Jake Weber is a multidisciplinary designer, engineer, and writer who has always been drawn to invention as a kind of balance between art and real-world impact. It’s no surprise then that Jake built Printernet, a project that bridges our online lives with tactile experience by “packaging up your bookmarked articles to be read by you, in your hands, in a carefully bound print edition.”
Jake’s journey with Replit began in 2021 when he saw a Paul Graham post referencing Replit. Immediately, he was hooked by how easy it was to get up and running quickly.
Shortly after, on a long drive back to Austin, Jake reflected on how much reading he was doing online and how the experience of reading off a screen paled compared to picking up and diving into a physical book. What he needed to build was a physical RSS feed. That’s when the idea of Printernet was born.
Inspired by an interview with Michael Seibel about launching fast with an MVP, Jake started building Printernet in earnest. Jake first hosted Printernet on Squarespace and started printing the issues himself. Eventually, Product Hunt caught wind of the project, indicating that Jake wasn’t the only one who wanted a physical RSS feed. Today, Jake is building the next version of Printernet on Replit.
Jake started integrating Replit into Printernet to build automations to cut down on the time it took to manually compile and format each issue. “I was literally copying and pasting text from websites, one at a time. This process was extremely tedious and probably took 2 to 3 days to fulfill a single order. Once I began developing automations with Replit the time it took to fulfill an order went down dramatically. Now, with my Replit code, the moment an order is placed my Python Repl begins working for me.”
He’s been extending those automations with the help of Replit AI and Deployments to help scale up the Printernet experience, working on account management, content curation, and even an at-home formatting and printing experience. “As I’ve been working on the Printernet web app, Replit has provided similar gains in efficiency. I got some of the key features up and running within a week. Things like Replit AI, the ease of installing packages, and the effortless deployment feature have been delightful. These things let me focus on the creative fun stuff and execute on my ideas insanely fast.”
As a self-taught developer and designer, Jake starts by building the frontend. Once he has pixels on the screen, Jake uses Replit AI to help him build the back end in Python. “I’d never written a line of Python in my life and after a few working sessions reduced the time it took to fulfill orders by orders of magnitude. Replit’s AI was crucial during this…When it first worked it was magical.”
“I’ll usually go to Replit AI because then I’m staying in the site, staying in the flow…I never leave”
In just a few months, Jake has built out a Chrome extension, account management, and payment processing, automatic formatting, and even social features, all on his own and all on Replit. “Now there are API endpoints for this Repl (using node.js with Replit) and when users order an issue their five reading selections are sent into the Repl directly, which starts working on them right away. It cleans them up (removing ads, images, comments, social links, and other distracting stuff), adds the Printernet style to them, and also does cool stuff like save any links present in the reading material to distinct link files.”
Thanks to these automations, Printernet is now ready to scale up and welcome a wider audience. Become an early adopter, build your own Printernet issue!
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