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Thread: Developing Ubuntu app - From idea to developers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Lightbulb Developing Ubuntu app - From idea to developers

    first of all I really do not know if this is the right place on to post this, but since I can't pick up different place I will just post it here, it's just an idea anyway.

    I'm Ubuntu user since 8.04 LTS and even after trying out dozens of other distros like Fedora, Chakra, Debian, Arch, LMDE etc. I always returned back to my beloved OS. During the 11.04 release I was introduced to the new Unity DE and I fell in love.
    It was just the best DE I found and since then I thought about converting all the WinXP machines in our company to Ubuntu.

    I finally succeed and with the 11.10 release we were up and running (except one WinXP machine that was needed for some special Brother printer, but that is now settled, we just bought compatible printer ). We previously used Thunderbird and Firefox for web/mail related tasks and some old (97?) M$ Word, so the transition to OO (and later to LO) was pretty smooth. We even bought new HW with Ubuntu and ecology in mind (Now it's just one AMD C-60 machine, but we want to continue with these savings in the future).

    The biggest problem in this "trip to OSS" was accounting app. Previously we used old DOS app and our needs were pretty simple, we just needed some sort of DB with information about all our costumers, DB with invoices and an easy way to create one, DB with all the items we had in our store and few other things.
    First I tried to find open-source alternative. I found GNUCash but it turned out that their implementation of "Small-Business accounting" is pretty much useless. Then I found KDE app Kraft, but their UI was just one of the worst I've ever seen and worked with. I've found few more apps, but all of them lacked elementary features. That forced us to use commercial Java-(very slow)-based-cloud-hosted app Flexibee, I also started to think about extremely fast, GTK3 based accounting app.
    I came up with basic UI mockup and functions that I as a "small-business" user with few employees and approximately 2 000 invoices per year would need. Some of these features were:

    1. Speed. This is what I call "the ultimate goal". After I talked with people using all kind of accounting SW I found out that slow response is their main problem. These people want to work, not wait for the window to scroll down. I also think that for simple office use Tegra3 or C-60 computer should be enough.
    2. Clean and simple GUI.
    3. Ability to quickly and easily create invoices. The main thing that people do in these apps are (surprisingly ) invoices. I would like to do this simply and effectively with some extra eye-candy (different layouts for invoices, nice and simple print outputs etc.).
    4. Database of contacts with things like company logos, address etc. Maybe later connected with Thunderbird contact list to make communication easier.
    5. Storage database. Prices of every single item, VAT, stock availability etc.
    6. Fulltext search.
    7. Modularity. The user should have full control over every setting, composition of docks etc.
    8. Complete Ubuntu integration. Later maybe even with our own lens etc.
    9. Write the whole app in Vala? With the first release using basic MySql database?
    10. Don't worry I have even more ideas

    I would like to make this one right. I think that the Linux world have enough half-done video players, music players, text editors, web browsers etc. We need stable base for users and accounting app is one of the must-have. Most of the "small-business" people need good web browser (we already have that), good email client (we already have that), good office suite (we already have that) and good accounting app.

    So after I told you all the things I have I can tell you what I don't have and what can I offer.

    I'm not a programmer so I can't make the app by myself. I also never worked in this industry, so I do not have any software developing related experience. But I can offer you my ideas with all the long experience of using these apps, paid web hosting and maybe even some kind of advertising.
    And at the very end. The main question. Why am I writing this .

    Do you think that there is a place in the OSS community for a member with nothing more than an idea, small amount of money and insight into the problem, who want to help create a great app that will push the Linux and Ubuntu OS further?

    Also I know that there is openERP, but that is just overkill. We need smaller app for the majority of user with businesses.

    Also, please excuse my poor English and feel free to fix my mistakes. I'm not a native speaker but I would like to learn more.
    Last edited by cariboo; August 1st, 2012 at 06:09 AM. Reason: change unreadable font size


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