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How Rewind was able to build, test, and launch a public app for their Protection Suite in less than a month

As a developer, one of the most painful things to do is set up a new project. Making sure it compiles and just getting it to the stage where ‘hello world’ prints out is so much time wasted. You need to do it, but it’s so frustrating. But with Gadget, it just works.
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Michelle Crane, PHD, Software Development Manager

About

Learn how Rewind's development team leveraged Gadget to create a functional alert system for their Shopify Protection Suite.

300+

hours saved

<1

month to launch

Problem

The development team at Rewind had just 4 weeks to plan, build, and launch a new Shopify app from scratch.

Solution

With Gadget handling the Shopify connection and infrastructure, the team built their Shopify app well before the deadline.

Result

The Rewind Alerts app has been running on Gadget for more than a year, with maintenance and API upgrades taken care of.

How Rewind was able to build, test, and launch a public app for their Protection Suite in less than a month

Emma Hyde
May 23, 2024

300+

hours saved

<1

month to launch

The problem

Rewind has been saving Shopify merchants from critical data losses for years. With more than 900 five-star reviews on the Rewind Backups app alone, it’s clear that merchants using Rewind find the promise of peace of mind when it comes to their critical store data.

But the team wanted to offer their customers more than just backups. They began discussing the possibility of offering a protection suite — a collection of apps that, when combined, could offer customers everything they needed to keep their data secure and stay on top of critical issues.

After some exploration, they decided to offer four separate apps as part of a protection suite to allow Shopify merchants to prevent, detect, and recover from data loss. On top of Rewind Backups, they would offer Rewind Staging to avoid having errors and data losses occur in the first place, Rewind Monitor to keep an eye on any storefront issues, and Rewind Alerts to send email and SMS notifications when major store changes — that may have been unintended — occur. 

The team had attempted to create a variation of the proposed Alerts app years prior as an add-on to their existing backup app. It had been easy to integrate with Backups on a technical level, but when they launched it on the app store, the demand simply wasn’t there. It didn’t make sense to maintain an app that wasn’t performing, so the project was all but abandoned. Under the new proposal though, it wouldn’t be offered as a standalone solution but rather exclusively as part of the Rewind Protection Suite. The purpose would be to increase the value of the full package, not market the product on its own.

Rewind didn’t want to have a repeat instance of putting a lot of work into a product only to see it flop. The plan was to create a minimum viable product — using as few resources and as little time as possible — to prove their hypothesis that Rewind Alerts would add enough value to the Protection Suite without burdening the development team.

So they gave themselves four weeks! Just four weeks to scope and build a reliable, functional alerts system that would incorporate with their existing stack, and get the app on the Shopify App Store. Michelle Crane, PhD, Software Development Manager at Rewind, took the lead role on the project, along with the challenge of launching the MVP in such a short amount of time, with just two developers.

"So often, the decisions that go into making these apps can feel like a burden, but Gadget takes all that away. All we had to do was put in the business logic. [With Gadget,] everything else was already there."
— Michelle Crane, PHD, Software Development Manager

With no time to waste, Michelle began scoping out the project. 

She and her team started digging into the code for the previous iteration of the alerts system, but the code was outdated. They assessed just how much work it would take and ultimately determined that, given the timeline, reviving it wasn’t a viable option. “We couldn't guarantee that we could resurrect it, bring it up to speed, and have it work beautifully in just a month.”

With resurrecting the old app off the table, the team began to look at other options. Daniel Sim, VP of Product & Emerging Tech at Rewind, suggested a tool that had been making the rounds in the Shopify ecosystem: Gadget.

The solution

Gadget claimed to take care of all the setup for an app and provide a built-in Shopify connection, within minutes. Michelle and the rest of the development team figured that on such a short timeline, it was worth a try.

Being one of the most successful apps on the market, the Rewind development team was familiar with working within Shopify’s often robust requirements. They knew what it would take to structure their database to be able to handle the neverending onslaught of incoming webhooks. They even understood the auth requirements to pass the app store review, but to their delight, they didn’t have to worry about any of it.

They created their Gadget project and set up the Shopify connection, and within just two minutes, their app was set up and processing data. They had a fully-provisioned backend, a database with all the models and tables they would need to work with incoming data and Shopify webhooks. All they had to do was start building the logic to send alerts to customers.

“As a developer, one of the most painful things to do is set up a new project. Making sure it compiles and just getting it to the stage where ‘hello world’ prints out is so much time wasted. You need to do it, but it’s so frustrating. But with Gadget, it just works.”

So, they jumped straight to building the core features and functionality. The goal was to build an app that would send an alert every time a bulk change was made to the store while allowing the merchant to set customizable thresholds for the alerts. For example, anytime bulk changes were made to products, users would be sent email and/or SMS alerts notifying them of the changes so that they could verify that it was not the result of human error.

Gadget provided a team with a framework that abstracted all of the code needed to process requests, manage authorization, or generate responses — all things that would take care of the majority of their app build. Michelle said, “So often, the decisions that go into making these apps can feel like a burden, but Gadget takes all that away. All we had to do was put in the business logic. Everything else was already there.” The Rewind developers only had to worry about setting up the logic to handle specific edge cases and perfect their frontend.

"As a developer, one of the most painful things to do is set up a new project. Making sure it compiles and just getting it to the stage where ‘hello world’ prints out is so much time wasted. You need to do it, but it’s so frustrating. But with Gadget, it just works."
— Michelle Crane, PHD, Software Development Manager

The result

With Gadget handling so much of the boilerplate code, the Rewind team was able to plan, design, build, and test the app in less than a month — wrapping up before their deadline. 

Gadget made it so easy to build the Alerts app, that Rewind was able to discuss additions to scope and quickly roll them out, keeping a tight feedback loop with other stakeholders. It gave them a lot more flexibility to refine all of the features as they went, rather than having to go back and make major changes after the app shipped. Michelle said, “Our product manager loved Gadget. He loved being able to add functionality to something and that you could actually see the added features so quickly.”

Rewind launched the Protection Suite with the four apps as originally planned. The Rewind Backups, Staging, and Monitor apps had already been launched and were now undergoing a rebrand to polish them up. The Rewind Alerts app that had been built with Gadget, on the other hand, was completely new. Despite building the entire app from scratch, Rewind was able to create a fully customizable alerts system to help merchants know exactly what’s going on in their store.

Although having so many apps to package together is a win for revenue, it also means the team has to keep up with Shopify API upgrades and ongoing maintenance for each of their products. With Gadget though, all of that is taken care of. “The fully managed Shopify API updates are great because we already have other products that need manual upgrades,” Michelle said. “And with the constant deprecations, we're upgrading everything at least every nine months. I'm really happy not to have to do that with Rewind Alerts on Gadget.”

As an added bonus, because the new Alerts app was built on a new system, it exists almost independently from the other Rewind apps. That means in the future, if the team decides to offer the product as a standalone public app on the Shopify App Store, they have minimal reworking to do to separate the app from the Protection Suite.

Despite setting out to build an MVP, the Alerts app has been powered by Gadget since the end of 2022. The full-stack platform has allowed Rewind to scale while keeping focus on the flagship products, handling increases in data needs as they come. 

About the company

Rewind provides 25,000+ businesses with peace of mind, knowing their data is protected with automated backups and granular restores for SaaS products like Shopify, Quickbooks, Trello, Jira, Confluence, Github, Azure DevOps, Klaviyo, Miro, and more.

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