Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Homer – A tool to build interactive textbooks (usehomer.app)
62 points by Outofthebot 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments

Hi HN, my name is Rahul Sarathy and I built Homer (https://usehomer.app), a tool to allow creators to build more interactive digital textbooks.

Right now the software supports image based scrollytelling with a roadmap to add interactive components such as annotations, animations, backlinks, and more.

You can check out a demo of an interactive history book here: https://usehomer.app/demo Here's another short example of how a personal finance related book could look like: https://usehomer.app/rahul/8

If you're interested in checking out the UI used to build the demo above, feel free to sign up at https://usehomer.app/signup and create a book.

I'd recommend linking to one of the demos on your landing page. I get that you want to have a singular CTA (create an account), but it seems like there's not enough bait on the hook to get most people to create an account.

If you show people a demo or two, many more of them will consider signing up. Also, some of them might share your website with other people they know who would be interested. After seeing a demo, I'm 100x as likely to share this with professors I know.

Separately, I would suggest checking to see if the Homer reading app/platform [1] presents a trademark risk for you. They're in a similar/adjacent market (more on the K-6 side) and may have broadly-drafted trademarks. Worth checking before you build up too much goodwill in your current name!

1: http://www.learnwithhomer.com

I concur. Tell me something about your service on the landing page. Why would I create an account for a mysterious service I know nothing about?

+1 to linking to a demo or ideally a tour. The landing page on mobile just says "Homer" with 2 short sentences but doesn't show what the product is.

You should add more info or a demo on the home page.

You lost me at the signup page.

Agreed. The description on the site itself is also quite different from the description in the comment or title here. Asking people to sign up to even look at the app, let alone try it out, is basically telling us "go away". I think you should have a demo of the editor with a basic example in it right on the home page. The home page also needs demos of the output embedded or linked.

Agreed +1.

Make a video and have it on the homepage!

Interesting! I looked at the demo, and found myself scrolling back and forth to see how the map/text changed. That was a valuable interaction for me.

Would love to see more demos about more popular world events.

The current demo is interesting, but its content sports an "odd" writing style. That is - until the reader realizes this is a translation from ancient Greek.

Needs a demo IMO. I don't want to create an account without the demo.

I’m excited to try this. Unfortunately I’m stuck on the sign up flow.


- iPhone 12 Max

- Safari

- Choose the Google option

- Complete OAuth flow on the Google side, and the window auto closes

- The sign up page is now shown

Something isn’t redirecting correctly I suspect.

On iPhone X, Safari, with the Google option, it opens a new window to complete the login flow, but I have to manually return to my original window, where it is logged in.

I tried email signup and got stuck on the signup page as well

I found using the editor confusing and not at all following my expectations for what an editor should do. (To start with, a displaying cursor or some sort of cue of where to start typing, would be nice.)

I would suggest spending more time polishing the writing experience because that matters a lot to writers and when it’s not there it can be an immediate turn-off. Look at tools like iA Writer or Gingko for ideas.

In the demo (https://usehomer.app/demo) on desktop, I can't scroll down enough to trigger the last paragraph "and they had to send out colonies to Ionia." Similarly, the first paragraph is never triggered and clicking on it doesn't help either.

Not really seeing what's special about this

Home page with single link to sign up- I can't tell what I'd be signing up for though. Needs at least a screenshot...!

My 2 cents, 1 Bug(?) and 1 feature proposal.

Cant view my post without setup before username? (account created with google, write post without username, publish, click "view", nothing, click-click-click, nothing, setup username in settings, it works)

You might want to implement some kind of import/export feature.

I would have liked the idea if the front page would have linked me to more info, since I understand the idea of the front page is to generate a call to action (which I like, to tell the truth)

Tried out demo. Would much rather use Jupyter or Colab for now.

This is really cool! Great idea. I like the chapter feature navigation on the top of the page.

no demo on the landing page? lost signup from me

This is really amazing! Has huge potential.

Homer is a platform for writers, built from the ground up so that they can express their ideas to their readers in whatever format they choose.

Sounds cool, I would like read some output

Start Writing

Um OK I guess

Sign in with Google or Facebook


Please don't be an asshole on HN and especially not in Show HNs. A longtime user like you should know better.



Perhaps this has been changed since you visited the page, but what I'm seeing is sign up with Google or email. Much less bad than having to choose between G and F.

Say that you prefer no Google or Facebook sign in, but do it without the snark. You are entitled to your opinion but don't discourage creators.

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