Posts tagged development

Pay with Stripe

We’re excited to announce that we’re now offering Stripe as a way to make credit card payments for Pro accounts or Jobs on Dribbble. Until now, PayPal had been the only available payment method, and it continues to be an option along with Stripe. If you live outside the United States and have had difficulties making purchases in the past, or if your business has had trouble using a company card, give Stripe a try!

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Thanks to Stripe Checkout, we were able to integrate their functionality in to our site with incredible speed and ease. Plus, instead of sending customers to a third-party site to make a payment, Stripe Checkout offers a simple popover box to pay instantly without ever leaving Dribbble. All payment information is securely processed by Stripe, and the results are immediately returned to our servers for processing.

Our new developer Tristan spearheaded the integration, and he was pleasantly surprised with how easily Stripe could be worked in to our existing code and UI. When we told him we’d be mentioning him in this post, he replied, “Aw shucks, Stripe is going to know I have a crush on it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Go Pro!

We’re super excited today to announce the release of Dribbble Pro, a suite of extra features for existing players for just $19 USD per year.

In an earlier blog post, we outlined a roadmap for the future, noting that our next challenge was sustainability—adding revenue to keep up with the growth of the site. Dribbble Pro is our first step in that direction. We’ve left the core Dribbble experience free, while adding some powerful new functionality for those who’d like to get more out of the site and support our efforts to maintain the community.

To see the new Pro features in action, check out the screencast below. The short version is:

  • Projects. Organize your shots into projects to tell the story and show the progression of your work.
  • Advanced Stats. Keep track of your popular shots, traffic, clicks and fans—all in one spot.
  • Attachments. Upload full-size images, PSDs, .zips, etc with your shots to provide greater detail.
  • Pro Badge. Show your support for the community. We also won’t show ads on your main profile page.

If you’re a Dribbble player, head over to your Account and look for the Pro tab for details and sign up. We can’t wait to see how the community takes advantage of the new features!

As for prospects, we hope that revenue generated by Pro accounts will allow us to accelerate our efforts to evolve gracefully and accommodate more players - thank you for bearing with our growing pains.

Pro or no, we want to close by saying thanks to the entire Dribbble community. Your work and your support continue to be astonishing.

Dribbble is … Fan-tastic

Social media star and dribbler (only two b’s?!) Shaquille O’Neal informs us as @the_real_shaq that he’s very “quotatious.” (His word—note the quotatious marks.) Following in his giant footsteps, Dribbble will soon be very … Spectatious.

We’ll be opening up the site in waves to anyone with a Twitter account who wants to follow the action more closely: Spectators.

The two most common questions we receive at Dribbble HQ are:

  1. I don’t want to post shots, but how can I follow my favorite players and like/bookmark their shots?
  2. I want to be a player, but I don’t know anyone with an invitation. How do I get drafted?

Admittedly, we haven’t had great answers to these queries. There is more work to do and fine lines between openness and focus to walk, but we hope that our answers are improving. Here’s a glimpse at how spectators will change the game …

  1. For those who want to watch and cheer:

    Anyone with a Twitter account will be able to sign up as a spectator and do just that—follow their favorite players and like their favorite shots. You’ll have courtside seats to watch the creative web being built by the best players in the game.

  2. For those who want to be a player:

    After signing up as a spectator, if you want to post shots you can declare yourself eligible for the draft by becoming a Prospect (in your account settings). Those who do will appear on a list of prospects along with their web sites. We hope this assists by providing a central place where members with invitations can browse prospective players and draft them with the click of a button. Prospects will be ordered by follower count, so if you don’t have invitations but would like to see someone become a Player, be sure to follow them. This serves as a voucher/recommendation to the community on behalf of the prospect. And you’ll be following them if and when they do get drafted!

We’ll be welcoming spectators in waves, i.e. we’ll open sign up for a bit, take stock and address any bugs or issues that arise, and repeat. We’ve done a lot of planning and preparation, but we also know there will be bumps in the road—this is a big change for Dribbble. Adding spectators in waves will also help us scale as we grow the user base by perhaps an order of magnitude. (Or two?) We know that many of you have waited for a LONG time to sign up, but please remember—we’re very small and on a tight budget. Hardware and storage is relatively cheap in this day and age; but we’re bootstrapping a sizable and active community, so it’s still pricey for us. We’ll do our best, but please be patient as we react to growth.

Our hope is that spectator sign up will be permanently open to anyone. Demand, issues of community and scale and, of course, the basketball gods will determine how long it takes us to get there.

Heads up players: With many new followers entering the community, remember you can toggle email notifications in your account settings.

Welcome, spectators! We’re eager to usher you into the arena. Look for us to open the gates to spectator sign up very … soonish.

There’s no I in team. But there’s an API in Dribbble.

Just over a week ago, we published the first draft of the Dribbble API. But it seems like much longer, given the avalanche of API-related inquiries, shots, apps, sites and other creations in this short period.

