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Show HN: 8base – Ready-to-Rock GraphQL API and Serverless Back End (8base.com)
84 points by asantalo 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments

Albert from 8base here: Between my last two companies, we raised over 100-million in VC capital that all got spent on hiring massive engineering and sales teams. I always had this dream about starting up a company that could grow exponentially with an agile team, relying on a self-service product that was so awesome it sold itself. And, that it would simplify software development for developers and businesses who relied on it. Now, after 2-years of hard work and many lessons learned, I'm excited to share 8base with everyone.

It's a ready-to-use serverless back-end that generates a GraphQL API based on the developer's database schema. We've had developers building on 8base since October 2018. We've made refinements galore since. We'd love nothing more than honest feedback from the HN community!

I'm curious why pay for your product, when I could just use Hasura for free + the instance it's running on?

Edit: I might use it if it had a freemium model not just trial. I often play w/ new technologies, forget about em, come back try em again and stick w/ the ones that stick in my mindshare, but a trial doesn't allow me that freedom -- at least for hobby projects.

Second this.

A timed trial just feels weird. I like that Heroku, Netlify, Contentful, and Firebase have a free tier, so I can use it for small demos and to learn the platform. If I have to pay for every single tutorial or playground project I won‘t want to use the platform or even want to learn it.

It also kind of disincentivizes teachers on online platforms (like Udemy) to teach it. Because you often need to go through a few examples in order to learn something. i.e. if I do a node.js course, the course author isn’t just going to make me build 1 practice app, I’m probably gonna build a few and then host them on Heroku free dyno, the same way if I take a React course, I’m gonna build a few practice apps and host them on Netlify.

Andric, this is great feedback and we appreciate it. As you probably know, pricing is a bit of an experiment as a company evolves so we are listening 100%.

Yeah that's basically my point when there's a new shiny framework or even a headless cms or something, we (devs) like to test it out a bit, and we might come back to it 5-10 times before actually pulling the trigger and using the service.

Even all the major cloud platforms have free tiers for this reason - to get devs hooked on their platform so there is no other option they'd rather use.

Not saying the free tier should be outrageous... maybe 100MB and 10k requests per month or something small like that.

Gremlinsinc, please email me at albert@8base.com as I'd like to chat with you about this some more if you are up for it. Thank you.

Thank you for the quick response! You guys are building something really cool, I have no doubt that once you figure out pricing it has the potential to go viral.

I’m a product/frontend guy who’s trying to build a side project, and backend stuff has always been a PITA for me to figure out.

Right now I’m torn between investing time to learn AWS Amplify, or investing time to learn 8base.

8base has already captured my imagination, and I can’t wait to go further with learning it. Unfortunately I feel uncomfortable creating a few projects to practice and then later being shut out of them or be forced to pay $8/mth.

Andric, please email me at albert@8base.com as I'd like to chat with you about this some more. Thank you.

Great question. 8base's developer experience is different than Hasura's, including that we provision infrastructure so that devs aren't required to have AWS/Heroku/other skills nor pay for that separately. Ease of use is a big thing. There's significant differences in the GraphQL engine itself, role-based-security, integrations of external systems and more. Our roadmaps will diverge dramatically in the next 12 months as 8base rolls out more and more application infrastructure services.

Another way to put it is that Hasura is mostly about enabling GraphQL on Postgres; 8base is the backend for powerful, enterprise-grade (when necessary) software. GraphQL is an essential design detail for us but not the business or product itself.

Regarding your comment about freemium; I've seen many backend products falter, pivot, and shut down from having unsustainable business models. We are offering a robust plan for $8 / month to start. If developers agree with us that their DX is better, then $8 shouldn't be an issue as their time is more costly. But we appreciate what you are saying and are watching this closely.

Being sustainable is important, but not at the expense of people’s ability to tinker/learn.

At the very least, offer a highly-limited and almost-crippled free tier, like Heroku or Glide does. Maybe you can only register a few users. Maybe the # of function calls are limited to a few a day. Or maybe dormant apps go to sleep.

