Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: A self-hosted alternative to Trello, Basecamp, and Freshbooks (duetapp.com)
396 points by 23andwalnut on Sept 1, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 154 comments

I'm a solo developer and I built the first version of this app a couple of years ago. This is the third major rewrite and I've added a ton of functionality since then (i.e. recurring invoicing, kanban, reply by email, more flexible user roles, etc). I'd love to hear any feedback you guys have - about the actual app, the landing page, or anything else. Always looking to make it better and more appealing. I'll be completely honest, marketing has been...very challenging for this product, but occasionally there will be a huge boost in traffic and sales will go up pretty quick, I just haven't been able to make it sustainable.

Here's the HN discussion from when I posted the first version a couple of years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5698741

I already got approval from dang to post again since it's been so long and a lot has changed about the app.

Add a hosted option with a monthly fee so people can try it out or even just have you host it.

I know that then its just like the others, but really its not like the others. The small differences are huge to a user.

A monthly fee will help stabilize the income.

Also, at $10/mo you'll make the same revenue every year as selling the whole thing. For comparison, basecamp is $29 or $79 per month.

Definitely do this. I'd say even $15/month would be a good price point for a hosted version.

Having to both pay for it and being forced to host it yourself is the worst of both worlds.

Hosting yourself is the best of any world. I don't see how this is a negative unless you don't have resources? Just slap it on Digital ocean and pay $5 a month.

I have absolutely no use for this app, however I'm glad there are still people that don't think storing important things in the cloud is no biggie.

A few years ago I read somewhere that "privacy is dead" and I thought it was an exaggeration. Not anymore.

Sorry for the rant and good luck with your app.

Not storing important things in the 'cloud' is surely a bigger problem. Every heard of off-site backups?

It might sound flippant but I'm serious. There's no hard fast line between off-site backups and whatever you are claiming is the terrible idea of storing important things in the cloud. If all my 'important things' were stored locally I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

> Not storing important things in the 'cloud' is surely a bigger problem. Every heard of off-site backups?

Yes, those are external hard-drives that are moved to a different location, and which can be restored in a matter of minutes or hours.

I won't put my stuff in a cloud backup the restoration of which will take several weeks (supposing it doesn't fail during the process)...

> which can be restored in a matter of minutes or hours.

In theory. More realistically, most don't take DR very seriously and it would be more in the days to weeks range.

For example- that backup you have- is it in any way hardware or base OS image dependent? Are you absolutely sure of that? Do you have unused backup hardware offsite with the OS on it and ready to go in case there is a fire in the rack at the server farm?

I'm busy enough, I'm glad I don't have to screw around with shuttling an external hard drive back and forth. I use Backblaze, and when my laptop was stolen, BackBlaze FedEx'd me a replica overnight for $200.

One important thing that seems to be missing from your marketing site are the technical requirements. What stack is Duet based on? This makes a huge difference to the moderately-technical small-business owner who is comfortable configuring Wordpress on their shared webhost but will have no idea where to start if you ask them to spin up a Node server.

It's PHP and Javascript. I just added a small note in the 'Easy Installation' section on the front page. I'll try think of a better way to present it going forward.

Can you expand on the requirements? What PHP modules are expected or needed? What's the minimum version of MySQL?

For a self-hosted app, I would want more information about it before I considered buying it sight-unseen. Maybe consider providing a small PHP script that I could run on my server to validate all the requirements?

It's built for the lowest common denominator. Literally all you need is PHP 5.4+ and Mysql 5+, and curl. There aren't any required modules for basic usage but you may want smtp (if you don't want to use built in php mail function). Cron for recurring tasks, which isn't required for basic usage, but for things like recurring invoicing and reply by email. I'll add a new page in a couple of minutes that lists all the details.

Also agree about a validator script. I'll work on that too.

no orm .. i mean postgresql support ?

Or easier provide a Dockerfile

That's not easier at all. Not for the moderately-technical small-business owner that the parent comment discusses, or indeed many other (mostly shared hosting) scenarios?

Fair point. For me it's easier :P

Your product looks really nice.

If you are not profitable yet maybe you should consider increasing the price, you're much cheaper than the competition based on your pricing page.

I raised prices for about 6 months. Total revenue and number of purchases went down dramatically during that time. I think I need to target a different type of user to charge more, just not entirely sure how to reach those users.

