The previous part in this article series left off, when I put the project on hold indefinitely in 2013 due to technical difficulties and other work commitments.
Earlier this year (2015) I was in the fortunate situation to have completed all major ongoing consulting work for my clients and finally had a bit of “free” time. So I did some research on the state of source code control and Microsoft Access. Unfortunately, even though almost two years had passed, the situation regarding source code control integration into Microsoft Access 2013 had not changed a to better.
My research revealed that there were several open source projects for Subversion or general source code control integration, but on the first glance they seemed all to be just in various states of incompleteness. And I got the impression they would not fit well into my workflow at all.
While still none of my clients had upgraded to Microsoft Access 2013 that had become a dark shadow looming on the horizon. This was only a matter of time, so I had to find a solution soon. Furthermore I was contemplating the idea to become a Micro-ISV (Independent Software Vendor) for quite a while. But had given up all earlier approaches to that end because they seemed not to be viable at their time. Now I lacked the idea for a product to build and sell that was really providing value to someone enough for them to part with some of their hard earned money.
In that situation I had another look at the code of my source code control integration add-in. I started once again to ponder the problem of integration into Microsoft Access and luckily had an Idea that finally worked out much better than I expected. With this hurdle out of the way, I finally decided to try to develop that old SCC project of mine into a real product to sell to other developers.
While there was still a lot of tedious and sometimes frustrating work to do, to bring the integration into Microsoft Access to a point where I was happy with it, it was all doable and there were no further total blocks that would jeopardize the whole project from the technical side.
My previous work experience lies mainly with consulting. So it was quite challenging to learn all the other skills required to bring a product to market, like mapping out a marketing strategy, using Google AdWords and Bing-Ads, creating a modern and appealing website for the product. But I love challenges and learning those things was new and interesting. So while it all was taking so much more time than I had anticipated, it was rewarding and enjoyable work with a goal in sight.
I am well aware that it is usually not the best choice for a solo entrepreneur Micro-ISV to do all that work yourself. It is rather advisable to outsource it to someone who is experience with it and gets it done much quicker. Still I do have the philosophy to first learn the basics of how things work myself before I even think about outsourcing stuff to someone else. So while it is clearly not the most effective way to go about things, I still am happy with my choice of doing all that myself for the sake of learning it.
When I first decided to build the product entAscc from my experimental add-in-code, it planned to release the first non-public beta version at the beginning of April 2015 and the first public release about a month later. Now it is the beginning of May and it is just a little over week that I released the first non-public beta of entAscc. Extremely valuable feedback is coming in from the testers now and that is giving me a new boost of motivation, to complete the final steps to a public release.
I am curious how the future of entAscc will unfold.
(Maybe there will a part 3 to this article series, but that will probably take a couple of weeks.)