Sandstorm News

Free publicity for your indie web app, and free Oasis service for you

By Asheesh Laroia - 05 Feb 2016

Every useful web app deserves users and publicity. Every author deserves an easy way to see their app the way their users see it on Sandstorm.

So here’s the deal: If you write an open source web app, and you package it for Sandstorm, I’ll help people discover your app and use it. You’ll also get credit toward one year of Oasis managed hosting so you can test your app on Sandstorm. The offer applies to anyone who successfully submits an app to the Sandstorm App Market, whether or not you’re the original author. It doesn’t have to be open source, though we do love open source. The Oasis hosting can be used for anything you like.

A Sandstorm package allows people to use your app even if you don’t maintain a public service

When I asked Simon Vansintjan why he made a Sandstorm package of his Quick Survey app, he told me, “I have no interest in running a SaaS of every small app that I think would be a benefit [to other people].”

Simon wants to publish code, not commit to maintaining a service. Simon wrote Quick Survey so he could run one particular survey, as well as for the joy of learning Meteor.

By packaging his app for Sandstorm, he got multiple document support without writing any code. Simon said, “Once I understood that [multi-document] translated really well to how Sandstorm views apps / grains, I figured it made a lot of sense to port it to Sandstorm. I’m happy I ended up trying to port it, because it opened up how easy it would be to get other apps up and running with it.”

You can try out Quick Survey with a click. Your app could be that easy to spin up.

Quick Survey is a web app that isn’t a business, and Sandstorm is perfect for apps like that. For example, Daniel Kraft is nearly done packaging up his personal D&D dice rolling app. What hobby apps have you made that others might enjoy?

Publicity: Graphics, app demo, outreach, and more

When your app is on the Sandstorm app market, it’s naturally in front of people who use Sandstorm every day. Universities, corporations, non-profits, and self-hosting enthusiasts alike spend huge amounts of time in apps on Sandstorm.

Beyond that, every Sandstorm app is supported by the community team — Néna, Jade, and me.

Néna supports open source web app developers by providing graphics for any app with a Sandstorm package. Here are some of the graphics she’s put together:

All three of us spend every day thinking about how to get more people using the apps in the Sandstorm ecosystem. The apps are what what make Sandstorm interesting. So we do things like:

The Sandstorm community as a whole will give you feedback on your app if you email the sandstorm-dev group. Check out these recent threads to see how it works.

I want self-hosting to be a meaningful alternative to software as a service. You can be part of that movement by packaging your app for Sandstorm. If your app is written using Meteor, I’ll even create the initial packaging.

See what users see, with a free Power User account on Oasis

Your users probably don’t know how to deploy your app, which is why they need Sandstorm. I want you to be able to see what your users see, so I’ll give you a free year of Power User level on Oasis managed hosting if you write or package an app for Sandstorm.

While you’re on Oasis, feel free to enjoy it for anything else within the usual terms and conditions. Take advantage of private git repositories with gogs, project task tracking with Wekan, or privacy-preserving web analytics with Piwik. I’ll also give you an invite to Keybase so when people install your apps, they can verify your identity via the world’s most usable interface to PGP.

To take advantage of this offer, visit Oasis and upgrade to any paid plan, knowing that all the paid plans are free-of-cost while Sandstorm is in beta. Then email me at [email protected] to request a statement credit equal to the cost of a Power User account. We’ll add it to your account, and you’ll be all set.

To get started, read the docs, or email me

Every good web app deserves users and publicity. I’m here to help you with that.

You can dive right in by reading the packaging tutorial. Sandstorm supports any language/stack that runs on Linux, and has special tooling for nodejs, PHP/MySQL, Meteor, and Python.

If you’re unsure, or you just want to chat, or you’re waiting on us to publish your app, it’d be my honor to hear from you. Send us an email on sandstorm-dev!