Here is the simple pitch: Glitch is an online IDE mixed with collaboration and community features like in Github.
After using it I wanted to share some feedback and vision on how this tool can be used by Developer Advocates.
I had visited their homepage a numerous number of times when it was still named Gomix. But I never really got the point of using Glitch until I’ve seen Jenn Schiffer and Anil Dash at DevXcon doing a demo on stage fews ago in San Francisco.
During the demo they presented a new feature called “Ask for help”, the idea is that in your code highlight a specific line and ask for help. The same way you would do it in the office and tap your colleague’s shoulder to get some fresh eyes on your issue.
Here, by clicking on a button you can ask the community to come help you. If you have remixed (cloned) someone’s project they will be notified, and it’s also posted on Glitch homepage.
When I tried to get help, I waited a long time, even though I was the only one asking for help.
It’s still a new feature and a new product, give it some time 😉.
On the helper side, this is also a great tool, as it gives you more context around the problem. You see what the coder is trying to build, and have an overview of what could go wrong.
It’s hard to have this context on an online forum or on Stack Overflow.
Sometime people would share their github repo with the support team. Great idea on paper, but then it’s a pain to debug and make sure you have the same environment as theirs.
Using Glitch, you see exactly what the coder is seeing. You can be more helpful in your comments and mentoring.
Before they launched this community-based “ask for help” feature, I was really seeing Glitch a nice online IDE to build some fun hacks.
Now, I really see the whole potential when you are an API provider. It gives you new ways to interact with your community.
Generally, API providers would provide some coding samples on how to use their SDK in the context of a small app. It usually sits on a Github repo. And sometimes come with a live version of the example hosted somewhere, so people can try. But there is still some friction before the developer tries to deploy their own for their own need.
Fork the repo, clone it locally, install all the dependencies, update the framework version, launch it and test.
This could be a hassle and another drop-out in your conversion funnel.
With Glitch, hackers could “remix” your example, modify it, and see results live in a matter of seconds. You’ve earned some precious minutes in your “time to Hello World”.
As we’ve seen, with the new help features, you will get notified as the owner of a project if someone is asking for help. It means you can be reactive and answer developers quickly to “un-stuck” them. It gives a positive experience.
You can even organize your projects by language or framework (so far, only Node is supported), your language experts will be notified specifically.
Glitch is really community centered, there are literally tons of projects to discover. You can use it at your own advantage. You can encourage your active community developers to publish their projects on Glitch. It helps them get recognized as great hackers and it helps your community with more examples available.
There are also some curated categories like Featured or Community Picks. Getting your projects selected in those will help reaching more developers.
Look! They have a special section for us: Glitch for Platforms
Try it, start a new project there, and experiment how this changes developer experience.
Personally I’ve used it to build a Slack bot for 3scale. At first, I thought I would do something that people can re-use and adapt, but I have seen also some potential as “serverless” alternative. So now the app is more complex and I will use it to distribute our Slack bot. That’s always an option.
Check the project here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the tools you are using for your DevRel reach.
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