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Splendid Bacon: Simple Project Management for Hackers, built in 48 hours (splendidbacon.com)
161 points by ljuti on Oct 18, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments

Looks very clean and beautiful.

Feedback on your branding - maybe everyone in your social circle eats bacon and it's cool and loves it, but the name will probably be an emotional level turnoff to vegetarians, Jews who eat kosher, and Muslims who eat halal, or people who otherwise don't eat pork. Something to think about before you really get rolling, because you might potentially have an unnecessarily hard time breaking through to those groups of people.

Disclaimer: I've got kind of a weird diet - I don't eat mammals (chicken, poultry, fish okay - beef, pork, venison, no). The name kind of has a mild yuck factor to me, which I'd get over if the tools were valuable enough, but I'd hesitate at least a half-second to recommend it to, say, my Jewish friends.

Re lionhearted's comments:

Sometimes it's hard to discuss topics like this without being judged as PC at best or a Milquetoast at worst. But ultimately this is a business forum and businesses need to market.

Copywriter Joseph Sugarman wrote a book called Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. It's the kind of title you'd expect from a long-copy copywriter, but it's worth reading for his list of 57 points to consider in advertising. Part of marketing is about breaking down walls to acceptance, which is what I really got out of the 57 points. So the last thing you want to do is build a wall to conversion right out of the gate.

In other words, this is my long-winded way of saying that I agree with lionhearted.

I disagree about the branding. It's simple, it's awesome, it's a somewhat of a hacker cliche (in a post-Why The Lucky Stiff world). If anyone is "offended" by this, those are probably not the kind of religious nutjobs you want hanging around on your site anyway. People, stop it with the appeasement and stand for something!

Disclaimer: on a moral level, I can totally understand why you don't eat mammals. That's an awesome personal choice I can sympathize with. However, the name is still great.

Couldn't say it better myself: http://xkcd.com/137/

I agree. I don't think offending people is what's at stake--just turning people off purely based on the name. As a vegan, I'd be offended if someone tried to serve me meat knowing I was vegan. I'm simply put off by a name involving a meat product and far less likely to use it because of the strong mental and moral connotations I have for such words.

It reminds me of a large percentage of screenshots that come from certain Linux projects. Wallpapers and themes often have scantily clad women on them. I can imagine that this would put a lot of folks off from contributing to or using those products.

I'd consider "Tempeh Bacon" as name, but I'm biased, as my partner made a delicious batch of it the other day :)

Thanks for the feedback! We promise to think about the branding!

Maybe you should make it be tofu bacon, and have a "Powered by 100% Soy" as a humorous tagline

I believe that would be a turnoff for just about everyone not turned off by "splendid bacon."


I have no data so I'll give an anecdote instead. :)

When I finished the first year of my return to University in 2001 I decided to buy myself a domain name as a reward. (Positive reinforcement and all that...)

Due to all the single word domains being long-gone I looked at two word combinations that were still available and--exactly how is lost to the mists of time--ended up with: rancidbacon.com

I decided that it would serve my purposes in the short term but figured eventually I'd have to get a more "professional" domain for supporting my freelance contracting career.

One thing lead to another, I got some contracting gigs from various places and then got involved in Google Maps hacking which lead to the first amusing domain reference.

I got invited to the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference and got referenced in telephone press conference for the event:

"He runs the rancidbacon web site, where all of this was first documented," <http://conferences.oreillynet.com/pub/w/39/transcript.html&#...;

On meeting fellow map hackers on the trip to the conference the first question I got asked after introducing myself was "Hey, what's the story behind your domain name?".

As a result of that hacking I got more contract development work (and an email from Google but that's a story for another time) and I started to think "Hmmm, maybe I won't have to move to a 'more professional' domain name after all..."

In the end I kept the name because in the circles I moved in, it had good "brand recognition" and I figured the name itself acted as a filter for people who could work with my more laid back style (although I must admit I hadn't considered the cultural issue before now...).

The second amusing story happened a few years later when I ended up being interviewed on a nationwide publicly funded radio show because I was the user of a local startup. Before I went on air the producer said "Hey, look we'd prefer if you didn't mention your domain name on air because some of our listeners might not appreciate it."

Then as soon as I got on air the host introduced me as being from "rancidbacon" and once she was wrapping up the interview finished with "So, what does rancidbacon mean?". In response, I got to spend a minute of nationwide radio telling the story behind the domain. And a recording of the host saying "You're the Rancid Bacon guy!" on air. :) (Although she also said she hoped the name wouldn't come back to haunt me if I ever turned vegan.)