Players and other interested parties have been requesting an API from Dribbble’s [yes, I’m going there] Inception. (They asked during the beta; the beta beta; the beta beta beta; ok, the top has long stopped spinning on this joke.) We’ve always been excited about the prospect of having an API, but dragged our feet on it for a while, as it comes with risks.

Releasing an API marks the progression of an application from web site to PLATFORM. Even without the caps, it’s a scary transition. Ease of access to your data is accompanied by potential for abuse, new and more difficult-to-predict scaling issues, loss of control over the presentation of your content, the need to define guidelines for usage, etc. It’s a big leap.

It also presents business challenges: If folks start viewing Dribbble through other lenses (iPhone, iPad, etc), are we cannibalizing our own advertising revenue? How do our nascent efforts toward a sustainable Dribbble (revenue) fit in this new paradigm?

We thought long and hard about all these issues, read all the research and came up with a comprehensive 5-year plan for our business. Wait, that was in the dream. What we actually did was add another server, set some rate limits and take the red pill. (Whoops, wrong movie.)

We’re not sure how many levels deep the API is going to take us. And we don’t know what it means for our current reality. Nonetheless, the seed has been planted. APInception. We can’t wait to see what you dream up.

Posted by Rich

Hey June


It’s been too long since we’ve posted what *we* are working on. Here are some highlights from the last 3 weeks:

  • Improvements in our deployment infrastructure. Only time will tell how @gruber-proof we are, but we’ve added capacity and our servers are running cool despite increased traffic. To inifinity and beyond?! Still working on it, but we’re in a much better place than we were a month ago.
  • Comments are commendable. You can like comments to show appreciation for feedback, humor, etc. We have further plans to draw attention to good comments and the players who make them, but merely adding likes for comments gives us a corpus of data from which to begin the work of highlighting those worthy of, um, comment.
  • Follow up comments now appear in the incoming activity stream. Many people asked us for the ability to be alerted to comments following their own so they’d be able to keep track of discussions. Our first step to address this was to add follow up comments to the incoming activity stream. (In case you didn’t know, there is an RSS feed for this stream; it is arguably the best way to keep abreast of everything happening in your Dribbblesphere.) This has been well received by some, less so by others. We realize that the volume and utility of this feature varies by user. We wanted to push it in its simplest form and get a sense of usage; we’ll be refining it so you can customize to taste going forward.
  • Notifications (tab under the Account page). You can now sign up to receive email notifications for certain events at Dribbble. The first set of events are 1) a comment on one of your shots and 2) being followed. We’ll be adding more going forward. Notification of likes and follow up comments are likely candidates to go next.
  • Simpler login. We used to get a surprising (at least to me) number of requests for help logging in. Usually the issue was that someone created a login containing capital letters (damn you, iPhone) and tried to login using all lowercase. A postgres function and index later, login is now case-insensitive. Additionally, you can login using your email address (also case-insensitive). Hopefully this marks the end of login difficulties. So say we all.

Upcoming? This week we’re working on refactorings and performance improvements. We have a mountainous backlog of annoyances and enhancements to plow through. We know that folks are salivating - dare I say dribbbling - for an API. We have the unsavory business of making money so I don’t have to get a real job. And we have BIG NEW SECRET STUFF in the early stages of development. We’ll post a few shots along the way … if we can find a good site for that sort of thing.

- Posted by Rich

Stepping Up Our Game

Dribbble began way back in 2008 as a little side project between two Salem, MA neighbors whose kids played together. As luck would have it, Dan and I happened to be web enthusiasts with complementary skills. We both had jobs and kids, and then we had two kids, so time to work on our idea was scarce. Progress was slow. But always enjoyable.

In 2009, we decided we had built enough to invite some folks to try it out and see if the idea of sharing small screenshots of design work resonated. People came, and though the number of users was small, the content was dazzling. (For proof, check out the inimitable Shaun Inman and the progression of his game, Mimeo, that has captivated Dribbblers for the past 6 months.) It wasn’t long before we realized that the designers who had assembled in Dribbble were producing something special: A sparkling, real-time window of the web as it was being rendered.

We grew our membership slowly to preserve the quality of our content and community. But also, frankly, to keep the site manageable given constraints on our time. As Dribbble drew more users, shots and attention, we were thrilled. The list of features and possibilities for the community began to seem endless; simultaneously, our flaws became more noticeable and irritating. Though a labor of love, there just wasn’t much spare time in our lives to work on Dribbble.

Recently, circumstances changed - my son was in school longer, my baby daughter was now a toddler and my wife was offered a full-time, work-at-home writing job (after years of staying home with the kids). We saw opportunities on many fronts - career, lifestyle, independence. And Dribbble. We decided to take a risk. I left my job and, on Monday, became the first full-time employee at Dribbble.

