The Joys of Using What You Build

You know what’s fun? Creating something you yourself will use. As far as creative joys go, it’s second only perhaps to creating something others will use.

I’ve been using GPT4 a lot

I’ve been very impressed with the quality of responses coming out of GPT4. The level of accuracy is not perfect, but it’s good enough to be useful.
Most notably, it’s great for answers that are easy to verify. Code, for example, is easy to verify (doe sit run?), and this is what most of my queries have been about.
However, I really wanted a faster way of interacting with GPT4.

The Status Quo

If you log on to you can chat with ChatGPT quite easily. So what’s wrong with the experience? The biggest issue I found is this:
I couldn’t search prior conversations
If you are just trying out ChatGPT you won’t have many conversations and you will have no issues figuring out where your past conversations are. However, if you chat with it a lot as I do it becomes hard to locate things.
For example:
  • Where did I ask about plist files?
  • What was that script for setting up auto-updating?
  • etc

Why not just ask again?

A very valid question.
  • The AI is not entirely consistent, so you might get a different answer.
  • It’s slow (well, slower than jumping to a past conversation)
  • Cost
In other words, if you already had a satisfactory answer in the past, one that you verified as accurate, it’s simpler to find that answer. Not to mention it saves you completion time and the cost of more responses. As I write this GPT4 is still slow. Very usable, but slow enough that it’s much faster to jump to a past conversation than to rephrase a past question and wait for a response.

A solution

Basically, an app that satisfies a few requriements:
  • Run as an app, not a browser tab, so I can assign a hotkey to pull it up quickly
  • Do not require me to use the mouse (the mouse is a slow form of BCI)
  • Let me search my past conversations, and jump back to them quickly
Not to difficult, eh? I’ve already built a locally-running full-text search system before, after all. More importantly, ChatGPT is exposed as an API, so writing my own client is a natural fit.
So, after a bit of dev-ing, Prompta was born, a ChatGPT UI with full text search that’s keyboard focused:

Getting back to the point

Building stuff you yourself use is very rewarding. Every time i have a question for the AI I ask it via this app that I built. Whenever the app is lacking in some way I can open up the source code and modify it.
What would make the experience even better is if this software proved useful to others as well, so it’s open source in the hopes that others will discover it and use it.
Here’s the link to the source: iansinnott/prompta.