dockphp

With the hype of technology startups, more and more websites are built faster and cheaper everyday. A whole new breed of DIY website services have sprouted out to help developers and startup founders build their website faster. These DIY platforms are called web development automation site. With them, you can easily design your websites using simple drag and drop user interface.

Earlier in May, Singapore-based dockPHP which allows user to create dynamic websites using its platform, has managed to raise an iJam round through FatFish Medialab. We spoke to founder, Kshitiz Shankar, on the promise of these DIY websites.

I’ve came across several web development automation site. What makes you stand out and who are your main customers?

There are a lot of “Website Creators” online but none of them are actually usable by developers because of the endless limitations including (but not limited to) no source code access. Apart from that, these existing systems are not up-to-date with the recent technological developments like HTML5 and CSS3.

The key difference between dockPHP and other generic website builders is that dockPHP is more of a developer tool and helps in reducing the development time by employing visual programming. It focuses majorly on visual CSS development (something that has been missing in the market for a long time) which is a painful task for any web developer. At its current state, dockPHP automates the major part of the front-end development process right from creating HTML to adding custom styling without worrying about any cross-browser issues. It helps the users in easily adding CSS3 features like Gradients, Web Fonts, Transforms etc.. Build on top of Bootstrap, it allows the developers to quickly extend any of the in built styling and helps them in building responsive websites.

We do have two competitors that started around the same time as us, DivShot and JetStrap, and have a beta version live. The major difference between them and us is that we focus primarily on CSS Development while both of them focus on creation of HTML via Bootstrap. We believe that the HTML creation is no longer a pain-point of web development especially since we can just copy paste the different components from the Bootstrap framework and use them. The problem comes in when you have to style those components to match your needs. This is where dockPHP comes in. We facilitate the same functions as DivShot and JetStrap but with an extensive layer of CSS automation and thus making dockPHP a pain killer application.

Our primary target market is Developers and Designers who have some basic experience with Bootstrap framework. Apart from them we plan to reach out to small enterprises that specialize in website development.

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Is this more of a enterprise play or you are taking a mass market consumer approach?

Right now we are focusing on the Developers and Designers (majorly freelance developers and designers who keep on creating websites all over the year) and getting feedback from them that could help us improve the product. Once we reach a stable product, we will be aiming for SMEs that specialize majorly in website development.

You recently raised an iJam round through FatFish. What will the fund be mainly used for?

We raised iJam in Feb 2013 and will be done with our tier 1 by the end of this month. After that we’ll be trying to raise more funds. We recently won the Singapore-Cambridge program under which we will be incubated by one of the largest software firms in UK, RedGate. This would be a really good learning opportunity for us as well as help us in raising more funds to accelerate the development and marketing for dockPHP.

How many users are there and what’s the plan to monetize?

Right now we have around 610 users signed up since we launched our Beta in May. We are trying to monitor the usage and other metrics. In terms of monetization, we are looking at a subscription model with monthly and yearly plans. We haven’t finalized the price point yet but we have a general range that we will be working with in our A/B testing once we release the final version.

What’s the long term plan for dockPHP?

dockPHP is all about automating website development for the developers and helping them reduce their development time by cutting out the repetitive and tedious parts of their programming process. Web Development is made of four parts – HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP (any server side language). The way we are approaching our goal is, first we will be focusing majorly on HTML and CSS (HTML5 and CSS3 to be specific). Once we have saturated these two parts, we’ll be moving on the adding plugins for JavaScript, like form validation, image galleries, image sliders etc, that could be customized easily. After that we will be focusing on the server side plugins like login/signup systems, blogs, forums, shopping carts et cetera.