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David Haven
David Haven
Type Duration Programming Language Libraries Concepts
Web app Feb, 2022 - Now Javascript NextJS, Antlr4, MongoDB, graph.js, TailwindCSS Tree parsing, grammar

Star Realms is a fast-paced 2 player card game in which you construct a fleet of interstellar ships that you use to inflict damage on your opponent and reduce his life to 0 before he does the same to you. The Star Realms app doesn’t provide any statistics once you have finished a game nor does it provide a history of the game you’ve played. SR-stats attempts to fill this gap by providing a web app where players can upload games they have played and view detailed statistics.

Video presentation


Once the user has finished a game of Star Realms he needs to copy the game data from the options menu and paste it into the SR-stats app. Currently this is the only way to transfer a game between the 2 apps. SR-stats is a simple web app built using NextJS (a React framework). The main role of the backend is to parse the input file, generate an AST (Abstract Syntax Tree) and traverse the tree in order to end up with a json representation of the game which is then stored on the MongoDB Cloud. The app also makes use of Auth0 for identity management.


What I got right

Thanks to the mistakes I made in my previous project Clipshare I managed this time around to get more things right.

  1. Focus on core features and have a POC out quickly. Within 4 months of starting the development of this app I had something to show to the community. It only had a small set of features but it worked and it gave me the opportunity to collect feedback from the users and validate that this is something worth building.
  2. Keep it simple and cheap: Only spend time on things that add value to the users and don’t try to future proof anything. I used the NextJS framework to build my ReactJS app and used Vercel to handle automatic deployment from my Github repo. This saved me a lot of time.
  3. Build for well-known customers. I knew who I was building for and how to reach them (Facebook group, subreddit, Discord servers). This meant I had to spend minimal effort on the marketing side of things.

Tradeoffs I had to make

  1. The friction that comes from asking the users to upload each game manually. Some users might find the app inconvenient to use. In general I think it is ok to not have a solution that works for everyone. Rather the way I approach it is to first build for a niche of passionate people and then grow the user base by making the app attractive to more people.
  2. Relying too much on a third-party. Building something that is too tightly connected to an existing app of service is a risk because you could easily be cut off. The advantage on the other hand is that you can piggyback off of an existing user base.

These are tradeoffs I was aware of when I started working on the project and I decided to proceed regardless because I thought value could still be delivered.


From the technical side I got to work with some interesting computer science concepts such as ASTs and grammars. I realised that UI/UX is much harder than I anticipated. This part was very challenging to me given my lack of experience in this domain. After multiple iterations I managed to design a UI I could be proud of.

At a human level, putting something I built in front of users, listening to feedback and building a community around the app were all things I was new at and I found them very rewarding. I also discovered that it is not enough to simply build a product. You also need to get people interested, and constantly promote it.