My First Show Hacker News

Experiences & Statistics

A while back I built, which I describe like this:

A playground that runs your config on real servers for you, a bit like CodePen for server tech.

At the time of writing this includes nginx, HAProxy, Jinja, Django Template Engine and Go Template.

Having released the project to the public back in June of 2023, through my social media channels and some private groups, it got moderate usage - about 2-3 requests per day that were not me using it in my daily work.

This was completely fine for me, since I built it to scratch my own itch. Nonetheless I wanted others to at least know and maybe even benefit from something I built.

So on the 11th of January 2024, shortly after building out the Go Template playground, I decided to try putting it up as a Show Hacker News posting.

This is the, admittedly basic, posting I wrote:

Show HN: Playground for web servers and template engines (

I always wanted a way to easily run different technologies to try them out, debug on the fly, share working config snippets and help me in teaching others. At some point I thought others may find that useful too, so I built it. Currently supports nginx, HAProxy, Django templates, Jinja2 and Go templates.

On Hacker News itself it got almost no traction: No comments and 4 points, one of which is my own.

Looking at my analytics tells a very different story though:

Screenshot of view statistics for from 2023-12-21 to 2024-01-19

There are a significant number of views starting on the day of the Hacker News posting.

A lot of them can’t be attributed to Hacker News by referrer, but since I did not promote anywhere else I’m reasonably sure they mostly originate from there, either directly or indirectly.

Since I also track metrics about the usage of the actual tools in relation to visitors there is another interesting observation:

The Hacker News audience was highly engaged with the tools, Doing some back of the envelope calculations they actually used the tools about 10 times more then any other audience did.

Side note: At one time this actually managed to overwhelm my backend running this for a few minutes.


It should not have been surprising to me that Hacker News readers engage deeply with content they look at, I do so myself whenever I have the time.

The disproportion of interaction with the actual tool and the post was somewhat of a surprise to me, my working theory is that lurking is rather wide spread.

I already use Hacker News as a reader regularly, but in the future I will also use it to showcase my side project whenever they could be of interest to the community there.

See also