There are a lot of ways to raise your price while still making it look like a steal.

You should definitely split test all of this and pretty much everything you do, honestly.

Price Anchoring:

Use a giant unreasonable number for the unlimited plan with 1 month of phone support, 12 month same business day email support, you will install it for them, all the ACH and Credit Card processing through you (and you through stripe), etc. A HUGE list of features to go along with the $574 price tag.

Then drastically back off of that pricing for the 10-25 team ($249), 5-10 ($199), 2-5 ($149) and solo ($99) plans. You need to also reduce the features, support windows, contact method as you drop the price, not just the number of users.

Additional Revenue Streams:

1) Include your own payment processor and accept payments on their behalf, if you have 500 customers doing a few thousand each month on average, you processing fee will drop a lot. Always default to ACH via Stripe (0.8% fee, and a 25 cent transfer) bill the customer at 2% + $0.30 and you are making money.

2) Annual licensing. Don't give updates away unless it is a bug fix. And make sure to always be improving your product (which it sounds like you are)

3) Cloud hosted. As someone else said take the annual price divided by 12 and add a premium to it (25% or so). Also push updates to this channel regularly and add a few extra premium add-ons to it (like the a custom domain name self hosted has but for an extra $5/mo)

4) Plugins to various other solutions for $49/piece.

I know this is probably a side project, but you could turn this into a viable small business with an additional 1-2 developers.

Conclusion: I'm totally buying it before you potentially take any of my advice ;)

> Include your own payment processor and accept payments on their behalf

What's the benefit to the customer (and you) of this, vs letting them plug in their own Stripe account credentials (and handle chargebacks etc themselves)?

I have a side project and we've let people enter their own details thinking it would be less hassle for us (customers: 3). Curious what I've missed..?

Whether or not you decide to follow this advice, its pretty good and based on a lot of lessons learned from dumb things others have done.

You should write up a blog post with these and more stuff that works. Lots of OSS developers get overloaded on the projects and dont make money. A useful tool can use tactics like you describe to avoid that. I never thought of the payment processing trick. Good idea.

Wow. The original comment was fantastic, but this is above and beyond. Thank you!! :)

No problem. I miss doing this for a living.

As a side note, someone else decided that my blog was worth posting on HN, so if you have any questions or comments, you can ask them over there: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12409577

Great write-up! That's the kind of wisdom I was looking for. I'll pass it along when people seem like they could use it for their project or service. ;)

The things you learn making other people rich :)

I was a product developer for 8 years. Developing tools in the SEO, Reputation Management and Email Marketing space. Eventually you find little tricks that just work across the board.

Then I left that job for corporate america and I regret it every day.

You know you're not trapped. There's more than enough money to be made in that field if it's what you love.

If you read the comments on my post (which reached all the way to #3 on HN!!!!!!) you will see why I left it. The job can suck you in trying to find little 1-2% optimizations here an there that are a little more black hat than you might want, but all playing on human psychology in a way that is exciting until you take a step back and reevaluate what you have been doing, then you feel sick to your stomach. At least, I did. It didn't help being in the SEO/SEM/IM/EM/AM space, so every customer was receiving nearly 0 value because they were too lazy to do the work and just wanted to get rich quick.

I now work directly with our marketing team, but they hire out to vendors for the email marketing bits, the retargeting and ad spends. I just provide my 2 cents every now and then and go back to developing in house products.

So the stuff is happening anyway, you're supporting company ordering it, and feel better because you're not doing it directly? Sounds legit. :P

You might be about staying away from that sort of thing on principle but there's another angle. Being the one making those decisions, you have the ability to reduce the short- and long-term harm they make by picking good strategies. Schemes in marketing and driving profit up are inevitable. What's not inevitable in general is inaccurate information, highly-biased profiling, products that don't work (or do harm), customers getting fewer products than they want, technological lock-in, and so on.

Consider getting with the right companies pushing a collection of useful products or less harmful services vs other garbage on the market. Then all your schemes and optimizations would be benefiting people since the right companies would be benefiting. Companies you can vouch for. Best if they've been in business over a decade with good practices and/or are a non-profit with sustainable revenues. Just a thought.

