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What strategies have worked for you for getting users for your open source side project?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community4 days ago

There are a lot of different side projects, from open source tools to end user apps.

For this question, I would like to know your experience creating and promoting open source projects.

What I think makes sense is:

  • You should solve a pain point or problem.
  • For nature, mostly of the target users are software engineers.
  • You should make it easy to use.
  • There should be a decent documentation.

In my case, I created open-microsaas, it's a Next.js boilerplate that helps the developers to start a SaaS web application faster.

I would like to help more developers to get their side projects faster, tho I advise to build your own solution from scratch IF you want to experiment the learning experience completely.

What do you think?

(I'm open to feedback for my open source project, too).



  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    4 days ago

    Your criteria make a lot of sense. I'll add a few things:

    • Trust matters a lot, and the best way to build trust is to have an audience where you share valuable ideas and participate in a community. Then when you launch an open-source project, people will pay attention.
    • Focus on your unique point of view in solving the problem. For example, there are a lot of boilerplate code generator tools out there -- how is yours different? I'm imagining some sort of comparison table, where you call out why your tool is the best for a subset of developers.

    From your README, you say "help you launch your SaaS applications faster and more efficiently." Could you niche this down more? There are so many SaaS applications, are you particularly good for certain types? e.g. those who deploy on Vercel or those who use Svelte.

    Have you considered doing things like a Product Hunt launch or Show HN?

    See also this very relevant thread :) How do I host and promote my side project?

    • 0
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      Senior Software Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      3 days ago

      Hey Rahul, thank you for your insights and feedback!

      I have launched in Product Hunt, but since that date it's pretty quite.

      I was thinking in showing a list of all the development tasks this project does, and calculate the hours of time that is saved because is already done (that's how I could demonstrate the "faster and more efficiently" part of my heading).

      Creating a comparison table, sounds good but should be for open source projects only, right?

      Because there are another premium boilerplates that are doing almost the same, I even bought one to check and... it seems to have some technical opportunity areas of improvement, but don't know if I want to go to "war", I prefer more a collaborative approach when possible.

      I will think about it and make some updates in the code.

      Hope this case helps to others devs in the Taro community that are doing the same!

    • 0
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      Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
      2 days ago

      I don't see why your comparison chart can't include both paid (premium) and open-source projects. That's actually one of the biggest advantages of what you're doing!

      Not only is your boilerplate free, but it'll benefit from the entire community's support, unlike closed-source projects where you rely on a company to keep it up to date.

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