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Inspector

How Inspector was born

Hi, I’m Valerio, a Software Engineer and Laravel-certified developer based in Naples, Italy. I worked with teams to help improve their software for more than 10 years through Italy and France.

Inspector received a warm welcome by the PHP community and is giving me the opportunity to scale my network globally for the first time in my career.

I’m sharing my journey publicly in the most transparent way as possible to grow the business thanks to my users feedback. You can see our results on IndieHackers: https://www.indiehackers.com/product/inspector

In this article I would reveal how Inspector was born, and the idea behind it.

As software engineer I try every day to anticipate all the problems that could happen releasing a software in production. Sadly, it’s impossible to anticipate all of them. This is a fact of developers’ life.

Working as freelancer or with my team I experienced an even more complicated scenario. We are strongly connected with customers, and we are also highly exposed to competitive risks if a project doesn’t go as expected.

The short survey below has caught my attention:

A huge amount of time wasted, just on checks. Nothing new is produced.

There is nothing more valuable than our time. Yet as developers, we often spend up to 50 percent of our time simply checking that our app is working (probably for fear?).

A huge amount of time is wasted, producing nothing.

As a software engineer and Laravel-certified developer who has spent more than a decade helping teams to improve their software, I often experienced this frustrating reality.

Why does it happen?

Today, developers are at the forefront of bringing a software product to commercial success. They are no longer hidden behind the scenes, their work has an instant impact on customer satisfaction.

In a such competitive market any application issues or a simple mistake can expose us to competitive and even financial risks.

We are powerless in the face of an issue when it happens, and we will have to manage the customer complaint to the best of our ability if something goes wrong. But it’s too late now.

Waiting for users to report errors or bottlenecks, we are effectively outsourcing bug discovery to users, but users don’t reports bugs, they eventually just stop using our apps.

That’s why developers spend up to 50% of their time simply watching that the app is working.

Applications that are critical for the health of our business can’t be monitored manually. Manual monitoring process used by most developers today is costly, time-consuming, and leaves a huge margin for error.

I know really well the consequences of a bad customer experience, we could be not being able to retain customers enough to enjoy the benefits of our hard work, and out there, around every corner, there are agencies or others products ready to welcome a dissatisfied customer.

Fixing my approach

We make software; automation is in our DNA, but here is the trap. We are always focused on how to automate our customers’ work and we forget that we can do the same (or even better) with our own.

Adopting an automated tool that monitors my software and alerts me to any errors has a huge impact on my ability to keep my customers happy and work on continues code changes with more confidence.

That’s why I become passionate about this topic. I’ve written many other articles about real-time application monitoring.

Creating a software to automate application inspection

We all know the saying “time is money.”

It was clear to me that a tool that lets us do the same job in half the time could be a really valuable solution. With that in mind, I set out to develop a better way to inspect applications. The result of my extensive research and development is Inspector.

I no longer need to search thanks to an autonomous tool that do this job for me.

I can trust Inspector to debug my applications for me, 24/7, and alert me to any issues or performance degradation in real-time so I can address them immediately. In the meantime I can spend my time in more productive tasks instead of being worried that a user writes to me that something is broken.

Inspector vs. other solutions

You can find many other tools to monitor your applications, but most products on the market have clearly negative characteristics for web agencies and freelancers:

  • They are designed for infrastructure monitoring (CPU, RAM, Bandwidth) and not specific for application level. In addition, they are generalists and don’t provide you specific information about your platform (e.g. single job execution, artisan command, etc.).
  • They require you to install software at server level. Inspector is the a solution that purposely avoids this.
  • They are very tricky to integrate and use. You are asked to spend weeks to configure your environment. With Inspector, you can instead run a simple “composer require”.
  • They are too expensive.
  • They are not designed for PHP.

What’s next

The next goal is grow our user base. I started yet to produce technical guides to allows other developers to get better results by using Inspector.

After the first feedback I have jot down a list of the improvements I will work on immediately:

  • Improve UI
  • Extend the documentation
  • Produce more “step by step” guide

Other developers feedback are driving the product roadmap and I would be happy if you joined me on this journey.

Try Inspector, it’s free, and write me what you think about:  https://www.inspector.dev

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