Why I Built Dropkiq
Hi, I'm Adam, Founder of Dropkiq. Nice to meet you.
I've been a Ruby on Rails developer for the past ten years or so, and I've used the Liquid Ruby Gem for as long as I can remember. At my day job and side projects alike, it has always been a go-to tool for enabling users to access application data and bring our customer's experience to the next level of personalization.
Over those past ten years, engineering teams I have been on have done all sorts of things to try to make it easier for users to write Liquid. I've seen it all: lengthy documentation, good-enough autocompletion, huge lists of pre-writtten expressions, menu toolbars with copy & paste functionality, etc. Yet, at the end of the day, very few employees ever felt comfortable writing Liquid. And Customers? No way!
My last project as a software engineering manager was an extremely ambitious BPMN Workflow system that used Liquid for everything from emails to logic flow. The ultimate goal of this project was to enable our customers to build out their own workflows so that they would have complete control of the software. I worked with our product team extensively to teach people how to use this software, and I remember one of the product managers saying, "You know, we can teach people how to setup their interface, data variables, and process flows, but I don't know how we're ever going to teach customers how to use Liquid...".
That project manager wasn't wrong. Liquid is hard. There were hundreds (sometimes thousands) of possible Liquid methods for people to use, and the options were all dependent on the way the customer had configured their process. Even programmers and employees we trained for months struggled. How were we ever going to expect customers to do this themselves?
I knew there had to be a better way...
I left my corporate day job to go all-in on solving this problem. I knew I wasn't alone and that others that used Liquid also experienced the same struggles. In fact, I was surprised to learn that Tobias Lütke, CEO at Shopify (the creators of Liquid!) recognized this problem and attempted to start a solution back in 2010 (https://github.com/tobi/liquid-editor).
Dropkiq is exactly the product that I wanted when I was the engineering manager on that project. It elminates the need for extensive training, lengthy trial and error guesswork, and most importantly it gives people the confidence they need to write Liquid without help. It's incredible how easy it is now to write statements that used to take hours!
From my background as an engineering manager, I know you don't have time to devote your team to solving this problem. None of us do. Dropkiq allows you to have the tools that your application needs immediately.
So why don't you give it a shot and let me know what you think?