Garden & Vanilla 2 Status

Development on Garden & Vanilla 2 has come to a halt. A contract opportunity has come up, and I am in no financial position to decline. So, where does that leave us?


There are a lot of little things left to do as far as programming goes. Lots of debugging, a bit of commenting, and most of the design. I am going to leave most of the debugging to when the beta goes online and all of you have a chance to play with it. The commenting is really what I’m focusing on right now, as I am writing a parser to go through all of the code and pull out comments – it will serve as the primary documentation of the objects in the framework. The design has been handed off to two close friends who have a lot of experience in that area. I am waiting to hear back from them, but they both have jobs and lives as well, and can only do so much so fast. I have no idea when they will deliver anything to me. It could be hours, it could be weeks.

A Successful Launch

Above all else, I need to make sure that Vanilla 2 gets the launch it deserves. A big part of ensuring it’s success is setting realistic expectations for myself. I’ve come to fully understand that I can’t do this job all by myself (furthermore, I don’t want to do it by myself). I’ve been reaching out to various people in the community for help in different areas. A big thank you to everyone for their enthusiasm and assistance!

Things to Come

A few months ago, when I really came to terms with the need for help, I started reaching out to everyone in the community around me both in my home city, and in various communities on the internet. I got a lot of advice from people in all lines of business, and eventually I was connected with David Cohen at TechStars. Techstars is a company that specializes in getting startup businesses off the ground by giving chosen businesses an instant network of mentors and contacts in the tech industry.

Since our initial contact, I’ve spoken with a number of people from Techstars, including some who have been through program in previous years, and I’ve applied to be in the 2009 program. I’ve since been invited to go down to Boulder, CO where they are based for a meet-and-greet called “TechStars for a Day”, which takes place on March 3rd. I’ve accepted, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone involved and getting a good grasp of what the program might actually be like.


I’ve known for a long time that having a partner would have sped up every aspect of getting Vanilla 2 off the ground. When I first started reaching out to the community for help and advice a number of months ago, I found that almost everyone I spoke to (investors, business owners, everyone at techstars, etc) went a step further to say that having a business partner (or partners) isn’t just a nice-to-have, but really is a must-have if you want to be successful. There is simply too much work for one person to do all by him/herself, and your chances for success increase immeasurably with partners.

When I began to think seriously about what I would look for in a business partner, there were three criteria that were absolutely necessary: commitment, knowledge, and trust. The first two: commitment to the project, and knowledge (either in programming, finance, or marketing) are pretty easy to find. I can look at any of the big names (I’m not going to name names) from the Lussumo community and they fall into that category. But the third requirement, trust, is a lot harder to find. Trust can only be gained over time interacting with someone. This really limited me down to friends and colleagues that I know and/or work with in-real-life. The list was short, so I started contacting those people to see if they had any interest in joining me for this journey.

At the time of this writing, one of my oldest friends and work colleagues is weighing out his options, but it looks like he is going to come on board and help me get this thing off the ground. He is a programmer (he actually used to be my boss when I first started programming many many years ago), and will bring a great deal of knowledge to the table in many areas beyond just the code. That being said, I am still open to considering other people from other skill sets (finance & marketing, preferrably) who might be interested in speaking about the road ahead for getting Garden & Vanilla 2 off the ground and into the world of making money. So, consider this an open call to anyone interested to drop me an email and see where it takes us (mark at lussumo dot com).


The coming weeks will be hectic as I forge ahead with new work contracts, head out to Boulder to meet everyone at TechStars, and frantically try to get the remaining work done on the framework and Vanilla 2 in whatever spare time is left over. I was hoping that there would be a beta online already for people to play with, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards yet. All I can say is that I’m doing the best I can with the limited amount of time that I’ve got, and I’m sure the same goes for all of those people out there who are jumping in and helping with various other parts of the launch (you know who you are).

Keep your syndication compilers pointed at this blog and I’ll post anything new as it comes to me!

