chptung 6 months ago

For the past few months, my co-founder and I have been working on our side project, Threadbase, which allows non-developers to make their own Hacker News, Product Hunt, or any Reddit-style community (e.g upvotes with threaded comments) in minutes without writing any code.

We came up with the idea after building our own upvote communities and friends of ours asked if they could make a similar community without the need to program. We thought this could be an interesting technical project to figure out. Plus, since people were asking for it, we already had our alpha group.

We started the project using Rails for the front and backend, but eventually moved the majority of the SaaS elements (e.g. a dashboard to make changes/manage users, modifying the look of a community with a theme, etc.) to React and used Rails as our backend because this provided a much better user experience.

Our most recent challenge was figuring out how to implement the #1 product request from our customers: communities on a custom domain. Originally, we began the project on AWS, but after looking around, we found that Heroku provided a much easier custom domain implementation process for the end user. So, we migrated the entire project from AWS to Heroku, and now, if you add a custom domain to your community, we just give you the auto-generated heroku dns link and community owners can paste that in their CNAME or Alias to finish the setup. This is much easier than the path we almost went down with AWS.

My co-founder and I are now making a small amount of MRR from our paid tiers, but the learning experience has been really enjoyable.

A few things you can do on Threadbase: - Make a community in just a few clicks without writing any code (e.g. - Customize the look and feel with pre-built themes. We named the first three communities--Cleveland, San Francisco,and Brooklyn--after the cities that were important to our stories. - Drop in your own Google Analytics ID to get data on your community. - If you'd like to further customize the color of your community, turn off ads, or put your own Google AdSense pixel in to make money from your community, you can sign up for our Basic tier. - If you want to create a private community (i.e require registration) or add your own custom domain, you can upgrade to Plus.

  • sharcerer 6 months ago

    I saw your communities section, but before seeing that I had an idea. You could start an aggregator of communities which used ThreadBase. The owners of these communities could make their community paid or invite based or referral based like invite 10 more people to get free access or X amount of days. hours access to content. Also, if you start getting lots of communities then you can have them pay for placement/promotion on top of page. Basically, individuals could have their own Threadbase and share news content which they consume or their views on Threadbase. Like when on twitter let's say Paul Graham/ Naval post an article, some discussion starts. But, there is a lot of visual fluff like like, share,retweet buttons which reduces amount of content one can view at once. the Hacker News/Reddit style of UI is good for such discussions.

    EDIT: I wrote all of this just by saying the title of your HN post here, now when I went to your site, I saw that you have Private communities planned. Nice.

SkyLinx 6 months ago

If I remember correctly, heroku has a limit of max 10000 custom domains per app. What are you going to do when you reach that limit, out of curiosity? Thanks

  • chptung 6 months ago

    To be honest, we decided to punt on that because if we make it to even 5K custom domains we would be in a great place in terms of MRR, that we could invest the time to find a solution then.

  • toomuchtodo 6 months ago

    Shard by Heroku accounts?

    • ecto 6 months ago

      Yes, we plan to shard by app. Since the cost per app is non-zero we've made it a paid feature. Right now it's on 2 apps (1 to support *, 1 for custom domains), and we won't have to move to 3 for the foreseeable future. I plan to extract this functionality into a gem :)

Findeton 6 months ago

I am curious about how you implemented the text editor. Did you use SlateJs, Prosemirror, Quill, DraftJs?

  • chptung 6 months ago

    We are using DraftJs.

ecto 6 months ago

Hey folks, I also worked on this. Happy to answer any questions.