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I've been wanting to build a full scale CMS application that will target certain career workflows but the obstacle that has been in my path is that I would need to sit down and fully learn the career in order to map out and build the application that will help or guide employers already in the environment.

This isn't so much a programming question but based on some of your experiences what are some of the things I need to think about before starting on the application?

For me here are a few questions I have asked myself:

  1. what is the demand for this application?
  2. who is the target audience?
  3. what is it that I need to learn?
  4. is it really worth the time spent on learning?
  5. will it cost money and how much?
  6. how will the service be provided to the client?
  7. Does this application already exist? If yes what features does it have and not have
  8. what are clients really looking for in this application that they cannot find.

I understand that most of this can be common sense but having some of your input from your own experience can help with questions I probably didn't even think about.

I will be using php5 and mysql since that is what I already know.

My question basically is, if you were to build a web application say a CMS for bookkeeping and you had no idea on the subject and that it was a very hot project, what would you ask yourself? (that is for example)

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I suggest you try this site: answers.onstartups.com –  JeffO Apr 13 '11 at 11:30
    
Hit up your local bank and work through their business planning resources. –  Steve Evers Apr 13 '11 at 12:55
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2 Answers 2

You don't need to sit down and learn the entire career. That's impossible. It can take years to gain the expertise to be a professional in any field; the idea that you could simply "learn the career" is presumptuous. Instead, you need to conduct research. Find people who already work in that field and discuss it with them. Ask them questions.

This part of the planning process is one of the most important. It's everyone's favorite, "Gathering Requirements!"

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Kind of a reword of 8 - What can your clients do with your application that they can't get anywhere else?

How can I make it such that users will want to log onto my site everyday?

What will be the source of your profit (ad-site, donations, pay-for-access)?

How do you intend to attract attention to your site?

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