Slender Stack™ Development

Refining our Vision

We initially set out to make a no-code version of Ruby on Rails. That is: we wanted to provide an opinionated framework that made standing up full-stack applications simpler for non-engineers.It turns out that was a tall order.And after several years of experimentation and exploration with various platforms and frameworks, it remains clear that existing tools serve the No Code space well. Bubble, Softr, Airtable, Zapier, Xano, as well as newer, low-code entrants such as Toddle, Fastgen, and Buildship cover a ton of ground for someone getting started.However, there's still a need for a simplified stack focused on launching products quickly; that enables rapid iteration as dogfooding and onboarding of early adopters point toward an increasingly viable and usable version.To that end, we're shifting our focus to upskilling power users -- bringing modern software development practices to those comfortable with code, but not necessarily full-stack development. Instead of insisting on no-code, we're embracing the qualities inherent in code-first development:
Faster iterations - it's far easier to modify text files than to click through UI screens
Git-based workflows - enables a smoother transition from founder(s) to team-based ops
Open Source options - makes adding advanced functionality much simpler
Free to deploy - crucially, it's far cheaper to experiment
In stressing that final point, this is a key difference between leveraging no-code platforms and going code-first: once you incorporate several no-code services at the appropriate tiers for the functionality you need for a full-fledged product, you're on track to spend $100s per month. And while this isn't bad per se (these platforms do add value and compute is not cheap at scale), it does present a roadblock when launching something new that will drastically change over the course of 3-6 months and beyond.The further you can push out the first expenses, the better the chance of survival for a bootstrapped product, which is what we care about.The other advantage of a code-first approach is the ability to leverage LLMs for code generation and troubleshooting. We were floored by the capabilities of ChatGPT when it was first released, and the steady stream of improvements sent us back to the drawing board. Providers such as OpenAI (ChatGPT), Anthropic (Claude), Google (Gemini), and others essentially give users superpowers by helping fill in technical gaps.We now believe that by supplying a narrow code-first framework and tooling optimized for the specific task of rapidly building products coupled with the advancements made in GenAI, Slender Stack Developers can become proficient in days -- and be on their way to building life changing businesses.Please stay tuned.

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