FG Vault

The code for this project can be found here.

This was a website made to centralize and store links to fighting games related resources.

Why I made it

A lot of resources are scattered in many places (wikis, discords, forums, subreddits, youtube, twitter…) with no convenient way to look for them all at once. The goal of this website was to have a place where people can post resources they create or find to allow others to look for them easily.

How was it made

The secondary (primary now that it’s dead) goal of this website for me was to learn about new technologies and tools. I tried to go for a stack I knew almost nothing about. The Frontend is built with Vue.js and Bulma. The Backend is made with Flask and SQLAlchemy. To connect the two parts, I decided to go for a GraphQL based API. To do that, i’m using Graphene on the server side and Apollo for the client. The database is PostgreSQL and I’m using Docker with Docker Compose to facilitate deployement. I’m also using Fabric to easily run various tasks remotely. It was hosted on a Ramnode 5e/month VPS.

Looking back at it, i’m pretty satisfied of most of that stack. Vue/Bulma allows quick development, the Flask/SQLAlchemy/PostgreSQL part is pretty solid, Docker really helps deployement and Ramnode is a great provider with very good support and decent prices. I think GraphQL is interesting and i’ll probably explore it more in the future, but I would have been more efficient with a more standard REST approach.

Why I stopped it

In december 2020, I took the decision of cancelling the Ramnode VPS and shutting off FG Vault. Even though it was not very expensive to run, the fact that it was pretty much unused made it not worth it. For this reason I don’t have any screenshots to show you, although I might try to run a local copy at some point to fill out this page.

What I learned from it

First of all I gained some experiences on the various technologies I used, which will serve me for a long time as I’ll probably re-use most of them in the future.

Secondly, I learned that making a website is easy, making it so that people actually use it is really hard (for me at least). I don’t really know how to market stuff, and finding users is definitely not something I was taught in school. I had great feedback when people tried it, but these people never actually used it beyond that. It could be that the core idea wasn’t something people other than me wanted, it could be that I was unlucky and it didn’t catch on (as the value of such a site increases with it’s content). It feels a bit sad to pour many hours into something, just for it to be ignored in the end, but that’s how life goes I guess. I think it also drove the decision of writing a personal app afterwards.

To be very honest and to add a third thing I learned, I didn’t get nothing out of it. I built this site while i was unemployed right after finishing my Master’s degree (the company where I did my internship wanted to hire me then, but I wanted to explore other options). When I looked for jobs afterwards, I of course had it on my resume, and in both job interviews I had at that time, the recruiters checked it out in front of me, and really liked it. They told me it showed I know of to work the whole stack, and I was able to take a project to its end. Ultimately I think it played a decent part in getting hired at my current job, and I’m thankful for that. Turns out building stuff is rarely a waste of time after all.