Views Tools
Published in

Views Tools

Views Tools, 20.82.0., 21 March 2020, Private Beta

Product Case Study: Views Tools

Collaborative design and development environment for product teams

The challenges

  • Simplification of the underlying software engineering layers
  • Creation of a more intuitive abstraction on top of the new simplified model, a mash-up of code, and no-code approaches to fit the needs of everyone on the product team, not only developers
  • Testing in production as we build tools, with real business cases, design and performance requirements

The numbers

  • Over six years in active development
  • Eight platforms delivered across all versions of Views (and Pages, first working name)
  • One full time developer + One full time designer + open source contributions

The stack

  • ReactJS, Views, NodeJS, Hasura, Docker, Now
  • Views Tools — state management, interface authoring
  • Electron — desktop wrapper
  • 32 open source — dev dependencies

The key capabilities

All features of Views and Views Tools use creative constraints and have to compile to React and React Native with human-readable output. As Alan Kay, we too believe that in a good programming language:

Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible.

The latest version of Views Tools will enable:

  • Full control of the interface layout and design system components
  • Full control of the state of the app and the flow
  • Full control of the data layer
  • Creation of new React projects, including best practices DevOps setup
  • Git versioning
  • Collaboration over specs and todos
  • Access to the errors

Read more about the progress of work here

The process

It took us over six years and many painful pivots to get where we are today. Here’s are some screenshot from video tutorials showing previous tools in various alpha/beta flavours:

Around 2017
Around 2018
Around 2019
2019/2020

We love making software! Over the years, we grew together with our product. Even though Views changed and evolved beyond our expectations, our “why?” stands strong:

We strive to simplify software engineering.
We help product teams deliver beautiful software faster.
We love to see people sharing knowledge and growing.

Around 2050

Things to improve on

  • Having funding would be helpful, but we are not ready yet to take our eyes off the product development. We have a clear idea of what we want to release in the next public version. We hope that we will be able to prove some growth to future investors after the upcoming launch.
  • Documentation will need another wave of improvements.
  • We need to find a way to create useful content, design and development courses, code snippets, and sample apps.
  • Shorter release cycle. We’ve been working without active user feedback for far too long.

Things that went well

  • We’ve persevered many ups and downs, which only made us stronger.
  • We’ve successfully automated most of the interface development process for React and React Native apps.
  • Our solution to the state management is simple and intuitive!
  • The knowledge transfer between developers and designers works, which is a great validation of our cross-functional approach.

The results

  • 20 major versions and 11 different user experiences — we pivoted more times than I can count!
  • The framework works and the tools prove to be an amazing productivity win, which makes very hopeful for the launch.

Thank you 🤗

Big shoutout to core contributors of Views framework! It’s a massive challenge to simplify software development. We keep going with a goal to help creative people achieve the maximum level of control over the experiences they build! To try our latest beta signup here.

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Tom Parandyk

Tom Parandyk

Product designer, eager engineer, strategist, wild innovator, proud dad, creative leader, aspiring musician.

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