SaaS Boilerplates and Starter Kits in 2024: The Ultimate Guide 🚀

Introduction to SaaS Boilerplates

SaaS boilerplates, also called SaaS starter kits, are popular for starting projects fast. Using the right boilerplate can cut down the time it takes to develop a new app. This means you can validate your idea as quickly as possible. But the tricky part is choosing the best boilerplate for your project.

This comprehensive guide outlines SaaS boilerplates, assesses their relevance for your projects, and guides you in choosing the right one in 2024.

Contents 📚

  1. Understanding SaaS 🧐
  2. Defining a SaaS Boilerplate 🔧
  3. The Operation of SaaS Boilerplates ⚙️
  4. Advantages of Boilerplate Utilization
  5. Drawbacks of Using a Boilerplate
  6. Choosing the Right SaaS Boilerplate 🔍
  7. Conclusion 🎉

Understanding SaaS 🧐

SaaS, an acronym for Software as a Service, refers to Internet-based software, examples being Gmail, Salesforce, and Twitter. They operate in browsers instead of direct installs on devices.

Business-wise, SaaS typically depicts a subscription model. Tools like JIRA and ChatGPT Pro are instances, with the B2B SaaS market flourishing significantly.

From a tech standpoint, many SaaS applications share core functionalities: user accounts, a front end, billing systems, and cloud deployment capability.

Defining a SaaS Boilerplate 🔧

A SaaS boilerplate or starter kit is a pre-developed template for SaaS apps. It offers an advanced starting point by providing foundational elements of the app, enabling developers to focus on adding custom features.

Structurally, boilerplates mimic how frameworks evolved, serving as yet another layer atop frameworks, speeding up deployment.

Typical Elements in a SaaS Boilerplate

  • Backend (database, payments, billing, user authentication)
  • Frontend (pre-designed interfaces, templates, UI components, SEO)
  • Development and deployment support (tooling, infrastructure and community)

Boilerplates often cater to particular tech stacks, being either open-source or commercial (with paid versions offering additional support and developer communities).

The Operation of SaaS Boilerplates ⚙️

Boilerplates start as codebases - you download, install, and have a base app to work with. Github is a common source for boilerplate code. The subsequent development process mirrors typical projects, with some allowing periodical feature updates through code merges.

Advantages of Boilerplate Utilization

Using a boilerplate speeds up app deployment and brings several other benefits:

  • They’re battle-tested, incorporating real-world fixes.
  • They incorporate best practices.
  • They provide consistency, simplifying team onboarding.
  • They facilitate learning amongst developers.
  • They provide additional learning resources and community support.

However, these advantages largely depend on the quality and maturity of the boilerplate.

Drawbacks of Using a Boilerplate

Boilerplates come with uncertainties:

  • They’re opinionated and could conflict with personal coding preferences.
  • They might prove inflexible for certain custom needs.
  • They can introduce unnecessary complexity.
  • Full codebase understanding may be compromised.

Selecting the right boilerplate usually presents benefits that outweigh these shortcomings.

Choosing the Right SaaS Boilerplate 🔍

Making the right choice involves several steps:

Finding boilerplates with specific tech stack

The best way to search is on 💥, where we carefully select only the boilerplates that meet our quality standards. We provide you with our rating and review. You can also filter by framework or features.

Picking your tech stack

When initializing your project, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make involves selecting a tech stack that is in harmony with both your own preferences and the strategic goals of your project. The integral parts of this tech stack are the frontend and backend frameworks. For instance, frameworks such as Next.js, Laravel, or Astro serve merely as examples of technologies that could influence the development velocity and time-to-market of your future application. We write about how to choose the right framework in 2024 in our separate article here.

Picking Your Framework

It’s always best to start where you have the most experience. If you’re new to frontend development, we recommend using Next.js or Astro in 2024. 🌐

Both frameworks are very popular, SEO-optimized, and combine frontend and backend functionalities so that there’s no need to create a separate backend service for APIs. Everything can reside in one repository. They also offer Static Site Generator (SSG) and Server-Side Rendered (SSR) functionality. This is ideal because you’d typically want to use SSG for your landing page, optimizing for speed (which also boosts your SEO) 🚀. For your dashboard, SSR is better as all requests will need to be authorized, and you’ll need the server to modify the database, execute business logic, and more. The ability to write both backend and frontend code in the same language—JavaScript (or TypeScript)—is also a benefit compared to the boilerplates that employ Ruby, PHP, or Python on the backend. You would still need to write JavaScript on the frontend, as it remains the only language that reliably runs in browsers.

An average programmer may spend a few weeks to months learning the framework (Next.js or Astro) and creating a project that includes basic SaaS functionality (such as payments, database, and user authentication). However, this process can be shortened to just days by using boilerplates.

Next.js vs Astro

Astro: Not suitable for complex user interfaces; simple admin and user dashboards are ok. For anything that resembles more a mobile app or a game than a website, Next.js is probably the better choice. Although Astro is relatively new, with less job market demand, its major releases are frequent without significant breaking changes. We are picking Astro because it’s very fast in terms of browser performance and development speed. There have been several occasions where Astro outperformed Next.js.

Next.js: Not the fastest for SSR setups intended for multi-page apps. Hosting Next.js outside of Vercel is increasingly difficult, while there are many options for hosting Astro even in SSR mode. We are picking Next.js for its large developer community and the wealth of examples available online. Built on React, Next.js makes it easy to hire developers if needed.

Picking Your Backend

The modern trend is to bundle the database with other backend services, such as user authentication, file storage, and deployment. The top options are Firebase and Supabase. Some people also use MongoDB or other standalone serverless databases, but Firebase and Supabase have the edge as they target app developers, solving related issues in the process.

Firebase vs Supabase

Firebase: Proprietary and tied to Google Cloud, which offers both advantages and disadvantages. A significant benefit is the familiarity with Google Cloud’s suite; leveraging other services is straightforward, and due to Google’s scale, Firebase is unlikely to be discontinued.

Supabase: Completely open-source, offering the possibility of self-deployment. However, this can be time-consuming, especially for those without prior backend service deployment experience.

Regarding pricing, it varies. Some features are more cost-effective with Firebase, others with Supabase. A noteworthy point is Supabase’s flat pro pricing compared to Firebase’s pay-as-you-go model, which doesn’t require flat fees.

How to Evaluate a Boilerplate

  • Look past the feature list to determine quality.
  • Seek social proof via online reviews.
  • Examine the history and frequency of updates.
  • Investigate the credentials of the project’s creators.

Conclusion 🎉

SaaS boilerplates and starter kits are instrumental in expediting your application’s development, although they’re not without flaws. The most challenging aspect is selecting an ideal boilerplate, but following this guide provides a strategic approach and suggestions for high-quality options. Now, it’s time to get out there and start building!