Sustaining Momentum in a ‘Lockdown’ Year🧗‍♀️

A look back at the unprecedented year that was 2020 and looking forward to 2021.

“When will this pandemic be over?” was probably the most asked question of 2020.

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a year like no other. Earlier in the year, our world was struck by a pandemic that changed our lives in ways that none of us could have imagined. It radically altered most of our routines — the bedroom altered into a home office, Netflix was the new movie theater, normal hairstyles evolved into pandemic hairstyles😂, and whatnot. None of us had any idea how long we would be working remotely, although we suspected it would be for quite some time. Now, after nearly ten months of working from home, we find ourselves trying to enjoy some aspects of this “new normal.”

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

Time is relative. It really is. When I think about what we had at the beginning of 2020 and what we have now, it feels like we built a lot of momentum. As a company, Freshworks accomplished several milestones and built great relationships with developers and customers alike. Leveraging the inputs from the relationships, we launched some really cool features. We’ll browse through our 2020 updates, but before that, we thank all our developers and partners for their efforts and contributions towards the Freshworks Developer Community. We wouldn’t be what we are today without your support ❤️.

Here’s a glimpse of the milestones that we achieved in 2020! Buckle up — it’s going to be an exciting ride.

A “Neo” Decade for Freshworks

Freshworks turned ten last year. As we entered a new decade of existence, we reimagined a “fresh” identity for our enterprise platform — Freshworks Neo.

But there’s a lot more substance to Neo beyond just branding fireworks. With Neo, Freshworks is putting a stake in the ground for a modern enterprise cloud platform. Gone are the days of clunky, unwieldy, and complex enterprise SaaS platforms. Neo provides Freshworks customers with a modern enterprise platform experience with powerful building blocks, out-of-the-box services, and enterprise-grade reliability and extensibility. Check out this video to learn more about Neo.

Needless to say, the tools that we build for developers inherently leverage Neo services and components, and by extension, the apps that our customers use are also powered by Neo in some form or fashion.

Of the community, for the community.

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

For the longest time, we felt the need to create a space where developers could share knowledge, collaborate, and discuss queries and points of interest with fellow app developers and Freshworks’ engineers. With this need and a vision to build stronger relationships with our developers, we launched a forum, the Freshworks Developer Community, in February. Building on the response we received, a few months later, we also launched new rewards programs, including the quarterly Community Champions, to celebrate and appreciate our most active community members. You can see the entire list of our 2020 Community Champions here😃.

Since the launch, we have seen rapid growth in our community, with 720+ member signups, 661 topics created, 327 accepted solutions and 2600 posts created. This year, we are certainly looking forward to more exciting and engaging chatter in the forum.

An enhanced app experience with Crayons

Everyone loves the intuitive, delightful experience Freshworks products offer. And why not — they are built with craftsmanship intended to delight. In 2020, we made the same design system behind Freshworks products available to our app developers through the Crayons component library so they could build apps that look and feel precisely like the Freshworks products do. Crayons is an Open Source design library for developers who build apps for the Freshworks platform. Crayons offer control and flexibility through pre-built components to build consistent, stunning interfaces with the Freshworks product design in mind.

A new addition to the family: Freshworks CRM

Omni-Apps

Freshworks Developers now have a new product for which they can build apps. You will have all the enabled capabilities, just like the platform offers with any Freshworks product. As you can infer, Freshworks CRM is an evolution of Freshsales. Freshsales developers may find their use cases compatible with Freshworks CRM. Omni-apps are the way to bridge this transition seamlessly. Omni apps — apps compatible with two or more Freshworks products — help deploy similar functionality across different products through efficient reuse of app code and resources. At present, the Omni-app plays a bridge and supports Freshsales and Freshworks CRM as compatible products.

Developers can choose to build apps that only work with Freshworks CRM, build a new Omni-app that works for both Freshworks CRM and Freshsales, or migrate an existing Freshsales app as an Omni-app. Our Freshworks CRM developer documentation provides details about these app development capabilities. However, the true scope of Omni-apps is more significant, and very soon, developers will be able to build apps compatible with various other Freshworks products as well.

The next big thing: Custom Objects!

Custom Objects in action

While the platform's existing data storage capabilities were compelling, we frequently heard that they had many limitations requiring developers to often jump through hoops or host middleware servers for their apps. We heard those demands and came up with an all-powerful game-changer: Custom Objects. Freshworks products already provide businesses with a large set of native objects out-of-the-box to store, manage, process, and use information. It is sometimes not possible for these native objects to meet all businesses’ needs and their wall-to-wall data needs. With Custom Objects, we enabled developers to create, manage, and manipulate custom entities and have them work in tandem with the existing native objects in our products. Custom Objects is currently in Early-Access (sign-ups are paused for now after a great initial response), but will soon be generally available on the platform!

A challenging but fruitful year

  • 500M serverless invocations in a month: In June 2020, we recorded a new milestone on the platform — our customers invoked serverless apps over half a billion times in a single calendar month. The average latency between an event being generated and the app being invoked was under 5s all this while. Today serverless apps work with 7 Freshworks products. More will be added as we have witnessed a sizeable increase in their adoption from ~200M serverless invocations served in Dec 2019 to ~600M in Dec 2020.
  • Time for a (virtual) Huddle: Early in March, as the effects of the pandemic unfolded, we were all asked to stay put at home and that made us present our first virtual Huddle — connecting and collaborating over the Internet. Our event calendar for the year included three Freshworks Huddles and an upskilling program for beginners. All virtually, with lots of enthusiasm from our participants and a fantastic team working behind these events. Overall we had a great time engaging with our developers through the community forum and Huddles and we will continue the good work in 2021 as well.
  • A year of beta programs: This year was the year of beta programs. We started the year with the Crayons beta program, and following that, we had Serverless App Testing, Freshdesk API SDK, and Custom Objects. Currently, our open Beta programs are — Serverless App Testing, Freshdesk API SDK. Custom Objects will be back in early February.

It’s hard to measure a year, let alone a year like 2020, in numbers. Having said that, a few numbers to summarize 2020 for us:

  • 70K Live app installations
  • 2500 Private Apps (a.k.a Custom Apps) Live
  • 28K Customers using apps
  • 600M Serverless app invocations a month
  • 100M Data Storage operations a month
  • 100M Requests proxied every month

Looking forward to a better 2021

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Leaving behind a year full of progress and success, with all your support and contribution, we are completely motivated about what 2021 brings. This year, some pretty exciting announcements and launches such as Subscription-based rate-limits, visitor-facing apps, Custom Objects, and Omni-powerful Omni apps are on the cards. Watch out for more engagement on the community and enablement front as well, while we also rekindle our developer certification program that was paused in 2020. We will continue to provide better support, keeping your needs and expectations as our top priority. We hope to get closer in 2021 to realize the dream with which the Freshworks developer platform was built.

We hope that despite all the challenges this year brought, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are looking forward to 2021! We hope you’re just as excited and feeling hopeful for what the future has in store. Thanks for reading and being part of this community. Sending you our best wishes for the year ahead.

Follow us on Medium to get regular updates on our blogs. You can also reach out to us at the developer community forum for further queries or suggestions.

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The official Freshworks Developer Platform Blog. We cover platform updates, developer showcases, tutorials, how-tos and much more

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