Yes, we will consider these and welcome other ideas.

Super stoked to see 8base out here. I love JAMstack and I love how 8base fills up the data layer for my JAMstack projects nicely. You will know what I am talking about if you have spent days trying to setup a GraphQL backend for JAMstack project. I wrote about how I use 8base for JAMstack on CSS Tricks few months ago https://css-tricks.com/hey-lets-create-a-functional-calendar....

I use 8base extensively and happy to see where it goes next and how developers adopt it

Easily helps with API integration challenges thru the GraphQL layer. For example, using a simple endpoint I can translate an image with a text overlay (constructed using a Cloudinary API) from English to any language (I'm in Spain at a conference now, so it's gotta be Spanish) like: Input: https://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/w_500/l_text:Ar... Output: https://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/w_500/l_text:Ar...

Oh, sounds interesting! How're you hitting Cloudinary from 8base - do you have an example?

Thanks dosh1965, we love the things people have done with Cloudinary and 8base. Glad to see were are supporting in Barecelona!

Thanks, Codebeast! We appreciate you being an early adopter and contributor to our efforts.

Love the look of the website and the tools, it is worth a try!

I'm using AWS and AppSync (The service for GraphQL) directly and managing infrastructure (other services) with AWS CDK.

I'm encouraging everyone to try AWS directly. The learning curve is a bit steeper but there will be no lock-in to a single service.

Now more and more services are offering a way to run serverless apps: Netlify, Zeit, 8base. It's nice and convenient, but knowing the source will let you design apps with proper security considerations.

Makes sense.

The way I think of these things is always that the more tools you have in the tool-chest, the more things you can build. It's NEVER wrong to learn more or dive deeper. But just because you might know-how and be capable of building a house by sawing down your own lumber and smithing your own nails, doesn't mean you wouldn't want to order some parts pre-fab - or at least go to the hardware store!

Yes, we understand there is somewhat of a trade-off. At 8base, we have tried very hard to use only standards while also delivering the benefit of a flexible, pre-built infrastructure.

Anyone knows the difference between this and AWS Amplify/AppSync? Seems to be doing the same thing. Amplify also offers offline development. Good job otherwise.


Hey patrickaljord - it's a great question. 8base and the tools you mentioned meet at very similar cross-roads, we all take VERY different paths to get there. I think what notably sets us apart is the developer experience in defining data-model/roles/permissions/authentication/etc. through the management console. Also, 8base being a service that's production-ready as soon as you click "Create Workspace" is a big difference. I'd love for you to try building a little experimental app on 8base, and hearing what you think are the differences/similarities :slightly_smiling_face: let me know if you're interested. Thanks, Albert.

Think the major difference is that there's much less vendor lockin with 8base. 8base is just a GraphQL endpoint, letting you use any library you want to interact with it, while Amplify requires you to use their specific APIs with their infrastructure. 8base also has a built-in roles and access management system, and lets you do authentication with any OpenID connect service.

Amplify is 'just' graphql too. That's a disingenuous argument. Ironic even because 8base is all aws services bolted together.

having worked with both I think each lends itself better to different projects. Amplify gives you the option to work both with REST or GraphQL, however you then have to go through all the steps of setting up a CRUD api. That part comes out of the box on 8base, with things like relational filtering, pagination, etc.

Really impressed with their product! They've been doing everything right for an early stage startup. I love that they don't encourage vendor lockin while making it just as productive to build stuff with them (they're just a GraphQL API). Their pricing is also much clearer (and honestly much cheaper) than most of the competition, especially something like AWS Amplify, which doesn't even have a pricing page. Their documentation was a bit lacking when I last tried to use it, but the docs are open source and they're working on heavily improving them. Really like what they're doing, and can't wait to see where they go next!

Thanks samwight! What project(s) are you building on 8base right now?

Your website looks really pretty on mobile and Desktop. How can I build something like this? If you don’t mind me asking. Thanks.

