Announcing My 2018 C# Side Hustle

In the first couple of posts it has been challenging to scope the topics. The way in which you apply a technology can be quite subjective based on what you’re trying to accomplish. So an article is either exhaustive enough to cover every possibility … or the article makes certain assumptions about the needs of the reader in order to limit the possibilities. For us, this situation is no longer.

I’m announcing my 2018 C# Side Hustle.

Side Hustle is a loose term, since I’m not expecting income to start rolling in or graphs that resemble hockey sticks. What I am hoping for is a tool to meet my own needs,  namely: (1) the functional benefits to my life for having this tool; (2) a vehicle for learning and evaluating new C# technologies in the context of development and production, and (3) a case study for illustrating topics covered on this site.

Product Vision

  • For professional market gardeners
  • Who need to know what to grow, how much to grow, and when to plant
  • The market garden manager is a responsive web application
  • That creates production objectives, plans CSA shares, calculates planting dates, develops crop calendars/garden plans, and keeps records
  • Unlike excel spreadsheets
  • Our product is ready to start planning your garden immediately, takes less time overall, easily adjustable during the season. (bonus: supports multiple users, is available in the garden on a mobile device, and produces weekly action lists)

Background

I have a small acreage. And with that came a sizable vegetable garden and a couple of small greenhouses. We’ve lived here for two summers, now approaching the 3rd.

The first year we lived here I bought the book The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier and spent 9 hours planning my crop schedule in excel. It was a work of art. Then … I had a late start due to ground-breaking work (the plots had been severely neglected). The vegetables were growing slower than I had anticipated. The excel schedule was difficult to adjust. By mid-season the garden plan was out the window. Although I made a second succession of some varieties the harvest was fair.

Second year I tried to re-use the crop plan from the first year. It was sort-of working … not really. But not far into the summer the goats broke into the garden and absolutely destroyed it. That took the wind out of my sails for that year. The harvest was poor.

Now I’m starting the 3rd summer and I still need a tool to help me map out my crops, order my seeds, and manage the movement of my plants through the seeding to harvesting cycle. Enter the Market Garden Manager. For serious gardeners, small farmers, and professional growers that know organization = success.

Rules

  1. Use the technology you know best. For me this is C#. I’d like to learn Go or Scala but getting bogged down is the enemy. Learn as little new technology as possible. It is a distraction from your main objective – to produce a product of value.
  2. Spend as little money as possible. It takes a long time to take a side hustle from nothing to self-sustaining. I expect years. Ongoing OS licenses, database licenses, development tool licenses will force you to pull the plug when you’re feeling discouraged. It all adds up. And this isn’t your corporate day-job. You don’t have that money to burn. Production-worthy open source platforms/tools should always take priority
  3. Marketing is as important as building. 50/50. What you build is as important as how you build it. Engaging your potential user base is the only way to ensure that you’re building something of value to them. If that means some advertising to get attention then so be it. These days there are other ways to get attention the I will be exploring.

The next series of articles will cover step-by-step the foundations of building any side hustle application in C#: basic idea/design, development process, persistence, API development, UI development, and authentication.