Ask HN: What is the most impactful thing you've ever built?

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on

InfluxDB - Power Real-Time Data Analytics at Scale
Get real-time insights from all types of time series data with InfluxDB. Ingest, query, and analyze billions of data points in real-time with unbounded cardinality.
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SaaSHub helps you find the best software and product alternatives
  • beadm

    FreeBSD utility to manage Boot Environments on ZFS filesystems.

  • Three things.

        - beadm ----->

  • InfluxDB

    Power Real-Time Data Analytics at Scale. Get real-time insights from all types of time series data with InfluxDB. Ingest, query, and analyze billions of data points in real-time with unbounded cardinality.

    InfluxDB logo
  • automount

    Simple devd(8) based automounter for FreeBSD

  • - automount ->

  • lsblk

    List information about block devices in the FreeBSD system.

  • - lsblk ----->

  • Video-Hub-App

    Official repository for Video Hub App

  • Built Video Hub App that almost 5,000 people have purchased. I was a math teacher, became a web dev 6 years ago, built this 5 years ago. Most proceeds go to charity. Very minor by comparison to others, but I'm just starting out ;) &&

    What I did that is most impactful is that I've been giving at least 10% of my income to cost-effective charities for over 10 years now (see Giving What We Can - thousands of others do the same). This amounts to almost $100,000 given to charity which translates to thousands of people protected from malaria for many years of their lives.

  • miceforest

    Multiple Imputation with LightGBM in Python

  • node-captions

    NodeJS module for converting captions from one format to another.

  • A nodejs closed caption converter. I’m not a developer but can get along just fine for most of my projects.

    Funniest part was, I open sourced it. Then a few years and an acquisition later the parent company tried to sell us a tool for converting caption files based off my own code.

  • komorebi

    A tiling window manager for Windows 🍉

  • Right now I'm quite humbled by the number of people who are using Notado[1] to liberate their Twitter Liked Tweets before the collapse that everyone is worrying about.

    There are also thousands of people using a tiling window manager for Windows which I originally built for myself and decided to share publicly for free.[2] I still can't believe how popular it has become, very humbling.



  • SaaSHub

    SaaSHub - Software Alternatives and Reviews. SaaSHub helps you find the best software and product alternatives

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  • rekor

    Software Supply Chain Transparency Log

  • - although its really not true to say I built it. I started it off, but very quickly smarter folks then me jumped on board and really took it to all sorts of new directions.

  • styled-components

    Visual primitives for the component age. Use the best bits of ES6 and CSS to style your apps without stress 💅

  • Definitely styled-components[0].

    #257th most starred repository on GitHub, used by millions of developers to ship millions of websites — you've very likely visited websites that are built with it!


  • dotdevelop

    MonoDevelop is a cross platform .NET IDE

  • Monodevelop, I think:

    It wasn't a planned thing. I had recently got injured playing football, so I was stuck at home, not being able to walk or drive. I started checking the #mono IRC channel (it was 2003 and internet was something you did over a 48k modem, when your home phone line was not needed). Some guys, lead by Miguel de Icaza, the founder of Gnome, were implementing a compiler of C# and a bytecode interpreter of .NET IL, and I was very curious about it. I downloading, compiling and trying things out.

    Then one day Miguel wrote in the channel that it would be nice to have some graphical editor and that somebody could perhaps port SharpDevelop over to Linux, by replacing Windows.Forms by calls to GTK. I said that I'd give it a shot and... well, 10 days later we had a working editor and half a dozen of contributors.

  • GoJS, a JavaScript Library for HTML Diagrams

    JavaScript diagramming library for interactive flowcharts, org charts, design tools, planning tools, visual languages.

  • I built GoJS, which is one of the most popular commercial JS diagramming libraries:

    I built carefulwords, a very fast thesaurus and quote site for inspiration, used by... tens of people a day. Eg:

    I mostly made it for myself, me and my wife use it all the time. I am slowly editing down the thesaurus to managable size.

    I built a 12x16 "Goose Palace" barn out of local pine timbers, which taught me timber framing, and taught my tiny baby who turned 2 years old while doing it that this is just the kind of thing that people normally do, build barns in their driveway. Some context:

    Some photos of building it with the baby:

    I designed my house, and have been writing extensively about that. Maybe this is the most impactful, since photos of it are all over Pinterest and other sites, now. The first post on that:

    I am not sure what is most impactful. Maybe ultimately it is building my family.


