CourseMaker Is an Online Course Builder for Technical Makers

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In this episode of Running in Production, Chris Samiullah goes over building a video course hosting platform with FastAPI, Strapi and Gatsby. It’s hosted on ECS along with a bunch of AWS resources. It’s been running in production since early 2021.

Chris talks about combining a Gatsby static site with FastAPI, using AWS Fargate, streaming videos with Cloudflare, supporting both Stripe and Paddle, using a bit of Serverless Lambdas and tons more.

Topics Include

  • 3:19 – Hiring outside contractors to tackle setting up the infrastructure
  • 5:05 – Motivation for choosing Strapi, FastAPI, React, Gatsby and more
  • 9:37 – Strapi is being used as a headless CMS for the student watching front-end
  • 10:33 – Going over how the student watching experience is set up
  • 14:20 – Creating a course preview with Fargate using sub-domains and DNS entries
  • 16:35 – A couple Gatsby plugins that helped build the site
  • 18:57 – A couple of Python libraries to help build out the FastAPI back-end
  • 20:54 – Using Cloudflare for streaming the videos and Shaka as the video player
  • 26:39 – Stripe and Paddle are being used to handle payments (including VAT)
  • 37:35 – About 20k lines of Python and 10k lines of front-end / React code
  • 39:53 – Everything is Dockerized, there’s PostgreSQL and an ALB too
  • 43:30 – Using Let’s Encrypt and letting course owners hook up custom domain names
  • 45:05 – Reasons for choosing AWS and ECS (hosting is about $100 to $150 a month)
  • 51:45 – Having a dev (staging) server and production in different regions
  • 53:27 – What it’s like coding things up in development and pushing them to production
  • 58:42 – The dev experience for using AWS Lambdas and creating internal tooling
  • 1:05:59 – On-boarding new authors (doing something that doesn’t scale but it works now)
  • 1:10:33 – A public service announcement about database migrations
  • 1:13:13 – FastAPI has been working very nicely
  • 1:16:41 – Backing up the database and user generated files
  • 1:19:56 – Using Sentry for tracking errors and getting notified over Slack
  • 1:25:35 – Best tips? Pick a hosting infrastructure that fits your project
  • 1:27:44 – Picking between ECS and EKS was left to the contractor
  • 1:30:03 – Check out, Chris is on Twitter and LinkedIn too
📄 References
⚙️ Tech Stack
🛠 Libraries Used

Support the Show

This episode does not have a sponsor and this podcast is a labor of love. If you want to support the show, the best way to do it is to purchase one of my courses or suggest one to a friend.

  • Dive into Docker is a video course that takes you from not knowing what Docker is to being able to confidently use Docker and Docker Compose for your own apps. Long gone are the days of "but it works on my machine!". A bunch of follow along labs are included.
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Jun 21, 2021

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