Meet Alva & Design Tools at ResearchGate: Connecting Sketch with coded components

A quick recap of the Design Tools Network Meetup #01 in Berlin.

On Tuesday March 27, the first Design Tools Meetup took place at IXDS in Berlin. Two short talks that were surprisingly focused on solving a similar issue: keeping your design and coded components in sync when working on large-scale products in cross-functional teams.

The talks

The first talk was by Markus Ölhafen & Tilman Frick from Alva. It’s a tool developed internally at SinnerSchrader that allows a team of designers and engineers to work efficiently and effectively by keeping the design, code and product in sync. Alva functions as a layer between the code editor and Sketch.

The second talk was by Ryen Beatty who is working on design tools and design systems internally at ResearchGate. He gave a practical guide on how to get started building Sketch plugins. Essential material for who-ever has a plugin idea but is struggling with the first steps.

Enjoy the recordings of the talks!

1. Meet Alva

Markus gave a sneak peek into the alpha version of Alva (a coincidental pun). In addition, Tilman spoke about the vision of the tool and what they aim to achieve in the future. The project is entirely open source, so if you feel like contributing? Go find them on GitHub!

2. Building Design Tools at ResearchGate

Ryen starts out with an intro to the challenges they have at ResearchGate and shares some learnings to overcome pitfalls when building Sketch plugins.

He shared the slides via our Spectrum community. Go get it!

Next meetup: Thursday May 3, 2018!

We’re excited to announce our next meetup at IXDS coming up in May!

This time it’s focused on designing with live data for connected products and using VR as a tool to design better in-car experiences.


Athena: Matthias Flucke from GoodPatch is working with his team on Athena, a VR-based prototyping tool for designing for autonomous driving vehicles and related services.

Noodl: The team at Topp is building a visual programming based tool internally to help them to design better products. Noodl allows to easily connect devices and incorporate live data. Two ingredients for the next level of product design!

RSVP on!