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Need your help and feedback with a new web application of mine
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Clinically Insane
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Aug 15, 2013, 05:10 AM
 
Hello all,

This is my baby, I've been working on this for quite some time, and would *really* like your testing, feedback, general impressions, technical input, or anything else you'd like to provide to help me develop and promote this app:

http://ezdeebee.com

If you would be interested in receiving an invite to this beta, please let me know or contact me through the site so I can send you your invite code. Otherwise, if you would simply be interested in Liking or Following me, that will help tremendously as I turn my attention to promoting the app to developers for more testing and feedback in the coming months. You can find the links to Facebook and Twitter at the above URL.

Please note that for right now I obviously haven't spent time on coming up with a logo or doing anything to provide visual sex appeal and market this app in any way. Since it has been in a heavy development phase I've been wanting to focus my attention there, but right now I'd like to sort of get some feedback on this concept from developers and users (including UI feedback), get some further testing, and I'll be turning my attention to the visuals and marketing of this at some point in the near future. I'll be sure to ask again for your help there, I know there are many experienced designers here!

If you are a developer, what kind of arm twisting would be necessary to get a conversation going about the concept of this app, ways I can improve it, make it most useful to you, etc.? I'd love to hear from you and work with you closely on this next phase!
( Last edited by besson3c; Aug 15, 2013 at 05:24 AM. )
     
Ω
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Aug 15, 2013, 05:22 AM
 
Needs more cowbell.


Safari can’t find the server.
Safari can’t open the page “http://ezdeeebee.com/” because Safari can’t find the server “ezdeeebee.com”.
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 15, 2013, 05:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ω View Post
Needs more cowbell.


Safari can’t find the server.
Safari can’t open the page “http://ezdeeebee.com/” because Safari can’t find the server “ezdeeebee.com”.

Sorry, typo in the URL... It's:

Ezdeebee Beta
     
Posting Junkie
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Aug 15, 2013, 12:01 PM
 
Lots of words.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 15, 2013, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Lots of words.
More pictures?
     
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Aug 15, 2013, 03:55 PM
 
I'd like a beta invite please.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 15, 2013, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
I'd like a beta invite please.

Sure thing! I just need an email address to send it to. Perhaps you could PM me or contact me through the site using the address you'd like the invite sent to?
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 08:36 AM
 
Interesting idea, but you have buried the lead in, as laminar says, a wall of text. You need a big subhead that says "ezdeebee simplifies database management, without writing code!" or something like that...

Why should someone use this instead of the basic Wordpress admin? Wordpress is pretty easy to set up, how does this make it easier?
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 06:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Interesting idea, but you have buried the lead in, as laminar says, a wall of text. You need a big subhead that says "ezdeebee simplifies database management, without writing code!" or something like that...
Thanks Andi!

This will certainly be a difficult application to market (I speak in the future tense because right now this is just a working prototype for developers). I kind of want to give people the so-called elevator on the homepage though. How would you feel about a single pithy sentence similar to yours, and a point form breakdown of the other stuff? The point form presentation might seem less wordy?

I can, of course, work on trimming down the text a little bit too, but do you think this would provide a good starting place?

Why should someone use this instead of the basic Wordpress admin? Wordpress is pretty easy to set up, how does this make it easier?
This is not intended to be a replacement for the WordPress dashboard at all, but a supplement to it for content you'd want to put into a database: e.g. a product inventory, product spec sheets, media library, discography, company directory, event listing, etc.

WordPress does have very basic support for doing this sort of thing with their custom post types/fields/tags, but this interface is super basic for this and missing a number of important features. WordPress wasn't really designed to handle this kind of content, these features were probably sort of an attempt to handle some basic use cases.

Right now my target market with this prototype is WordPress, but the app is platform/language agnostic really, I intend to add support for other languages and platforms as well. I've written a number of web apps that don't really have much front facing content you'd use a system like WordPress for, Ezdeebee would work quite well there, I'm just going after the WordPress crowd for right now given its sheer size.


Does this make sense to you? If you have any other comments of any kind, please keep them coming!
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:00 PM
 
You have it written as "Ezdeedee" at least once on the mobile page.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
You have it written as "Ezdeedee" at least once on the mobile page.
Thanks, I have corrected that, good catch!

