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Show HN: Avo – Build Ruby on Rails apps faster

  • 306 points
  • 13 days ago

  • @adrianthedev
  • Created a post

Show HN: Avo – Build Ruby on Rails apps faster

@MattyMc 13 days

Replying to @adrianthedev 🎙

adrianthedev: THANK YOU for implementing a one-time fee. It actually make using this realistic for us.

Quick question: Do you have support for front-end frameworks (i.e. React)? I did try to crawl the docs to find out.

We have a Rails monolith, but we're unique in that we have a highly interactive educational app with a boat load of javascript. Our mantra has been: use React only if we absolutely have to. I realize we're unique in this regard.

Totally cool if not; just thought I'd ask. Great work on the project!


@bradgessler 13 days

It's great to see folks building frameworks on top of frameworks. I've started to look into full stack starter-kit frameworks that goes beyond the admin panel and here's what's out there these days.

* https://bullettrain.co - Opensource, $0/year

* https://jumpstartrails.com - Opencore, $249/year

* https://www.bootrails.com - Closed source, ~$83/year

I've even started to piece on together for my own projects at https://github.com/rocketshipio/monolith, which will be open source, $0, and MIT licensed.

Some of the libraries I'm noticing that seem "settled" include:

* Devise for authentication

* Pundit for authorization

I started to piece on together for my own projects at https://github.com/rocketshipio/monolith, which will be open source, $0, and MIT licensed.

I'm hoping enough people converge around any one of these products where we end up with something as high quality as Rails. If the community agrees on how users, authorization, subscriptions, etc. should be modeled, it opens up the door for a set of APIs and plugins that will make creating SaaS products even easier.

My thinking on the economics of this is the Opencore stuff will be a race to the bottom in terms of pricing towards free or a nominal fee (I guess $250/year is that). What will end up costing money is tech support. I do see an ecosystem of third-party services that integrate with SaaS kits emerging, such as rapid ways to deploy, analytics services, etc.


@mediaman 13 days

Can I drop this into an existing Rails app? I use Jumpstart but would like a nicer admin experience.


@victor9000 13 days

Any similar back office projects written in python? I'd like to reuse some existing data access code and I'm currently looking at using django. So I'd love to hear if others have a better suggestion.


@martibravo 13 days

This looks so good... I've been always using Node, Deno or .NET Core for backend infrastructure, but Avo makes me wanna learn Ruby and RoR and make the jump for client-related work. Congrats!


@adrianthedev 13 days

Hey HN,

I'm Adrian, an indie developer and creator of Avo. For more than ten years, I built countless admin panels and back-offices for all types of apps. After a while, you start to notice patterns and extract functionality away to make the job easier. I took those patterns and applied them to Avo. Now, in just an hour, a developer can build production-ready applications that with traditional coding techniques take a few days, if not weeks.

Avo is suited to agencies that build a lot of products for their clients and need to move fast and have a beautiful and robust UI, indie developers trying to test out their ideas fast, technical teams in companies of all sizes that need to build internal tools based on Ruby, and start-ups.

Avo runs on top of Ruby on Rails, which is a powerhouse of a framework and uses the most modern tech stack (Hotwire, TailwindCSS, esbuild).

Avo has three main parts that you can choose from:

1. The CRUD UI

2. The Dashboards UI

3. The custom content

The CRUD UI is not something generated that takes maintenance in the long run. Instead, it's a familiar Ruby DSL that's easy to extend with Rails code if you need to break away from it. It features about 30 fields with more advanced ones like (one-liner) file uploads, WYSIWYG, and key-value fields.

The Dashboards are a light layer on top of chartkick where one can query the data from the DB or an endpoint and quickly show the data in metrics, charts, or custom partials.

The Custom Content part is the secret sauce of Avo. It enables the developer to extend it even further using regular Rails code. You get access to partials, controller, action, params, and anything else you need to bring your own logic into the UI on every level (field, resource, tool).

Avo has a free Community version that features the powerful CRUD UI, and a paid Pro version for those who need more power and custom content. We also provide technical support for enterprise-like customers.

