In my travels around the Internet, questing for shows that could benefit from It's Show Easy, I have reviewed many a show website, always comparing the feature sets to what It's Show Easy provides. While I seldom find show websites that look or behave better than It's Show Easy-generated sites, there are plenty with more features. In most cases this comes from the fact that the show in question has features that It's Show Easy does not address. In light of this, it seems to me that some show promoters are likely to want, or need, to keep their current website. And I am okay with that. A while ago, I began enhancing It's Show Easy to allow a promoter to keep their existing web presence and still benefit from It's Show Easy. Still, in spite of having started on site-less shows a while ago, the functionality is incomplete. After getting started, I decided that I really needed access to a promoter who needs site-less shows in order to properly build out the feature set. I am hoping, probably unreasonably so, that this blog post will help me find that promoter.
When I first created It's Show Easy, I imagined that most show promoters would embrace the idea of an It's Show Easy-generated website since they wouldn't have to pay for hosting or pay an outside resource to maintain the site. Today I understand that shows come in so many shapes and sizes that It's Show Easy will probably never be able to address every promoter's needs. Since It's Show Easy is largely focused on streamlining vendor management, I have separated show details that are necessary receiving and reviewing applications from the show details that are necessary to generate a website. Subsequently, it is now possible for a promoter to create a show and then link to It's Show Easy from their existing website. Specifically, the link will lead to the It's Show Easy vendor registration page. From there, the vendor management process and most other It's Show Easy benefits are the same. To round things out, the promoter can specify locations on their website to which It's Show Easy will return applying vendors at appropriate times.
When I started working on site-less shows I had a lot of grand ideas. Another function an It's Show Easy-generated website delivers is the vendor list. I believe most promoters are having to manually construct the vendor lists that appear on their websites. So, I thought site-less shows should provide some means by which the promoter can automatically construct their vendor list using the vendor information that is collected in It's Show Easy. Once the site-less vendor application took shape, I struggled to decide how best to deliver the vendor list to the promoter's self-managed site. I have several ideas, all of which will be non-trivial to implement, but which one(s) would get used? It also occurred to me that a lot of promoters are probably using tools like Wordpress, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and so on, to construct their websites. It would be really cool to build "plugins" for these tools that would allow the promoters (or their web developers) to easily integrate It's Show Easy behaviors into their sites. Again, building such a plugin would be significant work. Which one should I build? Any of them? Surely, I can't be blamed for not wanting to do the work, if nobody is going to end up using it.
So here I am with a half-baked implementation of site-less shows, a lot of fun ideas, and nobody to enjoy it with! I think that is an important realization for me. It is difficult, and a often a little thankless, to develop functionality in a vacuum. I am not a show promoter. I need to learn from real promoters' experiences. I can make guesses about what I see on non-It's Show Easy, show websites, but I really can't know if the features on these sites have been beneficial or not. I don't want to spend my time developing features that are not going to be used and I certainly don't want to bloat the product with functionality only to find that it doesn't meet the real needs of show promoters. So, instead I am currently spending my development time modifying features and adding functionality that will directly benefit Wyoming Home Show, currently my only customer who is using an It's Show Easy-generated website. If you are interested, I tweet about my development activities as @ItsShowEasy. With any luck, one of these days I will establish a relationship with a promoter who wants most of the benefits of It's Show Easy, but also wants to keep their own site, and I can continue my work on site-less shows with their help. Who knows, maybe this blog post will even be the catalyst that precipitates the relationship.
In case you were wondering about the image I chose for this blog, I sort of image site-less shows being like It's Show Easy sending a show coordinator to your site/show to help manage the vendors. I thought the image kind of conveyed that idea...kind of. :)