Fog Creek

Convenience Coding

The Power of Convenience

Convenience is a powerful thing. Think about doing laundry for a second. At one time, I would go to the cupboard, get out the washing powder, pour it into a measuring cup and empty the right amount into the machine. Then grab the softener, pour some of that into the cap and then into the drawer. I did it like that for years. It wasn’t hard, none of that was difficult, and I don’t recall ever moaning that it was too much effort. But then we got washing pods. With those, I just grab one, fling it in the machine and then go about my day. It’s quicker and easier, but although I probably pay about twice as much, I use them anyway because what I actually care about are the clean clothes. Convenience is key.

The same goes for always-on devices. I bought my Mom a Netbook and because it took so long to turn on, she used it once a week to check her email, Facebook etc. I could always tell when she was doing her weekly check because my Facebook timeline would get flooded with cat videos, likes, and tag notifications. I later bought her a Tablet and told her she could just leave it on. She now uses it several times a day – great for her, not so good for my timeline…

Similar happened after I bought a cordless vacuum – by getting rid of that annoying cord, I now vacuum far more often.

Why am I boring you with my mundane life? To illustrate the power of convenience – it can change even ingrained behavior, regardless of whether we’re conscious of a problem there or not.

Creating the Coding Equivalent of Laundry Pods

We want to bring that same convenience to coding web apps. We want to make Gomix the coding equivalent of those 2-in-1 laundry pods. An unflattering yet lofty goal, because if we succeed, you’ll create more apps and try out more ideas.

Currently, when building a web app you need to configure a server, run commands, compile files, commit, build and deploy your code. Or at least some of that. But there are times when all you really need is for your code to be running already. Say there’s a quick script you need to write, or you have a product idea and you wonder if it’ll fly.

“Why am I boring you with my mundane life? To illustrate the power of convenience”

In those times, our current options hold us back. Useful apps that solve real problems, or even just make us smile, don’t get written because it can prove too difficult to get started. The tools and technologies that are supposed to support developers in creating web apps, can, in fact, be a barrier to building them. They have their time and place, but we believe that is not at the start when the focus should be on proving out an idea or solution.

The Result of Coding Convenience

So with Gomix, the goal is coding convenience. We’ve already seen the result of it firsthand. Emanuele, a Software Engineer here at Fog Creek, had been planning to work on a prototype for a collaboration app that was on our internal product ideas Trello board. He figured with a typical development setup it’d be about 2 days work to get it going. Months passed and he still hadn’t quite found the time to fit in working on it. Then we shared an Alpha release of Gomix – 4 hours later his prototype was up and running. If Gomix hadn’t existed he’d probably still be planning to get to it even now.

How many apps have you been meaning to get to? With Gomix, all you have to worry about is the code. So now you have no excuse but to get to building them.