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22 Comments

Everyone seems to be building SaaS, but...

Is there anyone here actually building desktop software? Or have you already published and still working on it (and maybe profitable?). What have been your experiences?

  1. 3

    Everyone is building SAAS, because it is the "holy grail" to get income every month.
    Software on computer and MRR works as well. Look at Adobe...

  2. 2

    Building https://folge.me - app to capture and create step-by-step guides, tutorials and documentation

  3. 2

    I'm building a (quite large) desktop app. I would never do this in a browser.
    Here -- https://cinematicstudio.app - Video editing for s😍cial media

    1. 2

      Nice! I've been thinking of writing a video editor for years, but never got round to it.

      How did you pick your niche within the video editing space?

      1. 1

        He he, I've been working on it for years 😁

        The niche -- that's been pretty hard, since I wanted to make this for beginners. Initially I targetted beginner youtubers, but that didn't work out.

        Now I'm going after social media -- small businesses that want an online presence. I still got a LOT of work to do marketing wise. I am one of those that wants to do lots of coding then do marketing. I tried a few times to hire a marketer, but that proved a bad idea.

        So, roughly 2 weeks from now, I'll start doing it myself 😁 (as the app will have all the features I want, obviously not all, but mostly all 😁)

    2. 2

      Cool project! What UI toolkit are you using? How are sales considering it’s a sub vs one-time payment?

      1. 1

        Thanks!
        I'm using UWP. It's beyond horrible, but I need it for win2d (a wrapper for C# over DirectX)

        Sales are not that great, but I've been focusing on coding only (I know it's probably wrong, but that's that😁). Within 2 weeks or so, I'll start marketing full time -- I'm pretty positive about it, since my app is waaay above everything else on the market (for beginner/intermediate video editors)

  4. 2

    Yes. I'm working on ZitaFTP Server: keasigmadelta.com/zitaftpserver

    It's available as a "pre-release," but is very much a work-in-progress.

    My experience? It's been tough. Writing and debugging server from scratch is hard work. There's a lot of low-level code to write, which takes a lot of time. I made it even harder by also targeting the Amiga, meaning I couldn't use some libraries that would have saved a lot of time (e.g., I had to write my own web framework too). It took far too long to get it to initial pre-release state, and there's still a long way to go before I have something other than a "me too" FTP server...

    I think there still is room for desktop software. However, if I were to start again, I'd look for something that I can build rapidly using available libraries & tools. That way I can get an MVP out fast, and start getting that all important market/customer feedback.

    One disadvantage of writing desktop software, is that you don't get any usage data without adding creepy tracking code to it that "phones home" all the time. I don't like such data collection, and so haven't added it to any of my software. However, it means I forgo data about how many people are using it, what features, etc.

    1. 1

      I find it amusing that you release for Amiga. I never owned one but I have some respect for older computers.

      1. 1

        Hehe. Yes, it's an odd thing to do. There was no secure FTPS server available for the Amiga, and I wanted one. Plus, I thought I could get some initial testers and sales that way. That worked, but the AmigaOS 4 market is so tiny that sales dried up very quickly (still get a few Amiga version sales every now and then).

  5. 1

    Yeah, I think there is a great market for SASS on desktop, look at the Seta marketplace from MacPaw.

    I am currently working on SprintDock and the reason for doing it on desktop was that I wanted it to 'overlay' on top of existing workflows, which meant being accessible with a shortcut from anywhere. Also, having offline access was another factor, allowing remote work to continue uninterrupted.

  6. 1

    Why did you decide to take this project, seems like it's massive because you can't just build out one feature and expect to sell it, it's got to have it all. Isn't it so?

    I assume deciding the MVP must've been weird as well.

  7. 1

    I've built a few desktop apps and still do.

    It's fun since you don't have to do so much infrastructure management, but I think you're more likely to strike big bucks with mobile or web.

    You can however make small bucks since you don't really have hosting expenses etc that you get running SaaS.

    1. 1

      I love both desktop and mobile, but I constantly consider if my next project should be web or mobile.

      1. 1

        I don't do indie full-time so I can afford to do whatever I like as indie hobby projects, but if I was trying to make a living out of this I'd probably have to make those choices based more on the business prospects.

  8. 1

    Getting started on web is easier, with no limitation with regards to platform. When the platform grows it might make sense to make the functionality available offline in a desktop application. By using electron you could even use a similar tech stack as for the SaaS application on web.

  9. 1

    It really depends on the product. Excel is still a killer desktop app. But consumer usage patterns have shifted so much to mobile that it makes sense for many products to start there or be web based.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/mobile-desktop-internet-usage-statistics/amp

    1. 1

      Yeah, the desktop apps that bring all the money are the ones that always have. Even more so if it can be used in a business setting. Or multimedia creation apps, which have almost no counterpart of similar qualities on the web or mobile.

  10. 1

    I'm curious about this as well. I never even considered making a desktop application, but I am intrigued about how people go about it.

  11. 0

    I think the reason desktop software isn’t popular is because it’s just not necessary. Almost everything can be ran in a browser.

    Running in a browser is just so much easier to maintain then a desktop app. Unless your developing something that does video processing, an IDE, or a game you don’t need a desktop app.

    1. 2

      True, although I wish more things would be desktop apps. Web apps tend to be rather sluggish due to the wait for server requests to complete.

    2. 2

      I second this. 99% of daily tasks are done via SaaS. No need to install anything.

      SaaS really changed the way we accomplish our goals. We used to install and run many apps within our PC. Now we open a few tabs and have everything at hands: project management, note-taking, chatting, even creating other apps can be done via low-code/no-code tools run in a browser.

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