My point was that you could work for yourself. You don't have to work for a company to do good work in the field, and you can stick to your own ethical guidelines when you take jobs.

If you're including your own payment processor, work with Gocardless for UK/EU support too!

I'd argue that the problem is not that you raised the prices but the user increments are set way too low ... to appeal to teams I'd have the cheapest plan be at least $99/year maybe the full $149 but also give them 5 users by default - then allow a monthly option which effectively forces people to pay a 10-15% ish premium over the yearly option.

Then make a plan for say up to 15 or 25 users that is substantially more expensive and finally the unlimited user plan could be even higher.

Because you're able to do so much inside of one application I could easily see companies paying $1k+ for parts of this on a yearly basis especially when they had 20+ users of something like the task management tool.

Personally I'd also suggest modularizing your different pieces (so you can just buy the project management or just buy the invoicing etc.) As teams get larger they may want to do more or do less inside of one application, you dont want to have people feel like they're paying for things they don't need if they arent using them.

Just my $.02 I know all this takes a lot of work, but the product looks great, I hope you can figure it all out!

Best of Luck!

Agree with the comments about raising price. And your notion that you may be targeting the wrong people. You're already much less expensive than BaseCamp (let alone enterprise tools). But for people who want a hosted version, that won't matter. BaseCamp isn't that expensive.

Think of it as being like BaseCamp, but with complete control of the data. It's a feature, and to some people, it should be worth more.

Your pricing plan of 1/2/Unlimited Users doesn't really capture this. The plan before unlimited should probably have 100 users or more. That way, larger customers who want to control their data can pay the right price (and feel more comfortable doing it, as @patio11 has pointed out-- you can be too cheap for people to buy).

Good luck!

Try selling for 10 times as much. Look how much Jira costs:


For corporations this isn't big money. They'll worry more about ongoing cost of a sysadmin looking after the installation.

I totally agree. Either go for self hosted and charge a lot more, or cheap affordable hosted option.

+1 should be at least 3 times the price, IMO.

No.1 lesson from my dad was "think of a number, then double it, they'll always pay more"

I purchased Duet a few years ago and it was unworkable. When I asked for a refund you denied me.

No hard feelings, but you didn't back your work (or even offer to troubleshoot the problem) so I won't be buying again.

Really sorry you didn't have a good experience. I'm not sure why you weren't able to get support. I've always done my best with that and I've recently formalized the process with a support center, ticketing system, and community based support.

If you're interested in trying the new version please open a ticket (http://duetapp.com/ticket) and I'll just give you a copy of 2.4, the current version. No fee. Just let me know what email you used when you made the original purchase.

The issue was something to do with the software being slow. You said it was probably my server. When I asked for a refund you politely refused. Again, this was several years ago and I don't remember the exact details. I just moved on and made a mental note never to buy your software again.

BTW, thanks for the offer but I'm happy with what I'm using now. Best of luck to you.

Google searches on his domain for "Fast", "Quick", "Speed", etc. returns nothing. He never claimed his product was faster than the competition. It is however cheaper.

Why would you be entitled to a refund? Do you buy a Hyundai Accent and then come back the the seller asking for a refund because you saw a Mustang drive faster than you?

I wonder if a simple requirement with one-click install (DigitalOcean droplet with 1GB of ram, etc..) could solve this problem.

As an example, there is one-click-to-deploy here[1] for Heroku and Azure.

[1] https://github.com/rauchg/slackin

> I've recently formalized the process with a support center, ticketing system, and community based support.

What system(s) did you choose for these? I have a small side project and finding support software that doesn't suck or cost the earth or make my life more difficult or make providing support slower, is a nightmare!

Risky to deny refunds. A few chargebacks and he could lose his payment processor.

I offer refunds, but it's usually only if the actual product is defective and if it's something I'm unable to fix. It's a bit different than what people are used to with SaaS because the product can't be returned. And I can't 'turn off' access once they have downloaded it. I try to be fair though, and in cases where I can't offer a refund I always try to offer something else

EDIT: I should add that if someone legitimately can't use the app, I would give a refund. I'm just pointing out that unlike SaaS apps that have a policies that provide refunds regardless of the reason, I would rather work with you to solve the problem, because 99.9% of issues are solvable.

