Dev Pal: A Follow-Up

Pushing it forward after surprising levels of success with a simple MVP

The quick and dirty logo

Three weeks ago, while watching Countryfile (I’m getting old), I came up with Dev Pal. I wasn’t sure if it would do very well, so I made a very quick and dirty logo and an MVP which is powered by CodePen Projects and Crisp chat.

I’ve been absolutely floored by how well it has done. So far, I’ve helped about 80 people 😱. I honestly thought I would only ever help a handful of people, so this success has inspired me to look at pushing Dev Pal into something really helpful.

A great success to build on 🎉

Because the idea has been validated, I’m going to push some hard work into the project. I want to extend it to more than just a landing page with a third party chat interface, so this is what I’m going to do with it:

Roll out a bespoke chat system

Crisp has been great, but it’s a support tool, so it doesn’t fully fit the purpose of Dev Pal. I’m going to roll something out that’s less geared towards instant messaging and geared more towards full, immersive mentorship. Tools such as reactive JavaScript frameworks and state management libraries will enable me to make something truly useful for this and I’ve already been playing with a proof of concept.

Produce written teaching material

I’m going to design and build a proper site using WordPress and Gutenberg, because I think it’ll be a great way for me to practice what I preach by getting back into working with the CMS, with its exciting new JavaScript setup.

With this new site, I’m going to write some foundation-level material to teach beginner developers some core skills. This will mainly be JavaScript orientated, but I’ll cover the whole front-end landscape where appropriate.

The aim here is to produce completely free content that’s kept up to date which can be consumed by anyone, at any time. Keeping the articles at a foundation level will hopefully create material that compliments the plethora of excellent teaching material already out there.

Screencasts and maybe a podcast

Folks seem to like video content for learning. I made a mini poll on Twitter to test the theory.

With this in mind, I think something really useful will be recording screencasts of me building out some core concepts and explain what I’m doing while I do it. Hopefully this will help and inspire some devs, because when they see how many mistakes I make and how I get stuck all the time, they’ll hopefully feel a lot better about themselves. This is quite the trend at the moment and it’s a trend I’m certainly becoming very fond of.

Another thing I think folks might find useful is hearing about some of my other pals who are also producing educational material. I think some sort of podcast might help with that.

How can you help?

A lot of work needs to be done and with that, there’s some material costs too. I’ve gone ahead and set up a Patreon to try and help with them. I don’t want to have to rely on adverts or paywalls and I also don’t want to have to create premium content because I want Dev Pal to be accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their financial situation.

I’d be over the moon if you could support Dev Pal on Patreon. Even $1 a month would go a long way. If you represent a company, I’ve got a special tier that’ll get your logo on the new website too!

Let’s make Dev Pal great as a community 🙌

Wrapping up

There’s a lot of work to do, so there’s going to be a bit of time before anything is visible, because this is a side-project that compliments my full-time job. For now, the MVP will carry on doing what it’s doing: enabling me to help beginner developers, so tell all of your friends 🚀


Thanks for reading this follow-up. Dev Pal’s success is largely down to my pals sharing it with their Twitter followers. If you could do the same, that would be hugely appreciated 🤟

Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff after sharing Dev Pal with their pals (unconfirmed)

Useful links:

My Twitter: @hankchizljaw
DevPal Twitter: @YourDevPal
DevPal Site: https://devpal.io
Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/hankchizljaw