I guess that's what I get for choosing that spelling. However, even changing the name of this entire thing is not out of the realm of possibility if we can conjure up a cooler name.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:21 PM
 
I actually like it. It sounds friendly, like your face.

I agree somewhat with the too many words critique. You can use all those words, but you need to build up to them.

I'd say you have about half the length of your opening paragraph to grab me by the balls, and then I'll read whatever you want. With what you have, I came away sorta confused.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:23 PM
 
What exactly are you offering which is different than an FTP share?
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What exactly are you offering which is different than an FTP share?

Is that a rhetorical question just punctuating the idea that my message is too unclear, or are you literally looking for me to answer that from a technical vantage point?
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:37 PM
 
I want you to explain it from a "sales" standpoint. Sell me on your service. I have FTP shares. Do I need your service too?
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I want you to explain it from a "sales" standpoint. Sell me on your service. I have FTP shares. Do I need your service too?
I can do that, it's just a very strange question... Are you assuming the role of somebody who would say that? Sorry, if we are going to role play here I just want to know what hat to wear when I answer this
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:53 PM
 
I was always partial to the blue sunhat with the pink ribbon.

I'm just trying to figure out what this thing does by contrasting it with something which appears to have overlap.
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 08:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I was always partial to the blue sunhat with the pink ribbon.

I'm just trying to figure out what this thing does by contrasting it with something which appears to have overlap.
The closest thing to what I'm going after is phpMyAdmin or Rails Active Admin but as a cloud/web service, designed for end users, and with a bunch of features that these others tools don't have.

Ezdeebee is actually pretty unique, I don't know anything like it.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 16, 2013, 09:42 PM
 
Okay. I'm getting closer.

Give me three contrasting use-case scenarios.

This should be my last question before I can give you feedback, which is my goal. I'm not trying to jack you around.
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 11:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I just want to know what hat to wear when I answer this
     
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Aug 17, 2013, 01:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Hello all,

This is my baby, I've been working on this for quite some time, and would *really* like your testing, feedback, general impressions, technical input, or anything else you'd like to provide to help me develop and promote this app:

Ezdeebee Beta

If you would be interested in receiving an invite to this beta, please let me know or contact me through the site so I can send you your invite code. Otherwise, if you would simply be interested in Liking or Following me, that will help tremendously as I turn my attention to promoting the app to developers for more testing and feedback in the coming months. You can find the links to Facebook and Twitter at the above URL.

Please note that for right now I obviously haven't spent time on coming up with a logo or doing anything to provide visual sex appeal and market this app in any way. Since it has been in a heavy development phase I've been wanting to focus my attention there, but right now I'd like to sort of get some feedback on this concept from developers and users (including UI feedback), get some further testing, and I'll be turning my attention to the visuals and marketing of this at some point in the near future. I'll be sure to ask again for your help there, I know there are many experienced designers here!

If you are a developer, what kind of arm twisting would be necessary to get a conversation going about the concept of this app, ways I can improve it, make it most useful to you, etc.? I'd love to hear from you and work with you closely on this next phase!
Honest critique:

"Ezdeebee is the perfect tool for managing data, such as content you may wish to display on your website, or, if you are developer, data that you use in your applications."

This sentence doesn't say anything. I would rewrite it to be a tad more specific about what your app/service actually does. It's the first sentence on your website and your chance to make an impact on your customer.

Something such as

"ezdeebee helps you _____ when you're running a website or making an app"

Or "ezdeebee makes your life easier by _____"

Simply saying it "manages data" tells me nothing about its true purpose or how it could actually help me, and as someone who works in the data services industry I was tempted to stop reading right there (had I not known you from here, I would have as I do with many of these upstart apps).


Make it easy for the laymen to understand, so they suggest it to their data people and their boss to sign onto the idea. Or, to make it easier for that IT person to sell it to their boss and/or a laymen.
( Last edited by Snow-i; Aug 17, 2013 at 01:12 AM. )
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 17, 2013, 01:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay. I'm getting closer.

Give me three contrasting use-case scenarios.

This should be my last question before I can give you feedback, which is my goal. I'm not trying to jack you around.
No problem, thank you in advance!

