web app. Most are not code related. They include things like:

  • Are the databases backed up, and can you restore from them if they fail.
  • Do you have redundant servers, in different data centers, on different networks? And do they fail-over properly when one dies.
  • Do you have a valid SSL certificate that works on all servers?
  • Are all servers and the app properly secured? And up to date? And running only what you need?
  • Are all assets served from a CDN? If not, why not?
  • Are your billing systems in place? Can you see who has paid for the service? Can you account for all the business you will do?
  • What about support? Do all the email addresses work? Is there someone who is monitoring them? Do you have a support web up?
  • Can users sign up? Does the sign-up work? Does the subdomain generation work?
  • Is the public web site visible? Is there news on it? Are all graphics and product descriptions up-to-date?
  • Is your marketing plan in place? And being executed? Do people even know about your product?
  • Are the logs rotated? And backed up? Does the server monitoring technology work?
  • Can you scale? Can the application scale from single user-developer mode to thousands of users in public? Do you even know how to do that?

You can go from almost shipping to shipping without doing any of the above. But the experience of your first customers will suffer. We all remember the Twitter fail whale, and you still cannot get to your old tweets. We all remember the Tumblr downtimes. In those cases, they shipped before they were ready for the load.

So here we are, almost shipping Kifu, making sure that all the details are working, so our first customers have a great experience.

It’s an exciting moment, waiting to see if all the work done was worth it, whether customers will love the product as much as we do. It’s also the beginning, the beginning of running a business and managing a product. Oh, the design and development work will not end, there is so much to do in future versions. But soon, it’s going to be out there. In front of you. Being used. Being talked about.

We’re almost shipping Kifu and I cannot contain my excitement.

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