A writing/outlining web app, in production


I am finally announcing the new version of my writing web app, Gingko Writer!

I designed it years ago, out of frustration with writing software during my Phd.

But the initial version got extremely rusty, and is now completely unmaintainable. Despite advice to the contrary, instead of incrementally adding a little Elm at a time, I went ahead with a ground-up rewrite.

Not only was I able to duplicate almost all the functionality of the original rather quickly, I managed to add a dream feature (git-like version control).

The entire experience of writing the app in Elm was (and continues to be) leagues ahead of anything I experienced in other languages.

Anyway, it’s been in production for a while now as a Desktop app (Electron), but I’m excited to launch it as the new version of the web app.

Check it out, let me know what you think :slightly_smiling_face:

PS: Things I know are lacking: onboarding & help resources…
PPS: It’s also open source (gingko/client on Github)! But if you peek in there, keep in mind that I was learning Elm as I was writing it, so there’s a lot of variability in the code quality :sweat_smile:


Oh man I needed something like this. Thanks for the tool, first and foremost!

Secondly, it’s cool to see a similar story to play out in your case to @rtfeldman’s :slight_smile:

Elm’s ability to raise the ceiling of what a person as a developer is able to create compared to JS never ceases to amaze me. :muscle:

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This is super cool, thank you for sharing!

If you have the time to spare, I’d love to hear a bit about the logistics and business end of running Gingkowriter – from maintenance and deployment, to hiring employees or consultants, to marketing, signups, and retention. But I also understand one-person shops are short on time :slight_smile:

(Heck, anyone want to start a “Businesses built on Elm” podcast? I’d listen to that.)


Heck, anyone want to start a “Businesses built on Elm” podcast? I’d listen to that.

could make for a great episode or 2 or … :wink:

I’m probably an atypical case, regarding the behind the scenes of the business… mostly because I have chosen to only work part-time.

My wife and I both work for ourselves in one-person businesses (hers is skincare), and we alternate homeschooling our 7yo son when we’re not working. His education is primarily my responsibility though.

All that to say, not much time left for anything but the bare essentials! Improve the product as fast as I can, and handle customer support. Marketing/metrics/etc is nil (though that’s more from lack of skills, than lack of time). Might hire consultants in future to help out…

One Elm-specific note: people have mentioned how Elm makes your code easy to reason about, and easy to refractor. For me, these benefits are very pronounced, because I am away from my code for long(ish) stretches of time. With Elm I’m still able to jump back in and be productive despite that! :grin: :+1:


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