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Show HN: Side project this weekend? Start a Labradoc project log to keep track. (labradoc.com)
2 points by follower on June 18, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments

This looks really good, and I hope a number of users sign up and try it out. One issue that you might think about addressing: I imagine a lot of developers (at least, the ones on HN) would see this and think "That sounds like a good idea ... but why would I use this service when I could hack something up on my own and use it?"

That is, you might want to tell developers why they should use Labradoc and not some home-grown solution.

You might use the answer the Dropbox guys used when asked why they were entering a saturated market, and they asked back: How many of those solutions do you actually use?

Thanks Charlie for taking the time to sign up and for your feedback.

The question you raise is a good one--I think it's common knowledge around here that targeting HN developers is a good way to make life difficult... :)

My current reply: "Sure, you should definitely hack something up on your own but you'll need a project log for the project so you can use Labradoc until you have yours running."

Slightly less tongue in cheek:

* Use Labradoc for the same reason I use Google App Engine and Django-nonrel to host & develop it: because it's easier and you can focus on what you actually want to be doing.

* Longer term I'd like to take the "GitHub for project logs" angle where there's feature & social benefits to having project logs on Labradoc.

Thanks again for checking the site out and I hope you find it useful as you switch between your Monotask & PearBudget projects. :)

My immediate thought was "Why wouldn't I use Google Docs?"

That's a reasonable question to ask.

There's a number of generic tools you could use for keeping a project log (Google Docs, a blog, wiki, text file) but at the moment the primary reason to use Labradoc is it focused on making project logs easy.

Small features like automatic date tracking for entries, a clutter-free interface and simple formatting via Markdown help reduce the overhead of keeping a project log. This in turn helps increase the likelihood you'll keep the log up to date. Which makes the log more useful to you and others.

If you do use Google Docs for keeping a project log I'd certainly value feedback on what it provides for you in this instance.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Google docs gives me ubiquitous availability, various file formats (which is a plus or a minus) and not much else. Your response includes good reasons for using your product.

Thanks for taking the time to reply again, I hope you'll give Labradoc a try.

For a number of years I've kept project logs (or "lab notebooks") for the various projects I have in progress. I've found project logs really great for reducing the time getting up to speed when switching between projects.

I've frequently recommended the habit to other developers.

Project logs are a form of documentation that really helps "future me". Because I write entries as I go, the overheard for any entry is really low so that encourages me to write more.

An added bonus, the notes I take along the way are accessible to others and they can find the way I worked around a bug or solved an error message. Also, there's always many more "in progress" projects that never make it to a site like Instructables but a project log can help others reproduce the work.

When I was unable to write project logs for a while I really missed it so I started a project to make writing them easier. And then I thought, hey, why not make it available to other people too.

So, thanks to HN's inspiration I recently launched Labradoc.com to provide "project logs to help you...and everyone else".

It fits the definition of an EMVP (embarrassingly minimal viable product) but I hear that's the done thing. :)

While I'm interested in feedback about Labradoc in its current state I'm also keen just to get people trying it out.

Keeping a project log is really beneficial, so whether you use a text file, blog, personal wiki or Labradoc I highly recommend you give it a try.

Thanks for your time!

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