baby elephant in a bowl

Eating an elephant

baby elephant in a bowlI have the coolest idea ever for a WordPress plugin. It serves a need that is currently somewhat served by only 2 other products. They’re established and well known in the industry, but neither actually integrates with WordPress, but rather you can insert some HTML and get an iFrame to the source site which then allows you to implement certain functions or features.

The problems with this that I see:

  • Difficult for non-tech people
  • Not brandable
  • Doesn’t look like your site
  • Your data is stored on their site
  • Requires another login to their site

Don’t get me wrong, these other 2 products are well respected and work, but on forums I often see people complaining about the appearance. One of the companies has done some really great variations on their widgets but even if they did 1000 of them, they may not fit the site you want to build. One native to WordPress either always will, or YOU the site owner will be able to make it match.

So, why is this an elephant? Because the project spans a wide range of features (I have 20 documents of features) it’s a massive project. The existing companies have built their products over a course of years, tweaking and fixing etc. I’m trying to at least catch up with them in a fairly short period of time. It’s like trying to eat an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I’ve adapted a few strategies for this, including the above 20 documents, MindMaps, feature lists etc and I’m finding it overwhelming. But progress is being made. I’m learning a lot. I’ve taken/am taking the approach of building one feature/function at a time, depending on what’s required. I have my infrastructure defined, database wise, so that helps. Except I start researching something and discover something new. Like using custom post types, or 3 different ways to implement ajax, or how best to handle multiple user accounts and their custom data. So I have to re-think. Then WordPress brings out 3.0 and it’s got features I want to use, which would them make the plugin only available for 3.0+

One of the hardest things has been choosing a name for it. Once I get close to release, I’ll start shopping around for some smart people to get creative with a name. Which may mean changing my function names…