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Rastin Mehr

Rastin Mehr

November 15 2014

Bootstrap it is

After contemplating and doing some research we have decided to stay with #Bootstrap for Anahita 4.*

A simple comparison of the repositories on GitHub shows that Bootstrap has 7 times more forks and nearly 4 times more stargazers. I did a quick survey in #LaunchAcademy and couldn't find a single person who had used Foundation in the past, but there were a few who were familiar with the project.

Personally I am far more impressed by the #ZURBFoundation. If were building a SAAS or HTML5 mobile app, foundation is the way to go. However for an open source project, it is about accessibility and familiarity. When people start experimenting with Anahita, the first thing they do is trying to customize the user experience. In this case Bootstrap has an upper hand, because there are more options available for it.

In the mean time we won't be baking Bootstrap into Anahita the way it is right now. It should be possible to create a template using #Foundation and layout overwrites. If we ever built one for one of our client projects, we'll make sure to release an open source version of it on Github as well.

Let's proceed with the #MobileFirst implementation.

Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 17 2014 Permalink
Hi, a couple of thoughts. 

1. "The first thing devs do is trying to customize the UX".

In my experience, one of the reasons of that is the attempt to use Anahita at the #framework level in order to build #SaaS platforms along with their mobile clients (Apps).After all, this is quite coherent with the original Anahita vision to be a #framework on which to build web applications more than a "final user-ready software" (like common CMSes, forum software, etc.).

2. "...has 7 times more forks and nearly 4 times more stargazers. [...] An open source project, it is about accessibility and familiarity".

Assuming this principle as a premise, would you use #Nooku if you were starting Anahita today? Why?
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 17 2014 Permalink
Andrea it is true that devs use Anahita as the RESTful backend, but in the mean time they want to spend as little as possible having a mobile-web version of the back-end avialable and Bootstrap is a lot more affordable in this case. For example: In some cases in our company once the native mobile app and Anahita back-end were launched, the Client asked for a web version of the service too, without significant investment of resources. Most web developers/designers understand Bootstrap at this point to help out so their internal staff or exiting web agency could join in.

As for Nooku, we need the cutting edge magic sauce in the core of our architecture and that's what both #Nooku and #Anahita provide. They work seamlessly together, because both projects have a lot in common architecturally and culturally. In the mean time we don't want to overwhelm the new adopters with too much magic sauce. It is good that they use some of the common tools that they are used to especially when it gets to user experience design and interfacing with the outside world: humans and machines. That's where familiar technologies such as AngularJS, Bootstrap, JQuery, Grunt, Composer, etc. come to play.
2 people liked this
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 19 2014 Permalink
Rastin, it sounds a very agency-oriented approach and in this context (software agency/studio) it makes sense.

Startup organizations follow different dynamics and rationales.

I keep seeing Anahita as a startup-friendly framework to build SaaS, which is probably my mistake. Sorry about that.
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 19 2014 Permalink
Why do you label it as agency oriented or startup oriented? How do you define those two?
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 19 2014 Permalink
Good question! There might be others who can answer better than me, but in a context of web-based products/services I would answer like this:

- Startups are organizations in search of a scalable, repeatable, profitable business model and they are driven by their vision and guesses as well as product and customer development; they are not driven by specific or unique needs raised each time by customers (sometimes they don't even know who the customers are!). That's why startups are all about unknowns and in the need of "customer proof". Bills are paid with funds of the founders or investors, which explains why a true startup can only be a temporary organization.

- Agencies, studios, SMEs, etc. are established and profitable companies driven by the specific or unique needs of those who pay the bills at the end of the month: their existing customers. They offers software, infrastructure, hosting, etc. as well as consulting services in the areas where they are skilled/expert.
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 19 2014 Permalink
Alright, then how does that play in the comment that you made about Anahita and chosing a css framework?
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 19 2014 Permalink
The comment was about the general approach and the example you have given: "Client asked for a web version of the service too, without significant investment of resources".

In general, today Anahita is far from being a technology to be included in any #startup technology stack and, as far as I have read here and in other recent threads, does not seem to be meant to go in this direction. This is not necessarily a criticism, just an observation. 

Against this background, I see Anahita suitable as a "final-user-ready platform" or to be integrated by some agency, studio, SME in specific projects according with the customer needs.
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 19 2014 Permalink
Are you suggesting that because we picked the more popular Bootstrap over ZURBFoundation, therefore Anahita is not suitable for startups and only good for the agencies? Based on how you defined those two entities?
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 20 2014 Permalink
I'm not looking at the finger, I'm looking where it points.

So, the point is not #Bootstrap or #Foundation (I like Bootstrap), the point is the reason behind the choice, which suggest a vision, an approach, a direction.

In general, how, in your opinion, could a #startup choose Anahita to build its #SaaS product and defend this choice to partners, investors, backers?
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 20 2014 Permalink
Andrea, I advise startups on a daily basis. There are over 200 startups in our space alone and over 95% use Bootstrap for building web apps. Most of them also have difficulty recruiting talents.

Anahita and Nooku are the core architecture. CSS and Javascript aren't. They interface the core architecture with the outside world. We can swap and change css and javascript technologies and they don't affect what Anahita is. But when we choose to go with css and JS technologies that are familiar, affordable, and accessible to developers, then they can only focus on learning Anahita and Nooku and not having to worry about finding resources on every other technology that is shipped with Anahita.

As for partners, investors, and backers opinion on the choice of technology, they don't care. What they care is what problem the startup is focused on solving and whether there is a large enough market which is dealing with that problem. They care about execution, traction, and product market-fit. In fact whenever a startup is about to go and pitch to the investors I specifically advice them not to mention Anahita or other technologies that they are using and instead focus on the problem they are solving and how they are going to solve it.
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 20 2014 Permalink
Rastin that's interesting. As a startup advisor/expert, you know better than me that 90% of that 95% will fail – and yes, the reason about that is definitely more complex than the choice behind the technology stack.

However, technology still matters. I agree with you that, at the first approach (e.g. elevator pitch), investors are interested in issues you listed. But in subsequent interviews you have to be prepared to discuss how your competitive advantage won't be lost. This is where technology comes into play.

Furthermore, if instead of investors, it comes to attracting technical co-founders/partners then this issue is absolutely primary.
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 21 2014 Permalink
True technology is one of the many factors. That would be a technology that solves a specific problem for the first time or 10 times better than the existing solutions. I don't think a CSS framework determines the success or demise of a startup especially when they have the option to easily switch to either one at any point.
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 21 2014 Permalink
I agree. After 5 years and as an advisor... do you know any startups using Anahita to build SaaS products and seriously negotiating with investors? If yes, I would be interested in learning more about their story...
Mike Moreno liked this
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 21 2014 Permalink
There are a few and one of them is already funded. I respect their privacy and don't talk about them in a public space.

I also think we are going wildly off the topic now and I would much rather focus my time on nurturing this project and contributing to it. I suggest that you find a project that you are very passionate about and contribute to it too.
Andrea Torre
Andrea Torre
November 21 2014 Permalink
Thank you. Happy coding!
Rastin Mehr liked this
Rastin Mehr
Rastin Mehr
November 27 2014 Permalink
I might have had a change of heart regarding Bootstrap. Here is my comment http://www.getanahita.com/topics/143647-going-about-mobilefirst-in-anahita-4-1#permalink=144010

again we will know for sure once the implementation is done. No promises yet.

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