Happy new year! As usual at the start of the year, we share our plans for the platform and the directions we expect to take. For some context, take a look at the plans we described a year ago—as it turns out, we did deliver on many of those themes, although perhaps our original timeframes were overly optimistic.
AppSheet is a platform for anyone to build, distribute and manage apps. That mission statement is intentionally broad and it has not fundamentally changed in the last three years.
We pursue this platform goal along three axes:
Our product plans always include work across a variety of areas:
The actual features chosen are primarily influenced by the tremendous volume of direct feedback we get from our customer community. I personally read about 400 customer communications every week.
We also pay attention to what is happening more broadly in our industry, and what we learn from advisors and analysts. Finally, our team tries to step back from the details occasionally and ask if there are fundamental improvements that can help our broad customer base.
Our engineering process is designed to minimize overheads and balance rapid progress with system stability.
We are a small engineering team. Every engineer has access to every part of the code base, and so one engineer can build and deploy an end-to-end feature without dependency on anyone else. In practice and over time, individual engineers become experts in certain aspects of the product. For example, one engineer, Sarah Gould, owns the set of design decisions for the mobile app UI and she is also responsible for executing the changes to that UI.
The overall product plans for the next year are allocated to different members of the engineering team. Sarah has her UI feature roadmap for the year and knows the overall rough priorities. She figures out how to balance bug fixes, incremental changes, and new feature development within her area. Each engineer typically has a concrete schedule for a month, a rough schedule for the next three months, and an unprioritized list of everything else beyond that.
We deploy a new version of the AppSheet platform every working day. Because we deploy every day, the incremental change between versions is small. This promotes stability and it also allows us to deliver new features rapidly because features are not queued up waiting for a "release". When there are changes made to existing features, they are typically deployed using a gradual "rollout" process that allows us to ensure greater stability across our customer base.
So finally after all that preamble, here are the plans for 2018. If your favorite feature request doesn't fit in one of these themes, that's ok—our planning is continuous and evolving, so just let us know what you think will really help you get the most out of AppSheet.
As you can see, there's a lot that we plan to deliver. Keep an eye out for features that roll out with our daily deployments. We'd love to hear your feedback. I hope each of you finds a couple of things in there that are exciting and also useful for your apps.