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Small app idea required

I need to get myself seriously up to speed with both C# & .NET. So far I've done a bucketload of reading but I feel the need to implement a smallish app thats a three tier app with both a WinForms & ASP.NET frontend.
Problem is that most of these that I can think of tend to boil down to address book type programs which isn't really much fun to design or implement and probably turn out to be too simple.
The only thing so far that I've thought of is doing a newsreader or a bug tracking database, has anyone else got any good ideas?
I'm trying to get myself out of that small application (e.g. a calculator or games like sokoban or tetris) arena into a slightly bigger design but something where a months (or two) worth of developer time should produce something useable and interesting.

Peter Ibbotson
Monday, April 8, 2002

How about a Wiki-style editable website?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov
Monday, April 8, 2002

How about a stock portfolio tracking app?  A few different transaction types (buy, sell, deposit, withdraw, split, dividend, fee), and data entry varies depending on the transaction type selected.  For example buy/sell requires NumShares, Price, and Commission but deposit/withdraw only require a total.  Should be able to display up-to-the-minute value of the portfolio, overall net gain/loss, ROI by ticker, etc.  Fairly simple validation rules too - you can't purchase when you're out of money, you can't sell 1000 shares of Nokia when you currently own 500, etc.

This has some enhancement potential as well.  When calculating current portfolio value you can start by asking the user to enter current stock prices.  In the future you could automate it to pull quotes directly from web services.

I thought of this because I'm building the same app for myself - partly as an intellectual exercise and partly because I haven't found a portfolio tracker that works the way I want.

Monday, April 8, 2002

How about a private little "newsticker", a program, that checks regularly if your favourite websites have changed, e.g. if Joel has posted a new article?

Jutta Jordans
Monday, April 8, 2002

One thing that I haven't seen tackled yet is a free or cheap XBRL viewer.

"Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), formerly code-named XFRML, is an open specification which uses XML-based data tags to describe financial statements for both public and private companies" ( ).

More and more companies are making their financials available as XBRL, but the tools I've been able to find for viewing are broken or expensive.

On the plus side, this would be an actually useful thing to build, it's non-trivial, and it would give you a good reason to exercise the XML underpinnings of .NET.

On the minus side, it might be more ambitious than you're looking for.

Mike Gunderloy
Monday, April 8, 2002

Stock tracking sounds good, particularly as I'm guessing someone somewhere does a time-delayed stock price webservice.

XBRL - I haven't tried any of the viewers yet, have you got any pointers to any websites (comments on the quality would be good)?

It's tricky to think of small sample projects which you can get programmers to do in sensible time frames (as learning exercises). 

Peter Ibbotson
Monday, April 8, 2002

When I went hunting, I could not find an XBRL viewer that was inexpensive/free and workable. Someone (Merrill Lynch, maybe) had a free Excel sample, but it didn't work well. There are pointers on the web site.

Mike Gunderloy
Monday, April 8, 2002

A simple, PayPal-enabled shopping cart. Consists of 1) creating "Checkout/Buy" button and 2) processing payments received into a database/file/email based on PayPal "instant payment notification".

More info:

Note: free ASP, ASP.NET hosting at Brinkster is good place to learn and try out.

Monday, April 8, 2002

How about a screenplay/script editor?

It should support formatting screenplays to Hollywood standards, plus radio scripts etc.

You might think that's got limited scope, but how about if it also has support for drafts, and comparing drafts side by side?

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

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