Some advice: you may want to re-consider this approach, even though it may feel like you risk being ripped off, your reputation and overall sentiment about your product are probably worth more than the 59$ you don't want to give back.

If someone feels they can't use your product - for any reason - it's going to feel unfair to them that they can't get a refund, no matter who's fault it is.

Note that the top reply to your thread is a dissatisfied ex-customer who felt obliged to post about his bad experience (fair or otherwise), and I bet that may have almost immediately cost you a few sales.

I'm not saying give everyone a refund who asks for one, but just saying "it's not a SaaS product and I can't turn it off" might not be the best rationale (and certainly won't impress any customers who are legitimately unable to use your product).

I would err on the side of trusting your customers, and accept that some might rip you off but most won't, and you'll partially salvage a bad product experience with some good customer service.

I agree with everything you said. I definitely give refunds. I just ask for the opportunity to help customers solve their issues first. Over the course of the last 3 years, 99.9% of refund requests were solved once I actually understood the issue that they were having and I was able to fix it for them. But I agree with you, fairness and goodwill are important. I was probably too rigid with that in the past.

So my suggestion would be to have the service registered via a license key that can only be used on 1 IP or an email address. Then you can turn off the license remotely and offer the refund.

We did this with my VERY last product working at Humankind (Bullet Viral Traffic). It was a WordPress plug in, and you bought site licenses for it 1 site, 10 site and unlimited.

Every function call did a "phone home" to validate the license. When it came back unverified, we would only print an error message to the screen.

Can this be subverted, yes, but 99% of the time it wasn't, and, honestly, it was just a lead-in to training.

I realize this is your bread and butter, but maybe work training in on the back end for a little more money. Lead them in with this outrageously low price, then stun them with offering a recorded seminar/webinar for only a couple hundred bucks.

My company dropped $20k on training for InfusionSoft AFTER dropping $1200/mo just for the service. There is more money to be had in training than the product (99% sure).

To be frank, your position is hurting you, and doesn't make much sense to me. If you supply customers with your source upon purchase, you're already working on a trust model -- without much effort, they could give copies to a thousand people who wouldn't have to pay. And if you're working on a trust model, you might as well give the benefit of the doubt to a paying customer asking for a refund.

There are already several methods to encrypt part of the software and bind it to downloaded licenses

> When I asked for a refund you denied me.

This is terrible. I won't even consider trying Duet after hearing that.

If you're an independent software developer, the absolute worst thing you can do is to treat your customers poorly. Refusing refunds shows that you don't have faith in your product or your customers.

There's a reason that almost every successful online company has liberal trial and refund rules.

> > When I asked for a refund you denied me. > This is terrible. I won't even consider trying Duet after hearing that.

This is absurd. I know that most people are used to get refunds for anything, but if you know nothing about the problem you can't say they deserved the refund (I'm not saying they do, I'm saying we don't know).

You go to a fast food restaurant and get a hamburguer, but it's a rat? refund and lawsuit.

The same restaurant but you get food that is really disgusting and you notice as you receive? Either free meal and/or refund are ok.

You go to the same restaurant, get the food, enjoy it, and then ask a refund because they had blue balloons in there? No.

> Refusing refunds shows that you don't have faith in your product or your customers.

Considering when to refund and when not to also means that you value your product.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say

The landing page could do without the animated text or the chatbot that pops up and asks for my participation. Too busy, and a little irritating... I'd like to learn about the product first before Im bombarded with stuff like that. Good luck, seems like a solid offering.

I would like to see the ability to apply a rate to a person on a project and have that flow through to the invoice. I think there needs to be flexibility to edit the rate or write down hours but other than that its really nice.

What's your stack and how did you get to be so productive as a solo dev?

Might it ever be possible sign in to Duet via Google Apps login?

I don't see a feature for time entry. Can I enter time and generate invoices from an hourly rate? That's 90% of what I use freshbooks for.

Yes, you can enter time on the task panel using the timer, or you can enter time manually.

You can also enter time directly on the invoices.

Or you can drag a task that has time entries onto an invoice and the line items will be created automatically. Improving the docs is pretty high on my next steps list.

This looks fantastic. I think there is an additional opportunity you might be able to capture by adding functionality for the indie software store. The number of software developers who are paying 8% to fastspring for some pretty basic functionality is incredible. If you're looking for next steps, I'd think about a simple ecommerce storefront for digital licenses.