Plus, it gives random people on the internet something to do if time machines ever get invented: "If they ever invent a time machine, I'm going to go back to 1995 and say that sentence to somebody: 'In this case, the enabler is ... Python libraries made available by rancid bacon.'" http://hello.typepad.com/hello/2005/06/the_future_of_o.html

/end anecdote

Hm, I think I just might call my next project Yummy Maggots...

> Hm, I think I just might call my next project Yummy Maggots...

It's okay to offend people if offending people furthers your goals and strategy. Typically though, if the offense is tangential to your product and doesn't polarize people, or get one group really excited, or target your customerbase while turning off other people, then it's a bad idea.

So, "Yummy Maggots" could work for... I don't know, some sort of grossout humor site, or maybe some hybrid survival horror/dark humor game, or something like that. But it probably wouldn't be a good name for bug tracking software, because it'd turn off legitimate potential users without turning on, segmenting, or otherwise intelligently engaging other users.

It's okay to offend people. Just know why exactly you're doing it.

(I know I just gave a serious reply to a sarcastic remark, but I thought it was a good topic to riff on)

Seems like a better name than Splendid Bacon.

Yummy Maggots: "Splat your bugs before they pupate".

This looks really cool, and is designed beautifully. The only thing is that it id kind of featureless to be really useful for managing projects (read: even though I love the concept and execution, I wouldn't pay to use it yet). I do think that the design is beautiful and will probably make an excellent company dashboard on a big screen in the office. Add more project management tools, if you guys can merge help desk ticketing, bug ticketing, and to-do lists in a easy to use package I'm sold.

Thanks for the feedback!

First, this app is 48 hours old so we didn't have too much time to build features. We'll likely introduce new stuff later on.

Second, this tool is actually more for project portfolio management than project management per se. The goal is to let teams use the tools that they like for ticketing, bug reports, etc. and focus more on scheduling, resourcing and overview of the projects in an organization.

Currently we have GitHub integration with commit messages updating the project activity stream. We have plans to introduce other integrations like this.

Yeah I figured as much, I just wanted to tell you what I thought it was missing, not complain about the lack of features.

Anyways it seems as if you guys want to only focus on the overview of the project management side and not on the task management side or collaboration side, which in my book is OK because most products make a mess of those things when done in tandem.

If you want to focus on only that for now my advice is to implement milestones first (you said you wanted to focus on scheduling and this is the cornerstone of scheduling IMO) and change the timeline to have less thick bars and emphasize milestones instead of project beginnings and endings (though this should be shown also off course), and figure out which direction you plan to take... collaboration angle, the task based angle, the "I only need a Gantt chart" oldschool project management angle, etc.

Overall I feel you guys have gotten the design idea quite nicely of what the needs in simple project management are, you just need to decide which type of project manager you're going to market to.

Excellent insights, thanks! These points will definitely be discussed in the future.

Yet another project management service? I'm amazed out how often these pop-up promising that they are the now "simplest" project management solution. Where's the differentiation? Other than the UI and a couple custom fields, these are no different than Basecamp, Producteev, GoPlan, etc. etc...

With that said, I think it looks and functions great. Very user-friendly. Would I use it? Probably not. My team seems to hate every simple project management website service. The ultimate project management service is to integrate something within the current workflow, which does not involve a separate website nor does it involve creating tasks, etc. I'm just stating the problem, but unfortunately I don't have a solution. I just find it fascinating that there are SO many project management services, but none work for our team.

The ideal solution would HAVE to have smartphone apps for major platforms, and gmail integration. Heck, it doesn't even need to have a website frontend.

I just find it fascinating that there are SO many project management services, but none work for our team.

That's why there are so many. I bet that is what each developer was thinking when they came up with their product.

Completely agree, but we aren't about to develop our own. I just find it interesting that there isn't a solution to fits even most people's needs.

Thanks for the feedback! We made it since it solves our own problem: how to see who is doing what at a glance

Acunote (http://www.acunote.com/promo) is still better (which I'll admit is kinda an unfair comparison, given this was made in only 48 hours). Managing an agile backlog is possible in acunote. And it is free for up to 7 users (startups will be able to go a long way before having to pay).

Also acunote makes sure you don't have to reload the page most of the time (even though Splendid's reload is very fast). I'd really recommend competitors to borrow from it.

    > Acunote is still better.
To be fair, I suspect Acunote may be just a little bit older than 48 hours old. ;) Splendid Bacon looks pretty awesome considering.

The first 95% of any app is always the easy bit. It's that last 5% that takes years.

Wholeheartedly agreed. Edited to make this clearer.

Thanks for checking out the application.

We think it solves a different problem than Acunote. From our own experience, tools often get in the way of working and Acunote does a lot more than we and other small teams need.

