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Ask HN: What’s your preferred stack for early stage startups?
6 points by riwasabi 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
Many people say Ruby on Rails is the preferred choice for startups because it helps you move faster. I wonder what other people’s experiences have been, though.

By early stage startup I mean the following: 1) no revenue; 2) solo developer; 3) no product-market fit (need to change rapidly).

Coming from a JAMStack, my initially thought is that Rails gives you many problems you shouldn’t have to deal with at early stage: managing serves and databases, performance considerations, costs, etc.

If you use something like Firebase + Next.js, you can basically focus on developing your product (no infrastructure work needed) and have zero costs until you have hundreds (or even thousands) of users.

It feels like a much better options for startups, so I wonder if I’m missing something here. How’s your experience with web frameworks for early stage startups? Is there a way to have zero costs using something like Rails or Django?

The Boring Stack ™

> So, what is The Boring Stack?

> It’s whatever stack you already know so long as that stack is capable of completing the interesting thing that you want to build.



"managing serves and databases"

I can spin up a new Rails-based set of droplets (aka VPSes) on DigitalOcean in about 30 minutes with some shell scripts, so that's not really an issue for an early stage startup IMHO. I've used Next.js and while it's nice as a way to bootstrap a React app, I would never use it to quickly build a robust startup product as a solopreneur. I would also never use a single data store platform like Firebase over using good ol' PostgreSQL + Redis.

Majestic monolith frameworks such as Rails and related proven architecture have never let me down in 12+ years of web app development…whereas I've been bitten many times by attempting to use the latest hotness because of a mythical future where it will have been worth that effort!

Thanks for your reply. Please, can you further explain why you wouldn't use Next.js or Firebase for building a product as a solopreneur? Maybe because I don't have much experience with Rails but I'm still failing to understand how it's much better in your opinion.

Also, I think Digital Ocean doesn't have a free tier. That's my other point: I can't find a reliable, fast way to try out new ideas spending literally $0 using something like Rails. That's pretty easy to do using JAMStack, though.

These days, Rails 6 and various related gems is like a superpower…providing so much standard web app functionality out of the box that I can simply focus on what makes my product unique. The amount of "yak shaving" (aka futzing with the tech stack itself) is cut to bare minimum.

DigitalOcean starts at $5/month. Not much more than $0. :)

Not to mention the joys of programming in Ruby much of the time…an extra benefit!

Tbh, I often wonder the same thing. I've been using the Next.js + Firebase + Zeit stack lately and I can tell you: it's been a great experience so far. It's really easy to manage, especially as a solo dev.

As "jmnicolas" mentioned, though, I think "The Boring Stack" is often the best choice. Don't spend too much time on what the "thought leaders" on Twitter saying. Just use whatever makes you move faster to get shit done. Once you have some paying customers, you can always go back and change things.

I think the most important thing as a solo dev is just understanding what your possible customers need. You can do that using whatever tools work for you.

I wrote a post about this recently: https://dev.to/levinunnink/how-to-pick-the-right-tech-stack-...

I'm pretty sold on JAMStack + Serverless + AWS. It's the most affordable way to iterate, adapt and scale for a solo dev.

Interesting, you might want to check out FaunaDB if you like the Serverless idea. Disclaimer: I work there but stumbled on your article after my hours.

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