Pretty sweet! I have a feeling that self-hosting might make a come back

Are your clients mostly tech companies? If not, how do you manage the setup for non-tech companies?

Thanks! I did a survey of the users about a month ago. Most are small tech companies (i.e. web developers, designers, etc). I have some services companies (i.e. lawyers, construction). For non tech companies, I just do the setup for them. In most cases it only takes about 5 mins for me to do.

You should have two very different landing pages for tech and non-tech audiences (charging an extra to do the setup for them - like $20).

Unless you want to focus on only one of them (I would choose non-tech for market size if I were to choose).

This situation (upgrading server during traffic spike) is an example of why saving a $20-50/mo on hosting isn't worth it, unless it's for something non-commercial.

If you've got maybe tens of thousands of dollars of time (and money?) invested in your app, what's another $40-80/mo for better hosting (e.g., 8GB/4 cores on Digital Ocean is $80/mo), in case something like this traffic spike happens? The app reaches the top of HN, where thousands of people that use Trello, Basecamp, and/or Freshbooks (I use all 3, every day) will be frequenting, and you've lost all that revenue.

Completely agree. Once it happened though, my options were limited. Just trying to improve the experience for everyone that will come after the resize is done (should be soon). Seems slightly better than providing a terrible experience for the entire day rather than for just 30 mins.

EDIT: And we're back :) Sorry it took so long.

One of my two requests to your site loaded eventually. I don't see any reason why your front page couldn't be cached indefinitely. I don't know what webserver you are using, but here are some guides:



Not beating you up on this at all, but I've not been able to see this for 2 hours now (not the '30 minutes' you're referencing)

EDIT: ...and we're back in business. :)

(Disclaimer: I'm not your target demo, so feel free to ignore this...)

What kind of backup/restore capabilities does this have? If I were in the market for this, that'd be one of my primary concerns in deciding between self-hosted vs. cloud. Ideally one atomic operation to back up all my data, and another single operation to restore, such that I could install Duet on a new host, restore the backup, and be back on my feet.

Also: how easy is this for non-technical users to install? It might be worth your time to make guides for one or more specific hosting companies, taking them through the process to purchase hosting, domain name, etc.

The installer does backups during the upgrade process. There's no mechanism for on-demand backups though. I suppose it would be trivial to add that functionality. Restoring from a backup, while simple, has some manual steps.

Since I have no control over where Duet gets installed, and my customers have a wide variety of server capabilities, I try to keep everything as simple as possible. Install takes about 5 minutes and all you really need is the ability to ftp to your server and the know-how to hunt down your mysql credentials. 99% of the time when people have trouble it's just a matter of helping them figure out their correct credentials.

Do you provide instructions on how to do proper backups? I know that's perhaps "not your problem" but for the type of information you're offering to manage (invoicing, time tracking, project data, etc), a server failure could be catastrophic to someone's business.

Maybe a future version should provide easy backups (to Amazon S3 or even just a "click here to download a zip of your data") and a periodic warning to users who have not backed up in a while.

I can put those instructions together. I'll add them to the support page as soon as I do.

A zip backup method would be fairly simple to implement. I'll definitely think about that for a future release.

On the phone with my host right now to try to fix the slowness of the site. I honestly wasn't expecting to hit the front page again.

If only there were some kind of HUB that people could use for their FOSS projects that provided free hosting on giant piles of bandwidth!

It would be nice if it used GIT too!

Man, that would be pretty sweet.

Ha. It's actually not FOSS, so Github wouldn't be a good fit for me right now.

Kudos for not surrendering to the herd of storing everything on a centralised service.

I don't think I'm the only one here who, if this were open source, would gladly spend time improving features or creating connectors / middleware for different apps like GitLab.

Same here. I'm immediately disinterested after finding out it's not open source. I've been looking for an OSS alternative for quite some time (CBA to write one, maybe I should start a project..)

there have been dozens of open-source github-based invoicing, time tracking, pm tools. they're out there. go use one of those. don't start another one.

Maybe one of these projects is a good fit for you.

- https://github.com/taigaio

- https://github.com/wekan/wekan

taigia is actually _impossible_ to set up. I haven't been able to do it on a fresh 14.04 Ubuntu instance from DO after trying at least once per month.