    Discontinued The frontend, backend, and content source code for

  • Though-provoking Q!

    In terms of sheer amount of people affected it's gotta be all those docs I wrote for Chrome DevTools, Lighthouse, and

  • Knapsack

    Knapsack splits tests evenly across parallel CI nodes to run fast CI build and save you time. (by ArturT)

  • I've created a knapsack ruby gem for CI parallelisation that has over 122 million downloads. Primarily due to the fact, Gitlab is using it.

    I spin off from the knapsack gem and we are helping our customers run fast CI builds.

  • cmdmp3

    Lightweight command-line MP3 players for Windows written in C

  • Some things I built on the side, outside of my day job:

    In the late 90's, I sold a command-line SMTP e-mailer for Windows. It was easy enough for folks to integrate e-mail transmission into their systems ... even 16-bit systems since spawning a copy of the shell would allow 16-bit systems to invoke my 32-bit mailer. Lots of folks had used these tools for all sorts of things. I got registration checks and cash from around the world before I started taking credit card payments.

    I have an open source command-line MP3 player for Windows that folks still use and incorporate into their systems, JS libraries for node.js, ...etc.

  • mil

    A small, concatenative programming language. Implemented in C99.

  • I don't know if this is impactful, but the projecy that reached out to the most people that I can think of is Mil[0]. It is a small stack-based language that I wrote in C as a learning language. I first showcased it on HN, thinking nothing much than to get feedback. It turned out to do decently well in views and reach, even reaching out to the Chinese tech community because someone posted it on a Chinese social website (I forgot the domain name).

    Even though Mil's popularity is pretty typical of my other projects, but seeing it going out to other social media is pretty cool.


  • radar_sar_rma

    A Python implementation of the Range Migration Algorithm (RMA) to generate Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images.

  • As part of a team at my last job, I worked on some core features of -- if I'm tricked into a bragging mood I like to say a book got written about it The product is still useful to thousands of businesses and transitively their customers, so it's probably the most impact I've made even if it's a shared impact with many others.

    Individually, nothing much. Maybe an old python2+numpy re-implementation of a slow matlab script for radar, specifically SAR RMA imaging: I still get the occasional ping about it. A handful of other things have over the years been helpful to a handful of other people, like a hacky jira-to-github-issues migration script, or a simple ranked choice voting counter using scraped web data. That's always nice, but nothing super impactful. I don't mind.

  • Dash-Board-for-Newton-OS

    Dash Board was a popular interface enhancement for Newton OS 2.1 in the late 1990s.

  • For me, it was the second application I ever released, when I was a student at university and still didn't really know how to program properly.

    The application was Dash Board[1] for Newton OS, and it only ran on the final generation of Newton hardware (created by Apple, but spun out as a separate company in its final days, before being killed by Steve Jobs shortly after his return).

    It "only" sold a few thousand copies. (But it was during the warez heyday, and I am pretty sure there were also tens of thousands of bootleg copies being used, thanks to the registration code generator by "DocNZ" that was widely shared on Hotline back then.)

    But that was really pretty great, since the final MP2000/2100 generation of hardware it required was thought to have only sold about 200,000 devices in total.

    I have since had a fairly normal software engineer career, and have worked on apps that shipped far more copies, and today I work on customer facing web applications and API SDKs that have more users, and arguably do stuff that is more "important" (e.g. help companies manage large fleets of machines/robots/IoT stuff) than what Dash Board did — which was basically just improve the user interface of the Newton.

    But it's 100% clear to me that the magnitude of user impact of Dash Board was much higher than any other thing I've built. People really loved it — I know because hundreds of them actually wrote to us to let us know. (LOL I mean wrote to me "me" — old habits of pretending the company wasn't just one student in his tiny apartment die hard).

    Of course, I made more money later, and worked on things that touched a much larger number of people's lives. But "impact" has both X and Y axes. It was the depth of the users' fondness for Dash Board that makes it eclipse everything since. I don't think there are that many chances to just go for "user delight" as the number one metric.

