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November 29, 2005
It's been brought to my attention (thanks Mike) that my post HelpSpot 1.0 release postings have been .... um ...... pretty lame (xbox, Jessica Simpson, etc). So I'm turning over a new leaf right here, right now. Back to business on this blog.
In fact this blog has been in many ways a reflection of my life. After getting 1.0 out I just had to step back. No coding at all until about 2 weeks ago when I got things together for a 1.03 release that just went out last night. It's funny because even though there was some significant work in there along with testing and so on, it really felt like nothing. When you go from building every new feature from a blank page adding one more setting or fixing a small bug feels like nothing at all.
The post 1.0 world is very very different. Rather than focusing on getting features added and making changes as the ideas flow I've found myself being forced to hold back. Especially with a product like HelpSpot I simply can't be releasing updates once every 2 weeks. First because I don't want to set that precedent, but also because no IT department in the world is going to install a new upgrade every couple weeks. Instead I've got to hold back and release larger releases less often. They'll still be pretty often in the beginning, but I expect they'll slow down as the bugs get worked through over the next few months.
Working with customers has been fantastic. Overall I've been very happy with HelpSpots performance. Almost all support has been installation support, which is exactly what I had hoped. There's always trouble with installation, some due to HelpSpot other times just getting PHP setup, IIS, and so on. What I was really worried about though was alot of support because administrative pages aren't clear, don't work as expected, etc. Having not gotten many of those type of request gives at least some indication that pages work as the user expects, which is huge to me.
The biggest issues so far have been with Windows/IIS installations. Nothing huge, just little quirks. Some of this is my fault as well since my background is more Apache based so I'm not as familiar with the IIS environment, but I'm learning. I have to reiterate that it was a very good move to decide to support it since I now have many customers using it and I think very few of them would have had the option of switching to another web server.
In an effort to keep up the transparency I've tried to have with this blog I'm going to try and get some hard sales numbers up here in a future post. I think it will be useful to future b2b developers. I have to figure out how exactly I want to present things a bit, but I should have something together in a few weeks so stay tuned.