1 Year of Sketch Runner

Today is our birthday!

Roy van Rooijen
Apr 9, 2017 · 4 min read

Exactly 1 year ago we demoed a proof of concept of Runner. It was hacked together in 2 days at the #SketcHHackday in the lovely Hamburg, Germany. Read how this all came together, if you didn’t already. 😉

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A journey through time

When we presented our little plugin, it could only run Sketch menu items or plugin actions and goto other layers in your document. But we felt we had been working on something with a lot of potential. And now, after one year and quite some updates later, we can conclude it is indeed a valuable tool for speeding up a designer’s Sketch workflow.

We got a lot of attention via articles and tutorials and frequently receive love via email and over Twitter. More importantly, we also got a lot of bug reports and feature requests… You have been awesome with that and we want to thank you for that!

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Thanks for being an awesome user base!

The first version of Runner we launched publicly was our v0.5 MVP. It had the run, goto, insert, create and apply commands that are still in Runner today. However, a lot of small but also some big things changed over time. We recently added better third party plugin support and introduced the new install command.

Let’s take you quickly through all UI versions of Runner

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The first proof of concept of Runner demoed exactly 1 year ago 😱 (only Run and Goto worked back then)
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The UI of v0.5: Our first publicly launched MVP
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v0.7 brought an updated UI
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And in v0.7 we also added dark mode
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Better plugin support in v0.8: Plugins can show custom icons and descriptions.
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The install command introduced in v0.9 🎉 And you can hide the commands bar.

What we learned

We loved the cmd + / shortcut because it worked great for us on an international keyboard. That’s also why we decided quickly to make it part of the UI and the brand. Therefore it became an essential part of the logo.

Unfortunately the shortcut didn’t work well on other keyboard layouts. Moreover, it was blocked in some versions of Sketch. So when we launched, we decided to switch to the cmd + ' shortcut. It’s possible to set up a custom shortcut yourself anyway.

We never met each other before one year ago. But now we’re a bunch of internet friends that collaborate all via Slack in our free time. Next to Slack we mostly use Trello, Twitter, Zendesk Inbox and GitHub as our main tools to get shit done.

Working remotely has worked out much better than I expected. Everyone is putting in time and effort to push things forward. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep everyone’s personal schedule in mind but until now it always worked out fine.

Next to building new features and fixing bugs, there’s much more to releasing an update. It always takes more time and effort than expected.

An update needs…

  • to be thoroughly tested.
  • an article announcing the release.
  • a video or image and text for Twitter.
  • proper release notes.
  • sometimes an update to the website.
  • to be shared via several channels.
  • all of us being stand by for questions, feedback and issues.

Testing a new build is the most important of all. However, it’s impossible to cover all scenarios and issues users can come up with. This is also the reason why we started inviting a small group of users for our private beta Slack team. If you’d like to join, DM us on Twitter!

Achievements

  • Runner was downloaded over 25.000 times via our website.
  • There are currently 21 plugins out there with Runner support. (Like Zeplin, Symbol Organizer, Data Populator, Rename It and User Flows)
  • Designers at Google, Netflix, Airbnb amongst many other companies are using Runner on a regular basis.
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The infamous greyed out company logo list. 😉

We’re having much more ideas in mind to make Runner the essential plugin for every digital designer. If you have any suggestions, let us know via Twitter @sketch_runner!

If you want to learn everything about speeding up your workflow with Runner, check out and subscribe to our new Tips and Tricks Medium Series.

We’d love to have another hackday soon! If you’re in Berlin and willing to help out, let’s get in touch and see if we can set something up together. ✌️

Design + Sketch

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