Gone are the days of enjoying the quiet beat of butterfly keyboards. Now the tactile click, clack or “thoc” of mechanical keyboards is preferred.
These mechanical keyboards also come in trendy colors and are open to customization, which makes them all the more appealing.
In fact, many have taken up mechanical keyboard modification as a hobby, and you’ll find countless YouTube videos on the subject.
For beginners getting into the hobby, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) switches, stabilizers, keycaps, and all the other fancy terms used in the community can be alienating.
When he was a relative newcomer to the Malaysian mechanical keyboard community, Nik Amir Haikal (also known as Amir, and he’s now 23) turned to Facebook to pursue his new found interest. He was looking for suggestions from the community on what kind of keyboard he should buy.
Without pre-existing knowledge, Amir was unsure whether the answers he was getting to his published questions were genuine or not.
As he began to gain his own knowledge of mechanical keyboards over the next few years, he decided he wanted to help others in the same situation he had before.
So, he developed a simple website for mechanical keyboard novices to start making their own keyboard.
Enter: Keybs Finder
Keybs Finder is a rather rudimentary website at the moment, but its existence is to help people get price ranges for various keyboard components, from switches to keycaps.
Amir shared that the significance of this is due to the misinformation about keyboard prices that can circulate online, as well as the trust issues that come with group buying.
“Therefore, I think a platform where users can browse and especially see the keyboard market should exist,” Amir told Vulcan Post. “At least they can get an idea of what kind of keyboards [are available] in the world.”
Keybs Finder was developed in just two days. Already a full stack developer by profession, Amir had his own framework.
“For example, if I wanted to create another website, I can just use my own framework and develop it probably in a week or two,” he explained.
The information found on Keybs Finder is acquired from data sources, using an API that Amir created himself.
API is an acronym that stands for “application programming interface”, allowing applications to exchange information with each other. Although there are many protocols and technologies involved, the underlying purpose of APIs is always the same: to allow one piece of software to communicate with another.
Breaking down how he did it, Amir shared, “The process is simple. First, I just need to enter all the keyboard information such as keyboard brand, name, price, store link and product images from Shopee or their official websites.
“Then I use the collection to bulk insert into the Keybs Finder database.”
Amir denied that Keybs Finder is still in its first version, so data sources on the site are limited as the datasets are still small. However, he plans to update the site from time to time and put it online when it is ready.
In a future update, Amir teased that there will be a “quick search” feature where users can search for keyboards in the market. Users can also filter their searches based on keyboard layout size, material, brand, and price.
Amir imagines that Keybs Finder will also have a section where users can view useful YouTube channels to learn more about keyboards independently.
For now, the main target market for Keybs Finder is those who are getting into the rabbit hole of custom mechanical keyboards.
To grow, the site’s resources would need to be scaled to be applicable to more markets, and it’s possible it could become a market for keyboards, and possibly monetized.
But when questioned, Amir clarified that he has no intention of evolving Keybs Finder into something bigger than what is currently planned to be. Nor does it intend to create a market for keyboard components.
He remains committed to making Keybs Finder a useful resource for custom mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, especially as an introductory platform.
“As a member of the custom keyboard community, I feel it’s my responsibility to contribute to the community. If I’m able to develop something that helps newcomers lessen the difficulties of the hobby, I think I should execute it,” he shared.
As someone who has also just entered the world of custom mechanical keyboards, Keybs Finder is a great tool to start with as an introduction to the options available.
Personally, I must have acquired most of my knowledge of mechanical keyboards by talking to other enthusiasts (who happen to be my colleagues), as well as by checking out YouTube content.
The learning curve can be steep and the investment cost of the hobby is higher. Therefore, I don’t think Amir’s efforts will go unappreciated, as Keybs Finder has what it takes to fill the beginners’ knowledge gap.
- Learn more about Keybs Finder here.
- Check out other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Keybs Finder