Blog - BS Data, hackery, stories

Of losing touch with the audience

You might remember that I was working on an open-source project called Datastringer. Even better, the project might have caught your eye on Hacker News or on Github during our launch. It had a certain success, an Clément and I are very proud.

PS: Don't miss our article on Source!


Hnnewguy pointed that out in our launch on Hacker News:

As a person with a penchant for data, but with limited coding experience, I agree [with the complex install procedure comment].

I have hard time reconciling: "Don't know how to code? That's fine."

With: "The code is available on Github, and that's where you should start. Just clone the repo and run the installation script located at root."

I think you seriously overestimate the layman's abilities here. Is this for programming laymen? Github is one of the last things people learn, for better or worse.

He's right. Bloody right. If I intended to write something that anybody could use without having to write some code, how could I have been that mistaken?

Now, how did that happen?

That's relatively easy to explain: certain things become second-nature. I won't even try to defend what I've done by saying that it's normal for an open-source project, that it is a pre-release, or that getting started with git is not that hard.

Because both Clément and I browse Github every day, because we clone, commit, push, rebase so often, we missed to see that it is not something normal people do. At least, it is not something I want to ask to Datastringer's users.

"Just go on Github and clone the repo."

Seriously. I wrote that. I am positive that my dad wouldn't know what to do with this sentence. That won't be that hard to fix, it's just a matter of vocabulary and a link (Github proposes ZIP downloads of repos).

Still, all that to say that for Datastringer 1.0, we will try our best to make a dead-simple product without sacrifying functionalities and scalability.