Scrumptious: From 0 to 1000
August 10, 2019
Scrumptious began as a small side project - something I thought could help me stay organized during the day and let me improve on my front end skills. Now, 9 months, 447 commits, and 79 closed issues later, Scrumptious has grown into a productivity tool with over 1000 users from around the world.
That number still blows me away. When I first put the app live on the Chrome store, I thought that no one would find it. I anticipated getting maybe a handful of downloads at most, but nothing too significant. I think being the first “kanban for your new tab” extension out there made a big difference for us. For the few people that searched for exactly that, we ranked number one. What I definitely didn’t expect was to see other applications come out offering the same thing - that was super exciting, because it sort of validated my idea.
There are a few key factors that inspired me to create Scrumptious in the way that I did. First, I recognized that so many kanban boards out there now have a lot of bells and whistles that I really didn’t need on a daily basis. I wanted something simple and intuitive that wouldn’t require me to waste time organizing my tasks. I worked closely with my good friend and designer, Ronnie Siu, to come up with a design for Scrumptious that reflected those needs - everything is meant to look clean and simple, without sacrificing beauty, and Ronnie did an amazing job bringing that to life.
I’ve been asked a number of times: why a Chrome extension? There were definitely other paths to take here, but I decided that developing a Chrome extension meant that I didn’t need to worry about setting up a backend or storing user data - I just had to focus on making a user-friendly app that stored everything locally.
Having never made a Chrome extension before, though, I definitely ran into some major challenges along the way. I built Scrumptious with React, which is my go-to framework for building front end applications (it lets me work quickly, test easily, and break things into logical components). I also used Circle CI/CD, and was able to hook this up with Google APIs to get continuous deployments going (which took longer than I’m willing to admit).
I quickly realized that one of the biggest challenges was going to be figuring out account syncing. Google only lets me store 102,400 bytes of data which is really not a lot. On top of that, one individual item can only be around 8000 bytes. This makes for a bit of a painful experience while developing a Chrome extension that requires syncing of large sets of data. The other major challenge I faced was scope creep. We opened up a feature request form and a submission form and it has been absolutely amazing collecting feedback from our users. The downside, though, is that I am the sole engineer, so it’s difficult to have to backlog features that I’m super excited about pushing out to the users.
Hitting 1000 users really demonstrates to me that there is a need for a simple tool like Scrumptious. People like me are looking for a cool and genuinely usable tool that can help them keep there tasks organized, and I can’t wait to keep moving forward on this project. As the user base continues to grow, I’m eager to push out some big changes that are just on the horizon, like account syncing. After that, we have a bunch of cool features slated: multiple boards, user accounts, a web app, etc.
If you have any ideas for improvements that you’d like to share, please reach out! We might not get to everything right away, but we’re excited to hear all of your feedback and continue to improve Scrumptious everyday.
Written by Max Freundlich who lives and works in San Francisco building useful things.