Thanks so much. a lot of effort went into design, messaging, construction and optimization. Most of it was done by our team internally. We hired an illustrator to help with bold colors and images and then our lead designer took the lead and built it on Webflow. We hired a Product Marketer focused on developer products to help us with messaging. Aside from that, a lot of work and attention to detail from all of us.

I'd try logging in and creating a data-model for your project. All the GraphQL operations will be generated from that so you can start using the workspace API. Whatever application you're building than then connect through there.

https://docs.8base.com https://youtube.com/c/8base

How does a graphql API help with building a responsive web page?

To parent, you are gonna want to look at responsive web page information, most css templates and frameworks will be responsive but it is fairly simple to do from scratch now using stuff like flex box.

Lol. I totally misinterpreted your question. Answer: Webflow.

The site was created in Webflow.


I signed up because of this post. I'm rather surprised I hadn't heard of 8base prior, it appears to be a killer product.

Best of luck to you guys!

As a side note... I'm working on some Gatsby projects and want to use 8base for the backend. The few tutorials I've seen so far seem to be loading data dynamically post-build versus creating static pages with data at build time. Do you have any examples of this yet?

Also, do you have an official Gatsby source plugin or are people generally using the generic "gatsby-source-graphql" plugin?

johnnyballgame, thanks so much for chiming in. I'm thrilled to hear you are using 8base with Gatsby. The team had a call with Jason Lengstorf recently to figure out exactly how to support this! As of now, you'll need to stick with the "gatsby-source-graphql" plugin. We'll work on some example content for creating statis pages at build time asap!

I happened to met Oscar Perez, their COO at StartupGrind Miami a few night ago.

Great guy and super cool product from a company that is passionate about supporting the local developer and startup scene.

Thanks gavinray!

Congrats for shipping, looks great.

It's been a while since I looked into GraphQL backends, so I'd love to know how it is different compared to Postgraphile, Hasura or Prisma.

Thanks Dakna! I'd say that Prisma and Postgraphile both fall more into the data access layer category where you'd use them instead of other ORMs (like Sequelize). 8base and Hasura are more similar, though Hasura is focused on layering over a person's Postgres database without providing any resolvers while 8base is a fully-fledged backend-as-a-service. Like Parse for GraphQL in 2019.

PostGraphile is not an ORM, it’s a client-facing GraphQL API designed to be consumed directly from your frontend applications (web apps, mobile apps, etc). This is why it has such powerful customisation and extension features so you can use it to build the GraphQL API you want.

Benjie, I appreciate you chiming in here personally. Apologies if I oversimplified as I am not all that familiar with your product. Aside from looking at the nuances of the GraphQL engines of either product, the primary difference is that 8base is hosted and ready-to-use and PostGraphile is for someone who wants to build, deploy and manage a server application and is using Postgres. Aside from that, there are likely lots of other differences.

No problem; I saw 8base at one of the GraphQL conferences, looks cool. I agree: PostGraphile is intended for people who want to control their own servers (be that via serverless, containers, Heroku, or traditional servers).

Thanks Benjie, would love to connect with you at GraphQL Summit in San Francisco if you are attending in October. Let me know!

I’m going to be speaking at ReactiveConf in Prague, so sadly cannot make it to SF; hopefully see you at another conference though!

Best of luck, Benjie. Yes, let's connect at the next one for sure!

Note to OP: the right arrow link next to "Explore the docs", about 90% towards the bottom of the homepage (just above "Ready to try 8base?" and the footer) leads to https://docs.8base.com/docs – which 404s

Nice catch, should be fixed now. Thanks!

It’s refreshing to see a team deliver a high-quality user experience on an early version of their product. Day zero pixels and thread count separate the winners from the losers, in my humble opinion. You guys have clearly sweated the details from your website to the product. Well done 8base!

WOW thank you. "Sweat" is a good word to describe how we got here, for sure. We really appreciate when people notice.

I recently switched our startup to 8base due to its ease of use, user-friendly UI, and minimal set-up. Their backend dashboard is amazing — our customer support staff will have no issue looking up and modifying any data or creating new data. Highly recommend 8base.

