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HN Review My Startup: Nitriq Code Analysis
16 points by viggity on Oct 13, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments
After having two products fail before launch, and working on this project for over a year, I've finally made it past the launch stage. I released my first product to the public last night - www.nitriq.com. It is a Code Analysis tool for .Net developers.

I know that .Net isn't the most popular technology stack on HN, but I hope that you guys can give my site a quick once over and give some feedback. It definitely feels a little rough mostly because I did the site design and copy myself, so pointers will be very appreciated. I'll probably end up hiring a designer and a copywriter, but I've been itching to release for far too long.

I'd like to take a similar path to Balsamiq and be really open about my decisions, traffic and sales. Hopefully you'll find my thoughts interesting and will subscribe to the blog.

Thanks for being a part of HN.

As I understand, you are in the same market as the NCover [http://www.ncover.com] guys.

As I compare your site and NCover site, NCover site clearly stands out. Not because it is beautifully designed (it is drop dead gorgeous) but it clearly conveys why I would want the product in the first place.

The first attention grabbing line (in big, bold letters) on your page is, 'Analyze and Query Your .Net Code Using Linq'. My question, 'why would I want to do code analysis using LINQ? How does it benefit me?

Compare this to NCover site:

'Code Quality Matters and NCover helps you improve the code quality.'

As they say, don't tell me what your product can do, tell me what I can do with your product.

Your product looks interesting enough, I will download it and give it a whirl.

EDIT: You plan to charge 25$ for this product? Really? I would not set a price less than 100$ if you want to be taken seriously. Excuse me, but MS Developer landscape is nothing like the Linux land, and people will pay money if your product is good. [And if it is no good, they won't buy it at even 25$]. For comparison, NCover charges 480$ per user + 1 year subscription at 180$.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll be doing a lot of modification of the next month or so.

As far as the pricing goes, I did this because I'm hoping that it is low enough that your standard developer will just open up their wallet and buy the software without worrying about getting their boss's approval. In other words I want the price to evoke a "why the hell wouldn't I buy this" response.

My competitors charge several hundred dollars per seat, but I think most companies end up just buying one or two licenses for their architects. I'm hoping I can make near the same amount of money because a company would look at the price and buy a license for all their developers.

I do hope I'll be able to squeeze more money out of the corporate overlords by having an edition meant to run on a build server, that edition will run $200/server.

I know this might sound crazy, but at least for the time being it is more important for me maximize my number of users instead of maximizing my profits. I want to pay back the .Net community by providing reasonably priced software. I'm not saying I'll never bump my prices, but not in the foreseeable future.

Looks promising. You might want to add a "Loading" splash screen (The first load of your app takes awhile on my old computer). Also, when I try to load an .NET assembly, I click "My Computer" and none of the drives appear.

Thanks for the splash screen suggestion.

The open file dialog bug sounds odd. Does it repeatedly do this? What OS are you running?

Thanks for trying it out

I don't live in Visual Studio much these days but from a brief look at your website your tool looks great.

Have you spoke to the Jetbrains guys at all? Nitriq looks like it could be the perfect complement to Resharper.

I haven't really talked to anyone outside a few friends. It would be great to get acquired though :)

I'd say you need to do some things: Hire a good designer. Offer some licenses to OS projects. Offer some more licenses to famous .NET people so they can rate you product.

You should charge a lot more than $25 per seat. Would you consider NDepend and NCover competitors? Don't charge 10% of what they're charging. Maybe 50%.

Do you support C++? There is a lot more C++ code than C# code in the wild.

Seems like a nice catchy tech name. I like the logo! :-) Looks like an interesting product. I looked at your pages in 3 different browsers.

1. I’m looking at your index.html in IE 7:

(a) The content below the red and black header is sitting on the left margin of the page, I think it will have more impact on the reader if it is in the center of the page.

(b) The whitespace between the red and black at the top and between the paragraphs is non-existent in this browser. There should be some.

(c) Very small amount of whitespace below the footer in this browser. With my large monitor I think it would look better with about 1.5 inches of whitespace below the footer.

(d) I noticed your comment in the html code "Hi There! Sorry for the slopply HTML, I haven't done web development in 4-5 years, I hope you'll be able to forgive me ;)" I would scrap that comment for 2 reasons:

(i) Your selling a code analysis tool, expect some people (like me, lol) to look at your code behind the page, it seems unprofessional and probably will not help you make any additional sales of the product.

(ii) You have a coding (spelling) error in this comment. It should be "sloppy" vs. "slopply". I’m not trying to be cute with this, but it just looks sloppy. A code analysis tool should not associate itself with anything that could be viewed by a potential customer as sloppy. No one like sloppy code.

2. I’m looking at your index.html in Chrome 3.0. Same justification and whitespace comments as above, except there is a 1px grey box around the "Analyze and Query Your .Net Code Using Linq" code sample that makes it standout better in this browser.

3. I’m looking at your index.html in Firefox 3.5.1. Looks the same as in Chrome 3.0.

The website needs some layout work. I would recommend making this sales tool look very slick and professional. It will make the product seem more desirable to the potential customer.

Rather than try to make the web pages yourself with FrontPage or hand code them in notepad, you should give this product the maximum chance of success by presenting it on a first class website. To do this I would recommend getting together with a ”good” graphic designer and having him or her produce a Photoshop image of every one of your pages and then give these images to a “good” “professional” html coder who can duplicate the images in code using Dreamweaver.

What might it cost to have the site professionally done? Maybe budgeting $2,500 for this would work. Could be more, could be less. I think this product might have a pretty good chance at success with a little better looking site! If it were my product I would spend the money on this site improvement immediately—even if I had to eat ramen for a couple of months, lol. The reason is I think it will give the product a much better first impression and therefore generate additional sales.

Congratulations on your release! :-)

Wow, thanks for all the feedback, I'll certainly take it under consideration. I wish I could give you another upvote :)

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