And as I eluded to in another comment, we think Splendid Bacon lets you use tools like Acunote to manage the backlog and other details or accomplish other similar project tasks.

I also loved the demo. I particularly liked the fresh database every time.

I suggest that you run a background process that always ensures you have say 5 demo databases 'ready to go' so you can dish them out with no delay when a user clicks on the evaluate link. The speed of that first click really is essential.

Also, you could come up with some clever hacks to share the caching for the default dashboards. Until a user makes a modification, they are essentially on a static site which has huge advantages for you under load. If you could automatically bake the site into pure HTML and switch over to a real version on the first modification that might be a big speed win when you get dug or slashdotted.

Then again, it could be a premature optimisation. Well done. Very slick.

Consider making your login page (http://splendidbacon.com/users/sign_in) expand into a sign up page rather than making them separate.

Finally, there should be an easy way to convert the demo account into a real trial account. There could be a big button to do it in the header, or the account button could be re-labeled TRIAL or FREE ACCOUNT and could lead to a form that allowed conversion from demo to real. Right now I can't do this conversion because I don't know the password for the demo account.

Keep the prices low, you have a naturally viral product here (people pulling other people in). You might want to engineer in features that draw in the dev shop's clients too (bug tracker, public project dashboards, etc)

Excellent points! We didn't have that much time to do the demo data creation so we're going to do it on background when we get back our code ownership from Rails Rumble :)

Also we didn't have time to do any caching, but it's a good way to learn the bottle necks :D

Thanks for the great feedback! Much appreciated!

I'm the designer for this app, it's great the people find it interesting and pleasing. I try write some more detailed post about the process but here are few pointers:

* We've been talking about this kind of project portfolio / dashboard app for our company quite a while.

* I worked on the concept and the first sketches to my notebook like week before while attending some rather boring keynote presentation. Took photos with my iPhone and send it to the team.

* We had couple of 30min planning sessions on Tue and Fri where we scoped app and what features it should have.

* On Friday afternoon I sketched couple of iterations of the views to paper, so everyone would know what to expect. Also I had the style of the design pretty imagined in my head (I wanted it dark and fancy, and definitely there's inspiration from Cultured Code). Like previously linked, if you like to know I work, I gave a lecture on the subject last week: http://www.slideshare.net/karrisaarinen/just-design-it-an-ap...)

* On Saturday I started about 8 hours late(since I didn't want to wake up too early :-) and I had Photoshop comps of all the main views ready after 7 hours(including couple of iterations each). Key to this was to reuse elements and use layer styles as much as possible

* Before and right after that we started implementing the UI. We choose JQuery, 960.gs, Haml, SASS and Pictos icon-font the frontend. I tried to do as much I could with css so I could reuse it, and SASS was really helpful because you could define and include complex styles elements with a oneliner.

* The app backend was mostly ready Saturday evening as we planned, so when others left on 11pm, I stayed for other 3 hours and implemented the dashboard and some other views.

* We used most the Sunday to polishing the views and the app, and I designed and implement the frontpage on the afternoon.

* On like 10-11pm while other guys where fiddling with the deployment I made a iOS icon and some other small tweaks.

* Sunday 11pm the first deployment went through, we had some problems with Pictos, Firefox and emails but those were solved pretty quickly.

* Then We opened the champange bottle http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8355/deployed.jpg and it's was done which was really good feeling. After 16 hours the whole team is still really stoked about the app and the feedback. BIG THANKS TO YOU ALL :)

I just wanted to say thanks. It seems like you tested the app out on the iPad. If you didn't, it sure seemed like it. I first visited the app on mine, and was happy to see it fit like a native app. Highly encouraging. Good work.

Thank you! We didn't have time to actually test it on iPad, but we were happy to see it somewhat working on it :)

I'm curious--what does the backend setup look like?

Firstly: I think you've done a great job for 48 hours. That's an awesome inspiration.

Secondly: what is the purpose of the random characters (e.g. %, 2) on the front page and elsewhere? I found the characters on the front page to be somewhat unbalanced, especially the comma. Once I tried the demo, I thought they might be indicating keyboard shortcuts, but nothing happened (firefox 3.0, crunchbang linux). I'm not sure if they're not working, or if I just don't understand the joke or something, but that was my biggest issue. It seemed a bit unprofessional -- not that it is (seriously, 48 hours? awesome!), but that's what I saw.

I hope this helps you, and thanks for sharing this with us!

Glad you like it!

I'm sorry to hear that the site doesn't render properly on Firefox 3.0. We are using @font-face and the Pictos icon set for the icons, and only newer browsers support it.

