Marc Köhlbrugge
Maker of WIP amongst other things.
  • 🔥 3
  • 📍 Doha
  • 📅 Sep '17
  • 👻 39

Yeah I think "developer tools" is very broad. When I looked at the section that's relevant to me (Ruby) I saw only 3 tools, which isn't very compelling. I think it would be very hard to create a collection for dozens of categories. Better to focus on one category first and do it right. Then expand from there.

One thing Google isn't as good at is discovery. When you don't exactly know what you're searching for.

I think the Awesome lists are good at that, but they aren't necessarily the best interface. If you were to target a specific niche (e.g. "TDD for Ruby" or "Tools for static sites") and do a weekly email etc with new tools/etc I think that might be a better starting point.

A challenge that I've faced several times when starting a new website is finding certain tools. The goal of DevTools Directory is to provide a central location for all development tools with a way to filter by language, type and/or license. There are a few missteps in the current iteration but the core of the idea is there.

The lists that @russ mentioned are new to me and definitely make #DTD kind of obsolete (lol).

You suggest to niche down even further than developers into languages, frameworks, etc?

Yeah I think "developer tools" is very broad. When I looked at the section that's relevant to me (Ruby) I saw only 3 tools, which isn't very compelling. I think it would be very hard to create a collection for dozens of categories. Better to focus on one category first and do it right. Then expand from there.

I'm not sure what problem you're trying to solve. Could you verbalize this?

If it's about helping me find dev tools that solve my problem, you're basically competing with Google and all the other curated collections it can search through (such as the Awesome lists, mentioned by @russ). I really think that's an uphill battle you don't want to fight.

My advice would be to figure out what Google/etc isn't solving for you, and then build a product that addresses that. Right now it feels very unfocused and a bit like "a jack of all trades, master of none" if that makes sense.

One thing Google isn't as good at is discovery. When you don't exactly know what you're searching for.

I think the Awesome lists are good at that, but they aren't necessarily the best interface. If you were to target a specific niche (e.g. "TDD for Ruby" or "Tools for static sites") and do a weekly email etc with new tools/etc I think that might be a better starting point.

A challenge that I've faced several times when starting a new website is finding certain tools. The goal of DevTools Directory is to provide a central location for all development tools with a way to filter by language, type and/or license. There are a few missteps in the current iteration but the core of the idea is there.

The lists that @russ mentioned are new to me and definitely make #DTD kind of obsolete (lol).

You suggest to niche down even further than developers into languages, frameworks, etc?

Yeah I think "developer tools" is very broad. When I looked at the section that's relevant to me (Ruby) I saw only 3 tools, which isn't very compelling. I think it would be very hard to create a collection for dozens of categories. Better to focus on one category first and do it right. Then expand from there.

I've always liked the idea of having dedicated email addresses for each recipient, allowing you to disable them at any time.

The three problems all services offering this seem to have are:

  1. Vendor lock-in. I'm locked into using your service forever. Being able to use a custom domain and export all my aliases would combat that somewhat, but you're probably using a proprietary way to generate the unique hash. SimpleLogin being open source is great help with regards to this.

  2. Privacy. I don't want my email to pass through a third-party service. As far as I can tell SimpleLogin requires this as well?

  3. Dependency on a website/extension. I occasionally need to give out my email address over the phone or in person. I'm assuming SimpleLogin requires me to generate the link online.

I'm working an alternative solution myself that doesn't rely on third party software and can be used offline as well. Basically I'm leveraging the Sieve-based scriptability of email servers. It will allow me to generate unique email addresses on-the-fly (with a simple hashing algorithm I can do in my head) and the mail server just checks if the hash is correct.

So to answer your questions:

Would you use it?

Not in its current form. If it was open-source and I could host it myself, I might. But I'd probably stick with my own solution.

What features are missing/unnecessary?

There are a bunch of services like this out there already. What sets yours apart?

Are you ready to pay for such product?

A paid subscription wouldn't keep me from using the product. If you can build a great solution I'd happily pay for it. But I think this is the type of product I'd rather self-host.

Thanks for the thorough review Marc 🙏! Your concerns are absolutely right 👍.

  1. With SimpleLogin being open-source in the future, one can deploy the program somewhere else if somehow the service is shut down and migrate all aliases there. However as the service cost is quite low, it can be maintained easily in the long run.

  2. Technically the emails DO go through SimpleLogin servers. It's the same for other services as far as I know though and none of them is (or intend to be) open-sourced.

  3. At the moment the alias needs to be generated online. I also have other users asking on how to "remember" easily their alias or at least being able to generate one quickly. To be honest I don't have any solution for now that's easy to remember without affecting user privacy: concretely if the rule is too simple, it's easy to know 2 aliases coming from the same person -> easy to cross reference -> no privacy.

There are a bunch of services like this out there already. What sets yours apart?

In my research, some similar services are indeed more advanced in terms of browser extension or mobile app. However they have some issues:

  • their emails are usually in spam. It's not their fault and a lot of spam will go through such email alias service. I don't think they have found the solution or at least a compromise. Avoid emails going to spam is really hard though, I experienced it first hand in a lot of projects.
  • Their goal stops at the email alias. For me, the alias is only the first (and easy) step. Look at the SimpleLogin developer page and you'll understand 😉.
  • They have no intention to open-source the code. Email alias is not rocket science and open-sourcing it is part of my plan since the beginning.

I don't want to cite their names here as this is not fair. I can give more info over private chat for a specific concurrent if you're interested 🙂.

I'm working an alternative solution myself

The product doesn't really target people who are have their own email servers as making alias is much easier in this case. I would even recommend not using SimpleLogin if this is your case 😉.

Thanks again for the review, I really appreciate!

Since we're based in Singapore, we don't need to charge you any VAT hence it not being on the receipt.

"proof" - like customer reviews, recommendations?

Credentials (e.g. relevant work experience), social proof (customer reviews), etc.

This x 100; it build trust, especially if they know the company or have heard of it.