Scenario 1:

You build a web application for somebody, you don't have the resources/funding/interest in creating an administrative panel for your client to manage the app with (where he she would be able to view account specific info, various submissions/transactions, logs, user preferences, application preferences, etc.), you integrate Ezdeebee with the app and direct your client to the Ezdeebee web interface to use for administrating the app. The same premise here applies to building a startup company centered around a web app and wanting to get it up and running quickly.

Scenario 2:

You are a web design firm or hosting company and you want to license Ezdeebee for use in all of your projects for managing the data in web apps. I guess this is sort of scenario 1a.

Scenario 3:

You have a website and you want to display a product inventory, product spec sheets, discography, company directory, or whatever else and you want a means to be able to display this on your website, and have a means to manage this content on a day-to-day basis. You could manually type all this in to a document much like you would a Microsoft Word document and hope that any edits you make won't disrupt the layout of your page, but this is impractical due to the frequent changing nature of this data (including perhaps the order in which things should be listed in). Perhaps you want to provide the ability to search through these lists, sort by various columns, and perhaps you'd also want to set things up so that other people in the company can also edit this data without needing to be computer savvy, and without a fear of disrupting the layout of your page. These lists could ultimately grow to hundreds of records, so you need something that will be practical to manage, and will be future proof should you ever want to transfer this data to some other system and the thought of typing everything in again makes you shudder.

Scenario 4:

You have a really fancy looking page display various bits of info but with a very complex interactive sort of layout, perhaps Javascript driven, and you want a means to manage this info in a super easy way so that you can swap out images and other bits without ever having to worry about disrupting the look of the page.

Scenario 5:

You have a small business and you are looking for a web based database to use for internal purposes within your company.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 17, 2013, 02:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Honest critique:

"Ezdeebee is the perfect tool for managing data, such as content you may wish to display on your website, or, if you are developer, data that you use in your applications."

This sentence doesn't say anything. I would rewrite it to be a tad more specific about what your app/service actually does. It's the first sentence on your website and your chance to make an impact on your customer.

Something such as

"ezdeebee helps you _____ when you're running a website or making an app"

Or "ezdeebee makes your life easier by _____"

Simply saying it "manages data" tells me nothing about its true purpose or how it could actually help me, and as someone who works in the data services industry I was tempted to stop reading right there (had I not known you from here, I would have as I do with many of these upstart apps).


Make it easy for the laymen to understand, so they suggest it to their data people and their boss to sign onto the idea. Or, to make it easier for that IT person to sell it to their boss and/or a laymen.


Thanks man!

This is definitely a challenging app to explain and market. Why make this then? The reasoning behind this for me is that even if this is not an initial short term success, I can use Ezdeebee to bring a number of other projects in my pipeline to market much quicker. It may be that I'll need these other projects to shine a light on this backend before the concept really sells, but for now I just want to sort of get the idea out there so that developers can become aware of its existence and vet its premise. I believe in this concept, I just recognize that it may take a long while to win over hearts and minds.

So, keep in mind that for now this product is targeted squarely at developers, not the laymen. However, since you aren't the laymen and the copy wasn't clear to you, obviously this can be improved significantly and I will do so! Would you and the others in here be interested in continuing to provide feedback on the copy changes I make? This is/will be super valuable, I appreciate the help you've already provided

I'm going to be working with somebody possibly as soon as next week on my app UI, site visuals and artwork, including a logo and other assets, so I'll be embedding screenshots and other graphical stuff on the site in the coming weeks as well which will surely help make things more appealing.
     
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Aug 18, 2013, 05:41 AM
 
Hey guys,

I think this revamped copy addresses your feedback, please let me know what you think?

Ezdeebee Beta
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 18, 2013, 06:12 AM
 
Much improved! I was working up something for your last pitch, but this is way better.

I'm tempted to chop down (or break up) the second to points even more. They feel run-on sentencey. The first one is very good.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 18, 2013, 06:32 AM
 
I've also revamped the About/Examples page too...
     
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Aug 18, 2013, 11:43 PM
 
Yes, improved.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 04:33 AM
 
Lots of rookie marketing mistakes.

Way too text heavy.
No clear message.
No visuals.
No identifiable brand.

Not sure who your customers are... if they're technical maybe you can get away with this more.

