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Show HN: My first web app, DailyDo.it (dailydo.it)
142 points by michelle_ on May 19, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments

One thing that confused me was the "Team" link at the top. Having it placed between "Philosophy" and "Contact" made me expect that it was going to be a page about the people that made the site, not a signup page about a future featureset.

Anyway, you might want to make the "team" thing stand out in a different way, if you're hoping to capture people interested in group features.

Agreed - I clicked on it hoping to learn more about who made the app.

Hah, I hadn't thought of that. I agree though, it needs to be much more obvious if I'm expecting people to actually find it! I'll play around with it, thanks :)

Try "TeamDoIt"

or just Teams/Groups :)

Yup.....same to me. All the way.

I think you can safely drop the 'aspiring' from your bio, you've made more progress in three weeks on this than many have made in much longer time-spans.

Impressive, to put it mildly.

What you've made is interesting, but what is even more interesting is how you managed to do all this in such a terribly short time, I think there will be plenty of people interested in the 'making of' of this neat little website.

I agree with the notion above. Please make some posting on your progress over these three month - i.e. what tutorials you took and how you reached that level of expertise in design and coding in such a short time. Very impressive work!

Where does it say anything about 3 weeks? Was it 3 weeks of learning programming or 3 weeks to build this? The latter is impressive, the former is phenomenal. There are many of us who could benefit from learning from OP.

Like the design. Looks good for first web app. Do you mind sharing some background? How did you come up with product idea? What technologies did you use? What are your planned next steps for app?

Thanks! The design started as a themeforest template, but at this point it has been very heavily modified. I used PHP and MySQL for the backend, and jQuery for the UI interaction.

I'm a chemistry major spending the summer learning to code, so this is all a learning experience. It's only been about 3 weeks so I'm happy to have gotten something functional out of it. I'm really hoping to get some good feedback from HN.

The about page on DailyDo.it genuinely describes what I set out to make. I have spent 3 years in university trying to keep track of everything I have to do; the result is usually a big mess of tasks on notepaper, my whiteboard, post-it notes, etc. I've tried using online versions, but they all seem so complicated and messy, which is the opposite of what I want. DailyDo.it is meant to be as simple as possible - the challenge of maintaining simplicity was certainly a surprise, but I think it worked out well enough.

As for the next steps, I'm aiming to have the team version (http://dailydo.it/about/team) up and running very soon. This will be a paid service that allows teams of people to share and collaborate on their tasks.

Some people take years between learning coding basics and having something to show for it, so congrats.. in my opinion the ability to ship is equal or more important than coding knowledge.

Wow - really impressive. Thanks for sharing. Good luck with the future development.

How did you code the PHP and MySQL? Was this straight into notepad or did you use a template/tool?

Like others, really interested how you picked up the skills so quickly.

You're awesome! This is a great first app and a wonderful example of getting things done. Thanks for sharing your experience.

You did a fantastic job! Two questions:

1. What resources did you use to learn PHP/MySQL/jQuery in three weeks?

2. How are you handling passwords in the database?

I like it though I do think that changing the logo from daily to monthlydo.it and futuredo.it when people select those tabs will cause some folks to forget your url if they didn't bookmark the site on their first visit.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll definitely keep it in mind.

So, going from zero programming knowledge or experience to this in 3 weeks? If that is the case, it's pretty amazing. I would never have pegged this as a 'first app'. Great job.

Not quite zero. This past semester I took a course in MATLAB which was fairly unrelated, but definitely helped me get comfortable with programming a real project (we did bridge design in the course). I also live with a software developer who helped bail me out from time to time. DailyDo.it was started on April 29th, and I worked long days since then to get it up to what you see now. During the weekend before that I made http://html5helicopter.com to get familiar with JS. I've played around with HTML and CSS before, but always found the process frustrating and overwhelming when trying to make a whole website from scratch; this time I started with a micro-framework that helped me focus on the actual app.

As for anyone who was in my position (limited coding knowledge and not a pro-designer) I would definitely recommend starting from a cheap themeforest design and building up on that. Also, start small and focus. The idea of DailyDo.it was actually conceived last year, but I tried to do way too much with it, and ultimately it amounted to nothing of value. Just piles of bad designs and funky, non-functioning UI, never mind getting to code. This summer I started from scratch (which cleared my mind up), plus I was able to focus on it full-time, and everything just kind of clicked.

