Cloudstitch: Beautiful Apps without the Programming Hassle

Rough Draft Ventures is excited to support Cloudstitch, a platform that facilitates web development and makers. Cloudstitch allows the creation of simple but beautiful web and mobile applications with just HTML/CSS and Google Spreadsheets. The HTML provides the interface, and the spreadsheet provides all the data and computations — no further programming is necessary.

Ted Benson, the founder of Cloudstitch and recent MIT PhD graduate, started this project as part of his PhD thesis. He found that designers could create beautiful application mockups but only knew basic HTML/CSS, which made it difficult to actually program the application and use it. Moreover, small businesses and individuals who didn’t have programming knowledge had to hire designers and programmers to create not only the initial application but also update it whenever something small changed. This seemed unreasonable, slow, and expensive. He set out to change this with his advisor, David Karger, known for his randomized graph optimization algorithms (Karger’s algorithm) but now better known for human-computer interaction research.

After years of research, Ted came up with the initial versions of Cloudstitch. The Cloudstitch programming model is based on creating mockups instead of traditional computer programs so that designers can see and interact with what they are building directly as they build it. A designer creates a mockup of a user interface in HTML/CSS and a mockup of the data in Google Spreadsheets. That’s all she needs to do. She can also make the application fancier with certain Javascript libraries like AngularJS and JQuery, which are also supported. A user without programming knowledge can modify the Google spreadsheet, and the updates will immediately be reflected in the application, and multiple users of an application can interact by sharing the same spreadsheet. Constant maintenance by a developer is not necessary! In the course of Ted’s research, he found this programming model was really easy for a designer to learn. It took an average of only 15 minutes for a designer to learn the model! He decided to create Cloudstitch because he believes that his research can help people who have the need to create web applications, especially on a low budget. You can learn more about the model and try it out yourself here.

High level view of Cloudstitch programming model

Cloudstitch is allowing designers to create beautiful applications in a very simple way. Roughdraft Ventures is excited to have Cloudstitch join our portfolio. Welcome to the Roughdraft family!