Overwhelmed: keeping on top of your tools & notifications

It’s true of our culture in general and certainly applies to teams building software: it’s tough to stay on top of things. Ten years ago, a front-end developer had to know HTML & CSS like the back of their hand. If you had a little PHP or Javascript knowledge, well, that was a handy bonus.

Compare with today and it feels like building for the web has gotten a lot more complicated. Designers need to know how to code. Front end developers need a solid grasp of a gamut of technologies. To list a few: HTML, CSS, CSS preprocessors (Sass, Less), Javascript (CoffeeScript, Typescript), SQL, Deployment tools, task runners (Grunt, Gulp), CI, Docker…

Should we even mention a solid grasp of typography and good copy?

As if the underlying technologies aren’t enough, the tools we use are numerous, varied, and involve some notification or another. It’s not a stretch to have a tool set that looks like this: a text editor, Git (local repos, remote repos (GitHub, Bitbucket, Gitlab, Beanstalk)), CLI, Git clients, code review/analysis tools, database tool(s), project management services (Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Jira), bug or issue trackers (GitHub issues, Jira, Sifter), team chat (Slack, Hangouts, Skype), support tools (Help Scout, Desk, Zendesk), and more…

All that to say: many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to building for the web today.

Simplify

It would be great if we could remove the number of technologies that are involved in building websites and apps. Even if you attempt to just stick with the bare bones basics, there is a lot of complexity. As Frank Chimero put it recently in Everything Easy is Hard Again:

My point is that the foundations are now sufficiently complicated enough on their own that it seems foolish to go add more optional complexity on top of it. I’ve kept my examples to the most basic of web implementations, and I haven’t touched on Javascript, animation, libraries, frameworks, pre-processors, package managers, automation, testing, or deployment. Whew.

While it’s hard to remove the need to know the languages that we use to build for the web today, one way to make things more simple is to reduce. Our focus with Conveyor is to simplify the workflow: less tools, less notifications. Less stress.

How Conveyor will help

When we looked where things were with Beanstalk 3 years ago, we knew we wanted to get closer to our customer’s code. We knew a Git client was required to better enable teams: a client working hand in hand with a web app could go a lot further in providing a workflow service that you could build around.

One tool for storing code, reviewing it as a team, then deploying it to your end destination. That’s what Conveyor provides. Beanstalk did the same (deployments were always the most popular aspect), but Conveyor expands on what is possible.

First, it requires less of you when it comes to managing your version control. Thanks to the baked-in workflow, you will spend less time wrangling Git.

  • Branching is automatic and does not require any planning
  • Stashing is also automatic — no need to worry about forgetting to save changes
  • Syncing between the local and remote repos is also automatic
  • And when things go wrong, rolling back or reverting changes is available at the press of a button

We know some people enjoy jumping between a Git client and the command line or switching between the local tools and a remote Git host. But if those things are another headache in your already busy day, Conveyor might bring a little more peace to your day.

Not every project needs so much meta data.

Another way Conveyor helps tame the chaos of the development workflow is to allow you to do more in one place. We’re all used to the idea of opening a project (Trello/Basecamp/Asana/other) alongside a technical spec (Jira/Confluence/GitHub) alongside our IDE. It’s a big part of why we use multiple monitors. More screens means more productivity, right?

But maybe not. Perhaps this makes for a less than calm environment. Conveyor can help.

Rather than keeping all the documentation related to a task or project in an external tool, Conveyor keeps it right beside your code. Comments and task descriptions let you keep the conversation in one place.

Task descriptions and comments live with your code.

Last, there’s issue of constant interruption. We’re not going to get away from notifications. But if those notifications can point me back to one place, that’s preferred.

It’s common to have updates via email, Slack, or SMS from your project management tools, your team communication, where your store your documentation, as well as your various development environments (staging/QA/production etc.).

Now imagine more of those notifications pointing back to one place, rather than three or four places. That’s our vision for Conveyor.


Maybe it’s a sign of my age, but I crave simplicity in my tools. I think that’s true for the team at Wildbit in general. And with Conveyor, we’re betting we’re not alone in this.

We want to provide a service that gives your team a sense of calm as they write code each day!