Edit: Let me rephrase. I've tried at least once a month to install taigia following their instructions and also by trying to use some 3rd party docker files. I've been met with failure every time.

so how is it self-hosted if its not open-source? (site is down right now) how is it packaged? what platforms does it run on?

Open-source means a lot of things, in particular this product is probably not freely available/distributable (as in beer & speech). Just because they're going to give you some source files that you could read to self host doesn't mean that the product is open source.

It runs on any server that has PHP and MySql. Even your most basic shared server will work.

It's delivered as a zip.

And the source is technically 'open' meaning you can modify the source code when you purchase it, but it's not free, and access to the source requires buying a license, and even then you're limited to the terms of the license. The biggest term that's different from most open source software is that you can't redistribute it.

Just because you can host and possibly read the code, it doesn't mean that it has to be open-source. [1]

[1]: https://opensource.org/osd

Project is not free. There is still auto scaling cloud hosting for pennies.

Nice. I'm forever looking for any viable alternative to QuickBooks. I've even thought about writing my own invoicing application.

Looks great, but I personally don't like the collaboration tools mashed into the dash board. It looks cluttered. It also wasn't clear what information the client's would see. If they saw dollar amounts, it's a deal killer-- I work with too many clients and am assigned to work with other non-management employees.

Also, for reports -- I only saw a graph. I need to see who's behind and take action to get paid, and follow up with phone calls, emails, and letters.

I'd also like to see the ability to print invoices to mail them to clients. Some clients are overwhelmed with email, but a paper invoice gets paid.

My complaints with most projects in this genre I've evaluated -- they seem to be written by freelancers who've never had bad clients, never had to chase people down for payment, or never been in a relationship that turns sour.

Work for one bad client, and it will change you, and how you do business.

I've been checking out a few invoicing app alternatives:

* InvoicePlane - self-hosted, open source (PHP). https://invoiceplane.com/

* Invoicely (formerly Invoiceable): http://invoicely.com

* Hiveage: https://www.hiveage.com

I've mainly been using Invoicely (free if you just create invoices and send them as PDFs), but now feeling bad about it because: https://medium.com/@prabhaths/invoicely-a-hiveage-rip-off-b9... I really like free, though, so thinking about switching to InvoicePlane.

There's actually an alternate view of the dashboard if you don't like the current one. It's hard to see in the demo (I need to work on that), but I can show you if you email me.

It's pretty easy to see whose behind, but I agree, it can be improved. One thing I really want to add for myself is a daily email from the system giving me a list of late invoices, tasks due that day, etc.

Invoices can be downloaded as PDF and then mailed. You can download them or the client can.

Also, the demo let's you log in as a client. Just use the options in the bottom right corner. Every client can see everything about their projects, including dollar amounts. Obviously any info related to another client's account can only be seen by admins.

Have you thought about providing this as a SaaS offering? This looks really nice but I get the feeling you're in the middle between two markets. You're not quite in the enterprise space because this is super cheap and you don't seem to offer support contracts (and you're mostly going to get sales by doing demos for companies) and you're certainly not in the single user market (no single person except a developer, MAYBE, would install their own web application just to handle tasking).

In my opinion I would offer SaaS for a low price, say, $5 a month or something so single users can use it and then provide a separate area of business, much like Github Enterprise, where you will meet with companies and charge for the full product as a yearly license with installation and update fees and possibly support contracts.

Why do you offer the software so cheap?

Even the developer hour to just evaluate this tool would be more expensive already for any company.

Imo: push the price to somewhere between 299 and 599 - maybe make the invoice feature the premium reason

Resizing the server, so it will be down for about 30 minutes, but performance should be greatly improved when it's done.

I am not sure if you have considered this already. Put Cloudflare in front of your site and write a page rule to cache html too. You server will hardly get any hit for cachable pages(which i believe most of your pages are) and then enable always online feature. All the best. :)

> down for about 30 minutes

OK, but do you realize how long that is in Internet years?

Thanks, just played with the demo and looks very polished. This seems to be very useful for consultants working on multiple projects/customers.

Can you give me some insight into your existing customers? Do they come for privacy or price or because it's better than Trello/Basecamp/Freshbooks? If they had to pick one, which would they choose?

