matt murtaugh.
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Part 2: Develop the low-hanging fruit first

Developing the low-hanging fruit is a lesson I can use in nearly every aspect of my life. But it's extra beneficial when I build an app or website for a client.

You should build what you need first, only the bare minimum. You shouldn't spend time adding fancy features or making it look pretty before your main features work.

The idea here is that additional features are useless without the basic functionality. A great example is the Let's Read app I am building. Once completed, each story will have the following features (plus more):

  • Comments

  • Likes

  • View count

  • Followers

  • Email notifications for followers

  • Word counts

  • Reviews

These are great features that will likely enhance the experience for potential users.

But not so fast

There is no reason to build them right now. If I were to launch this app tomorrow, those features would be useless because the one thing the site is supposed to do is not yet finished.

In truth, I'm terrible about this. It's likely the reason I have dozens of unfinished and somewhat functional projects.

For my users, the app only needs to do one thing. It needs to show them stories and the chapters for the stories. That's it. It doesn't require authentication. I don't need users to interact, comment, or share the stories right now.

Those features can come in time, but none matter without the basic features.

Is there an exception to this?

Absolutely. I almost always start a new project to learn something new or improve my skills with a specific area of Laravel. That's how I learned about jobs, queues, Livewire, broadcasting, and much more. I wouldn't know half of what I do without experimenting.

If I skip the main functionality and jump to what I'm trying to learn is easier than building out the rest first. It means that sometimes you have to build a minimum to make it work, but I skip a lot of pieces in the process.

Although, if you think about this rule, it also applies to learning something new. We generally start with the most basic example until we figure out what we're doing or get it working. Then we build from there.

Other parts of this series:

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