About Lumber

The story behind our latest launch

Vincent Ghyssens
Nov 14, 2016 · 3 min read
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Venture in the deeper part of the Forest

Today, we’re launching Lumber: a command-line interface that generates an admin microservice for your application. We thought it’d be interesting to share what went into its making and why we’re doing it now.

🔥 Fire in the hole

Indeed, at the time we could only onboard projects in Rails or Express. That made up a big chunk of our initial target but, still, we were not suited for many of the more exotic stacks all the cool kids are using. Soon after the rush was over, we went back to work, keeping this learning in mind while thinking of new ways to improve the product.

Onboarding new projects is a major area of focus for us since it’s always been tricky. We have no idea what the codebase of our clients looks like, all the while trying to provide them with a customized admin interface. Automagically ✨.

👾 Building for developers

This means we mostly interact with other coders, and we’re really keen on implementing their input back into the product. That’s also why we set out to build something that would make our techie lives easier, by solving a pain that’s all too often underestimated: the admin.

Developers, developers, developers!

With the visibility that Product Hunt gave us, as well as conversations with lots of interested developers, we noticed a trend in their feedback. An increasing number of startups were looking at the microservice architecture as a way to maintain internal velocity and enforce cleaner code.

In that kind of setup, it makes so much sense to have your admin as just another service that is independent from the other ones, has its own API and secured access to the database. It just feels better to have this particular, sensitive logic encapsulated in its own app.

Bearing that in mind, we kept on improving the main product that was still living on top of production applications. Nevertheless, we always had an inkling that this other approach could present a powerful twist to how we integrate with our customer’s apps.

💡 Trying something new

We were in San Francisco, meeting with executives from successful, growing companies and we were faced with microservices powering their businesses. That’s when we finally decided to give it a serious try. We hacked together a proof-of-concept over the course of a weekend, effectively showing how it would work. After fixing a few bugs, adding a neat interactive console, and putting up a quick landing page, it was ready for prime time.

Remember our technical limitation to Rails and Express? That’s a thing of the past now. With Lumber, we’re lowering the friction to use our services: you just need a MySQL or Postgres database to get started! Sounds good right? We think so too. And that’s particularly relevant for us right now, as we’re moving toward scaling adoption of our product. Basically, we want to have Forest installed on all the new and existing projects you’re working on.

🤗 Putting it out there

Forest Admin

Stories from lumberjacks on a mission to build the best…

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