How I built a web app in six days for Rs. 350 ($8.75) only

I just read this story where they talk about how they built a web app in 4 days for $10,000. Voila! It struck me that I have been equally competitive (if not better) in terms of building a web app. So, here I share my story of building a web app.

I recently built, which lets anybody create a slideshow from a set of webpages or RSS feeds. Following is the time line and the money involved during making this web app.

  • Day 1: Conceived the idea. Explored the idea space. Refined it. Drew user interface for the slideshow on a paper.
  • Day 2: Realized that Javascript is the way to go forward. Researched on Javascript Toolkits. Found JQuery to be the best. Learnt Jquery. Started programming Slideshow front-end using JQuery.
  • Day 3: Wasted a ton of time on sorting cross-browser incompatibilities. Done some more programming. Working prototype ready by evening.
  • Day 4: Wanted to make a system for user authentication and management, slideshow creation and management. Confused between Django, CodeIgniter or CakePhP. Chose CodeIgniter. Started Learning and programming the web app. (Used SimplePie for RSS feed fetching and parsing.)
  • Day 5: Finished Programming. Discovered that was breaking the slideshow due to their iframe breaking script. Had a hell of a time trying fixing that.
  • Day 6: Looked for interesting free designs on the web. Chose this. Implemented and integrated the design with the web app. Wrote a basic ‘about’, ‘faq’, ‘contact’ page. Uploaded the web app on a shared hosting account free of cost (courtesy: my friend). Used a domain already purchased: (cost Rs. 350). Seeded the app with a few initial users and data. Announced the web app on my homepage and status message on GTalk.

What’s missing?

  • Market Research: I should have done initial market research. Instead, I simply jumped into programming the web app. If I had done some market research, I would have discovered a product with almost the same feature set as mine’s. Nevertheless, I learnt a lot during my six day journay. So, I don’t regret making this app.
  • Testing: I just did some initial testing. But should have done a little bit more testing.
  • Users: I didn’t do any marketing for my web app. That’s bad and I am going to fix it soon.

Hope this post helps you write and launch your own web app in record time.
Any thoughts?

PS: By the way, I think you shouldn’t be making web apps at all.

19 thoughts on “How I built a web app in six days for Rs. 350 ($8.75) only”

  1. I think the part you are missing is the opportunity cost – you didn’t include the amount of money you gave up by NOT working at your day job during this period – that is why their cost is so high in comparison. Additionally, their big cost was have pr/marketing and design, I believe they only had 2 developers to your 1. You might be able to do the design yourself, but that will be a bigger task than you might thing. Making the app is not the hard part, making a business is.

  2. First congrats on your success of building a web app in a few days!

    However this is where most people start. To me building a web app in a few days is great, it’s no small feat. But building a successful app that generates a profit and has an audience is a whole other matter. And you alluded to this with your comment that you did no marketing.

    Building the app is only the start. Technology wise, there’s also issues like scaling. Will it be able to handle more than a few visitors? But more importantly where’s the revenue? How will people know about it. These things take time and a great deal of effort.

    Above that, what happens once it’s live? This is where you’ll be faced with all those amazing and crazy “real world” bugs that you can’t even imagine!

    Again I congratulate you on your success of coding up a website! Very people ever get this far. I just hope that you’re able to bring it to the next level. And if not this project, then your next one. Perseverance is the key to all success 😉

  3. @Kevin: Factoring in opportunity cost, I believe it shouldn’t be more than $250-$500. Plus, it is 6 man-days v/s Matt’s 36 man-days.

    @Rajasekaran: What makes you think that?

    @Stephane Grenier: I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a difference between app, a successful product and a full blown business and I fully understand that.

    @ananon: A lot! Javascript gives a hell of a trouble when it comes to cross-browser compatibility. Plus, different browsers implement DOM differently. So, pain again. :)

  4. Hi, this is about the work that must be put into analysis and research is often overwhelming and the unwillingness to put in the effort is frequently the downfall of businesses seeking to target a niche market.

  5. Good post, Paras.

    I liked your post about the need to solve the world’s problems and I think slideshows for web pages is a nice idea . Maybe you could conjure a Browser plugin or something.

    On a personal note, i have been working on, a free all-in-one online publishing tool for almost 2 years now. I am hopeful Bighow fits your ideal of a world-changing thing.

  6. Hi,

    the website was a similar story – conceived in about a 1 day and programmed across about 2 weeks (coz I was working alone and part-time ) and costed 150 – initial cost ( but when the bandwidth exceeded we had to opt for the 500 rs plan – which again was not enough! )

    Thanks for the nice set of articles – ‘ve been hangin out here for some time !


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