Cover Image.png

In this issue, I will share one lesson I learned today.


Yesterday, I wrote a tutorial about Retool, demoing a process to rebuild the Google Fonts website within 30 minutes. Retool’s Twitter account picked it up and shared it! I was pleased with the project and continued to hack around it today, even though I was not supposed to.

Seeing what Google Fonts API and Retool can do together, I came up with an idea to create a “Coding Fonts Playground” to help programmers pick coding fonts easily. My secret goal is to make a traffic magnet to promote my product and newsletters because my last growth hack project has been successful.

I had most of the functionalities done from yesterday’s tutorial piece. All I need to do is to:

  1. Filter the table to show monospaced fonts only.
  2. Add a code preview window.

I blazed through #1 by altering the data transformer in Retool:

const search_fonts = data.items.filter(item =>{{search.value.toLowerCase()}}));
const result = search_fonts.filter(font => font.category == "monospace");
return result;

I get stuck at #2. I wanted the code preview to look very fancy with syntax highlighting and color theme “Cobalt,” like what I had in my other project CSS Mono microsite:,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

I need to use javascript like prism.js to achieve syntax highlighting; however, I found out Retool blocked all javascript in the iFrame component. I have to write a custom Retool component using react.js to perform syntax highlighting.

I entertained the direction for two hours until dinner time when I paused my work to cook. Cooking is a great time to think. It hits me: I just need a code preview window. Syntax highlighting adds flair, but it is hardly necessary. I could get #2 done in a few minutes, but instead, I spent hours!

After dinner, I wrapped up #2 with nothing fancy but <pre> <code> tags and simple CSS:,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

“If users like a particular font, they may want to download it.” I thought. So I added another requirement to the app feature list:

  1. Add download fonts button

It surprised me how little it takes to add such a crucial feature. I just add a button to open this link:

Powered by Fruition