When a headhunter reached out to me about the CEO role at Cloudsmith (where I started in August!), one of the first things I did was sign up for a trial account. The product's depth and sophistication really impressed me, and contributed to my decision to go ahead with the interviews. (Glad I did.)
But after I started, I found out that my fellow Cloudsmithers actually thought the experience we offer - especially through the web browser (at https://cloudsmith.io) - was in need of a fresh coat of paint. They were right; our web interface is still largely a Django web app, tightly coupled to the back end, and you can see the Bootstrap showing everywhere. Not much has changed about our web app since Cloudsmith's early days, except for piling on more features.
It's a good time to re-examine the way customers use our web product. Honestly, the current UI is a little too much "let's throw everything at the user, and they can figure out what to configure." Instead, we should be guiding users through a coherent experience, using all the knowledge we have in our platform. Right now we're burying important information that to a seasoned Cloudsmither might seem merely interesting, but is actually critical for customers to get the most out of our tools.
Our default stance for Cloudsmith.io is to put the customer's experience first - and to value your time as a precious commodity. We're starting to think of Cloudsmith.io as not just a front end to our internals, but a critical product in its own right. The web experience needs to nurture new trial users, nudging them towards the fastest and best ways to get value. Things like setting up your first repo. Connecting your first upstream. Firing off your first downloads into a build. Setting up other users with the right permissions. All of this needs to be much easier than it is today. Even for experienced customers, there's more we can do to help you be more secure, more productive, and more in control of your software IP.
So, we've launched a project to basically rewrite our web product. Well, a lot of it, anyway. I've seen the initial prototypes, and they're impressive. It's a cleaner look, and it's designed 100% for developer productivity.
We're still several months away from launching, but I'd like to invite customers and supporters to get in touch for a first look. If you're interested in trying the new cloudsmith.io, and you'd like to give us some feedback, shoot me an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org. When it's ready, I'll send you a link. I hope you like the results.