I like getting things done quickly, not just for the sense of accomplishment, but because I know I can also move on to other projects and collaborations in the wings. Since I was a kid, however, I heard that speed was dangerous, that it inherently meant cutting corners. “Isn’t it good enough?” I’d ask my mom after a quick, hacked attempt at making my bed. “If you’re going to do something, do it well,” she said. I thought my bed was perfectly fine. She did not.
I learned that we did not have a consensus on quality.
And quality is critical to what we do at my company, Parabeac. The short version of our story is “we take design files and convert them into Flutter code”. Our tool is push-button, automatic, and fast, so fast that my Mom would be suspicious. But the converted code has to be good, too; not just efficient in execution, but effective. In building and refining the tool we spent much of our time prioritizing: speed vs. quality, simplicity vs. intricacy, urgency vs. importance, and essential features vs. desirable features. Although we can answer these questions ourselves and produce something good, if we enable the community to build with us, we can produce something great.
Fortunately, because we are in the business of building tools for the designer/developer suite, who better to help us reach consensus on the quality of what we produce than the community of developer colleagues around the world? Who better to define the product than the folks who are using the code every week? Open-sourcing is an elegant, friction-free way of enabling users to chime in on what a tool should look like, feel like, and do. Every day is a constant referendum on what we are building together, and the votes come from individuals who are changing, configuring, and improving the code, from Indiana to India.
We open source because products like this need the compounded genius of people working in the community. Parabeac’s conversion tool can’t just be what I think is best (ask my Mom) or even what the Parabeac team does. It needs to reflect the ever-refreshed consensus global user base. Achieving that consensus on quality is the single most important objective for our young company, and to reach that point we decided we must give control of our tool to the community of Flutter advocates & Parabeac evangelists.
So, welcome one and all. Now I can tell my mother that the bed is well-made, with input and wisdom from many.
(Parabeac’s design-to-Flutter open-source conversion tool was released on August 19, 2020)