Introducing bip.io 0.3
We’re very happy to announce the latest release of bip.io realizes all of our community’s feedback!
bip.io 0.3 (‘Sansa’) is both an upgrade of the user experience and open source server, introducing a bunch of new features for authoring and sharing your Bips and contributing to its ever growing list of supported services (Pods).
The bip creation workflow has had a significant overhaul which places action discovery, configuration and workflow assembly at the heart of the experience without sacrificing any of the instrumentation you might already love.
We’ve taken the best bits of flow based programming tools (the non-tedious parts!) and applied them to general web automation, with more crowd intelligence under the hood so you only need to customize when it makes sense. Some of that intelligence has also been baked into our open source server (fork it on GitHub) so your own software can learn as we do. You can read a bit more about that in Scott’s recent post covering transforms synchronization - it’s one of our best features.
The changes may look drastic but many core paradigms remain intact, now streamlined and modernized. Lets take a look at some of the bigger changes so you can get started right away. We also have a new built-in help system to refer to any time, or please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if the going gets tough.
My Bips vs Community
Lets face it, there wasn’t a lot you could actually do with Bips from their landing screen. We’ve split community and personal bips into dedicated areas and consolidated their representation, making some common functionality available without having to drill down into Bips themselves. Simple things like Copying, Sharing, Pausing and Testing were buried in the old system, and while those things are still actionable per Bip, they’re also now available in the My Bips landing screen. The way Bips are represented also received a facelift and is consistent across the whole system making them uniquely and consistently identifiable, embeddable and very close visually to the graphs they represent
All Shared Bips are now part of the Community section, and now fully searchable with a much easier and less issue prone guided install. We’ll be building out more community features over the coming months, and while we have some strong ideas about what this should look like we can’t do it without you, so drop some ideas into our Feedback And Support widget. We’ll get to them faster than you can blink.
Building Your Bips
OK, this was a big one. The old workflow was pretty convoluted and needed some inherent knowledge about how the system worked, with certain steps in different areas depending on what you needed to do.
The point of a User Experience isn’t to just duplicate what a programmer would have to do, visually, but to create an abstraction that’s workable and easy to use for everyone. The original experience just had to go!
Here’s a little before and after, these are always fun to show off, if only for posterity.
Some of the bigger changes
- Channels are now called ‘Actions’ and ‘Events’, depending if something is performing an action on demand or generating events or content on its own.
- All Bips are created the same way, by pressing the ‘Create A Bip’ button. Email and Web Hooks have been turned into regular event sources.
- The workspace takes up the entire screen and replacing the list of bips to the left are your saved Actions and Events. You can search, add, enable, authenticate and discover integrations from the one screen now, as you’re doing work.
- Dragging from a node and having it spawn a Channel selection and transforms has been completely dropped. To add Actions and Events, either click ‘Add’ from the left sidebar or drag it onto the workspace. Connect services by dragging from source to destination
- Transforms are now called Personalizations, and they don’t need to be explicitly configured. The system will do its best to map actions based on your own behavior and when in doubt it will look to the community for suggestions, in realtime
- Hovering over an Action or Event will now give you contextual information about the item itself, including any global preferences
- The ‘source’ node is always identifiable as a pulsing beacon so it’s easy to see where source messages are emitting from
- Workspace physics behave more naturally. We know how annoying chasing icons is and will continue to work towards more predictable physics.
- Experimental - Some aspects of the Data View are now editable
- Sharing no longer requires a description
- Bips can be shared without saving, giving you the opportunity to remove personal information before sharing
- Triggers can be manually invoked with a ‘Run Now’ button, even when paused
- State and Logging tools! We’ll tell you the last time a Bip ran, and the Logs tab now includes Action/Event failures, run times and state changes
- Flow Controls now all have unique icons, so you can see how the control is affecting your integrations at a glance
And a quick demo of the improved workflow
Adding some much needed normality to the experience, including all the underlying server engineering, gives us a great platform on which we can concentrate on the one most important thing. Building a fantastic community!
We’ll be seeding hundreds of new shared bips over the coming weeks with the 60+ services currently supported and really fine tuning documentation and service discovery, making Bip.IO easier for you to not only learn and utilize, but also contribute to and make part of your own application.
We’ve had a great time receiving and implementing your feedback in building a new experience. We hope you like it and would love to know your feedback, suggestions or success stories to make the next version even better!
- Team Bip.IO