I’ve been interested in Telescope since Sacha Greif introduced it a few years ago. Telescope is an open-source social news app. For example, it enables you to build sites similar to Hacker News and Product Hunt. When it was first introduced, I was interested because it was built using the Meteor JS framework. In its infancy, you could only clone (copy) the Telecope source code, and then use code to customize features and look and feel. Today, you can still do the same, but I recently visited the Telescope website, and noticed a ‘magic button’ added.
Telescope (now with magic) allows you to do an instant deploy to set up a community ‘out of the box.’
When you click the ‘One-Click Deploy’, you are taken to a Heroku setup, where you are asked to 1) create or login into your heroku account and 2)c hose a name for your app, which will also be used in the default URL used to access your app. ie If you name your app ‘my-telescope-app’, heroku creates an URL at http://my-telescope-app.herokuapp.com.
After the setup on Heroku, you can then go to your custom URL and see your newly deployed app.
From here, click on the Register link to create an account. By default, the first account created becomes an admin account. After registration and login, you can go to the Settings page and make basic changes to customize the site’s title, layout and colors. Here’s the result of the changes that I made:
Instructions for configuring the app, are located on the Telescope site. Within 20 minutes, I was able to create a simple community site.
Pretty impressive and with one-click install/deploy to heroku, most people should be able to set up a community social news site without having to code. So, you can now build your Hacker News For ‘X’, or Product Hunt for ‘Y’. Here are some examples of apps built with Telescope.
Note: For extensive changes to the site, you have to copy the source code, and make changes directly to the code.