How do I develop my idea for a web app while lacking resources and development drive?


I have a web application idea with great potential that I trying to turn into a start up business. I currently work with building application in a .NET environment but for this personal project after some research decided that java will be the best programming language to develop this in.
With this I have some challenges that I find it difficult to overcome and will welcome some feedback on these.

  • My financial resources are limited to just development hardware and hosting and I don’t not have the luxury to hiring expert developers. (I am open to in rewarding development time with a % of the company once is it launched.)
  • Coming from a .NET background, majority of my friends are .NET developers and are not willing to take on a project of this magnitude
  • The few java developers I know believe that the task at hand is more than they can handle.

What advice there is for someone in this situation to get an idea developed into a solid web application given the challenges I have? Definitely looking forward in making this idea into a reality. Thanks in advance.

Development Startup Costs Web Web App

asked Jan 13 '13 at 17:03
20 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Though I don't know .NET, there is nothing wrong with it. Stackoverflow is built on .NET. Isn't that proof strong enough? – Billy Chan 10 years ago
  • Billy Chan - Geddon may be referring to .NET that may require some desktop application development which would only be for Windows. Java has runtime environments for Windows, Linux, Mac etc. So depending on what he is really making and trying to solve .NET may not be the best route. If it's a web app he may be wanting to make something that is easily hosted on servers other than Windows. Even though Stack Exchange is .NET and it's a good platform it's probably a good idea to identify what language and stack is best for what you are trying to solve. – Ryan Doom 10 years ago
  • I'm really curious myself, having done a lot of Java and C# programming. What about this project makes Java such a better choice that you're willing to throw out all of your previous experience with it, plus the .NET developers that you know that could help you with it? Either way, it sounds like your bigger problem might be cutting your project down to a manageable size (initially) so that you can convince developers (.NET or Java) that it's within the realm of doable. – rbwhitaker 10 years ago

3 Answers


Start building it yourself.

When you come to people with an idea, it's hard to get them excited (and usually justifiably so). If you come to them with a prototype, then that's different. I think it's different for 2 reasons:

  1. They can actually see your vision in front of them. It makes it much easier for them to decide if they like it or not.
  2. It shows you aren't just talking, and prepared to put the hard work in to get it done.

No matter what advice you get here, you can't go wrong with just starting building it. It won't be wasted effort.

answered Jan 13 '13 at 19:03
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • Thanks. Just the motivation I needed. I have started on development. I will bring in others once I have my prototype created. – Geddon 10 years ago
  • I agree. Seeing is believing. – Pvoosten 10 years ago


Start developing language-agnosticism, you seem way too focused on the language in which to implement rather than the implementation itself, if you think you can "make it happen" in Java, not speaking about optimized code, but rather - working architecture which will hold long enough to test your hypothesis, that's all you need.

If you're already a developer, moving from .NET to java is an EASY move, you should try that not for the sake of satartup, but for the sake of personal growth.

Start building, iterate, and improve.

answered Jan 14 '13 at 00:06
Itai Sagi
337 points
  • I don't know why language-agnosticism is so popular these days. Languages are different, choose the right one for the job. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • Joel, it's important and you do need to choose the right tool for the task at hand, but it's not what should be stopping you from developing something, most of what you'll build will be discarded anyway when speaking of a new venture. – Itai Sagi 10 years ago
  • I agree that you shouldn't let it hold you back, but I don't agree about discarding what you build. If you code with maintainability in mind then your code should last quite a while. If you are talking about pivoting then I think that's an "overrated" concept. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • The core code of your business will be replaced when you reach a certain size, that's something which happens, even more than that - the data-structures itself could change, now - you could build your code for 10's of millions of people beforehand and never ship, or you could build a good-enough version and yes, implement some mathematical functions in php which would work super fast in erlang - but unfortunately it complicates your architecture alot! sometimes you just gotta ship. – Itai Sagi 10 years ago
  • I am all for shipping. It doesn't mean you need to ship crap code though, you can ship good code. Shipping an MVP doesn't mean put something worse it, it means reduce the scope but ship something good still. As for replacing your code, only if you write it poorly. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • I agree that the core code for a project might get replaced as it grows, but I don’t think it applies to the development language. In most cases the language initially decided for development is usually the foundation for what the project is built on. To me it’s a crucial step and I have looked at it from the angles of resources, cost, scalability, transparency and even my eventual geographic location. – Geddon 10 years ago


I would actually start this by:

  • Doing research on the market. Who will be using this app, what are they using now, what competitors exist.
  • Why will your app be better or different than the competition
  • Do mock-ups and design concepts of the application. Prototype a couple screens.
  • Talk to some of the potential consumers of this application and see what they are using now to solve the problem your app solves.
  • Show them your mock-ups and prototypes and discuss what something like that would be worth to them. Get their feedback and what pains they face.
  • Maybe even see if you can get some initial development funding from some of the people you talked with.
  • Then start with the smallest concept possible to provide value to these customers. What set of features can just give them a taste of the benefits. Build and deploy that.
  • Get customers using that and get feedback.
  • Release new features and improve the product continuously based on their feedback
  • Collect their money

From your list of concerns or limitations above you don't list YOUR TIME has a limitation. If you have a few hours a day then you can build whatever you want yourself. If you know .NET you can pick up Java.

Good luck!

answered Jan 14 '13 at 03:10
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • Thanks Ryan - I have started on getting a couple of screens developed that will outline by basic architecture. As you mentioned a few hours a day I should be able to accomplish this. I have also looked at your company and see that you use Ruby on Rails...Because of this I am also lookng at this as an option so far I am impressed and will also consider it. – Geddon 10 years ago
  • At one time I would have considered myself an expert at both PHP and then later ASP .NET. I don't do either as much as I now do Ruby on Rails. I never really got into Java. But, Ruby on Rails has increased my company's productivity and quality of custom web app work by 10x. Ruby with Rails is magical and if you are building a new web application I would seriously consider it as an option. A book might be a good spot to start, but after you get the basics, pretty much anything you would want to do can be found here: Doom 10 years ago

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Development Startup Costs Web Web App