It takes an (internet) village to build a product.
Hardware is critical to a web service like Well Crafted, and we’re happy to have two industry leaders handling of our data and infrastructure.
Amazon S3 hosts all of our media. S3 is incredibly cheap and reliable for hosting content. You can even run entire web applications from it. We are happy knowing that all of our important media is hosted on a reliable platform, with backups and uptime guarantees from an industry leader.
We are happy customers of Media Temple, a hosting company dedicated to serving creative folks like ourselves. One of the key reasons we’ve stuck with Media Temple for years is their customer service – they’re always quick to respond and help us out with technical assistance.
We store all of our passwords (I have a lot!) in 1Password, an amazing little app that will generate super-secure passwords for you. 1Password adds a button to each of your browsers, and will auto–fill each site’s password for you, after you provide it with a “master password.” It also works on mobile devices. It’s the only way we can have different passwords for each service we use, without having to remember them all.
An easy way to manage, host, and deploy code. Works for both Subversion and Git, and also integrates seamlessly with our bug tracker software, Fogbugz.
We use Desk to handle our customer service, and couldn’t be happier. Desk is fairly easy to customize, and you can see by looking at help.wellcrafted.net we’ve been able to integrate the service into our site’s design aesthetic. We are able to pull in customer support emails, tweets, and questions from our help site – all in one central app.
A super simple way to get commenting onto your Tumblog.
Dropbox is an incredibly easy way to share files with your clients. We use it all the time for presentations and file handoffs.
We don’t use a traditional project management tool like Basecamp for our software development – Fogbugz is our application of choice. Fogbugz is a pretty versatile tool; it can be used to go much farther than tracking software bugs (which it was designed to do). We use it to keep a record of future enhancements, track projects in progress, set timelines, and it is a great way to see how far you’ve progressed.
Google handles our email, docs, and gives us insight into our work with analytics.
Harvest is a time tracking, invoicing, and reporting tool that we use on a daily basis. I may be slightly biased here, as I worked for Danny and Shawn in 2010, but their service has proven indispensable for managing our client work. Harvest also integrates with many different business-related services.
Vanity metrics (pageviews, time spent on site, etc) are fun to look at, but they don’t provide much valuable information to base business decisions on. With KISSmetrics, you can track every single interaction a person has with your business. Funnels and cohort analysis are built right into the product. The focus is on people, not pageviews.
Coding emails can be a terrible experience – the code required is pretty archaic (inline styles, tables, etc). Mailchimp simplifies things to a great degree, and really transforms what could be a painful experience into a delightful one. Reporting is thorough, and gives you really fine-tuned insight into how a campaign is performing. Mailchimp offers up a lot of insight and help into the process of creating effective campaigns. They also offer quite a few features for free, to help startups get going.
Mandrill is a new way for apps to send transactional email. It runs on the delivery infrastructure that powers MailChimp (it’s developed by Mailchimp). It’s fantastic.
Outright is an absolutely brilliant tool for tracking your business expenses. Connect your bank account, and Outright pulls in your transactions, categorizes them, and gives you all the reporting you need to hand off to your accountant for tax purposes.
Pingdom monitors our server performance and uptime.
Shoeboxed is another great tool for any business owner. The service captures receipts digitally, making the traditional method of saving receipts in a shoebox obsolete. Shoeboxed will send you an envelope each month – you stuff your receipts inside, and they scan and then shred them (shredding is optional, you can have the hard copies returned – but what’s the point of that?) They also have an iPhone app for quick scans from your phone. As an added bonus, Shoeboxed connects with Outright – if you ever get audited, all the records you need are accessible from these two services.
When Stripe became available, we jumped on it, due to its simplicity and developer-centric model. Within 24 hours we had payment processing setup, which absolutely blew us away. Kudos to Stripe for building an exceptionally simple product.
Secure SSL protection for our websites.
We use Tumblr to power our blog, for of its simplicity and easy customization.
Simple and affordable video for your business.
Open Source Software
The internet is an amazing place, and we used these amazing tools to create Well Crafted.
Our web server.
Great little script jQuery script for writing browser-specific CSS rules.