Thanks, heymartinadams, really appreciate the comments. May I ask what you were using or planning to use before you made the switch?

I was impressed with the 8Base GraphQL strategy since I met you at the GraphQL conference, and am psyched to see how far it has come. I especially like how accessible and affordable 8Base is for any developer. Clearly, 8Base listens to developers.

Thank you Lisa! Yes, you have a great vantage point, having met us about a year ago. We have been heads-down!

yes, and with years of experience watching so many startups go out too early to tell their story fully and with all their ducks lined up.Good job

Thanks Lisa. Patience is a virtue! I have never had a lot of it but with a self-service product, We are competing against the entire Internet and none of us have the time to fiddle with half baked products.

Great job guys!!! UI is amazing, love it. Going to spend a few more days learning 8base. Do you have some kind of public roadmap with features coming?

Thanks for the kind words, Ilyalazarev. We don't publish a public roadmap but here are a few teasers of what is coming in the next few months: 1) For our advanced users we will be releasing the ability to create and manage views and indexes on the data. The views are totally GraphQL enabled. 2) Brand new user administration and user invitation capability. 3) Native Salesforce.com integration - Ability to expose a company's Salesforce.com instance via GraphQL and cross-connected with 8base data.

Lots more...

The docs link is returning error 404 - any chance this has a user management system built in? The tight integration of cognito, GraphQL, and database is something AWS really got right. I'd much rather use 8base than Amplify but I can't tell if you're going to make me first roll my own user management system (hint: making me roll my own user management system is a major incentive for me to look elsewhere)

It does actually, honestly one of the better ones out there. It's super easy to set up roles and set what fields that they can and can't access.

Building in user management has and continues to be a huge priority for us. My background has always been in building complex enterprise software and I was always frustrated in how we needed to build authentication, user management, role-based security, etc. each time. 8base's role-based-security is very strong and easily configurable. In the next few weeks we are releasing a new and improved user management capability that improves the one we have now. We will continue rolling out new application infrastructure capabilities as time goes on so that the backend is overwhelmingly compelling.

This is amazing what you guys have done. 8base should be YC winners. My group would like more information regarding investment opportunity. Who can we reach?

Thank you! Please email me at ceo@8base.com and we can chat offline.

This is awesome! I'm stoked to see the GraphQL community getting this polished of a tool. Chris Coyier wrote on css-tricks the other day about the best GraphQL API being one you write yourself, which is super true as the ones offered by headless CMSs and the like aren't ever customizable enough. I can't imagine a spec though that can be met between what 8base is generating + custom resolvers.

Congrats 8base!

I think that serverless tech will continue to take over bigger and bigger companies, not only is feasible for startups, but companies and products like 8base are pushing this forward!

Thanks, alacret. To us it only makes sense that serverless, which provides a better capacity/utilization model, will be the future. The technology is still evolving and a big part of 8base is how we simplify the provisioning of Serverless.

Go go 8base team! I met them at GraphQL Berlin and was really impressed by their product. Fills an important hole in the JAMstack ecosystem.

Thanks Evan. Great to hear from you and appreciate the kind words! We need to talk at some point about integrating Fauna into 8base.

Yes we do! :-)

Will you publish also a self-hosted variant?

mister_hn, We are really focused on being a production-ready hosted solution but who knows what the future holds. Keeping options open and eager to hear what you and other users think about that.

I would say that distributing the product also as self-hosted, on-premise option for privacy-focused and strictly certified environments (CC EAL) could be really great.

Cool stuff. How does it compare to Prisma?

Prisma is just Data Access Layer (you would use it instead of other ORMs like Sequelize or Mongoose to work with database directly) while 8base gives you production ready API right away with roles/permissions/authentication, with possibility to extend you API with custom functions with much more

It looks amazing what you have done is a short period of time. Congratulations!!

Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated!

Great tool indeed! Greetings from Portugal. Congratulations 8Base

Thanks so much!

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