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Python playground: Minimum Viable Product experience

Disclaimer: This is one of the ‘My adventures in Python world’ stories. This post is first one in MVP experience series.

Update: You also might be interested in Part 2: Deploying Flask app on Ubuntu (nginx, uwsgi, supervisor, git)

The biggest problem of all: to find one

During my spare time experiments I eventually desided to train my python muscles on some simple, yet real world problem / service. I tried to choose as simple problem as possible, still not too simple. My requirements were:

  • small, simple, 1 file solution preferred
  • web-service, flask preferred
  • approximate 16h (newbie time): ~3-4 evenings or 1 weekend
  • I should be able to launch publicly on one of the many PaaS out there
  • play with UI things, such as Twitter Bootstrap et cetera

I was thinking very hard several days before I was able to pick. Some imagined problems seemed too big, to difficult, others too small and trivial. After all I decided to copycast placeholder image service. It is:

  • small and simple
  • does one thing
  • is web-site + web-service
  • I felt I could squeeze in 1 weekend estimate

How did it turned out in practice?

Quick answer is - rather good than bad. The service itself took ~3-4 evenings (as expected), however PaaS deployment, configuration and SSL things took another day or so. So, the original estimate got extended to ~1/3, which is around industry average for project estimates.

Lessons learned

  • I tried to take this spare time playground thing as small project so a little/no planning was involved. As a result multiple actions were not thought through and action items such as “deploy to [X] PaaS out there” turned out to be “investigate options”, “evaluate pricing”, “Ough, I actually need DNS, don’t I?” etc … As a result timeline shifted.
  • I tried to take this project as small funny thing, nothing personal, no feelings attached. Just another small, “MINIMAL” service. However, in the retrospective, I was bad in this, always tried another one “better” thing, again and again tried to improve and enchance this little thing, trying to feed “inner perfectionist” aka “inner artist”.

Service Demo aka Show Me The Code

What’s next?

In the next articles I will describe my adventures chosing PaaS, installing stack (Ubuntu, Nginx, Uwsgi etc…) and will provide step-by-step instructions and/or installation scripts. Stay tuned ;)

Update: Here it is - Part 2: Deploying Flask app on Ubuntu (nginx, uwsgi, supervisor, git)

NB. If you've found typos or errors, please suggest a correction or edit on github.
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