I know that Rails devs will immediately think of Active Admin, administrate, and other similar projects, and I want to mention that Avo is not them. It's built on a modern stack, and its mission is to become the back-office app and not just an "obscure admin panel that only the core team visits". I don't want to seem harsh, but I challenge non-believers to give Avo an hour of their time to see how it's different.

TBH, I believe Avo is the secret weapon in any developer's toolbox.

I'm here to answer all of your questions.

Thank you


@vlunkr 13 days

Shouldn't the tagline be more like "Build Ruby on Rails admin panels 10x faster"? Since that seems to be the intent.


@matt_s 13 days

For something like this, I bet a chunk of your target market for "Pro" level is people running ActiveAdmin. The beauty (and nightmare) of ActiveAdmin is it just looks at your tables and gives you an admin UI. If you have a mostly API based app, this can be great to give internal people some power tools so they leave the engineers alone.

Would love to see demos with real world complexity level of things instead of the typical Blog or Todo list trackers. To give that some scope for a complex Rails application lets use counts of objects, something like 100 models and 80 active admin pages, scatter in some 50-100 jobs/workers and like 50-100 service objects.

What does Avo provide for a menu-ing or UI customization to deal with that level of complexity?


@danneciu 13 days

Amazing! Keep up to good job Adrian! Really like the features you ship every week.


@stickyricky 13 days

Brilliant work. Looks terrific. Very easy, declarative interface.


@turriblegrapes 13 days

How would you compare or contrast this with motor_admin https://github.com/motor-admin/motor-admin-rails


@jmann99999 13 days

I am excited to see more of these Frameworks on top of Frameworks happening. Folks interested in this may also want to check out Bullet Train [0]. They are also a Rails Framework/Framework. I believe they started out with a pricing model that was more expensive than this but have pivoted to open source.

I appreciate Bullet Train’s opinionated idea that APIs and webhooks should be part of any project and they have built it in. Anyhow, it’s worth checking out, in addition to Avo.

[0] https://bullettrain.co/


@jressey 13 days

This is a serious question: Do any of you folks get paid good money to start projects? In my career I have "started" projects for maybe 2-5% of my time. All of the real effort goes in to massaging the app to actually solve unique business problems, about 80-90% on edge cases.

Bold and cynical claim: Making and selling apps like this is akin to building a social media brand about building social media brands. The problem this solves is only experienced by serial creators who like starting projects, not making useful stuff. I personally know 2 people who are like that attempted to start this exact same concept for a company, and that was like 6 years ago, and it was Rails too.


@irjustin 13 days

This looks really good.

So a bit of insight from a dinosaur, I'm one of those guys who is a diehard ActiveAdmin user. I've come and gone through the other admin interfaces and nothing is as fast as ActiveAdmin when it comes to the basics.

Important note is ActiveAdmin is for internal/staff only.


- It doesn't need to be pretty. It simply needs to function.

- Layout actually should be allowed to be information dense. Less whitespace (i.e. not bootstrap).

- DSL of ActiveAdmin is TERRIBLE, but once you learn the DSL, spinning up a page to edit an object is insanely fast because of it.

- Changes to objects are typically one liners.

- Escape hatches make everything else possible, but it's not intuitive at all.

Difficulties of ActiveAdmin

- Adding Wizards, step-by-step, pages is pretty annoying

- Polymorphic relationships aren't intuitive.

- Learning how to carry the page's context to use arb takes some time.

- Customizing f.input is annoying and doesn't make sense.

- Doesn't play well with bootstrap nor modals.

In the end the difficulties are worth the problems because the time benefit is so high. It's measured in how much time our engineers spend working inside of ActiveAdmin. It's very low compared to other areas.

In the past, I've been stuck fighting React, or doing too much boiler plate.


@mdw 13 days

Very glad to see this, I’m currently building a SaaS with Rails and can totally use this for our admin panel.


@gingerlime 13 days

looks neat. A quick question: you mention pundit, but we use cancancan. Would it cause any conflicts?


@w-ll 13 days

@adrianthedev I gave it an hour and here are my thoughts.

Generators for resources should be smarter and look a models attributes and type_for_attribute and add all the fields for me. Things like enums should be easier than needed to also specify them as select options.