A simple color picker.
A rock-solid default for building HTML5 websites.
A powerful library of image editing tools. We use Imagick (a native PHP extension) to create and modify images using the ImageMagick API.
Write less, do more. The de facto standard for much of the interactive web.
The missing UI library for the web, allowing you to create overlays, form interactions, tabbed navigation, tooltips, and more.
An easy-to-use logging class for PHP. It supports standard log levels like debug, info, warn, error, and fatal.
A jQuery plugin for radical web typography. A brilliant tool for kerning type.
The operating system that our server runs on.
A high-performance, distributed memory object caching system that allows us to avoid going to disk on every request.
The world’s most popular open-source database.
Our application is written in a custom PHP framework, which we plan to open source at some point in the future.
Ruby and RubyGems power SASS.
Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets. An extension of CSS3 that will change the way you develop sites. Utilize variables, nest elements, and more.
Allows us to send transactional emails such as trial expiration reminders, reset password links, etc.
An easy to implement file uploader, with control over the appearance.
Everything we do revolves around design. These are our primary tools:
We design everything in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
A simple, powerful development tool that helps us turn our mockups into code.
Beautiful, professional typography from Monotype.
Sentinel is slab serif with range and personality. It works well in both headlines and body copy, something that most slab serifs don’t handle very well. Another outstanding typeface from Hoefler & Frere-Jones.
Trade Gothic is a bold sans-serif, first designed by Jackson Burke in 1948. It has a strong presence and some nice variations in weight that give it a bit more personality than other sans-serifs. Additional weights were added by Burke through the 1960s, and then Akira Kobayashi contributed work to the typeface in 2009.
The easiest way to use real fonts on your website (coming soon).
We simply could not have done this without the help of many, many individuals:
All of our Kickstarter Contributors
In February of 2011 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund our continued development on Well Crafted. Over 70 individuals backed our project, and though we didn’t hit our goal, the support of those who contributed was what really mattered.
Ben allowed his work to be used in our first prototype, which got the ball rolling.
Our demo accounts.
Everyone who listened patiently.
We couldn’t have put together our iPad app without the help of Kristoph, an incredibly talented developer, entrepreneur, and friend from Seattle.
A big thank you to everyone at Studiomates who gave critical feedback and support, especially Cameron Koczon, Raul Gutierrez, Jon Lu, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Skylar Challand, Jessi Arrington, Creighton Mershon, and Josh Stewart.
All of our Beta Testers.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped us refine our alpha and beta releases: Eleonora Zorzi, Caleb Hou, Erick De La Rosa, Jared Johnson, Simon Rudkin, Joel Limberg, Annette Smith, Georgina Pinnock, Kamal Patel, Nichole Radman, Trevor Gerzen, Patrick James, Richard Denby, Michael Wysong, Josh Last, Erin Fitzsimmons, Oonie Chase, Chelsea Carlson, John Hildenbiddle, Jon Lu, Aaron Gaponoff, Mark Notermann, Jessi Brown, Christian Silk, Matthew Brown, Shayne Woodland, Ted Goas, Ryan Smith, Ivana Montana, Dave Snowball, Noel Cunningham, Emily Wilbur, Guilherme Menga, Samradhi Katare, Stephanie Guler, Larry Legend, Marco Moreno, Armaan Ahluwalia, Bekah Nutt, Dave Dawson, Ashley Veselka, Elliot Jackson, Christine Park, Matt Convente, Kristen Kendrick, Cliff Huizenga, Luke Walker, Drew Pickard, Becca Galfer, Ezgi Yersu, Andrew Foster, Brett Meliti, Nitin Budhiraja, Etienne Poulin, Ken Kozak, Kevin Ocallaghan, Connor Hill, Ian Soper, Davy Rudolph, Tom Feeley, Dawid Kamps, Jose Puche, Kristen Bell, Kate Lewis, Emily Caufield, Ben Peterson, Kristen Kendrick, Eva Yuan, Naomi Davidson, Marcel Ray, Mauvis Ledford, Sean Power, Christina Watson, Bruce Yan, and Narisa Spaulding.
– Jana and Keith Harper