Elliot Dickison is a FusionAuth community member and CEO and co-founder of Treefort Systems. He chatted with us over email about how he and his team are using FusionAuth to meet their auth needs.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Dan: Can you tell me a bit about Treefort Systems? What is the company’s mission?
Elliot: Treefort is a small software business that runs a white-label media streaming platform. Organizations can use our platform to design and launch their own branded, cross-platform media streaming apps without writing any code themselves. Our mission is to help organizations monetize digital content by connecting directly with their audiences through channels that they control.
Dan: What kind of organizations are your ideal customer?
Elliot: We got our start in the Christian publishing space so many of our customers are ministries or faith-based organizations. Our design-your-own-app system is quite flexible though, so really it’s a great fit for anyone with a catalog of digital content and a desire to stream it through their own channels and build up their own audience instead of getting lost in the crowd on third-party aggregation platforms. We don’t have restrictions on organization size; we can work with anyone from an individual YouTuber to a large publisher.
If we’re comparing with something like Auth0 then FusionAuth has saved us thousands of dollars.
Dan: How many organizations have video lying around that can be monetized?
Elliot: I don’t have an exact number, but we’ve discovered many organizations with deep catalogs of content that are under-utilized because they haven’t found good distribution or monetization strategies. And it’s not just video. Audio content like conference recordings, lectures, or audiobooks are in-demand but are difficult to monetize effectively on your own.
Dan: Tell me about your role at Treefort Systems.
Elliot: I’m the CEO and co-founder.
Dan: How do you use FusionAuth? OAuth? User management? Social sign-on? Something else?
Elliot: FusionAuth powers auth for everything we do: our admin portal, the media streaming apps that we deploy, our API, our internal chat service, etc. We use the OAuth authorization code grant (with PKCE!) to authenticate users on the web, iOS, and Android. We add one-off applications to FusionAuth for our customers when they want to treat us as an SSO provider for their other properties (e.g. WordPress). In the future we’re planning to take advantage of the device code grant for TV apps.
FusionAuth powers auth for everything we do.
Dan: So glad you use PKCE! How have you found the mobile experience with the authorization code grant? Do any folks push back on the slightly different look and feel?
Elliot: It’s been working great for us, we use custom themes to match our native UI and no one has mentioned the differences.
Our one pain point would be white-labeling the domain name.
We’re currently working on proxying FusionAuth behind a custom domain name for each of our customers, but have run into a few hitches setting that up. I’m confident we’ll get it worked out, but we wouldn’t complain if FusionAuth added features like the ability to host under a sub-path [editor: tracking issue] or lock the OAuth flow to a particular tenant.
Dan: What problems did we solve for you?
Elliot: From the beginning we knew we needed a system that could power branded auth for many different businesses across many different platforms. We weren’t comfortable rolling our own auth but we also weren’t comfortable giving a third-party full control over all of our users.
I wasn’t sure we’d actually find a solution, but FusionAuth fit the bill perfectly with your first-class multi-tenant support, powerful theming, ability to self-host, and built-in standards like OAuth and OIDC.
FusionAuth is a rare piece of software in that it has solved an extremely complex problem for us without any jerry rigging. It’s helped us scale from 0 to 70k user accounts without a hitch. I’m constantly recommending it to people for this reason.
FusionAuth is a rare piece of software in that it has solved an extremely complex problem for us without any jerry rigging. … I’m constantly recommending it to people for this reason.
Dan: How were you solving them before FusionAuth?
Elliot: We’ve been using FusionAuth since the start so thankfully we don’t have any auth horror stories in our past (with this business at least).
Dan: Why did you choose FusionAuth over the alternatives?
Elliot: FusionAuth’s multi-tenant capabilities, your generous self-host-for-free tier, and the quality of your APIs (consistent, complete, and well documented) won us over quickly.
Dan: How much time and money would you say FusionAuth has saved you?
Elliot: If we’re comparing with something like Auth0 then FusionAuth has saved us thousands of dollars.
If we’re comparing with a custom-built solution, let’s just say I would probably be fixing bugs right now instead of writing this.
Dan: How do you run FusionAuth (kubernetes, standalone server, behind a proxy, etc)?
Elliot: We run a simple 2 node setup via Docker on Fly.io.
… FusionAuth [solved our problems] with your first-class multi-tenant support, powerful theming, ability to self-host, and built-in standards like OAuth and OIDC.
Dan: Any general feedback/areas to improve?
Elliot: Upgrading our custom themes is a bit of a pain point. We have a system where we manually copy the default theme files from a new release into our repo, diff our custom theme files against those, and then hand-pick changes to the default theme files into our custom theme files. With a bit of practice it’s not too bad but some better tooling around that would be nice. [editor: check out our theme helper]
Dan: Thanks for your feedback!
We love sharing community stories. You can check out Treefort System’s website if you’d like to learn more about them.