    For me, developer satisfaction is a function of that user delight more than anything else.


    [2]: 15 years later, I open-sourced the code and gave it a proper retrospective:

  • gaseous-giganticus

    This program procedurally generates gas giant cubemap textures for the game Space Nerds In Space.

  • inaturalist

    The Rails app behind


    While I deserve no credit for its current success, it's been used by millions to:

    * catalogue millions of plants and animals around the world

  • NoCoin

    Discontinued No Coin is a tiny browser extension aiming to block coin miners such as Coinhive.

  • My most impactful project was definitely NoCoin [0], the first web miner blocker. Back when Monero miners started appearing and sneakily mining on pages, like The Pirate Bay for example, I decided to throw together a browser extension that would simply block requests to the resources that hosted these mining scripts. The project was in no way a technical achievement, it was simply intercepting requests and blocking them based on a list. I could have very well added the resources to some other project like uBlock origin. But it got traction, ended up in the press (WIRED, Motherboard, Gizmodo) and ultimately started being integrated within browsers (Opera was first) and most of the popular ad blockers. The project lost its relevance as everyone else was doing it better and maintaining the list of blocked resources was too time consuming for me. Nevertheless, the goal was achieved, which was to "get rid" of crypto mining on the web. The mission got carried by bigger actors, which brings me more satisfaction than the popularity of the project.

    Another impactful project of mine was also a browser extension. Internal tool that started as a lunch time project to make my team's life easier. Can't go in detail on that one, but basically they liked it and start suggesting improvements. So did a department that was working with us. And bit by bit, it became a really useful tool that became standard in these departments. Last I heard, the tool is now deployed company-wide. Crazy to think it started just from some lunch time hacking :-)


  • dalle-mini

    DALL·E Mini - Generate images from a text prompt

  • Cocos2d-x-Guessing-Game

    Cocos2d-x 3.2 Generic Guessing-game + framework to build Guessing-games content on the server

  • for them it was cool small game , for me it ment allot .

    Open sourced it :

  • eap_proxy

    Proxy EAP packets between interfaces on Linux devices such as the Ubiquiti Networks EdgeRouter™ and UniFi® Security Gateway.

  • With my wife, I built two kids both in college now. That's definitely the most impactful.

    In the online world, I've contributed bits and pieces to open-source here and there as far back as the late 90s. I think my first contribution was to the shadow package, but I've contributed here and there to Apache, Radius, random packages that I use that I discover bugs in, etc.

    A python script I wrote to allow folks to bypass AT&T's residential gateway was used by more people than I ever expected:

  • coreutils

    upstream mirror (by coreutils)


    Designed/Built/Deployed Meta's backend operating system for the last 7 years

  • side-by-side

    Visual comparison of different translations of itemized texts; e.g. poems, bibles, etc.

  • moja

    Composable computation pipelines for Java: Async, Lazy, Option, Try, Result, Multi (List), Stated, Reader, Logger, Writer.

  • Sure, SafeQL[0] SQL library. It's been sitting in a close but not enough to promote state for a while. The main thing I wanted was to have generation of the bindings to existing DB schema. I also want to combine using Moja[1] datatypes for uniform handling of single/multi, normal/async, and errors.



  • arduino_midi_library

    MIDI for Arduino

  • The Arduino MIDI Library [1]. Back in 2009, I learned C++ to build it and control my guitar effects pedals with custom electronics as part of my engineering degree.


  • zingg

    Scalable identity resolution, entity resolution, data mastering and deduplication using ML

  • As part of my data consulting, I struggled with identity resolution and started working on scalable no code identity resolution - . It has pushed my limits as a software engineer and product builder, and I had to do a lot of learning to build it. Its cool to see people use Zingg in their workflows and save months of working on custom solutions. Big highlight has been North Carolina Open Campaign Data

  • gofakeit

    Random fake data generator written in go

  • Its not much but I have had success with a random data generator package for golang called Its not live changing but hopefully it helps out enough developers.

  • Slim Select

    Slim advanced select dropdown

  • A select dropdown written in javascript for those who need a bit more from a dropdown.

  • SaaSHub

    SaaSHub - Software Alternatives and Reviews. SaaSHub helps you find the best software and product alternatives

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NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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