There's a saying: frying pan over the head. A Webpage should be like hitting someone over the head with a frying pan dead easy bang this is what it is. Bang. Simple, to the point. Clear. Visual. But again, no idea who your customers are so I'll shut up.
     
Clinically Insane
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Aug 19, 2013, 04:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Lots of rookie marketing mistakes.

Way too text heavy.
No clear message.
No visuals.
No identifiable brand.

Not sure who your customers are... if they're technical maybe you can get away with this more.

There's a saying: frying pan over the head. A Webpage should be like hitting someone over the head with a frying pan dead easy bang this is what it is. Bang. Simple, to the point. Clear. Visual. But again, no idea who your customers are so I'll shut up.

Right now there are no visuals because the visuals haven't been completed, I'm working on those now. For the time being my customers are developers (who will pass on this product to their end users after installing things and setting stuff up for them), and the current site and app is essentially a working prototype.

That being said, I agree with everything you said, I'm not intending to sound defensive here. If you have any suggestions on improving the message, please let me know.

I'm also hoping to hear from some geeks here as to what they think of the general concept, what their impressions are, etc.?
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 05:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Right now there are no visuals because the visuals haven't been completed, I'm working on those now. For the time being my customers are developers (who will pass on this product to their end users after installing things and setting stuff up for them), and the current site and app is essentially a working prototype.

That being said, I agree with everything you said, I'm not intending to sound defensive here. If you have any suggestions on improving the message, please let me know.

I'm also hoping to hear from some geeks here as to what they think of the general concept, what their impressions are, etc.?
I wouldn't even know where to start or end with your site.

What's your brand? Why are you doing this? What problem are you solving? How much does it cost? How does it work? If your site doesn't answer this questions right a way, we're gonna bounce...

From someone who's raised millions of dollars and put tech companies together... one of the hardest things is marketing. Almost harder than building the product. You need help. You can't do this alone. Do your best but get a Version 2 of the site as soon as you can.

Here's a trick I use to help people. Open up Keynote and put together a 10 slide deck presentation of what the hell your thing is all about. Answer all of these questions: What's your brand? Why are you doing this? What problem are you solving? How much does it cost? How does it work?

Take that 10 slide deck and make it your site. If you have more than say 3 or 4 lines of text on each slide, it's too much. Shut up already.

Yes, you can add a lot of text to your site for information purposes, but you hide that stuff. You do it by:

1. Making specific pages secondary to your marketing (e.g., Case Studies page).
2. Having "More" a user can click and text will drop down and appear.
3. Making more text available further down the page.

Look at information organization...

Primary and secondary. Structure your pages using primary and secondary organization principles. Your primary information is the first glance stuff.

Primary info
IMAGE/VIDEO
HEADING 1
Subheading
Clear, clean, simple few lines of body text.

This goes at the top area of your marketing pages... particularly the homepage.

Secondary
"More drop down text"

You first need to layout this out in Keynote using placeholders for images, etc. Your copy actually needs to be shaped around imagery not the other way around. Right now you're in ad hoc mode... and your going to drive yourself crazy and get nowhere.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 05:51 AM
 
Thanks for this theothersteve... Could you be persuaded to connect with me on Skype/IM to chat about this some more?

I'm actually going to be delving into the marketing of this this week, including the branding and visuals. I would love it if I could bounce some ideas off of you? I'm going to be working with some others on this, so I'll be getting the help you are suggesting I seek, but I'm sure your advice and feedback will prove to be most valuable to me too, if you would be amenable to giving me a hand by shooting me some ideas and/or offering your smell test on materials we come up with? I will definitely take your suggestion of coming up with those Keynote slides... Would you be interested in taking a look at those?

I appreciate your taking the time to write all of this useful advice to me, it is most generous and appreciated. I mean this very personally and sincerely!
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 06:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Thanks for this theothersteve... Could you be persuaded to connect with me on Skype/IM to chat about this some more?

I'm actually going to be delving into the marketing of this this week, including the branding and visuals. I would love it if I could bounce some ideas off of you? I'm going to be working with some others on this, so I'll be getting the help you are suggesting I seek, but I'm sure your advice and feedback will prove to be most valuable to me too, if you would be amenable to giving me a hand by shooting me some ideas and/or offering your smell test on materials we come up with? I will definitely take your suggestion of coming up with those Keynote slides... Would you be interested in taking a look at those?

