My mind is always racing with ideas of apps and services I could build. Throughout the years, I've learned to code mostly static websites, but I've struggled with not understanding engineering well enough to build something useful: an app with user registration, a backend, and database.
I have tried multiple times to overcome this barrier, and got frustrated often for finding things too complex to pull off. So when the pandemic hit, I decided to invest in learning some of my missing skills by building a simple app to help people remember their loved ones.
For frontend, I chose Next.js, which I was already familiar with. Next.js also comes with an easy framework for implementing backend functions, which made my life much easier. For user authentication and database, I chose Supabase, which is in its early stages but I've gotten a long way with the community's help. I've also been using this project to experiment with Framer Motion, which helps me make smooth animations in React. The last piece in the puzzle is Github Actions, which I use to run a cron job every day to send the corresponding emails. So many learnings!
It took me about 3 months to build it to the point where it looked good and worked reliably.
When users log in for the first time, they're presented with an empty state to add their first event:
The next events are added with a modal, which has a mobile friendly implementation:
Branding and visual design are definitely not my strenghts. Working for large companies doesn't help, because I'm used to being handed styleguides and design systems to work with. Side projects like this are opportunities to experiment and try to make things look good. I'm not totally satisfied with how the app looks. Some colors feel off, and it doens't look as elegant as I had imagined. But I had fun.
As with any side project, I'll likely keep evolving Friendly Reminder over time. But to be honest, pulling off this project made me feel empowered to go tackle bigger product ideas, and my mind is already racing again.