Google Web Toolkit

This is my first personal blog post on TerraFirms.com

I’ll give you a brief introduction.

My name is Haitham Al Humsi. I am an ex-electronics master engineer and ex-senior power protection engineer. I quit my position with the drudgery of cubicles at the Saudi Electricity Company to re-visit my dream of owning my startup and running my own show.

I will use this blog as a semi-daily diary of my work with Terrafirms websites and other client websites. You may learn tricks about internet marketing, e-commerce, and SEO from reading here. You may learn more about the ‘dry’ and ultra-creative mentality that it takes to be able to dive in, head first, out of ‘hell’ and into the entrepreneurial roller coaster.

Enough with the introductions…

Today I’m working on setting up google web toolkit (GWT) and google app engine (GAE) with Netbeans IDE (integrated development environment) to re-write my programs on GWT’s platform.

I first learnt about GWT through the amazing demo that google gave of their beta version of google wave. Not only is google wave impressive, but what is more impressive is that wave and all other google apps were developed on top of their tool kit.

The advantage of GWT is that it allows you to write software and code in a high level language such as Java. Then GWT takes care of translating that code into cross platform, standard compliant Javascript, CSS, and HTML.

What this means is that complex object oriented and client server software can be ‘translated’ by GWT down to a much ‘thinner’ language that can run on mobile devices, load faster in traditional browsers, and run on any operating system (Windows, linux, MacOS) …etc

Why do I need this ?

My first project through TerraFirms was Supercharger Performance which is a niche website targeting supercharger theory and application.

On that website I offer a unique product that I wrote myself which is a software that integrates over 12 commercially available part calculators into a single 1 shot package.

The problem with my software, is that although I wrote it on Java which is supposed to be a platform independent programming language, I am getting complaints from customers with older versions of explorer and on MacOs complaining that their versions of Java or their browsers can not run my application.

Entrepreneurial tip:

Even if your product is not perfect (Such as my calculator) do not hesitate to launch it… for 2 reasons:

1- When you launch it, you can start to sell it, which brings in customers and cash flow early on.

2- Customers are great at testing every single aspect, application, option, and platform of your software which you may not have the time, money or resources to do yourself.

Entrepreneurial insight:

No matter how things go (as planned or not)… you will learn new things from your endeavors every single day. This is very different from a repetitive cubicle job.

For example:

So in my example i start out designing software that is platform independent , only to later realize that part of that code can’t run on MacOS because Apple for some reason releases their own version of Java For Mac (JFM) which is a few releases behind and a few packages short of the universally available Java platform used by everybody else and distributed by Sun microsystems.

Entrepreneurial advice:

You are not Microsoft, and neither am I. When I get contacted by my customers with a problem I tend to apply a mixed attitude of professional friendliness.

You don’t want to be too friendly to have them walk all over you. In the end, to be frank, you’re new and you NEED sales.

You don’t want to be too professional because frankly you’re not… for me, I’m a 1 man company… there is no way I can procedurally full test every software package before i release it (at least not yet)… and so I let them know that I will take care of the problem professionally and in a timely fashion, while at the same time asking them to cut me some slack which they usually do because they can see the honesty of my intentions.

The most important part is this… if you’re customer is dissatisfied with the product or service you need to do 2 things:

1- Get AS MUCH feedback from them about the how the why and the what so that you can make things better.

2- Absolutely positively refund them.

I may have to put in my first refund for this problem as this customer is a Mac only user that won’t be able to use what he purchased (yet). But he’s at least seen me work with him to try and locate and solve the problem, and is going to be left with the reassurance that the next version of the product will run on Google Web Toolkit code and will in fact be faster, easier to use, more secure (for me), more feature rich, and most importantly Mac compatible.

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