I appreciate your taking the time to write all of this useful advice to me, it is most generous and appreciated. I mean this very personally and sincerely!
No problem. I think I'm probably putting too much time into these forums. I need to get back to work big time this week. I probably have very little time for anything on this. And I say that because I simply can't just give you quick advice. This isn't quick. You want this done right. This is your passion. You've put a lot of work into it.

You realize it takes professional communications people up to 6 months to flesh out a brand and marketing? This is hard stuff. Don't feel bad or dejected. It's VERY HARD. And some of the smartest people I know with millions of dollars raised have had some really crappy first time sites.

Just use the advice I gave in my previous post if it's jiving with you and I'm sure your site will be improved. I have a motto about this stuff. Everyday you should get better. At least something that advances you forward. If it's an improvement, no matter how small, then it sticks.

My other advice is if you need help... here's a couple of places that could help you.

1. Brands for the People. This is my ex-girlfriend's site. www.brandsforthepeople.com
2. 99 designs.

Good luck my man, I mean it.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 07:18 PM
 
99 Designs? 99 DESIGNS?!?

You are personally helping to destroy design careers!!!



Not really, that's only what people said to me when I recommended it awhile back.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 10:32 PM
 
I would love a crack at that logo, but more brand/audience definition is needed. Right now I'm getting a strange mix vibe of "easy to use friendly fun cute for non-power users" with "powerful high tech solution for devs ".

I will work for peanuts. Well, pecans.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 10:54 PM
 
Cashews not cash?
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 11:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I would love a crack at that logo, but more brand/audience definition is needed. Right now I'm getting a strange mix vibe of "easy to use friendly fun cute for non-power users" with "powerful high tech solution for devs ".

I will work for peanuts. Well, pecans.

Hi Andi,

I appreciate your interest! Do you have some logo samples of yours I can look at? I was thinking of possibly hiring somebody who has done some work for me before, but I would really like to see your work. I appreciate your enthusiasm here! Feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post this here.

I will, of course, keep you and everybody posted with my progress in refining the messaging. I've just started work with a tech accelerator company I've been doing work for, we sort of have this barter system going. These efforts will definitely help you, Andi, in getting a better sense as to the vibe I'm going for - right now I'm not completely decided anyway. Because Ezdeebee can be used in a number of different ways we'll be assessing what sorts of ideas will provide the most marketing traction.
( Last edited by besson3c; Aug 19, 2013 at 11:38 PM. )
     
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Aug 31, 2013, 10:53 PM
 
I'd like simple JSON output so I can connect via any kind of web app (rather than just wordpress).
     
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Aug 31, 2013, 11:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
I'd like simple JSON output so I can connect via any kind of web app (rather than just wordpress).
Hey boy8cookie,

There is a simple JSON output. This is actually what the WordPress plugin uses to retrieve info with. If you are interested in setting this up for yourself, feel free to contact me!
     
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Sep 1, 2013, 12:29 AM
 
Have you thought about using OpenID and OAuth2 for user account creation?

I'm working on a rather large project myself and am not even messing with doing my own user account maintenance. OpenID just makes things so much easier.
     
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Sep 1, 2013, 03:56 AM
 
So, I've been working with a tech accelerator, like I've probably mentioned in here, and we just decided to rename my site "datasprocket.com". I think this name is much better, I mostly just grabbed Ezdeebee because I couldn't come up with something better at the time and just needed to get some sort of demo happening.

It was funny though because datasprocket was my wife's second suggestion, and her first one was just a silly one she didn't intend to be taken seriously. Clearly I should have asked her to come up with a name much sooner!
     
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Sep 1, 2013, 04:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Have you thought about using OpenID and OAuth2 for user account creation?

I'm working on a rather large project myself and am not even messing with doing my own user account maintenance. OpenID just makes things so much easier.
Not really.

User IDs are a key part of my app, a lot of pieces are related to this table (ACLs, site registrations, connector configs, branding, etc.), I wanted to keep things simple and under my control. Some of my users authenticate via LDAP as well, so there is already enough complexity to my authentication/account maintenance. I might consider going that route for a different kind of app though.

If you are looking for single sign-on, have you looked into using LDAP?

