Introducing Debut - A social networking app


#1

Introduction

Hello Blockstack team and fellow enthusiast! This is long overdue but I would like to formally introduce my application debut to this forum! The app has been on app mining for 2 months but was not heavily advertised/marketed due to significant revamping of design, code, and overall lack of commitment to the project. What started off as a weekend project to learn Blockstack development led to submitting a very unusable application for review. Though I expected the results of my app mining score, the potential of what debut could be for other users led to make a decision to commit a dedicated month (feb) to see what I can improve, build, etc. I am excited to say a new and improved version of debut has been deployed and would love some feedback! https://www.debutapp.social!

Why I built Debut / What problem is being solved?

As someone who has been in and out of the blockstack community for the past 1.5 years, I realized I don’t know too many people in the community.

As of 2/25/19, there are 12,840 existing names in the blockstack ecosystem. The explorer does a good job of keeping a record of these users, but interacting and “discovering” new users seems to be a big problem I wanted to solve. Apps like stealthy and hermes are great, but if I don’t know who uses those apps how am I going to add them? By having users sign up to debut, you can discover other blockstack user’s information like what blockstack apps they use, a simple profile, and adding moments. (more detail below)

Features (as of now)

Adding/Editing a user description

  • User’s can add a simple description/blurb about themselves

Explore user Dapps

  • Users can see each others signed up blockstack apps. This gives a visual representation of what apps you can possibly interact in.

Sharing a moment

  • Similar to a facebook feed, a user can add and share a moment on his or her profile! The user can add just simple text or an image as part of the post. Any link text will also be clickable

What I’ve learned so far

Time Management

This was a challenge. On top of having a full time job, I am also creating youtube video tutorials on how to develop in blockstack + react. (You can check it out here!)

February was a crucial month because I wanted to give debut a fair commitment so balancing out personal life, work life, youtube tutorials, and debut was a huge struggle. There were a lot of sleepless nights and long weekends making sure debut was a usable app that people would enjoy. By no means is the app perfect but compared to what it was before, I believe it is a significant improvement.

Examples

Logo Before

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Logo After

Profile Page Before

Profile Page After

Ask for help

Big shout out to the Blockstack team here. Definitely love the community here and the support everyone has for each other. A special shoutout to @hank with helping me with implementing Radiks on debut. There were so many workarounds prior to Radiks that I had to come up with to get the app in a somewhat useable state. Although it did take some time setting up and issues did arise due to compatibility issues with version 19.x, the overall integration was great. I can honestly say I don’t know a situation where I would develop a blockstack app without it.

Check out Radiks here!

My hope for the future is that debut’s March’s app mining rewards payout will be better than the past two months with these improvements so I can request dev/design assistance via gitcoin or any other avenue.

App Mining - Pros/Cons

Ahh App Mining. I’ve seen firsthand the struggle my fellow developers are going through with app mining rewards. So far, debut ranks at 46 and has earned a whopping $4 in app mining rewards. I never built debut thinking it would make me a lot of money and to this day I still feel the same way. Getting rewarded financially is a plus but should not be the expectation.

I know for a fact the number of hours I put into debut is valued way more than my current rewards. Implementing Radiks, optimizing the front-end, and many long hours will probably not equate the monetary returns. Without going into details about how I feel certain apps are being rewarded sizably without really implementing in my opinion a true blockstack application (simple authentication or note), I believe I did my best to keep the data truly decentralized without compromising design and usability.

With that being said, I hope the app mining rewards criteria does improve over time and debut gets a bit more love! Either way, this will not deter me from developing the application if people love using it!

Future Goals

Way too much to count. If anyone is interested or willing to help work on debut I’m all ears! Like I said before, I work full time as a developer so any support would be greatly appreciated. I am going to try to keep manageable goals based on app mining months as opposed to an ongoing stream of new tasks. (For my own sanity) Here’s my technical roadmap!

You can email me at leeajl006@gmail.com or hit me up on the slack channel!

Would also love getting some upvotes on Product Hunt as that would help me out a lot!

Hope you guys enjoy debut! Can’t wait to see who joins!


#2

In OI Calendar I have added a link for the user’s contacts to their profile on debut. You can go directly from the blockstack id to the profile.


#3

Wow! Thanks a lot @friedger! I think there are definitely great opportunities to collaborate together and possibly integrate an events concept. Users on debut can invite their list of followers to and save it on the oi calendar. I see you building an experimental version of “Guests” which might work out!


#4

Major Updates

Sending out a PSA announcement with updates on the debut app. You can check it out here http://debutapp.social The following features below were added. It looks like the gifs are not working inline but they are clickable!

Allow users to update their profile picture

  • You can now update your profile picture on debut
  • Existing users will be defaulted with their profile image via profile.json file
  • New users will be defaulted with their profile image via profile.json file as well

Demo

Refactor the following feature. Add follower feature

  • Removed the old following feature located below “My Blockstack Dapps”
  • Introduce tabs with
  1. Profile
  2. Following
  3. Followers
  • Removed old user data of following information. This was done because currently there are users who are interchanging between old and new blockstack browsers. Since that connection was no longer there, I could not guarantee what that user’s following information would be unless they re-logged back in.

Demo

Add Search functionality

  • Added a search functionality at the top inside of the navbar
  • Searching is not limited to the debut users but includes all blockstack users. (intentional)
  1. If a blockstack user also uses debut it will go to their profile
  2. If a blockstack user does not use debut it will re-route to a landing page. This landing page encourages the current user to send out a message to join debut via social proofs.

Demo

Better error handling for old browser users

  • As of right now, there are still users who are in the older versions of the blockstack browser
  • Due to this issue, the connection between my app and the user gets overridden and thus I am unable to access certain data sets.
  • Added a cleaner workaround with a notifier indicating to the user that this person indeed signed up for debut but is using an older browser. Added social proofs to give the current user the ability to ping that blockstack user to update their browser.

By the way @cuevasm update your browser please!

Demo

Future Goals/Features

Comments to Share/Moments

  • Currently, this has been on the backlog because I need to do some learning on mongo and make sure the approach I take is scalable as more users join.
  • If anyone has some expertise in this area I would love to chat!

Create an user admin page with real time share/moment updates

  • This page will be dedicated to showing Shares/Moments of users you are following
  • Planning on adding real time stream updates in the admin page to let users see content of users they are following.

I hope you guys enjoy the new features of debut! I would love some feedback and if any devs want to help building this out with me, let me know!

Roadmap