Need Help Deciding which Web Application to Build

Now that the house issues have been mostly settled I can get started on building one of the many small web applications that I have been tossing around. Some of these ideas I have been thinking about for what seems like years and others just a few months.  I have a good 7 or 8 different web applications that I want to build and I’m looking for some help in determining which one(s) I should build first.

Reasons Why

I need to get other peoples opinions on which will be useful them and more importantly the general public and might in the long run I would be able to charge enough to cover my hosting costs with ads or annual fees. I know that probably all of these have been done many times over, but there are a few reasons why I want to build them and they are:

  • Learn PHP and MySQL
  • Use the newest accessibility implementations of WAI-ARIA and possibly HTML 5
  • Use microformats were applicable
  • Test newest features in screen readers – JAWS, NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA), etc. and web based browsers (Firefox 3.5, IE8, etc.)
  • Use Web Standards
  • Test abilities for user interface design (UI or UX)
  • Create 508 compliant and usable examples for others to learn from for accessibility presentations.

But most importantly to create web applications that I would like to use personally.

Important Part

Now comes the important part, which from the following list of web applications should I build? I added a short description of what they do along with different ways I could help pay the hosting cost. I even created one page prototypes just so you could see what types of information is stored in each one. The style (CSS) and layout (UI/UX) will be changing. I just took some old CSS and put these together.

  1. Online URL/bookmark storage which allow user to have X URLs/bookmarks stored online for free, charge per X items stored, set up annual fee, or show ads of some type. I started this one a while ago and stopped for some odd reason. I’m tired of having bookmarks on two home computers (MAC and PC), along with on work one. Yes, I have heard of and
  2. Store individuals personal contact information and either have X individuals for free, charge per X customers, annual fee, or show ads of some type. Always looking for an address or phone number when at someone else’s house or office and would like to have it be web based.
  3. Online wine inventory – personal use hosted by me with ads for up to X entries or small annual fee for limited number, bigger ones for people with 1000s of bottles of wine. Yes, I know is around. I started mine about the same time they (Dan Cederholm and Dan Benjamin) did, just did not have enough get up and go to get past midway with it. Once Cork’d came out I stopped for the most part. So this one is a good way completed using ASP and Microsoft Access, which only needs to be converted to PHP and MySQL.
  4. Online wine inventory – for wine stores to allow their customers to store their wine collection information and then place their (wine store) ads on website (charge monthly fee to store per customer or flat rate by amount of storage and bandwidth used).
  5. Mini adhoc conference information service (no prototype just yet), which would help groups like BarCamp create main information page about event and later at event add an online schedule of talks (allow addition of rooms, topics, speakers, etc.). Place AdSense and/or links of event sponsors on pages. I created similar conference room scheduling web application for old job so have the general idea for it already in my head of what it would need. Not sure if this one exists, but I assume it does somewhere and have not really looked if it does.
  6. RSS/XML Feed reader, which either would have X feeds free, charge per X feeds over free amount, annual fee, or show ads of some type. Created one to pull in a feeds and either display all records contained in RSS/XML, first X amount, or only display records that contained certain words or phrases. There are way to many of them around.
  7. Store multiple weather location information, which would allow you to save multiple zip codes or city/state/country combinations to keep track of home, vacation location, other friends, or families weather. Same idea for covering hosting costs as previous ideas.
  8. Technology Skills or Skill Swap repository, which would allow members to put in there different skills and then have the rights to search for others for help with questions or for projects.  Would have ability to make personal information private so as not to get spammed. Could charge fee for those just looking to find people for work or projects, charge for recruiting type ads, or just place AdSense on pages.


So please do me a great favor and list the top three applications in order you think I should build them so I can get an idea of what others are thinking.

Thanks, greatly in advance for your time and effort for helping me learn new things and decide which web application to build first. I will post findings in a few weeks along with the order in which I will build them in, since a few could be bundled together to make an over arching suite of applications.

13 thoughts on “Need Help Deciding which Web Application to Build

  1. 1. Technology Skills or Skill Swap repository (most useful to the public at large)
    2. RSS/XML Feed reader (I think you would learn the most with this one. Parsing XML is a big part of any web app these days)
    3. Online wine inventory – personal use (I jut think this is an interesting idea)

    And if you are going to be mucking around in MySQL check out for a slick GUI front end to peak into your database.

  2. I like #7 for me, I could use a single, simple, online weather resource that tracks several locations. Numbers 3 and 4 are also great ideas (wine inventory).

  3. I think #6, #8, and #3.

    All seem useful and should give you experience in the items you are looking to use.

  4. I like the bookmark idea, but with the stipulation that you write a plugin for every single browser out there.

  5. I like #4 as I think that it not only has the potential to be a great programming project to learn from, it also has a revenue-generating, practical use. It’s also complex and extensible enough to allow for additional programming/learning down the road.

  6. Of course I like #3 and #4 – would be great for wine shops that are not up to speed with online inventory and great product for personal users that want a true accurate record of their collection.
    #5 is a very cool idea – you would probably need to look at small organizations, such as schools or churches, that could use this – I would think most hotels would already have something like this in their system, but you never know.
    #8 – I also like this and think you could have it be your technology job/ resume posting/ employer search site that you could work, like a technology version of monster or craig’s list maybe.
    #7 – great idea, especially for those that travel. Maybe work with travel websites or magazines and have it as a link to your weather site. I would use that in a heartbeat.

  7. I like 3, 4, 8.

    I think that its best to pick projects that you are really passionate about. Plus, with the wine related apps, you already had a big pool of possible testers to pull from.

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