Thanks! From the survey I did a couple of weeks ago there's a pretty even three way split between privacy, price, and brandability. I didn't realize the branding aspect was so important and that's why I just added it to the marketing page. I don't think it's necessarily 'better' than those services, it's just integrated...and self hosted...both of which are very appealing to a certain segment of the market.

We make a platform for self-hosting (cloudron.io), so I am always reaching out to people making self-hosted products and curious to know who the customers are.

Best of luck!

It's not a hacker news traffic bump, I found this project a few days ago and the site also didn't load. I thought it's gone for good.

A billing hiccup with my host actually. My credit card expired and I didn't keep up with the messages from my host letting me know I needed to update it. So they took a more extreme measure. It was only down for an hour or two, but sorry for the inconvenience.

Maybe you need Freshbooks to stay on top of all your accounting needs? Kidding! Great looking site! Can't wait to try it out.

Ouch, been there. I ended up losing the server :/ I hope it will be fine.

Is there any way to pay for upgrades with duet? I purchased a license last time this came up on HN (when it was on codecanyon?) then forgot about it for a bit, didn't download the source in time and lost the ability to access the code.

Yes, absolutely. Free upgrades last for a year, so you would need to purchase new license if you wanted the latest version. Or you can open a ticket and I'll send you the last version you were eligible for.

I remember buying version 1 of Duet back in the day. I also remember you taking it off marketplaces and stop supporting it for your existing users. I hope you have bettered your ways since then, but I wouldn't count on it.

You're right, I did take it off codecanyon. It wasn't the right place for it. I'll also admit that there was a period where support wasn't that great. But I've done a lot to improve it since then and now I have a support center, a support community, and a formal support ticketing process....instead of the email based support I was attempting to provide, which is impossible to keep up with. And regardless of whether you purchased the app on Codecanyon, you're still eligible to receive support even though I no longer sell there. Anyway, I'm really sorry you had a bad experience, but I'm happy to help with any issues had or are still having.

Just tried going to the website and received a warning from Webroot SecureAnywhere stating the website contains a knwon threat and has been blocked. (Contains malicious content). You might want to get that checked out...

Thanks for letting me know. There's definitely no malicious content on the site. I've had false positives in the past with a different service. I'll look into it and try to figure out what's going on.

Perhaps someone has hacked you today? After getting the warning Chrome basically locked up and I noticed it said it was trying to connect to paypal.com?

Pretty sure that's just Gumroad pre-loading things it needs for it's checkout experience. But definitely going to look into it.

The lock up was because I was dumb and it was Werbroot waiting for me to do something with its warning dialog. But the tab did say it was trying to connect to paypal.com so perhaps webroot is keying off something involving that.

Wayback Machine also has a cached version from a week ago with the images included. Most of the links seem to work too.


I went that route, too, and even that is failing to load. :(

The website was a bit slow to load... Like the last time, I guess? Hug of death :P

I love how simple it is. Really good job at breaking complex behaviour down into smaller interactions. I think this looks even better than Asana. Dependencies on a "parent task" planned?

The advantage of this option is clear. That is why people will jump on it. Yet the challenge of having self hosted products is providing continuous development, support and maintenance.

This challenge is not just for the client it is for you, the developer too. You must make sure they have a way to update their product and you to continue to develop in one place.

I had to load a version from https://web.archive.org/web/20160330094157/https://duetapp.c... but this looks very cool. I do a small amount of paid side work and currently use https://www.freelancecockpit.com/

Once the demo is back online, I'm looking forward to giving it a test drive.

The archive.org version appears to be pretty out-of-date at first glance

I only wanted to say it has a pretty nice GUI. I'm a solo developer too, and try to put a lot of attention to the visual part of my projects. This one came out very nicely. Congrats!

Hey I've tried to talk with your customer service/sales through that chat widget on your website- twice now, but get nothing.

I have a couple questions before I buy. Could you or someone knowlegeable about the product reach me, please?

Contact info in HN profile.


Came here to see all the reasons should be converted to A SaaS Based solution, was not disappointed.

I've seen questions about - Required tech specs - Potential upgrades - Trial periods - Varying pricing schemes - General support

These things are handled differently with SaaS. Its easier to address with continued income too.

