My Journey: 12 Months to a Successful Web App

A man walking over a sand dune in the desert

Hi πŸ‘‹, I’m James. For the next 12 months, I’ll be building a movie-themed web app and I want you to join me every step of the way!

If you’re interested in everything related to designing, developing, and marketing an app, you will not want to miss this.

I’ve already chosen the domain, Upmostly.com, and I’ve already decided on the idea (scroll down to find out). I’ve even started making an initial version of the web app.

I’ll be posting regular progress updates to this blog. I’d like it to be a mix of feature ideas, design discussion, code tutorials and samples, and marketing tactics.

What’s My Motivation?

I love to make things using technology. For over a decade, I’ve turned countless ideas into products. My main focus has been web app development, however, It didn’t stop there! I’ve worked on mobile apps in iOS and Android, virtual reality experiences in Unity, and even tvOS apps using Xcode and Swift.

When creating these products, I’d read tutorials on how to solve coding problems, but I never found a blog or resource that showed me how to solve the bigger problem: How to design, build and launch an app from end to end.

That’s because there isn’t one tried and tested process for creating a successful web app.

However, my goal with this blog is to create a resource that documents the next 12 months of working on Upmostly. Complete with all of my successes and failures. I’ll talk about all of my decisions as well as their outcomes. I want to end up with a year-long journal of how I made a web app, so other people can read it for enjoyment, or use it as a resource to help them launch their own app.

What Am I Building?

Like most people who want to build an app, this was my first difficult decision. I had plenty of ideas in the past, but when I began working on them, I found myself losing steam almost instantly πŸ‘Ž.

I’d have to be really passionate about this idea to stick with it for a whole year.

A tv showing the movie Gone Girl

That’s why I chose to build a movie themed web app.

Whenever I’m browsing something like Netflix, Hulu, or Apple Movies, I always find myself spending 20 minutes searching for what to watch. As a result, I never actually watch anything.

I love movies. I like to think I’m quite knowledgeable when it comes to them. However, there are hundreds if not thousands of movie apps already out there.

The best thing about that is, it doesn’t matter.

As long as I create a product that improves on current movie app experiences, or brings something new and unique to the table, that’s all that matters.

Providing value is key.

The Problem

When it comes to choosing a movie or TV show to watch, there’s too much choice these days. Whenever I’m browsing something like Netflix, Hulu, or Apple Movies, I always find myself spending 20 minutes searching for what to watch. As a result, I never actually watch anything.

I usually load up a movie or TV show I’ve already seen in Apple Movies and then scroll down to what’s recommended. In my opinion, these recommendation engines are never accurate.

The Solution

My idea for Upmostly is to make finding what to watch easier. That’s the value-add. I want to provide curated collections of similar movies. At first, these collections will be opinionated, I’ll be grouping movies I think are similar. However, version two will give users the ability to create their own collections and upvote (hence the name Upmostly) other people’s collections.

A web app showing movies
A very early version of Upmostly

What Tools Am I Using?

Over the last decade, I’ve used pretty much every front-end JavaScript framework out there. However, there’s only one that has me really excited about web development again: React.

I absolutely love what the React team has done, and where they’re going with the library. I’m incredibly excited to see what the team plans for future releases.

My current setup (as of November, 2018) πŸ’»is:

  • 2014, 13″ MacBook Pro
  • Dual 22″ Asus monitors
  • Cheap Bluetooth mouse
  • Apple Magic Keyboard
  • Atom (for my editor)
  • Github account with a private repo (for source control)
  • iTerm 2
  • Sketch
  • React
  • Bootstrap 4.1
  • WordPress with Gutenberg (powering this blog!)
  • AWS for hosting
  • Postman
  • Spotify

So, What’s Next?

I’ve already created an early version of Upmostly. I’ll be posting regular progress updates to this blog starting in the next couple of days.

If you do think this is something that might interest you, please join the ride by subscribing to my mailing list. As a result, you’ll get my updates directly to your inbox.

Thanks all!

James King


We'll only ever send you our latest tutorials each month, nothing more. Not like those idiots at Wayfair who send you fifty-million emails a day about their latest sale, ugh.


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