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Dragos Bulugean
Dragos Bulugean

Posted on • Updated on

A story of success and guilt

Developers, I'd like to share a success story of using open-source technology to build a product.

I started as a pet project, wanting to learn this obscure thing named SVG. I was mostly a Java backend developer at the time and thought I should step out of my comfort zone and learn to build something cool with it.

Built this thing which was a software architecture diagramming solution. Well... solution was too much to say, it was almost laughable when I launched. But somehow, a small number of people loved it and kept using it. Very small amount of traffic came everyday from me answering some Quora questions, but just enough traffic to keep me going mentally.

The pet project was a really quick vanilla Javascript and Jointjs (a diagramming framework) on the frontend and bare Node.js and MongoDB. All running on a very cheap $10/m Scaleway machine somewhere in Germany :)

After I determined I could make a product people would pay for (knowledge base for dev teams), I started changing my tech options so I could peacefully work on this 10 years and even have other people contributing to this code base.

So I did it. Went with strict mode TypeScript for everything and rewrote the front-end in React and Next.js. Then I was kinda meh about MongoDB and spent another day changing it to Sequelize + PostgreSQL. I couldn’t find a good enough UI for PostgreSQL and I said let’s use MySQL & Workbench in dev and when I deploy I’ll just change the Sequelize driver back to PostgreSQL. As you can probably tell, this didn’t work so I got stuck with MySQL - that’s how I picked it :), but I’m happy it turned out this way, I like it very much. Then I realized I needed to make this whole thing realtime to offer superior user experience and I needed a Redis for PubSub and

I realize I’m riding on open-source and sometimes I feel guilty for contributing almost nothing back. I’ve always said I love open-source but my words didn’t match my actions, and they still don’t.

Does anybody else feel this way?

Check out the latest incarnation of the product I am talking about on ProductHunt! I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions and feedback!

Top comments (2)

oieeaaaa profile image

Yep, Me. I can relate hahaha,
I just have a question though.

As you develop archbee do you still need to pause for a moment just to learn the tools mentioned above? or you've learned them already before even starting the project? 🤔

happydragos profile image
Dragos Bulugean

Hi Joimee!
I didn't know all of them. I was already good at React and Node.js, but I learned TypeScript, Next.js and Sequelize along the way :)