The Biggest Challenge in Web Development

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Randy, as he often does, sent me some articles recently…this time related to the speculated arrival of an Apple tablet computing device.

We have some big plans for Cheezburger in the coming year, and there’s a lesson to be learned from these articles, in particular one from Daring Fireball:

I have a thousand questions about The Tablet’s design…but there’s one question at the top of the list, the answer to which is the key to answering every other question. That question is this: If you already have an iPhone and a MacBook; why would you want this?

The epigraph I used to start this piece — the bit about Steve Jobs demanding that a tablet be useful for more than just reading on the can — indicates that Apple will release nothing without such an answer. I agree that such an answer is essential.

This jibes a point that I’ve been highlighting lately: we can develop software faster than we can figure out what we want to build.

These days, with the evolution of web technologies, the problem isn’t exactly figuring out how to do something, but what exactly to do.  What is the thing that we’re going to build?  Answering that question clearly is the “essential” element to which Gruber refers.  It’s the clear answer to that which leads to success.

In fact, that’s what Gruber goes onto explain…not why someone would want it, but rather what exactly it is going to be in relation to other products.

When I think about Cheezburger, and the plans we have for the year ahead, that’s our biggest challenge in web development these days—what is it that we’re building and why would someone want it—everything else flows from there.

Written by scottporad

January 11th, 2010 at 8:07 am