Project Benatar: Publishing DEV-powered websites with Stackbit

Ohad Eder-Pressman on June 19, 2019

Hi, I'm the co-founder and CEO of Stackbit. We're working on making it easy for developers to build modern websites in minutes. With all the recent... [Read Full]
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You should talk to sites like Netlify, and Repl.it as well. If you want this to become an ecosystem, you want to be inclusive, and likely federated in some way.

Also reach out to write.as/about which offers a really compelling alternative to medium blog posting, which also offers image hosting via snap.as and posts to Mastodon. They are doing great work in this area.

I should be able to do anything from write a one off message and have it go to Mastodon, Twitter, etc. and write up a longer form message which could be a blog post that goes to sites like Dev.to, and then write even longer tutorials that post to sites like teachable.com/ and scrimba.com/ ... Perhaps I write up a CodePen snippet, or a Repl.it project, or a mini site through Glitch. These should flow through the system as well.

And say I want to roll up all my posts and make a book out of it. I should be able to connect to leanpub.com and auto publish to Gumroad and Amazon.

Think bigger than just blogs.

 

Yeah, I think this ends up being a question of finding the right tools for the job, having them be accessible and easy to use, and supporting open source.

We have friends at Glitch and Repl.it and CodePen and are already starting to integrate in different concepts. Finding ways to collaborate in super aligned ways is not always the simplest thing to pull off but I think we're pretty aligned with the essence of what you're describing.

This was one interesting thing we've done and we would like to integrate more. The endgame is unclear, but we don't want to try and create sprawling universal tools that try to do everything.

Blogging is an extensible concept, and we definitely want to ultimately doing more exciting things on top of it.

 

Yes, taking the attitude of the early web where things were loosely connected is a good one. Having feeds that can be consumed. Web hooks. PubSub hooks, and rest / graphql apis would be another route to making bridges to other domains. I can write code in github and Netlify auto pushes a new site out via Hugo. I could see writing a blog post in Github/Gitlab and having it auto push to Dev.to , etc.

Good luck! The fate of the internet is in your hands. Free us from the social network black holes :)

 

Love this project. My question though: how is Stackbit making money?

 

Stackbit is a young (7 month old) startup that currently only offers free products. It is not uncommon for startups to seek product market fit prior to beginning monetization which is usually done by releasing free products that are thin on features. Monetization usually follows later on by charging for things like advanced features, enterprise-grade capabilities, etc.

 

Awesome. Well I have been using it and it has been pretty amazing. I am excited to see more themes and more features. You guys are doing wonderful work. So excited about this. Best of luck!

 

I still have a wp site rn, use it a lot. It runs as fast as I want. They rank very well & work very well for large scale publishing.

Can you tell me how your stuff is 'modern'? (not the tech, but what it can actually do for a business).

 

Fast and more secure are the strongest reasons making people seek alternatives to the monolithic approaches. I agree that WP can be setup/patched in a way that makes it better than the default install but that doesn't make it a strong contender moving forward.

The issues with WP are widely known and they are first and foremost page load speed and sites getting hacked. This is is understandable for a widely adopted 15y/o OSS project built in PHP, yes surely it can be configured with caching headers and high-end hosting companies that will constantly patch WP for you but well that is the first sign that its somewhat of an outdated architecture. Again I'm not saying WP is not good for you, many people still use WP. I'm predict that less and less will be choosing WP as more alternatives crop up.

The modern approach, where modern mainly refers to the fact that it is newer and is being rapidly adopted, is to decouple content editing from content publishing. The rapid adoption of tools like Netlify, Gatsby and Contentful to name a few players is IMHO a clear indication that they are solving a problem for folks. To reiterate the business case is that people are seeking faster more secure sites. There's also a desire to use modern/newer tools e.g. like React which again is much more native to these new approaches than to WP.

One of the challenges of newer technologies is that they require a learning curve and may be complex to setup, that's one of the main things Stackbit is working on alleviating.

Here are some business case-studies of folks moving to this new architecture and why they are doing it:

Here are two great articles mainly about Netlify but more importantly about this modern architecture and its rapid adoption and potential:

 

Thanks, for the detailed info. I like lots of options.