I think I just used the word "focus" three times in this post. That's the key. :)

Not to take anything away from such a great accomplishment ... but i find it a little odd that you failed to mention your live-in boyfriend is a coding ninja. Either way ... hats off to you ... and keep it up.


In the post you're replying to I said: "I also live with a software developer who helped bail me out from time to time", and I linked to the html5helicopter.com page which links to that blog post. I wasn't trying to hide anything and didn't mean to be misleading. I'm sorry if I caused any confusion. Nathan helped teach me to code, but DailyDo.it is my own creation.

Sorry, what do you mean with "bridge design"? Great first app, by the way!

You use a series of members under tension or compression to support a load-bearing surface spanning a gap. Then you see if it falls down under a static or dynamic load. It's a common exercise for engineering students.

I hear there's a nice one in San Francisco.

Few suggestions from Interface point of view.

1.Firstly i would suggest move the task-input field to top instead of bottom. It would be much more intuitive . 2.Take the logo out of whole task window if possible. It's kind of distracting as of now. 3.Kill color from background and make it neutral. Give attention to task area as much as possible.

I agree with nitingarg. The input at the top is going to be easier for most users to understand. You seem to have a LOT of wasted space at the top, so use that.

I think the problem with the background is that it's messy. You could go with a solid color. Textures are very popular right now and could go well with your design for a clean look. The 'about | team | philosophy' stuff really belongs at the bottom.

As far as login/register. I'd put a login panel (username/password) with a sign-up button on it. Don't make people go to another page to do that.

Congrats, great work. Out of curiousity, how long did you spend learning?

Thanks, I'll take these suggestions into consideration. One of the hardest parts about putting together the app was finding a balance between power usage and first impressions. Having used it for the past few days while developing it, I've found the add-task at the bottom to be effective, but it's great to hear other opinions from people who aren't as accustomed to the app as I am.

I'm going to disagree with them and say that you should trust your instincts, especially if your instincts led you to such a beautiful and intuitive app. Frankly, there is alot of group-think in UI design these days, and I think we need more people out there that are willing to trust themselves and not go with the principle of "lowest common complaints".

If you are building something to make money, then sure go with lean startup principles and A/B it to death. If you are building something as an act of creation, or as a tool that you want to use, and especially if you are building something that has been done 1000x before, trust your own insights and not those of strangers on a talk board.

Being different (not arbitrarily different mind you, but insightfully different) is a huge and uncommon differentiator, and can led you in amazing directions if you stay true to it.


I really like it and can see myself using it (future notes is a killer feature), but I'm not a fan of the background either. I'd use one of these: subtlepatterns.com

Maybe fix the logo and navigation to the top of the page.

I really like the input at the bottom. It leaves what's important _your tasks_ at the top.

The logo, yes, I'd put it above the white window, by the menu side.

You made the dot in the logo jump! It doesn't jump for monthly and future though. It's amazing how much you have learnt and put to use in such less time. I'm jealous too! Plus the design is simple and gives a pleasant experience.

I have used many to-do lists and liked the way you stated that this is not a to-do list, but a do-it list. This gives a feel that the task won't remain undone. And of all the to-do apps I used, I realized later that the ones I have stayed with for longer times are comparatively better looking than the ones I never cared to give a second visit. So, good looking site is a definite plus.

Good luck.

Haha I originally added that as a joke but it grew on me. I'm glad you liked it! I appreciate your kind comment, and I've always felt the same way about to-do lists: they never get done. I hope that my app can help people be productive. :)

This is great! I hope you're planning on at least charging for the "Team" feature.

Project management / todos / time tracking / and so on are often chided as being oversaturated markets. The fact is: lots and lots of people need these things, they can help increase people's income and happiness, and there's no "right" way to do it. Todo list apps are one of those arena's that can do very well financially if you target the right kind of user.

(Even if this really never makes you any money, and considering this is what you've been able to do without much real world experience, you will have no issue finding work.)

Excellent! Great design! What languages/technologies did you use?

Thank you! I used PHP and MySQL for the backend and jQuery for the front. :)

Did you use a PHP framework to write the AJAXy stuff? Something like backbone.js?

