How To Build an Add-on Step 3: Write Code

Normally we start our designs in Balsalmiq but sometimes it makes more sense just to scribble on some sticky notes and start building. This is one of those times. The big effort here was figuring out the workflows and deciding what not to do.

With some knowledge of Harvest’s API and some stickies, we were able to determine that it was likely possible to “attach a contract to an estimate” as our focus group had suggested. This would involve:

  • Pulling an estimate from Harvest into Inkdit
  • Formatting the estimate for use in Inkdit

How To Build an Add-on Step 2: Listen

Before we started building our add-on, we spent some time listening. We did two things:

  1. Read Harvest’s API documentation and did some basic prototyping. It’s easy to paint yourself into a corner if you don’t know the limits of the integration you’re building.
  2. Met with a group of Harvest users to discuss what their needs are. People don’t always know exactly what they want, but it’s worth finding out what they think they want! We plan to measure and learn from how people behave as well but that comes later.

How To Build an Add-on: Glossary

Ahhhh Jargon …our old friend with the inside jokes. Here are a few of bits of jargon we use when building an add-on.

When two web apps talk to each other to do useful things.
Alternate name for an integration with a marketer’s spin.
API (Application Programming Interface)
The way one web app “talks” to another web app.
Web App (Web Application)
a.k.a. SaaS (Software as a Service) A web site that you use as a tool to do things in the same way that you use software that is installed on your computer or mobile device.

How To Build an Add-on Step 1: Evaluate and Choose

We’ve set out to build a number of Add-ons for integrating Inkdit with other applications over the coming months. This series of posts is our real life experience of How To Build an Add-on. If you are thinking of building an integration for your web app, we hope that sharing our experiences will be helpful.

Add-on GearsThe steps in the series:

  1. Evaluate and Choose
  2. Listen
  3. Write Code
  4. Measure
  5. Learn

We’ll be re-using (and iteratively revising) this plan with each integration. A quick glossary for the uninitiated can be found here.