You also dont have any datetime field types. (edit it appears you do but the docs dont list them on the https://docs.avohq.io/1.0/field-options.html)

Also using the models schema should give you default filtering. Strings should be loose, numbers/enums should be exact, datetime should be ranged.

All attributes should also be default sortable.

The suggested generators for namespaced models ```bin/rails generate avo:resource Cms::Page``` dont seam to work.

It feels like its for admin/mgmt stuff but you say its also for normal users and i feel like it under delivers on both.

Hope this feedback helps.


@andi999 13 days

Pricing is unclear. It has a fixed price and later talks about subscription. How much is the subscription.

Also at what is the frameworks strategie on locking doing transactions in the database.


@bestinterest 13 days

Looks great from the demo https://avodemo.herokuapp.com/users/sign_in

My only suggestion would be to perhaps try out a beefer instance for heroku or perhaps it is http/1.1 limitation of heroku and a switching to one of the disruptors like render.com would help performance?

It also may completely be because I am in the UK. Clicking around just feels slow 700-800ms+ response times, assuming its hosted in US.

Also another quick fix might be sending the request on mouse down. I know unpoly (side competitor to Hotwire) does this https://unpoly.com/a-up-instant


@philip1209 13 days

Looks cool - looking forward to trying it out. One thing I feel is missing from rails today is a great text editor. ActiveText feels old compared to editors like TipTap.

Any plans or recommendations on standardizing on a new rich text editor for Avo?


@fishtoaster 13 days

Very neat! My first thought was that this was a competitor to https://bullettrain.co/.

Looking into it a bit more, it seems more aimed at building admin panels than whole apps. I guess it competes against tools like https://activeadmin.info/?


@mgkimsal 13 days

Seems reminiscent of both Nova and Filament for Laravel/PHP. Nice work :)


@mark242 13 days

You may want to check your branding -- https://www.avo.app/


@pantulis 13 days

This delivers quite a lot of value in terms of developer time... pricing seems incredibily low!


@boxed 13 days

I found the video to be dishonest. "Watch Adrian build a booking app in less than an hour" is the title but if you actually watch any part it's clear that it's at best going at 2x the speed. Probably more like 10x honestly.


@JamesBrooks 13 days

Looks like it fits a similar bill to many existing rails admin frameworks, e.g. https://trestle.io/


@Simpliplant 13 days

We've been using Avo on my latest side project (https://aoe4world.com) and it has been great experience and Avo saved us a lot of time that we would otherwise spend on building admin interface. Highly recommended it.


@sandGorgon 13 days

this is very very cool. Any plans of making this for the js ecosystem ?

Unfortunately not all of us are on ruby...but everyone is on js. Would totally love something like this on React/Next.


@mberning 13 days

Looks incredible. Seems like it is really tailored to small -medium sized apps or devs doing client work. How do you deal with objections around scaling out and lock in?

I am loving the renaissance of “boring” tech stacks.


@AncoraImparo 13 days

People still use rails? Wild.


@danbee 13 days

This looks very similar to Administrate by thoughtbot https://github.com/thoughtbot/administrate


@chourobin 13 days

congrats on launching, what's the landscape now and who are your competitors? it could be nice if you had a comparison page as a way to sell it further.


@gkoberger 13 days

Hey! Minor bit of feedback on the homepage UI; I saw the pricing calculator and the big number wasn't obviously my savings (I assumed it was the cost). I'd make sure that for anyone scanning, it's clear the large $$ amount is savings vs the actual cost!

(Also, while I do think it's important you come off as cheap, I wouldn't lead with "saving money" as the main reason to use your product. It looks like you've built something really interesting, and you don't want early customers to only use you because they think you're the cheapest option!)

Overall, this looks really great... good luck!


@nico 13 days

This is great. We definitely need more tools/frameworks like this to allow for faster development.

It reminds me of Bullettrain: https://bullettrain.co/


@upupandup 13 days

is there anything like Avo out there? This is great work but I'm not a Ruby/RoR dev


@canadiantim 13 days

Looks awesome. I'm a bit jealous Rails has this resource coming from the Django world (although I know django admin also great but has its limitations)


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