Ship Apps Faster with ShipFast

Ship Apps Faster with ShipFast

When I announced I'd be building and launching 10 web applications in a year, I knew I'd have to find new and innovative ways to build and ship faster. This meant becoming a better developer, learning Next and React and JavaScript and really nailing my dev tool usage, but it also meant finding solid shortcuts to get things launched faster.

Enter ShipFast!

Like I said in the video version of this blog, I'm not sponsored by ShipFast and don't have an affiliate link for it, I just think it's an awesome tool for launching SaaS applications faster. This article is a review of ShipFast from the honest perspective of someone who has been using it for the last month or so to build Dev CheatSheets, a social knowledge management platform for developers.

What ShipFast Is

ShipFast is a NextJS template developed by solopreneur Marc Lou. The purpose of ShipFast is similar to the purpose of UI libraries: create some generalized, pre-packaged code that makes it easier for folks to launch their applications faster and with less hassle.

Where UI libraries like ShadCN and DaisyUI differ from ShipFast is that ShipFast goes beyond just pre-built Tailwind styles and creates components for Stripe webhooks, NextAuth API callbacks and more. The purpose is to give you as many tools as possible to build a SaaS application, launch it to the web and start signing up users and getting payments as fast as possible.

The mentality for templates like ShipFast is interesting. You want to create your app, for me a social media and personal knowledge management platform. One of the most important parts of building that product is staying motivated and excited about building, which can be really hard to do if you're having to spend time building out authentication, wrestling with Stripe webhooks, etc. These are all obviously incredibly important parts of building a web application, but having a template that completes 60-80% of the "boring" parts of releasing a SaaS application lets you focus far more of your time on the features you need to build to launch.

I've found that ShipFast let me pre-launch my SaaS way faster than I otherwise could have. I had a landing page styled up and ready to throw up on Vercel to collect pre-launch emails in a matter of hours.

There are, however, a couple of misconceptions about what ShipFast is...

What ShipFast Is Not

ShipFast is not a built-for-you SaaS application. This is one of my bigger frustrations with ShipFast, or more specifically some of the folks that purchased it. It's not a codebase you can clone, change some environment variables and a couple of hardcoded strings and launch a SaaS app to make millions. There is still a lot of work you've gotta do to get your application up and running.

One of the things you get access to when you purchase ShipFast is a Discord community of other folks who have bought ShipFast. This includes a premium channel where you can ask for support. Several times per week, folks will pop in there with questions like "where is the Dashboard component" or requesting integrations with every database technology imaginable. To me, this represents a fairly glaring misunderstanding of what ShipFast and other SaaS templates are.

You still have to do a lot of work to get a SaaS application up and running. ShipFast, UI component libraries and other similar technologies are not replacements for work. Neither is ChatGPT, for that matter. Asking one developer who built out a ton of useful code to develop even more so you can just slap a domain on his project and call it a SaaS is silly.

If you're new to React, Next or web development, frankly ShipFast isn't really for you. I would recommend going to check out some open source React repos on GitHub, taking some courses and reading up on it. Don't drop a couple hundred bucks on a template when you haven't put in the effort to learn up first.


All in all, I do highly recommend people check out ShipFast. It's saved me a ton of time and effort in developing Dev CheatSheets and I already have plans to use it more in the future.