Here is how I would move forward on this endeavor.



Having been in and around software design for far longer than I care to=A0 =
admit, here is some of what I have "learned" over the years about software =
design projects.=A0=A0=A0 Almost all of the successful=A0 marketable softwa=
re design projects I have been involved in and observed over the years seem=
to have a few traits in common that tend to lead to their success.=A0=A0=

I also apologize in advance to the board that the main points in this post=
=A0 aren't really ruby related at all and should probably be moved to a dif=
ferent board more centered around the business aspects of software design.

First off, at the very beginning of the project there are at least three ke=
y roles that should be filled before the software design should seriously b=
egin.=A0 However don't let me or anyone else discourage you from trying. Be=
sure and read the last paragraph about what I think you should be focusing=
on in these early stages.=A0 In any case, it will be a great learning expe=
rience for you!=A0 The three key roles before the software design project r=
eally begins are the marketing role, the legal role, and the finance role.=

The marketing role needs to decide if there will be demand for the software=
that you are going to produce, when will you=A0 produce it and identifying=
which customers appear willing to pay good money for it.=A0=A0 Who are the=
competitors?=A0 Is your product a clone+ of something else?=A0 How will yo=
u productize it, package it, promote it, etc.=A0 If there is a real demand =
for your product there should be a company that will help sponsor its devel=
opment or at least help you alpha and beta test.=A0=20

The legal role involves walking the mine field of software design legalitie=
s regarding reuse of other's ideas/codes/tools, etc. so that you don't get =
close to market only to find out that others, perhaps even one of your comp=
etitors, has deeper legal pockets than you and may even try to tie you up o=
n legalities that may have escaped your attention while you burn off your c=
ash in court.

The last role is the finance role.=A0 In order to quickly move an idea and =
a viable product to market generally will require some capital.=A0 All of y=
our own time spent on this project is time that isn't available for other e=
ndeavors.=A0 And as others on this board have already suggested, it will be=
incredibly challenging for one person to fill all of the key roles involve=
d in a project of this nature. =A0=20

In the good old days 10-15 years ago, here in the States anyway,=A0 before =
the dotcom bubble burst practically anyone with a good idea could put toget=
her a team and venture capitalists/angel investors would fall all over them=
selves to fund it.=A0 Such is not the case anymore!=20

The last paragraph:=A0 Whenever I find myself going in circles, I generally=
take a long hard look at my project's scope.=A0 I would suggest that you s=
hould simplify your current plan's scope=A0 to not include any of the busin=
ess aspects yet regarding=A0 a new proposed software solution or any propos=
ed enhancements to their current system but should totally focus first on d=
eveloping a software prototype using currently available tools to accuratel=
y model those aspects of the current environment of an educational system t=
hat are of interest to you.=A0 Only after you have successfully modeled the=
current environment as you now know it should you begin to look at ways to=
enhance it.=A0 In many software systems that have been in the field for a =
while,=A0 things tend to work the way they do(trade-offs) because of an evo=
lution to meet some customer marketing need.=A0=20

With this down-sized scope, this will still be a great technical learning e=
ndeavor for you to experience developing a real-life software prototype. =
=A0 This will also be very useful for you to evaluate the software model's =
complexity, to test your own understanding of the environment, to evaluate =
the software tools available today and their capabilities, etc. etc..=A0 =

Generally, in my opinion anyway, successfully=A0 writing fundable, fully ma=
intainable secure marketable legal software generally will typically requir=
e the expertise of some marketing, legal, finance, and=A0 software design p=
rofessionals that have already been there and done that.

From: Hilary Bailey <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Totally lost in learning Ruby
To: "ruby-talk ML" <[email protected]>
Date: Monday, February 7, 2011, 6:16 PM

Hi everybody,
Based on the responses I have been receiving, I will greatly appreciate=20
any comment on how to move forward from this point. Thanks in advance to=20
all respondents whom have been soooooo kind and patient.

What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district. The closest software that exhibits
some semblance is that of Microsoft Access. Where, as I understand it,
the input entry of a single data can be housed and then derived, through
a set of queries, then further analyzed=A0 through/by Microsoft Solver

The difference with my proposal would be that based on selected
indicators [which will be dynamically influenced by changed event(s) and
policy(ies], which would be able to measure success. I have been exposed
to a statistical software named SPSS and having worked as an economist,
has influenced my outlook on creating an approach/database/software
which would indicate in real time, measured results.

As you can tell,=A0 there is an element of nervousness regarding saying
too much. But on the other hand, if not much is said, not much help can
be given. So it's a "catch 24", where since the last 20 years I have
been improving on a systems that would be able to measure defined
academic output, vis-a-vis, financial constraints etc..

Mike Stephens recommended Mendix as a possible solution to my woes. Do
you know of such arena?

Therefore, I figured that, doing it all by myself may be the best
solution.=A0 However, some of my concerns are: "Why reinvent the wheel?',
How can I create a sustainable system that does not compromise quality?,
What curriculum structure should I follow that will meet my needs
without, straying from my goals?

Therefore, this is my dilemma, which seems to be going in circles. Any

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