Normally I don't talk about my family, at all, but this one is necessary because ... well it's funny and yet very cool. Recently I've been working with my dad on a little app he wanted done. Not only is my dad a great "customer" but he's damn good at telling me exactly what he wants ... in his own way that I find just hilarious.
As with most people that write software, most family members have NO IDEA what I do, at all. Normally my reply to what do you do is the default "I work with computers" and that usually scares them off or leads to the cliche discussion of how their computer is suddenly slow (full of malware and porn) and they want to know what to do. I did get sucked into doing some work ONCE and I vowed never to fall for that again. They're the worst customers on the planet and you don't get paid to do it nor is there any satisifaction out of it.
Anyway, a while ago, my dear ole dad says to me "so you make websites right?" -- not sure where this was going I told him yes and even got to show him some of my work. He then hits me with "could you make something for me then? ... I need something to keep a handle on my (coin, paper money) collection. Is that possible?" So learing from past mistakes, I ask him to write out his core requirements, what he wants it to do and HOW he wants it to look and send those to me. After that, I'd give him some estimates on how long I think it would take and any other ideas, concerns I would have. A few days go by, and he sends me ... this. Prepare to laugh.
Here is my requirements, let me know what you can do
I about died laughing. My dad, had sent me a list of requirements on a scanned piece of paper that he attached to an email. What even better, they're GOOD requirements. He wants a denomination, mint mark, condition, and type -- those are ref types and the core piece is a currency item. Sweet. He also wants it in a grid of some kind with the listing by Quantity | Denom | Date | Condition | Notes and ordered by face value. Perfect, so off I went to pound out this little site.
I sent him a link to it, asked him to enter in some test data (that's important, remember that part) and told him to let me know if he sees room for improvement or something doesn't work, etc etc. Few days go by, and I get this email from him ...
Have entered more info, seems to be working fairly well. A couple of issues I find are,
1. On Index, need column to show "amount" as Denominations tab shows.
2. When at "Home" and create new function, Fields always defaults to first entered, should stay as last entered.
Sweet. So I go take a look ... his idea of "more info" was to the tune of 600 items. That he entered. By hand. NOT exactly what I meant by test data. Ok so now I got to be a little more careful and not mess his data. Made those fixes, done, we added in a couple practical features (filtering by quantity of zero and by denom, added in "last known value") and one feature he watched me do right in front of him -- his response "I have no idea how you just did that but damn thats kinda cool". Then a month goes by. He didn't say anything about it, no emails nothing. I go and check it out ... there's now 900+ items (!) and damn near everything is filled out. Soooo I call him up, how's it working for ya, etc etc etc.
He likes it so well he doesn't want me to touch it or add anything. I told him I had a few ideas of things to drop in, like adding in a date to when the "last known value" was entered so he could find out what things he hasn't updated lately or even find a service that does that update for him ... but he said "whenever, I can do it by hand for now and all those other things you added makes it pretty easy for me to do". Ha, my dad, the best customer ... ever.