June 27, 2020

Pub Quiz Creator

What is it?

Pub Quiz Creator is a web app to help you run your own pub quiz. For those not from the U.K. or Ireland, they're pretty popular over here (you may call them trivia nights?), or at least they were before COVID anyway!

Pub Quiz Creator allows you to:

  • Create quizzes with multiple rounds for free in just a few clicks.
  • Auto-generate rounds from the database of 50,000 questions.
  • Print a PDF of your quizzes as well - the app will generate a pack with questions and answers for the host and blank answer sheets for the participants.
  • There is a library of 50,000 questions (from open source repos mainly, with some of my own too) with many categorised by topics such as general knowledge and geography. You can add your own questions too.

While the marketing and targeting is quite specific to Pub Quizzes, the app could be used for any type of quiz. I should revisit that decision at some point once I have a moment....

Why did you build it?

As a project to get back into development and also because I thought it was an interesting problem to solve - many friends run pub quizzes for charity or as a social event and I've heard so many times how hard it is to find questions, collate them and then create the answer sheets. This reduces that problem to just a few clicks.

Who uses it?

More people than I thought - I get 4000-5000 visitors a month on the site. Visitors are from the UK and Ireland mainly, but people around the world visit it too. Beyond that, I've done no analysis of it, simply becuase of a lack of time. I would like to keep growing that number, obviously.

What did you make it with?

Ruby on Rails is my programming tool of choice - it's so easy to get an website/app up and running quickly. But to make a fully functioning site, you need a bit more than that.

So to list some of the technologies I used:

  • Ruby on Rails for the app itself.
  • Postgres for the database.
  • Heroku for hosting.
  • Stripe for handling payments.
  • Google Adsense for Ads.
  • Bootstrap for the front end - I bought a theme and modified it for my own use.
  • Sendgrid for sending emails (password resets and so on).
  • Mailchimp for email lists.

Are you still working on it?

Yes, when I get a chance - the app can be used for free, so most people do that, meaning that my support time is limited. However, my to-do list includes:

  • Different types of quiz questions - images (almost ready), multiple choice and so on.
  • A 'presentation mode' for the rounds so that the app can be used to present rounds as well as the PDFs.
  • A review of how people use and and what the app is missing/doing wrong - I'd love to grow it even more than it already is and understanding why people use it (and why they don't) is really important. I may embed some feedback tools for that purpose.
  • Speed improvements - the PDF speed generation is a particular issue I'd like to focus on.
  • UI improvements - everything works, but the line 'Get it working, get it right, get it fast', reflects how I feel about the UI right now.