Ha. Yep, I knew that was coming too. They are definitely things I've thought about. I wrote about my thoughts a couple of years ago. You can check it out here: http://www.duetapp.com/blog/is-saas-the-only-business-model-...

But I like the idea of a 1-click Digital Ocean install. I'm going to work on that asap

I like overall but I see some usability ui issues with buttons in unexpected places and the lack of something that can be used as task status. I normaly use the collumns for logical groups of tasks so I can work on similiar things one after the other. I will consider it in the near future.

Looks great! Inspiring to see this quality from a solo project.

I don't spend much time in Show HN, but if constructive feedback is encouraged, check out your CSS on Nexus 6P. Overall looks great but menu and comment widget are slightly off screen to the right.

Sandstorm (https://sandstorm.io/) would be a great way to self-host apps like this. I believe that they are working on a monetization model for paid apps.

I think I found a typo on the front page but I'm not sure, all the way down at

"plus... Duet has everything you need to run your business"


"Client Portal: Give _you client's_ access..."

Should that not be "Give your clients access" ?

It reminds me the soloapp [1] which also has been created by 23andwalnut [2].

[1] http://getsoloapp.com

[2]: according to mail in the footer on this website.

Yep. That's another one of my apps :)

I am curious if all this traffic is generating any tangible revenue.

Yes. Definitely. I might write a post about it when everything settles down.

Pretty nice UI. Always looking for an APP with all these functions. Would like to know the background framework used in this source and the cost for 2nd year?

It's PHP and Javascript. MVC on client and server, but no frameworks. The 2nd year cost is the same as the first, but you only have to pay if you want to continue getting upgrades. But you're certainly free to continue using the version you have forever.

It would be great if you could get this to install as part of what webhosts provide for cpanel-type installers, eg Softaculous.

Have you considered selling it on CodeCanyon? I've found great self-hosted products there (for instance, MailWizz).

Duet actually started out on CodeCanyon :) I was a very active elite author on there for a few years. Ultimately it wasn't the right fit. I actually wrote an article about my decision at the time: http://www.duetapp.com/blog/why-i-stopped-selling-duet-on-co...

That's a great perspective to hear. Thanks for sharing!

> occasionally there will be a huge boost in traffic

Ha, that appears to be the case now as I can't load the page. :)

Bought it, dont recommend. Most things dont work like they should

Please open a ticket here: http://duetapp.com/ticket and I will help you fix whatever issues you're having. 99.9% of issues are simple config problems so I'm sure we can get it resolved quickly.

Not loading at all for me unfortunately. Have you got a link to the GitHub/Lab project page for it? What's it written in?

It's not open source, so no Git page for it.

Oh, that's a shame, Why is it not open source? Many companies (and governments) I know have or are adopting policies to only use open source software unless there's a /really/ good case not to.

I certainly wouldn't run a self hosted service at our work that wasn't open source, I couldn't imagine going back to a world where we couldn't inspect or contribute to the source:

There's a discussion about this above, but open source has many meanings. Duet's source is open, meaning you can absolute inspect and/or modify it once you purchase it, but it's not free software, so the source isn't publicly available, which is why it's not on github.

Actually open source software just has one meaning:

"Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner."


* https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Open_Source_Definition

* http://opendefinition.org/od/2.1/en/

Sure. But there's a distinct difference between FOSS and paid software. Many people think FOSS = OSS. The original comment asked about Github, and the subsequent conversation led me to believe at least one of the commenters was thought that because it wasn't on Github, that the source wasn't open. I was attempting to clear up that confusion, while pointing out where on the spectrum my product falls.

Your project doesn't have to be open source to have a landing page on GitHub.

Annnddd it's down. :(

Looks super cool !

Is there any API?

This looks very cool. However, the Kanban side looks a little less-than-robust compared to trello.

You're also in an uphill battle against Colony[0], who are the new hotness in this space.

0. https://colony.io/

seems odd to suggest Colony is the new hotness, when there isn't a product available yet -- looks like Sep is the target date (https://blog.colony.io/an-update-on-colony-july-2016-7e2004e...)

The alpha is available to a select few (Thanks Collin!). You'll love it when it's released.

I just see a mailinglist sign-up on the colony site... (I'm always curious on competency-based or otherwise weighted democracy attempts)

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact