Most agree that all children need to be able to read, write, and do arithmetic. But should coding be added to the core curriculum? Maybe. It’s a great way to: Teach problem-solving skills Build digital confidence Understand the digital world that we live in Think like a computer ‘thinks’, to make advanced coding easier We’re constantly […]

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If photography’s your passion, you’re not alone. Since Daguerre captured the first known candid photo of a person in 1838, over 3.5 trillion photos have been taken worldwide, with most of them taken in the last few decades. Today, more than 380 million pictures are taken every year. Thinking of sharing your passion for photography […]

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Ela Goczyńska-Han, COO/Business Development Chief of Coders Mill, at the company’s table at the Launch Festival in San Francisco in March (Photo by JD Lasica).

This is part one of a five-part series on “Rise of a startup: Cruiseable.” Today’s installment looks at the decision to hire an overseas development team, Coders Mill.

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, developers, businesses, innovators, educators, students, journalists, travel analysts.

JD LasicaDuring the past 16 months, as longtime readers know (and this blog goes back a long way, to May 2001), I’ve gone full throttle into startup mode, working with my co-founder Giacomo Balli on a travel tech startup called Cruiseable. We’re out to make it much easier and more fun for people to discover, plan and book great cruise vacations.

Over that span, friends, colleagues and strangers have asked me to write about our journey. And while I don’t lay claim to unlocking major new business processes or media insights, I do think some of what we’re doing will be of interest to other entrepreneurs (current and aspiring), as well as journalists, innovators, analysts and anyone interested in how the travel tech and cruise worlds work.

Unlike most startups that come out of Greater Silicon Valley (which includes San Francisco, which now spawns more startups than the original Silicon Valley), we decided not to spin out a few prototypes, test them, iterate and move on to something else if things didn’t immediately click.

That approach doesn’t work if you’re setting your sites higher — and we’re out to bring some rockin’ new social and mobile innovation to the $38 billion cruise industry. So we spent the first few weeks not coding, but researching. Learning. Absorbing all kinds of reports about the connected traveler, millennial travelers and the next generation of collaborative and empowered travelers.


The plumbing & development process come first

We decided to pursue Gretzky economics. Skate to where the puck’s gonna be.

Game plan in hand, target audiences identified and branding solidified (I managed to purchase the domain a few months earlier), our next step was not to build out a team, or whip up some prototypes, or invest months of time in pursuit of angel investors who shared our vision of empowered travelers.

No. We began by finding a great development team that could help construct the basic scaffolding for Cruiseable.

The quality of overseas development houses has risen markedly in recent years, especially in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and elsewhere on the Continent

We knew we wanted to be a “mobile priority” startup. While the rest of the world is moving to mobile, discovering and booking cruises is chiefly done on the Web. So we decided to create a single database that would simultaneously feed both a mobile app and our website. Any action you take on the site would be instantly reflected on the app, and vice-versa.

We did it, and it’s very, very cool.

With that single-database, no-jerry-rigging requirement in mind, we looked around for a solid development house. My co-founder is an all-star mobile app developer, but Objective C for iOS is a completely different animal than Python, PHP, Joomla and all the other code bases and development frameworks out there. (And from my years as the chief executive of Ourmedia, I sure as heck knew we weren’t going with Drupal.)

We had a finite budget and big ambitions. The quality of overseas development houses has risen markedly in recent years, especially in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and elsewhere on the Continent. I had given a talk in Krakow, Poland, two summers ago on The Social Startup to a large audience of developers and entrepreneurs. So it didn’t take much convincing from Don Dodge of Google Ventures, one of our advisors, to point us to Coders Mill, whose CEO put on the conference I spoke at.

Settling on Python and a development process

After several deep dives into our vision for the site and app, we agreed that Python was the most industrial-strength programming language and code base that could scale to thousands and eventually millions of users.

We’ve developed quite a relationship. Giacomo has flown to Krakow and met with the team, and the Coders Mill COO, Ela Goczyńska-Han, flew to San Francisco in March to meet with me and attend the Launch Festival. (In fact I introduced Ela to Launch founder and longtime friend Jason Calacanis.)

Scrum methodology

The language barrier reared up once or twice early on (my Polish is limited to the occasional Na zdrowie), but it was really just a communication rhythm that we needed to establish. The developers’ English is quite good. We’ve been using Trello as our project management system, to good effect, supplemented by emails and monthly “sprint calls” over Skype, where we discuss the deliverables for them to tackle in the next sprint. (In fact, the latest one just ended, at 2:30 am, a few minutes ago.)

We use Moqups as a prototyping tool, a beta site before pushing code to production, Google docs for listing and checking off tasks, Github as our code repository, Linode as our hosting service, toggl for tracking hours, and Scrum as our incremental agile software development method. (Hey, after working at Microsoft and at three startups, I actually know what all this stuff does. And it’s awesome.)

Oh, and I’ve been using Bank of America quite a bit to wire funds to Krakow, until we find the right set of angel investors who have the insight to join us on our quest for world domination. (Here’s our impressive team — more on them, and other tools we use, and the launch of Cruiseable, in our next installment.)

Would I recommend Coders Mill to other startups? Yes. It’s always good to work shoulder to shoulder with your developers, but when funds are limited, a development house like Coders Mill is a life saver.JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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The 9th edition of the State of the Developer Nation Q3 2015 report is now available for download. It presents the key findings from a survey that the HTML5Apps project helped to promote.

This report covers all the latest trends in mobile, desktop, IoT and cloud services development. It looks at most popular platforms, languages, vertical markets and hosting providers.

The report provides interesting key insights and consolidated graphs such as the one shown below. The global community of people involved in developing software for mobile devices, desktop computers, the Internet of Things and cloud services is fairly homogenous. In Europe, as in all other continents, developers are predominantly young and male dominated. The survey results also show that most developers manage to be involved in several areas of development, via a hobby or side project in addition to their professional work.

Global dev. landscape on a world map

Filed under: Developer, HTML5, html5apps
Source: Web Design

In the last two years, the LIDER project has organized several roadmapping events to gather a broad community around the topic of linguistic linked data. In October this year, LIDER will engage with two selected communities: linguistics and experts in digital humanities, via a national roadmapping workshop that will take place in Spain. The 7th LIDER roadmapping workshop will focus on these topics and will be held in Madrid at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. The participation will be free and open. Spanish will be the main language of the event. For more information also about participation please visit the workshop website

Source: Web Design

Updates to Requirements for Chinese Text Layout include the following.

  • Zhuyin figures updated
  • Various graphic examples of annotations added
  • New section containing examples of Zhuying annotations
  • Aijie Zhang added to list of editors
  • Various code fixes and typos corrected

We are in the process of adding Simplified Chinese translations of all the text, but the work is still in progress. All markup created during this process so far has been hidden in this document using CSS. It will be unhidden in a future Working Draft, once the work is completed.

A detailed list of changes, including diffs, can be found in the github commit log.

Source: Web Design

A report summarizing the MultilingualWeb workshop in Riga is now available from the MultilingualWeb site. It contains a summary of each session with links to presentation slides and minutes taken during the workshop in Riga. The workshop was a huge success. With the parallel Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) event, it had more than 200 registered participants. See a summary of highlights, and a dedicated report about outreach activities of the supporting EU funded LIDER project. The Workshop was locally organized by Tilde, sponsored by the LIDER project and by Verisign. Learn more about the Internationalization Activity.

Source: Web Design

Are all the best domains already taken? Hundreds of millions of top-level domains are now registered, and you’d better believe that includes all the short, snappy, easily-brandable one-word domains. Having a short and memorable domain comes with a lot of perks. For one, your users are much more likely to remember a domain like “” […]

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Want to guess someone’s age? Just ask them what kind of phone they used growing up, and you can usually pinpoint the answer within a few years. Maybe you remember sharing a phone line with your family or even your neighbors, staying up late chatting on a party line. Maybe you grew up using a […]

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