Here's what it actually looks like: http://skitch.com/jcxplorer/d5hdh/splendid-bacon

Ah, that's much better. Cool!

Very nice. Looks heavily inspired by Cultured Code's dashboard (http://culturedcode.com/status/).

Indeed it does. Almost too heavily..

It's certainly inspired by them. We love Cultured Code and their products!

Personally I don't see much value in it, but it looks awesome and I guess if you add more features it might be useful to give clients updates.

Best part - the automatic demo account, great job on that. That is by far the easiest way to understand how something is going work and I wish all apps had that feature.

Glad to hear you liked it, especially the demo account. We wanted to try making the discovery part very easy with it.

I really dig the simplicity of it. It's the first time I managed to fully understand a presumably minimalistic project management service in under a minute. I feel comfortable sharing this with friends and fellow students without fearing that I have to explain everything.

I would love to be able to embed images and code, though. A service like present.ly stands out better in this regard. At the moment, I don't know how well I would use it in a CS study group without at least a <code> tag.

Embedding and especially code formatting are excellent ideas! Thanks for pointing those out! I'll push them forward myself

This is great - we've been looking for a scheduling app to replace an Excel sheet that we've been using, and this is close to what I had in my head.

One thing we'd happily pay for would be the ability to have finer grained resourcing. So instead of just saying who is working on what project, say precisely when they are working on it.

The goal would be for every person in my team to look at this in the morning to see what they need to work on that day or week.

Is this something you had planned?

Great start for 2 days work though!

Thanks for the feedback! I'm not sure how fine grained it'll be, but I promise we'll think hard how to do resourcing "properly".

Nice! It seems easy enough to use and the design is downright gorgeous.

What are your plans for this? I could definitely see myself paying for this.

Thanks for the compliments!

Due to the excellent feedback we've received, we are planning on commercializing this soon.

Damn, there goes my shot at asking you for the code so we can run it internally at my job :(

So, can you teach us something about the design process? I too found it very pleasing.

Our designer @karrisaarinen gave a lecture about web app design just last week and his slides of that talk are up at http://www.slideshare.net/karrisaarinen/just-design-it-an-ap...

This was very helpful, thanks a lot!

Hopefully. :) We'll try to pressure our designer @karrisaarinen to write a blog post about it.

Full disclosure: I was on the team who built this.

I really love how this turned out.

Man, i'm already using it. I love the simplicity

Glad to hear it!

I just started a new project with a friend of mine. We'll be using Splendid Bacon. This is such a KILLER app!!

Textmate 2 joke was a nice touch : )

Great to hear you liked it! :)

Incredible for a freelancer like me!

I just hope all this positive feedback doesn't result in crazy-ass pricing :)

I'm liking it a lot, as well. We'll see if my other team members want to use it tomorrow at the office. We actually use an intranet tool that we build for clients for project management at work, but I'm not convinced that it manages a software development project well.

Great to hear you like it! We'd love to hear your team's thoughts on the application.

Thanks, very excited that you find it useful! :)

Seems cool. I like the dashboard design. Mind telling us what technology stack you chose to use?

It's a pretty basic Rails stack. We did for this year's Rails Rumble, so we've listed all the gems and libraries on our team page: http://r10.railsrumble.com/teams/kiskonians-dancing-in-lab-c...

Looks very beautiful. Almost like Yammer that's centered around projects only. Do you plan to add more features, or just want it to be a project status updater? For what it's worth, I find many project management tools confusing; always seems like they take too many steps to just get your tasks in there and updated. Still, at least a to-do list under each project would be useful.

What are your pricing plans? An installable, roll-your-own-server option would be cool...

Thanks for the kind words! We do have some plans, but we really need to gather feedback and then decide what's the roadmap.

Firewall version has been planned, but we had no time to think about the pricing yet. I'm sure we need some sleep before that :)

I'm sure! :) Still, amazing work for 48 hours. How large was your team?

It was developed by a team of 4. Happy to know you like it!

Lovely app - very pretty. As someone who writes only mathematical code, I cannot imagine the effort I would have to put in to get something so shiny!

I started with a few projects and I have a couple of feature requests: show the latest status update in the project dashboard and maybe consider an RSS feed for each project?

I also couldn't figure out what the little person silhouette at the bottom of each project in the dashboard was for?

Thank you!

We've have thought about RSS feeds, but we pretty much run out of time with that :)

Little person silhouette is just a marker. We'll have person filters for projects at some point. Also if you see "-" next to the silhouette there are no people in the project (you can add them by opening the project and clicking "Edit").

