Well, although that's one step better than blogs that completely lack a link back to the product, I don't find backlinking the actual blog logo to be all that intuitive. Often times I see blog logos that are variants of the actual product logo indicating you're looking at the blog, and so it doesn't make much sense to hide the link there. Just make an explicit link to the product in the sidebar or something. I can't tell you how many times I've closed a product blog page after growing frustrated with not being able to spot a link to the product quickly.
This. I'm always coming across blog posts for products which I DON'T know... and hit hte header link... and it just brings me to the blog home page. Which usually tells me nothing about what the service actually does.
Jesus, 4 weeks? That's awesome. I've been learning on and off for a few years now, and have recently buckled down to finally get something done. What are some lessons you learned for building your next project? Also, it seems like you've got a good eye for design. With a bit more practice and experience, you could likely make some great looking sites. It certainly looks a lot better than sites I've seen made by more seasoned coders.
I took a quick look, and I don't see anything that stands out. Assets are mostly cached properly, nothing is excessively large, gzip is on, etc. You've been getting a bit over 4 requests per second for the past three hours, plus some more before that, so roughly 50k views. 1 GB of data transfer means each view is averaging 20k. That still seems a bit higher than it should, but it's low enough that I'd worry about other things way before you start optimizing the bandwidth.
I've activated billing in app engine but no idea how long it takes to come online. Really sorry guys - I assumed the free quotes would see me through! Hopefully it comes back soon.
edit - looks like the billing just kicked in... Phew. Sorry about that! looks like I caught it just about in time. If you saw the 404 page my apologies. I've loaded it up with credits so it should stay up now
I'm really new to this so not really sure. When you enable billing your free limits increase (weird I know) and I don't think I've actually incurred any costs as a result. I don't really know how well optimised my site is so it may be that it could scale up to those numbers if the back end was better? That said, all the limits are daily on app engine so maybe it was just that the spike was big enough to bust my daily limits?
As someone who within the last two weeks picked up app engine and created an MVP of my own http://www.pubcontweets.com, I can not only relate to your story but also applaud you for sharing the it as well as your code. Thanks.
I totally agree. Getting something out in few weeks is amazing especially if you have a day job. I too released my first project http://caniafforditnow.com/ and it took around 2 weeks to get it out. But I had some ruby on rails experience.
Having only just launched I don't know what the market looks like. I strongly suspect that the site will end up gravitating towards one kind of user. But who knows! 22books.com (mentioned below) gets used by quite a lot of school teachers so there are plenty of niches out there.
Let me know how you get on - happy to share thoughts :)
Ooh nice site - I tried googling around to see if there were any other sites that did it but didn't find your site before I built mine. I'll definitely take a poke around and see what I can learn though :)
Very nice. I'm impressed with turning that out in four weeks based on starting with no programming/html knowledge. As far as the CSS goes, one thing that helped me was using one of the many CSS frameworks out there. You might try that if you run into more issues going forward. I'm using blueprint for now, but there are several out there to choose from.
no problem. What you have now looks good, so you may not need it unless/until you do a redesign.
They basically have a set of predefined CSS classes for layouts to give you a starting point. Blueprint and some of the others also have a default set of styles predefined, and you can find several examples of people who have added to them. It basically gave me a good starting point instead of having to hack up my own CSS from the start.
They also claim to help resolve several of the CSS differences between browsers, but I haven't tested that first hand yet.
Hey mate - we spoke on email a few weeks ago! I was gonna drop you a line about the site but things have been a bit manic recently. I think I'm going in a slightly different direction to you so hopefully you don't mind too much that our sites are similar. I'm going to look at exploring the community angle in the coming months so hopefully we won't tread on each others toes too much.
I started doing "web stuff" about 3 years ago and have learned sooo much just by forcing myself to do it.
It's so funny to me to see how much I've changed, I came across one of the first ever "apps" that I made a few days ago. It was a DVD cataloger that I made my Dad for his birthday (He glanced at it, went "huh", then bought some commercial version of the same thing...humph) and it was kindof cool to look over the shoulder of Ryan from 3 years ago to see what he was doing.
I'd encourage you to put them live before you finish them! 7books isn't finished at all, this is just the beginning but all this feedback and testing is what shapes the future of the site. I learned the "publish fast" concept from HN and I strongly recommend it.
Either it's that or the core of the website was finished, but tons of small things needed to be fixed, which is a real pain in the ass to do. And sometimes I do feel like I have a better idea and working on the current project would be a waste of time.
Took me a while to realize that sometimes the real reason I canceled my projects were because of laziness.
So I notice that you are taking images off amazon's API and are reposting the covers... how are you getting away with this. I had a similar idea that i half implemented and had to abandon because amazon's API policy is very specific about hosting and grabbing their images from their API. They also supposedly don't want you to cash almost any of their information ...
1) I'm not sure whether you're using Amazon referral links. You can show the book cover next to the title linking it to the amazon using the associate tag. It will fetch you some decent money I believe if someone buys the books using the links. Have never used but read about this in Stackoverflow.
2) You can use amazon.com/books instead of amazon.com in the Stuck? message link when adding a new book.
Using ajax with either the amazon or google books api is definitely on my roadmap. I don't (yet!) know how to code ajax though. Also - i'm unconvinced about book covers. Most book covers are actually pretty uninteresting so I'm not a big fan of them. Still, I definitely want to make certain things more visual.