Vincent Ritter

Introducing my short MVP project challenge, Sublime Ads.

Let’s talk about taking your mind off things. Last week I had the itch to start a long standing idea of mine. Not only to take my mind off things, but also to get out of my creative block with another project of mine.

Without further ado; Sublime Ads is a platform that allows you to host your very own ads within your apps, websites, or wherever else.

Think of it like the Overcast Ads platform that Marco built for his very own app, but for use for everyone - especially developers that want to have something like this, just like me. It can even be content creators or other creative folks - it really doesn’t matter.

Not only that, it is privacy focused from the start - from database encryption to only tracking (which can be disabled) taps/clicks on the ads. This data is just for your purpose, that you can communicate back to your potential advertisers. Apart from that, zero tracking. It’s built solely by me, has no funding and isn’t owned by a VC corporation!

The MVP challenge

There are many things I have planned, however my focus for the MVP (minimum viable product) are the total bare minimum features to make it useful for myself (and hopefully others).

Namely:

This is very bare and there are many things that I want to add, like a JavaScript drop-in for websites (that is privacy conscious and super lightweight!). However, the above gives me enough features that I need right now for my own things.

Achieving the above already is a full product that I would be happy to ship. Afterwards I can move where the puck is skating and play it by ear on what customers would like to see (like payment pages or Team accounts).

Timescales

I started last week and copied across the login and registration code that you can find on Picard.sh. Initially I teased at the idea of “one week” but it totally dawned on me that it’s way too short! I’m already obsessing over small details, which I’m totally trying to avoid now and writing down every single detail that I don’t need for the MVP. Although, I want to make sure it looks good at the same time.

It took me approximately a week to work on the Settings page, as there is a lot there to manage your account. So gauging from that, I want to say roughly one week for each section. That means the “Ads” screens, “Categories” screens and a basic homepage/dashboard.

That gives me 2 - 4 weeks to launch this. Which I think is a good balance between everything that is going, client work and other commitments.

I think that is a reasonable timescale to say the least.

Testing

Initially I want to open it as a beta, for a few people to try and give feedback on. Even if you’re not interested in the product itself, but you feel like giving it a try and have a keen eye for things.

Just like Gluon, I envision Sublime Ads to be built in similar light with help from the user base and community.

So, 2 - 3 weeks… and I hope I can start inviting!

Another project?

Yes, I’m aware I wanted to have another web app project out the door already. However I’ve been busy with client work and then immediately fell into creative block on the project. Not only that, it dawned on me that Picard.sh is a very complex project. We’re all in a very complex life change at the moment and the thought of having to work through Picard, with many unknowns and super complexity, would just not sit well right now.

Saying that, it’s not all wasted. I already took most of the Login and Registration logic from Picard and am using it in Sublime Ads.

With Sublime Ads being built out, I’m hoping to use the general design and transplant that back into Picard. So in a way I’m working on both projects at the same time. Sublime Ads gives me a more immediate remedy of something I want, whilst also giving me the direction and drive I need for Picard.

Technicals

Sublime Ads is built with Ruby on Rails using your classic server side HTML rendering (like it’s supposed to be), with a bit of tiny JS sprinkled on top for niceness. At this point there is no JS outside of the out-the-box that you get with Rails. The front-end is built on Tailwind CSS. I can only recommend it because it gives me flexibility and speed - not to mention cross browser peace of mind. Payments will be handled via Paddle, just to make it easier for me as I don’t want to deal with the headache that is accounting and tax/VAT/GST!

Find out more

Enough reading. You can find the Sublime Ads website here and you can sign up for a beta invite if you want to give it a try when it’s ready (even if you just want to tell me how bad it is!). Don’t worry, no third-party email list and zero marketing. It’s all handled in-house by myself.

There is also my usual dedicated development blog, which you can find here. That will be updated regularly… and you can see a few posts there already.

More updates soon with juicy screenshots.