It wasn’t an easy decision. I had been working for the last 3 years at PatientsLikeMe where they are - for real, not in press releases - changing the future of health care. I am forever indebted to them for giving me an opportunity to work on something truly meaningful and great. If you’re a software developer in the Boston area and want to use Ruby on Rails to build software that has significant impact on people’s lives, I hope you’ll consider working at PatientsLikeMe which is looking for Experienced Ruby on Rails Developers.

As for Dribbble, what does the change mean? Engineering resources have been our primary bottleneck, so we’ll be able to ramp up the time we spend improving Dribbble by a factor of ~10. We have hundreds of ideas to improve the site and suddenly more time to advance them. Here are some highlights of what we’ll be doing in the near future:

  • Publishing the first portion of the Dribbble API.
  • Growing the community. We’ll be issuing another round of invitations soon. We’re still obsessed with the quality of our content and community, but we have more time to invest in monitoring growth and releasing features to help the community manage itself. We’re long overdue for an expansion and now in a better position to manage it.
  • Fixing bugs. (We need to get those comment hyperlinks hyperlinking! And many others.)
  • Building new features. The community has given us incredible feedback and we have many ideas of our own. Plus you need to be able to see follow-up comments after you comment. (That makes me weep, too. Sorry.)
  • Writing. We not only have more time to work on Dribbble, but also to write about it. It’s fun, we love this community and want to be more transparent about what *we* are working on. We now have time to be more active in doing so.

One final, but important, note: We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to our advertisers who took a chance on a new platform. Without ad revenue, I could not have taken the risk to do this full-time. If you haven’t already, please check out the advertising page where our current advertisers are displayed on the right. Simply click through and buy all their products :)

http://dribbble.com/site/advertise

Now back to practice so we have more to show on the court. 1 … 2 … 3 … DEE-FENSE!

Fist bumps,

Rich
Employee #1

Wordpress Dribbble Widget

Are you a Dribbble player running a Wordpress site? Dave Rupert and Trent Walton have just released a widget that’ll show your latest shots.

Making Its Debut: Debuts

One criticism Dribbble has received is that it’s a star system; well-known players get far more views and dominate the popular lists, making it difficult for talented but lesser-known players to draw fans. It’s a valid concern.

While stars will always shine in reputation theater, we very much want Dribbble to be a stage for discovering new talent. On that front, there’s a lot we can do. To start, we’ve added a ”Debuts” tab to the front page which displays the opening (first) shot from each new player.

http://dribbble.com/shots/debuts

Rookies, your first shot just got a lot more visibility, so make it a swish. Players, we encourage you to keep tabs on this tab to scout the influx of new talent. (There’s an RSS feed as well, which makes doing so a layup.) When you see a rookie do something special, lavish Like and affection. Because once upon a time, someone gave you your first shot.

Dribbble is about to tip off

Soon, we’ll be pulling back the curtain on Dribbble, a new community we’ve been crafting for quite some time. Dribbble has enjoyed a long and active private beta, and we’re excited to finally share it with the world.

But first, what is it? Dribbble is show and tell for designers, developers and other creatives. Members share sneak peeks of their work as “shots” — small screenshots of the designs and applications they are working on. It’s also a place to talk design, give and receive feedback and iterate toward better work.

Whether Dribbble should be public (for some value of public :) has been a source of much debate on the interwebs. Please know that we care deeply about this community and the amazing work that’s being shared. We’re also well aware that Dribbble is all about quality over quantity. With that in mind, here is what we are going to do in the very near future:

  • Make all member content publicly viewable. This means users, shots, rebounds, comments, etc.
  • Continue to allow ONLY members to contribute content, i.e. upload shots, rebound, make comments, etc.
  • Continue to draft new members ONLY by invitation from other members.

In a nutshell: Dribbble will be READ-ONLY for non-members, and READ-WRITE for members.

REGARDING PRIVACY

We originally envisioned all shots being viewable by anyone, but user feedback has us strongly considering optional controls over who sees a given shot (for shots that are sensitive or warrant limited review). We want these controls to be lightweight but powerful enough to facilitate sharing. If members have feedback - particularly how they’d use private shots and who they’d want to see them - please let us know here:

http://getsatisfaction.com/dribbble/topics/feedback_on_privacy

Regarding membership: Dribbble is only as good as its players. That’s why we’re continuing to use the draft to recruit new talent.

FINDING A PICKUP GAME

We get a lot of requests from folks who aren’t on Dribbble and don’t know anyone on Dribbble, but would like to present their work for consideration by a member with invitations. Ultimately, we want to get that process into Dribbble itself, but for now, we’d like to point these requests here:

http://getsatisfaction.com/dribbble/topics/how_do_we_submit_ourselves_to_get_a_dribbble_invite

Folks looking for an invite can post a URL to their work and email address in this thread. Any existing member scouting new talent to draft can look here to find it.

That’s it for now. Exciting times ahead!

Fist bumps,

Assistant General Manager Dan Cederholm
Assistant to the General Manager Rich Thornett

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