I've also had enough experiences with oAuth to know that it can be a PITA with a steep learning curve. I'm sure the OpenID documentation would keep you from getting into the bowels of oAuth, I'm just rather oAuth phobic now!
     
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Sep 1, 2013, 12:22 PM
 
Well, if it helps any, I figured out the entire OAuth2 login process for Google myself, because everyone on the planet insists on using third-party libraries for OpenID and OAuth2.

It's actually not all that difficult once you understand what's happening. You can still use user IDs with your app in whatever way you are now, but you don't have to worry about keeping your users' passwords and other login details secure, which can be a challenge these days (especially if your service picks up in popularity).
     
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Oct 14, 2013, 09:37 AM
 
An update here...

We're in the process of rebranding our app as "DataSprocket", we're working on logos, visuals, our overall messaging, the whole nine yards. For those of you confused by the old app and it's stated purpose, I'm wondering if the following will help you? This is a draft of a script for an explanatory video. We haven't decided whether we will go with one giant video or a few smaller ones, but for now here is the giant video script which should pretty much tell you everything there is to know about this app.

Any comments are welcome! This is just a draught, so no need to focus on tightening the language at this point, but hopefully some of you will be interested in assessing the general presentation here...

Our mantra is simple: DataSprocket is the perfect engine to drive your web based data, and a complete, state-of-the-art facility for managing and maintaining it on a day-to-day basis. What this means to you is rich in possibility...

If you are a web developer, you've likely struggled with providing powerful and effective tools to your clients that will allow them to manage, for example, the data contained within their product specs and inventories, storefronts, event registration systems, client directory listings, catalogs and libraries, donor databases, rosters, historical records of any sort, or even, simply, the information contained within visually complex layouts such as press, gallery pages, or rotating banner displays. If you haven't struggled with this, you've surely come to terms with these needs over, over, and over again! If you've felt that it is often easier to build a way to access this data than it is for your customers to manage and maintain this data (particularly with those that aren't tech savvy), DataSprocket is for you!

If you aren't a web developer, DataSprocket may still be for you if you've ever wanted to display complex tables of data on your website, wanted to allow visitors to submit information to a database via a form, or simply want some ready made solutions to creating informational pages incorporating complicated layouts of various kinds, and you don't feel like you can or want to embrace your inner geek in building these from scratch.

Within this video we will try to provide a broad overview as to how DataSprocket works for all users, and how you can get started using it immediately.

Traditionally, the database which would house the data on your website would exist on the same server used to host your website, and it would be up to the developer or server provider to provide some tools to manage this data. The way this data would be accessed would be dictated by your technological infrastructure. This has historically worked with varying degrees of success, but there are some weaknesses to this model that DataSprocket eliminates.

With DataSprocket your data lives on our servers, or, to use the common present day tech vernacular, "in the cloud". Your data is managed using the DataSprocket web application which is optimized for use on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. This means you don't have to worry about developing or funding separate management tools to work on your server, backing up your data on your own, or having to ever wrestle with relocating your data. Your data can even be shared across multiple servers located in various parts of the world.

Allow us to walk you through a use case scenario from the vantage point of both web developers and non-web developers…

Let's say that you have a WordPress based site. Now, it doesn't have to be a WordPress site, DataSprocket will work with most platforms and solutions out there, but let's provide some visuals and hypotheticals for WordPress since this is clearly a popular platform.

Let's say that you have some sort of product inventory. Perhaps some of these products have some technical specifications or details to them that your customers would like to know about. Simply create yourself a DataSprocket account, and create some data collections for your inventory...

Creating a new data collection is very easy. You simply input your field names, indicate what kind of information will be contained within that field: for example, an image, date, number, text or rich text input, etc., or, in other words, what that field type should be, and then save your new data collection. For this example, let's say that this an inventory of musical instruments.

Let's look at the drop down menu field type, which allows you to assign some pre-set options to each entry, such as a category. It is helpful to understand that manually typing in one of these categories for each new entry can create problems for when there are typos or future categorization changes, so using drop down menus is preferred in these cases. With DataSprocket, your drop down menu options will simply reside in their own data collection, so when you create a data collection and select a drop down menu as a field type, you will be asked to select this data collection. If this particular data collection hasn't been created yet, no big deal, you can come back here and define these relations later.

