I’ve finally settled on a cloud provider for the database and API. I found myself going back-and-forth far too much, so I forced myself to decide. The toughest decision was NoSQL vs. SQL and the verdict was…SQL. All of the NoSQL solutions are specific to the vendor and I don’t want to be locked into a specific provider. The tradeoff is pricing and potentially performance, but I’m confident the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot. This isn’t the case the every project, but for Numerly, I think it’s the right choice.
Facebook integration is pretty solid in the app now, and I’m actually making calls to the backend to create users and return their numbers! I’m pretty excited about that.
API security and pricing are two big question marks still outstanding that I’m hoping to resolve soon.
The API needs to be extremely easy to use. The cost of making it easy is a bit of security. OAuth is the defacto standard when implementing API security; however, it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to work with from all client languages. I’m not sure I’d want to use OAuth from an Arduino or Particle Photon board. I’m sure libraries exist, but that doesn’t mean it’s approachable and/or fun for a guy in his garage slamming electronic parts together when making a neat gadget.
Pricing is another conundrum. There’s a wonderful survey put together by Dan Wilson at The Occasional Tech Blog that asked users from the Numerous service to see what they’d pay to keep it running.according to the survey, it feels to me that the sweet spot for pricing might be $1.99/month. It’s a tradeoff between having a smaller more dedicated user base, or having a larger less dedicated user base. I think it might be better for everyone having a dedicated set of users who are genuinely interested in the product. For me, it means a smaller set of people to host, support, and collaborate with on the future direction of the app. For users, it means having an app whose developer is molding the product to their exact wishes. Are people still willing to pay $1.99/month?
What do you think about these two question marks? I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments below.