One hundred people have clicked the "subscribe" button on my YouTube channel for some reason. There are screencasts about making video games using web tech, building web apps with frameworks nobody likes, videos about connecting gameboys to calculators to make music, and some dinosaur videos my kids made a while back. Plus a duplo stop motion movie. You gotta stay on-message am I right?
The moral of the story is in this day and age if you just keep uploading things people will click on your buttons. Is this building an audience? idk.
Oh yeah here's the channel if you feel compelled to click a button for some reason. https://youtube.com/mccormix
Today I recorded my fifth Slingcode screencast about making apps in Slingcode using the Hyperapp library. It's a minimal user interface library for building web apps, and it works really nicely with the Slingcode workflow. You can get a basic app up and running incredibly fast.
These screencasts have been going pretty well with more than 100 views on each one now, and the developer audience on YouTube seems to be getting value out of them which is very gratifying.
I also made a single page on the slingcode site with all the screencasts listed so there is a single point of reference.
Today I checked the analytics on the screencasts I've been recording and YouTube tells me they got 3k views in the last 28 days! Whoa!
Of course, I know these numbers are not the most important thing. What's important in the long run is whether I am actually helping people out.
My goal with Slingcode and these screencasts is to get more people into making their own web apps. People from all different types of backgrounds and technical abilities. My north star is the spreadsheet. Programs like Excel and VisiCalc massively democratized computation and brought it into the realm of a huge diversity of people. If I could do the same thing for web apps even in a small way I would consider this project a success.
The screencasts playlist is here if you are interested. There are screencasts on getting started with React, Vue.js, and SVG motion graphics live-coding. I'm new at this so any feedback you have would be most welcome.
Will keep plugging away at the screencasts and the features!
Inspired by @calebporzio I'm working towards a full suite of screen casts teaching people how to do neat things with Slingcode. The first one was on using React 100% in the browser and this latest one is on SVG livecoding.
I launched Slingcode a week ago and I've been a bit overwhelmed by the response on social media, Hacker News etc. so I completely forgot to do basic web analytics. Today I finally got around to checking, and according to goaccess logfile analyzer there have been 17k visitors to the front page in the last 7 days! Of those, more than 5k have tried out the app. I couldn't be happier with this result. Super pumped.
I'm continuing marketing with the most recent effort being a post on dev.to about it. That has gone very well and is currently at just shy of 100 reactions:
One thing I've learned from this community which has helped so much with this is when you launch something you have to spend time crafting posts for each channel individually. That's really paid off here.
I'm also just shy of 2k YouTube views in one week and I am sure it's because of launching on multiple sites and having them all link back to the YouTube intro.
One thing I will change for next time is to stagger the launches more. On launch day I got super impatient and after 3.5 months of dev I couldn't resist launching to Hacker News, Indie Hackers, and Product Hunt all at the same time. HN ended up killing it and reaching #5 on the front page, but the PH and IH posts both did poorly. So next time I'll do them one day at a time and try to build momentum.
After this has all calmed down my plan for generating some revenue is educational screencasts. I've just done one on building a basic React web app without command line or nodejs, using Slingcode and I'll keep working on these in the next few weeks.
Will report back on how this goes.
After I posted yesterday about how the HN post tanked, it somehow miraculously got a second boost while I was asleep and hit #8 at the highest point. Here's the chart :
The YouTube views are now up to 1.2k and I've had a ton of new users contact me to say they're enjoying using it (plus some bugs of course).
So basically everything went well except Product Hunt. Yay!
Next up I'm going to fix some bugs and then start making some screencasts showing people how to build web apps the old school way with just script tags, js, and css files.
My vague plan is to charge for access to advanced topics once I have made a bunch of screencasts.
Yesterday I launched an open source project I have been working on for the past 3.5 months called Slingcode.
It's a web based live-reloading IDE I made for my kids as a simple way to tinker and learn web dev. It gets rid of complex command line tooling and hosting from the web dev process so you can get on with building and running your apps.
I'm one of those "I can't market" open source people, so for me the launch feels like a great success. I posted on Hacker News, Product Hunt, Indie Hackers, Twitter, and made a video explaining the features on youtube.
I've had 453 YouTube views, 53 retweets, and 107 reddit upvotes which I am very happy with! :D
The Product Hunt launch tanked miserably with just 8 upvotes last time I checked, and likewise the Hacker News post did not do very well with just 16 upvotes. I was quite surprised by HN in particular as almost all of the web devs I showed it to were very enthusiastic, encouraging me to share on HN. I have had other projects do way better before even though they were not as good. Just goes to show that with HN and PH quite a lot comes down to luck and timing.
However I was lucky enough to have somebody independently share it on Reddit and that gave the launch a huge boost on that site.
My plan is to continue working on this as an open source project and eventually offer a web app hosting option for a monthly fee. This will include a domain, SSL cert, etc. for people who want to put the web apps they've built online. I'll also provide instructions for self-hosting for people who want to do it that way. I'm committed to keeping the app as open and accessible as possible.
Another thing I've been watching keenly is people like @calebporzio and @zenorocha who have managed to turn their open source projects into sustainable cash-positive operations. I will continue experimenting with screencasts to try and generate some income and think about what a "pro" version could look like. These people are a great inspiration!
Thanks for reading.
I made this web based live-reloading IDE for my kids so that they have a simple way to learn web dev and tinker. Slingcode removes complex command line tooling and hosting. I hope it's useful for amateurs & pros alike!