I’m in the early stages of building a saas product for small product-based businesses. I originally began this process using Firebase as my backend, but now I’ve found blockstack which offers some really compelling options that gets me off of a Google stack.
That said - my end users aren’t going to be software engineers or blockchain enthusiasts, they are everyday small business owners who either won’t have the knowhow, or the interest in setting up an AWS account to get an S3 bucket to store their data on. So I’m trying to see if there is something I’ve missed in the docs that would remove this source of friction for non-technical users? I do plan on charging a small amount for the product to cover operating expenses - trying to keep these costs as low as possible though. Is there a way I could setup the bucket for them and offer them that storage through their payment to use the service?
I’m still new to the decentralization concept - let me know if I’m missing something here, or if I should be looking at this differently.
Yes – you can run a Gaia hub on your users’ behalf. Once you have a Gaia hub running, you’d have your users go into their Blockstack Browser Settings page and change their Gaia hub URL from https://hub.blockstack.org to whatever your Gaia hub URL is. Some Blockstack apps like Graphite already support this – customers install their own Gaia hub and share it with their coworkers this way.
This is relatively new functionality and will be improved upon more in Q4 of this year.
Thanks for this information @jude! So it sounds like I could setup a hub for them and they would have to manually update their settings to use that hub. I don’t love requiring them to do manual steps here still, but it’s much better than what I had in mind originally and I guess a requirement to decentralizing the data storage to the users - a desirable outcome, just trying to make it as easy as I possibly can. This type of technology would be very new to a lot of my user demographic. Can you clarify what sort of improvements are on the roadmap for Q4 in regards to this process?
Just think of it this way – your users can, at their discretion, choose where they want to host their SaaS data at any time . This necessarily means that users need the option to choose where their data ends up. I agree that, insofar as onboarding, it should be easier for you to help users choose where their Gaia hub endpoint lives, but this is one of those things that needs to be improved in Q4.
Easier for non-technical users to stand up their own Gaia hubs
Easier for users to pick on a per-app basis which Gaia hub to use
Scoped authentication in Gaia hubs (so users can share their Gaia hubs with other users without compromising security)