I will agree on the cracking/defacing WP (I have some stories). WP is not slow, check my site, it's not optimized yet but faster than this & yours. Smoother render too. Not showing off, just making it clear that's mostly poor/busy dev that makes it slow.

There are a lot of things missing from the sites I have been seeing that make a difference in hitting numbers. I'Il use WP to take a site from 0-30K uniques a day, quickly & cheaply, any tech can do it, but the right WP setup is fast, basically free & instant (once you have a base). It has a bunch of (ecosystem) features that make it easier, it's very road tested (was built by very good SEOs - Matt's one of the best out there). Ecosystem. Hand off. Publishing. Non tech people. Don't care if it is 400 years old (my age in tech years 🤣).

My concerns with sites are very simple:

  • Can I have the src I want as fast as I want?
  • Can people who are non-tech publish easily without getting fatigue?
  • Does it have a big enough ecosystem to support the tools & tricks I need for results? + for Dead pool avoidance.
  • Can it get to mid-scale quick? (I'm not using it for v large).

Most of the static examples I have been given have issues in various places. When I talk about WP, I mean my WP, not WP in general (what I like/do to it). Not all, but a high proportion (check out the bugs in all the links you dropped - I didn't check what they are running).

Not trying to discredit, I will use whatever is best for the job.

Rather than debate for now, I signed up to your beta. I'll give it a try & get back to you with some notes.

Glad to have you onboard for the beta and looking forward for your feedback.

Lots of valid points raised and I'd like to highlight that you may have the skills to get amazing results with WP. You did touch on a very important point when you wrote "just making it clear that's mostly poor/busy dev that makes it slow" and "When I talk about WP, I mean my WP, not WP in general" and I think that sums up a lot of the challenges with WP. If the default install leads to suboptimal/bad results it requires all devs to be experts - I aspire for tools that help people build awesome things without requiring them to be the best in their field

We are very early with these new approaches and I agree 100% there's a lot of tooling and best practices missing, that's why we started our company. WP is also not going anywhere tomorrow but I think the shift is beginning and I'm glad to have you onboard for our beta.

I like your goal.

As long as you are calling me "best in their field" I am onboard. Go Stackbit. 😉

I don't feel like I am doing much to WP that is expert though.

When I think about future CMS, I mostly think about video/mobile (publishing better/easier than social media) & 3D {web}. That's mostly what I am skilling up on rn.

Desktop/long form has time left, but will become more niche daily. I am not so much looking to replace WP as take the next step. Long form on 98% mobile? The last 2% will be devs.

Usually creating awesome things requires you to be best in your field (or lucky/connected). Not "2 press setup". Great food, watches, art, vehicles, fashion etc are almost always created 'by hand' by experts with extensive knowledge.

In general, anyone can do it = lower quality. Not to say that is bad. The straddling is where it almost always gets difficult. Experts become unsatisfied, beginners are confused (Photoshop variations are a good example of trying to avoid the straddle, because big money is on the table).

I'll look out for the invite. Gl Ohad. 👍

 

A monolithic approach doesn't mean old but big and difficult to change and deploy. I'm not defending WP but they've completely revamped their editor and front end which doesn't tell me their infrastructure or codebase is monolithic in any sense of the term. But yes static web pages definitely give us user some benefits, with the rise of Jekyll and GitHub pages how do you want to gain an upper hand on that?

Regarding Wordpress I think they've done great work with Gutenberg but they are still monolithic in the sense that WP is one large project. This is different from the CMS+SSG+Deploy ecosystem where players are separate companies/projects that interact with each other via APIs, webhooks, etc.

From our (Stackbit's) perspective we're working on tools to help accelerate the adoption of technologies like static sites. We believe that the right tools will enable more developers to utilize these technologies and enjoy their benefits. Our first step was to enable people to build a site using these technologies in 60 seconds as opposed to hours of stitching together content schemas and templates. You can try it out by signing up to the beta (stackbit.com/beta/), would love to hear your feedback.

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