Using ff 3.6.10 on a mac, I always get the (-) marker next to the silhouette without any names associated there. However, there are people attached to the project when I click on the project itself...that's why I was confused - I expected to see the people, but didn't!

I guess that'll get ironed out in testing.

Beautiful app.

It would be cool if you could assign an arbitrary numeric value to a "post" and display a running total. For example, set the value of a post to 4 and ask the team members to check in twice a day.

This gives you a rough idea of the time spent so far (and perhaps time remaining) without any additional effort on the part of the team and lets you dial-in the granularity on the human side of things.

That's an interesting idea! We'll think about it! Thank you!

Everybody else has given the feedback I would. But I can't help but re-give the praise, amazing achievement for 48 hours.

Thank you! We're humbled by the very positive response.

Great looking app. I'm having trouble adding users to a project after it has been created, using chrome 6.0. Later, it would also be useful to add users without an account via email invites from within a project to people that don't have an account yet.

Thank you for your feedback! I'm running Chrome 6.0 too and adding users seems to work for me. I'll try to investigate this!

I assume I missed something obvious: how can I add a task and an estimate duration ?

Or isn't it possible ?

We don't have tasks at the moment :(

No worries - I'm just asking :)

So does the app allow to share status between people working on a project and see a timeline of projects ?

Yes and also some details about the project. We also have Github integration so you can see recent commits.

"And it uses dark colors."

Much prefer white on black to vice versa. Great design and very usable!

Thanks for your feedback! Glad you like the dark theme.

Great work! Only thing is I'd have something on the top left to go back to the front page. It took me a little while to find the home icon on the top right.

Is the gantt chart from a UI library, or created from scratch?

Thanks! It's true that the dropdown menu is not really optimal at the moment. We'll work on that!

The timeline was created from scratch since there wasn't any solution out there that was good enough for us.

I can't sign up from the 'try the demo' link. I tried changing my demo account, but it wouldn't let me (the existing password was blank, it complained).

After a while I figured out I needed to logout and sign up again.

Sorry about that. We didn't have enough time to polish the demo -> real account switch.

Cheers! Just a heads up :)

Just testing it out on Android, everything I tried seemed to work perfectly. Great design and CSS work :)

Perhaps some sorting & filtering options on the dashboard? An 'overdue, current and complete tabs?

Thank you for your comments and feedback! We're glad that it works on Android too :) Didn't really have time to test it on it.

Yes there needs to be some kind of sorting/filtering if you many projects.

Really great job for a weekend project - visual design is very slick. Look forward to seeing it a bit more feature-complete. Would love to use something like this with my team.

Great to hear that you like it. We certainly have plans to add some features to it, especially better integration with more external services (bug trackers, etc.)

Is there a way to "complete" a project? Am I missing something?

Currently no, in the future we'll probably add the "completed" state, or something similar...

Which is what I love about smart development. People worry so much about features, scalability et al that they end up never building anything!

I immediately converted the Why the Lucky Stiff chunky bacon melody to your app's name after seeing that it was part of the Rails Rumble.

This a pretty awesome project for 48 hours! And reading through the comments, I love that you're replying to so many. Keep it up :)

I've been up for about 24 hours now, and even though I was exhausted from all the coding, I'm feeling great now!

Thanks, we're pretty stoked about all the feedback we're getting.

Saw this on Forrst earlier today and I'm still loving it. Great to see your project is getting so much attention. It deserves it.

Thanks! We're really glad you like it! :)

Nice, but still not as feature rich as http://www.timetableapp.com/

Thanks for the feedback! Will take a closer look, but it seems to solve a different problem.

This is perfect. With my team of 3 there couldn't be an easier way to do this. Thanks for this. Also killer design.

Thanks! We have small teams ourselves and we created this based on what we need. Great to hear that it'll be useful for others, too.

Splendid Bacon in simple words is "Splendid". Keep up the good work and make it awesomer! Totally loving it!

Thanks! :D Also bacon is splendid!

Played around with it for a bit. Are you considering any to do list functions?

Maybe not right now. Lot of people, us included, want manage their todos in Things or similar todo app.

However, we need to think this through.

nice application. however, i did not get a 'welcome to splendidbacon' email.

As trivial as it might be, i think the welcome email does what 'thanks for coming' does in offline stores

Good point! We'll add that when the Rails Rumble lockout is over! Thanks!

Amazing, for something built in 48 hours. Very slick!

Thanks!! We're glad you liked it!

I cannot easily find a portal on your website to submit feedback and support tickets.

You may wish to add a CSV export feature for me, and some nice metrics/graphic reporting in other charts.

Besides that, I'm switching to this from toggl.com right now.

Thanks for your feedback! We can be contacted at contact@splendidbacon.com

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