I believe that a Software Engineer’s primary objective is to build products that provide value to users, so when deciding whether to join a software company, I consider what kind of value the application provides.
I enjoy working in domains that offer unique challenges. In the past, I’ve worked in the election space and mobile app security, and I’ve enjoyed how these applications distinctly provided value. Visor’s application for project managers is one of those applications; it offers unique value to users and has several interesting technological challenges that come with it.
Visor allows users to aggregate data from multiple applications into a highly customizable spreadsheet view. It balances creating first-class experiences for each integration while enabling users to customize their experience. When I joined the company, I recognized the value of this product, and I was intrigued by its technical challenges.
The Value of a Customizable Data Aggregator
Centralization of data is valuable to users. Just look at the most successful online websites; you can attribute their success to their ability to centralize data into a single platform. For example, YouTube’s success can be attributed to its ability to centralize all online videos into a single platform.
But with centralization comes the loss of the ability to customize the experience. When Facebook first appeared on the internet, the web marveled at the ease with which they could create and share experiences with their friends, an experience that wasn’t possible with Facebook’s predecessors. However, with that ease of use came the cost of not being able to customize the experience: every blog/group/post had the same look and feel.
The lack of customization is acceptable for most users. However, when creating business apps, the company’s needs must be at the forefront of the app’s functionality. The inability to do so can lead to costly inefficiencies.
That’s why Visor’s approach to integrations is valuable for businesses. Like an RSS Feed reader, which aggregates news sources into a single feed, Visor allows users to pick and choose which app’s data to integrate and how it appears on the spreadsheet. It has the value of centralization without the drawback of not letting users customize the experience.
The Challenges of a Customizable Data Aggregator
As exciting as this is regarding user value, the technical challenge to deliver such a product is just as much. Online spreadsheets are some of the most challenging apps on the web to build due to the complexity and size of the data involved, along with the asynchronicity that comes with maintaining real-time updates. Having been exposed to the application’s architecture, I’m confident that Visor is poised to tackle these challenges in a scalable and maintainable way.
In addition to being a spreadsheet application, Visor is also a data aggregator for integrations. Some of the technical challenges that come with an aggregative platform include:
- Creating first-class experiences per integration while allowing those experiences to scale horizontally to other integrations
- Creating User experiences that match or exceed that of the integrated app in terms of usability
- Building optimized experiences for aggregated views
Visor’s architecture enables developers to tackle these challenges in stride and I’m looking forward to the work ahead.