I'm also curious.

Beautiful site, love the simplicity of it, nice on the eyes.

Thank you :)

Amazing dude! You have naturally good taste for design which helps too, but to do the full stack in such short time my hats off to you.

Nice work. There are a few things I find strange, but other commenters have covered most of them.

I love being able to drag around the notes on the "future" tab, it makes it easy to cluster tasks without lots of UI overhead. However I don't see why I can't do the same thing with today's tasks. I also can't send a task to the future tab and vice versa.

Great work. You may want to consider switching the "Add Task"-div with the "Daily/Monthly/Future"-div. So that the "Add-Task"-div is aligned in the lower left hand corner. That would be way more intuitive for me. Another great feature would be rearranging the existing tasks.

Bug: If you add a task to "today" and then switch couple of times between monthly and future tabs, and come back to "today" tab - task is gone! If my task tracker drops my tasks I'd be very worried! But good effort overall

Awesome work. I just registered.

In the UI, it would be helpful if a user's email address is shown in the top right or somehow otherwise provide (obvious) confirmation that the registration worked.

I just closed HN to take a nap when I saw the last tab in the browser, played with the app, and came back to tell you good job. I like the mix of simplicity and beauty.

Great stuff, one suggestion: clicking the label for an item should check/uncheck it, like in a properly marked up form (using the "for" attribute of the label tag).

I had it like that for a while, but ran into problems once I introduced the double-click-to-edit functionality. Thanks for the suggestion though; I'm still working on improving the user experience. :)

Very nice, immediately understandable and therefore immediately useful.

I would add a "today" button in your calendar popup, so a task can quickly be moved to today.

That's a really good point - I'd like to add that. For now, today should be faintly highlighted on the calendar popup, but I agree that a more obvious "today" button would make it easier. You can also carry forward all unfinished tasks to today on the Monthly view, if that's your intention.

was expecting an adult friend finder clone

I don't care how overdone to-do lists are, I never get sick of them. Putting this together in 3 weeks is impressive considering your background. The UI is really what makes it. Todo lists are really straightforward from an under-the-hood perspective which is probably why everyone makes them (myself included). That's why I think the design is really the most important part of it and you nailed it. I've been developing professionally for 2 years now and before that I was coding front end stuff since I was 10 and you totally put me to shame in just 3 weeks. I think you have a real talent and a great eye for design. Plus, from what I understand, you're a chemistry major and I'm assuming you don't plan to code professionally. All that considered, you're fucking awesome and I'm actually jealous. Good job.

I am at a loss for words. Thanks so much for your kind comment; it is inspiring and motivating. When I posted this on HN I really wasn't expecting such overwhelmingly positive feedback from so many great people! In a few short weeks I've found that the internet can be a very rewarding place. I'm not sure where I'll end up at this point, but for now I'm enjoying web development very much. Thanks again! :)

I'm jealous too :) I've got about ~10 years experience in software, half of it working on web projects. I posted my app yesterday hoping for feedback and got exactly zero upvotes and zero comments. The lessons I'm taking from this:

1) get people to interact with the app straight away (aka. lazy registration)

2) keep words away from the homepage, they can go in the /about page

3) get a design

I think design is the most important thing. It's your first impression and you have to make it a good one. If there were a website that cured cancer but it looked ugly upon first glance people probably wouldn't stay on it long enough to figure out what it does or sign up to try it.

Lazy registration is also a good idea probably. I never once built anything that used any registration and I'm embarrassed to say I'm not sure how it works. I'm sure 5 minutes on Google would get me going though.

Great job. You've made a great app here :)

Only one suggestion for usability -- autofocus the "Add a task" input on page load, so the user can begin typing without an extra click upon arrival (think Google.) I think this convention works well with any app which expects text input as its immediate feature

I've had some thought on this. The issue that I see with auto-focusing is people who use backspace to go back in the browser. If I steal focus then they're just stuck there, mashing on backspace.

As a compromise I implemented arrow key functionality. The down arrow focuses the input field when you're on the Daily tab. The left and right keys also scroll between days/months. I realize that at this point there is absolutely no indication of those features on the site, so consider it an Easter Egg for now. :)

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