Working in enterprise situations, you hear a lot about build vs buy: is it cheaper to create an IT solution yourself, or buy-in a solution from a third-party? Itâ€™s not always down to cost, obviously â€“ other factors apply like requirements, security, privacy, integration into other systems, the supplierâ€™s financial solidity, etc.
But ultimately, those are the two options. And they apply as much to the indiehacker community as to the enterprise one.
Let me give you an example:
Iâ€™ve been looking into building the mobile app for Notifium. Iâ€™m not a natural mobile developer and turning raw code into a compiled application for the app stores can be complex, particularly with Apple. So Iâ€™ve looked at a few solutions to help out on this.
The first was Ionic. They are a huge player in the mobile app space, and rightly so. Theyâ€™ve brought a lot of value to the community, but are now very much gearing up to the larger customers, which puts even their cheapest â€œmobile buildâ€ solution out of the price bracket that smaller indie creators can afford, particularly if theyâ€™re in countries where the US dollar is expensive to buy with.
Additionally, from a personal point of view, I was using them for a while in the past, but then I hit a problem where my build was failing. So I reached out to support, who (to cut a long story short) said â€œitâ€™s a problem with your app and we canâ€™t offer you the detailed logs to help you try to fix itâ€.
That was the end of my relationship with all things Ionic.
So I just worked on the Android build for a while (which I can do on my Windows laptop), getting it to the point where I had a reliable process, then worked on the web UI for the admin tool. Iâ€™ve now come back to the mobile app, and need to build for iOS.
I donâ€™t have mac. And Apple, in their glorious wisdom, have decided that you canâ€™t submit an app to their app store unless you do it from a mac.
(This kind of thing is one of many reasons why Iâ€™ll never have an Apple product, ironically).
As a result, Iâ€™m currently trying Bitrise. I like Bitrise. Theyâ€™ve been around for years, have a very flexible build process, support iOS builds and submission to the app store, so they tick all the boxes.
I built an template app using Cordova (the framework Iâ€™m using to build the mobile apps) â€“ just a â€œhello worldâ€ kind of app, and it built on Bitrise without any issue.
Fantastic, I thought.
So I imported the actual Notifium app, and I hit a permission issue. Not with my code, but with Bitriseâ€™s standard Cordova build workflow, and a standard Cordova set of files. So now weâ€™re bouncing back and forth doing debugging via support tickets, which is a painful process.
So whilst thatâ€™s dragging along, Iâ€™m now renting a virtual Mac to see if I can get a process working that at least:
B. I can debug
C. I can debug *quickly*
And yet people wonder why indie hackers sometimes build their own solution rather than use someone elses.