Since we are dealing with musical instruments, each instrument family will have its own unique specs. You could put each instrument family into its own data collection, but it is probably easier to put all of the instruments into a single consolidated data collection so that you don't need to establish some sort of logic to determine which data collection to search from your site. You'll need to provide separate fields for each possible instrument-specific specification, but DataSprocket supports establishing "field dependencies" so that when creating new entries you don't have to wade through a gazillion fields that are inapplicable to that instrument. Using this feature, when an appropriate value has been provided to these specified fields, the "dependent" fields specific to that selection become visible. If one of these dependent fields is required to have some sort of input, it is only required when it is visible and therefore applicable.

Once your data collection has been created, you can start adding entries to your data collection manually, or by importing stuff to it using a CSV file you can generate from an application such as Microsoft Excel, if you need to import records in bulk.

Once you have a bunch of records, let's display this information on your WordPress site... To do so, you'll of course need to decide what to display. Let's say your musical instruments inventory has categories for woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion and you want to display each category in separate listings. If you wanted to, you could tell WordPress to fetch your entire inventory and display it using a WordPress template that you build to have complete control over how it is displayed, but let's say that our use case is even simpler than this and you simply want to display this data in a nicely formatted table with sortable columns.

To do so, you'll need to install the WordPress plugin to allow WordPress to communicate to DataSprocket, create a DataSprocket "connector" for that data collection, and configure it. The install of the WordPress plugin is the same process as any other WordPress plugin (you'll only need to do this once), so this should be a piece of cake if you've installed a plugin before, and will not be a big hurdle if you haven't. Once you've installed the plugin, on the WordPress plugin options page you'll need to provide it the ID for your DataSprocket account. This ID can be retrieved from your DataSprocket "Settings" page and simply copied and pasted into this field. You'll see a local cache option on this page as well, we'll go over that later in this video.

On the DataSprocket side of things, simply create a search for the entries you want to display on your WordPress site belonging to each category and save each search with a descriptive name (e.g. "Woodwinds", "Brass", etc.). Then, go to your connector configuration section, specify that you want to generate a table, specify which fields you want to display, and "bond" this connector to your saved search in order to display the applicable results. You can see a preview of your table on this page, and once this configuration has been saved you will be given a WordPress "short code" for each connector configuration you can drop into any WordPress page or post to display this content on your site formatted using your connector's configuration.

On your WordPress site, your DataSprocket table will be displayed exactly as you have entered it within DataSprocket, respecting your connector's configuration settings. Some sample CSS rules will be provided to control the visual display of this content, but these rules can be overridden simply by adding these rules to your site's CSS stylesheet.

If this makes sense to you, you get the gist of using DataSprocket!

Now, address some items of potential interest to web developers. Let's first address performance, and privacy…

If you recall, the WordPress connector plugin screen had an option to enable a local cache. With this option selected, a local copy of all of your data will be regenerated whenever a change to the data collection has been detected. You can consult our developer documentation to learn how this sync can be invoked manually should you want precise control over when this happens. The summation of this is that your local cache can be queried if you'd feel like this would be a better option for your site as a means to improve page load times, although this should not be necessary in the vast majority of cases.

As far as privacy is concerned, in most cases the data best suited for use with DataSprocket is information intended to be public, but if you need to deal with sensitive information all data retrieved from DataSprocket is SSL encrypted both by DataSprocket connectors and through the web and mobile applications. If your data contains highly sensitive info such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or medical information, perhaps you ought to pass on using DataSprocket since this may put your business in some legal risk.

We'll be adding new connectors to our collection for various platforms and programming languages on a regular basis. These connectors are actually very simple and straight-forward to develop. If you are anxious to use DataSprocket and a connector is not yet available to support your project, please contact us and we'll assess creating one, giving you full credit for your help and efforts!

There are a number of other features we could delve into here (such as DataSprocket's sharing, export options, input validation, specification of required fields, automatic image resizing options, etc.) but hopefully this video will provide you with enough of a sense as to what DataSprocket is about. We are excited for what the future may hold, and feel that DataSprocket is a powerful and innovative way to manage all kinds of data. We would very much like to hear from you and how you are, or would like to use DataSprocket - your feedback is most valuable to us. If you would like to stay in touch with us, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you!
     
   
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