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I have an idea for a startup that revolves around a web app. I plan to incorporate a mobile app in the future but, unlike something like instagram, users will be more likely to access with a desktop computer.

I am learning Ruby On Rails currently but wonder if, starting in the 4th quarter of 2012, I am focusing on a technology (web development) that is becoming obsolete. Should I dump the idea for something that revolves around mobile technologies and spend my time learning something like iOS development instead?

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closed as not constructive by jmort253, Walter, maple_shaft Sep 30 '12 at 0:04

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1 Answer

There is nothing obsolete in web development, nor in Ruby on Rails. Never before web development was so popular.

Having support for mobiles is sweet, but you don't have to. It also depends on your application.

  • If you're doing something which is intuitively imagined in the context of a mobile device, go with mobile devices (I hardly imagine a GPS for desktop computers).

  • If you're doing something which requires large screens and no mobility, then web (or desktop) application is fine (I hardly imagine an iPhone version of Photoshop).

What is more disturbing is the beginning of your second sentence. Are you intended to invest yourself and your money in a startup company around an application which is written in a language you're currently learning? I would rather take a risk with a language or a technology I know and practice for the last five years. Are you really ready to take this step? Do you have a solid business plan? Do you know highly professional web designers you will hire? Do you have enough expertise to ensure that the web application will be solid, stable, free of bugs, maintainable, well refactored and secure?

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Thank you for your help! I will not invest a lot of money, I am using this startup as an opportunity to learn more about programming/entrepreneurship. I have a solution to a problem that can be achieved with a web app. If it gains momentum, I will hire a pro. I appreciate your questions! I just want to hear opinions on the viability of a startup that is based around a web app in late 2012. –  NRUTA Sep 29 '12 at 21:36
    
@NRUTA: Well, in this case, all but the last paragraph apply. –  MainMa Sep 29 '12 at 21:40
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My experience says that Fred Brooks' advice on software systems -- Plan to throw one away, you will anyway -- applies just as well to startups. If you have the time/money/patience to do one purely for the learning, you will greatly benefit from the experience. This is one of the reasons that (at least historically) the Vulture Capitalists on Sand Hill Road had no problems talking to someone who had just cratered a $10 million start up on other people's money. It's just tuition at U of HK. –  Peter Rowell Sep 30 '12 at 1:03
    
Peter, thank you for the response and positive encouragement. Great link, I will read "the Mythical Man-Month". –  NRUTA Sep 30 '12 at 2:58
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