16 Responses to “Garden & Vanilla 2 Status”

  1. Shawn Broderick

    Keep fighting the good fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    - Shawn

  2. Kevin Herrera

    Have you thought about using phpDocumentor? I have used it several times for my projects and suits my needs.

    You can find more about it here:

    It’s pretty straight forward.

  3. Mark

    @Kevin – I’ve used phpdocumentor before – I just wanted more control over things. Plus, writing a parser like this is a piece of cake for Garden. It won’t take much time.

  4. Austin Storm

    Great to hear… good luck on the new venture – still can’t wait for Garden.

  5. Brad Touesnard

    Best of luck with your TechStars meeting. Depending on how that works out, you may want to check out Bootup Labs in Vancouver as well:

  6. Damien

    Good news!!!

    Could you release a simple application so that we can have a test of Garden? Releasing People 2 would be great.

    About the documentation, writing your own parser is probably better than writing a phpDocumentor template, but please, don’t go for a .Net style documentation; stick to javaDoc style. It might just be me, but the xml inside comments is harder to read and to write. Also, many editors can do javadoc auto-completion and use the javadoc for php auto-completion; none will support your custom syntax. And if other projects wanted to use your parser, they would have to convert their documentation.

  7. Adrian

    I tend to agree with Damien.

  8. Mark

    @Damien/Adrian/Kevin – You’re all correct. Sadly, that is not how I commented everything up to this point, so that means a lot of work re-commenting in the phpdoc format. All of the info we need is in there, but it needs to be reformatted. I spent 20 minutes or so on the biggest file in Garden, and it’s slow-going. Hopefully someone will be willing to jump in and reformat the comments once I release the source. From this point forward I’ll comment phpdoc style.

  9. Adrian

    I love the Code Igniter user guide, that in my mind is the benchmark for clear, concise documentation.

    Documentation is a chore though, especially when it seems Mark that you just love to write code :D

  10. fk

    “Development on Garden & Vanilla 2 has come to a halt. A contract opportunity has come up, and I am in no financial position to decline. So, where does that leave us?”

    … as you see money is a central subject in life.

    1. make sure you’ve checked the community/forum-software market.
    2. take 49 $ or 29$ for a garden license, and offer serious support and a functional, intuitive rock solid community solution … do it like the apple.
    3. get one or two capable coders and pay them. (financial participation… to break the first ground somehow).
    4. do some serious but fair business.
    5. or simply let it be and just run your blog or a website and If I may so express myself… complain about life.

    “If you can’t get people to pay for what they love, we’re all out of business.” … by T.A.

    i pay 50 bucks for something i need and i like , and i’am surely not the only one , but i wouldn’t use a software for free with amateurish support and as well amateurish and up to 99% buggy plugin-features in a final project, and i also wouldn’t recommend such a software for my clients.

    sometimes you have to fish or cut bait.

    just my piece of good advice. :)

  11. Mark

    @fk – You’ve just (roughly) outlined the plan, but bills need to be paid in the meantime. I certainly wasn’t complaining about money, and I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining about life!

    I was simply stating the facts. If I’ve given anyone the impression that I’m upset with my lot in life, I must say that the reality is quite the opposite. I’m nothing but optimistic about where I’m at, where I’m going, and where the software is going!

  12. Mark

    @Adrian – I hear you – I love the codeigniter docs, too. I am going to be making a codeigniter-esque set of documentation – but the commented docs will also be available as an object reference.

  13. WallPhone

    I wish I still lived in CO to meet up!

  14. Mark

    @WallPhone – I didn’t even know you lived in CO. I would have loved to meet up. Where are you now?

  15. upso

    WAY 2 GO CHAMP! looking forward to hearing more updates! U RULE!

  16. WallPhone

    I’m in Omaha, but still have family in Greeley (1 hour drive NE of Boulder) and Parker (1 hour SE), but visit often, hoping paths may cross…

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