May 9, 2019

Backend boilerplate for a SaaS dashboard in minutes

duliba

I had an idea for which most of you could be the target audience, so I wanted to hear your opinion.

I’m guessing most of you who developed tech products have had to spend a good amount of time setting up your project initially (doing the boilerplate work such as programming user-authentication, debugging setup in VS Code, connecting to a DB and other mundane features), and then had to spend more time on deployment.

So my solution is to offer a online setup wizard, or via a CLI tool, that will let you easily setup your boilerplate backend with a stack of technologies of your choice, i.e. your choice of language, library (express for node, flask for python), your choice of DB, etc.

Then, the developer can easily connect his boilerplate backend to some dashboard/SaaS UI theme he downloaded from the web. For example, if they downloaded a frontend theme from Creative Tim @ creative-tim.com, in a few more clicks through the wizard and an explanation they can have working code that’ll implement the registration and authentication functions for the dashboard, utility functions for their DB, relevant Stripe integration, marketing integration with MailChimp/Google Analytics, testing utilities, etc.

The business model is to charge a one-time fee per setup (say, $99).

I also came across Laravel Spark (https://spark.laravel.com), which has a similar idea but for a PHP backend.

What do you guys think? Did you guys have a hard time setting up initially? What services did you use (if any)? What features do you think are the most necessary for such boilerplate? And would you consider such a service for around $99 per deployment?

  1. 2

    $99 is too cheap, I started off charging $99 for Gravity and it wasn't enough, I still don't think I'm charging enough at $397. Bullet Train and Zero costs ~$1500. I know Spark is $99 but it's severely unpriced IMO.

    It might be a better idea to focus on one language/stack and do it exceptionally well rather than trying to cater to a multitude of different languages – which will make your life hell maintaining multiple code-bases.

    1. 1

      Agree with your comment about focusing on a specific stack. Seems like there's enough market share for each separate stack as well. Thanks :)

  2. 2

    This seems to be a pretty popular idea as of late.

    For Ruby development there is a project called jumpstartrails.com by @excid3

    1. 1

      Very cool, seems like it's the right direction :)

  3. 2

    I like the idea very much but keep in mind that you will have to compete with a lot of free and paid products, for example, with mine:

    1. 1

      Good point :) Caravel looks very promising honestly. It's also targeting Python as a backend, which I haven't seen many backend kits do. I'd say there's a lot of room for creativity and quite a big pie to share though, don't you think?

      Can you also show some other free and paid products that do this?

      1. 2

        Can you also show some other free and paid products that do this?
        There is a lot of them, you just search by "SaaS boilerplate" or something like that. Even here in IH - see other comments.

        1. 1

          OK thanks :)

  4. 1

    I think the term is Baas and there are lots of them.

    1. 1

      Can you name some examples? I've looked into many, but want to see if I've missed any popular ones.
      Also, I want to provide more of a kit you can pay one time for, not a continuous service, so it's different from a BaaS.

      1. 1

        Ahhh. Cool, apologies for jumping the gun. Your idea sounds great, slightly different from Budibase and more like @kylegawley Gravity

        1. 1

          No worries :) Budibase does look more like a service, whereas I'm aiming for something like Gravity (but perhaps for a different backend language, because Gravity looks great already), exactly. Even mentioned it in another comment in this post, so you're spot on.

  5. 1

    Isn't there firebase already for this kind of thing?

    1. 1

      Firebase is a BaaS, so you depend on it 100%, including the DB choice and how to write code. I think many users prefer to have the code in their hands and then just deploy it using services like AWS or Heroku.
      Also, Firebase Cloud Functions (their backend) are written in TypeScript. What if you prefer Python? PHP? Go? Ruby? Many niches to venture to here.

      In one sentence - I'd want more of a complete kit I can deploy in minutes rather than the infrastructure (check out https://usegravity.app/ for an example).