How to Code Boring Internal Apps 10x Faster

Rate this content
Bookmark

Retool is a front-end as a service tool that is similar to React and can be 10x faster than coding a web app from scratch. We’ll focus on how and why it is used for internal tools at some of the fastest growing companies and take a minute to walk through how it works, where it’s a good fit and where it’s not.

7 min
09 Jun, 2021

AI Generated Video Summary

ReTool is a platform that focuses on building internal tools quickly. It offers easy integrations with databases and APIs, supports custom React components and JavaScript libraries, and provides extensive support and deployment options. Developers can try it out at retool.com.

1. Building Internal Tools with ReTool

Short description:

Hi, I'm Chris Smith, a developer advocate at ReTool. Our focus is on building internal tools quickly. We expose metadata and properties of components, offer easy database and API integrations, and allow custom React components and JavaScript libraries. We provide extensive support and deployment options. Try it out at retool.com.

Hi, my name is Chris Smith, and this is a talk on how to build boring internal tools 10 times faster. I am a developer advocate at ReTool, which is the screenshot of the product you see here.

And a little bit about me, I'm a hacker at heart, started playing around with QBasic when I was in middle school, and messed around with Visual Basic and got really passionate about the visual abstractions of code, and it's really been the theme of career. And what led me to ReTool, and ReTool exists to help engineers create valuable software really fast. And I think that's a really fascinating vision for our company.

And so our focus is on internal tools, and building internal tools much more quickly. And you might be wondering an internal tool. And just think about all of the admin panels, the CRUD interfaces you've ever built, the custom internal apps. And these kind of exist in combination with all the software you'd write for your external customer base, say your marketing site, your product. If you're a SaaS cover, extend your current SaaS tools like Salesforce and build this really better note taking interface on top of your CRM. And the focus of all this really is that it's a tool built by engineers for engineers.

And so some of the things that we do to make that really easy for an engineer is expose all of the metadata and context and properties of these individual components, so that you can really quickly write the code you need to make all the components work to build the application you want to build. A whole lot of really easy to use database and API integrations, as well as the ability to connect to any open API endpoint. And so there's tons and tons of components that are pre built. And you can also extend these and build your own custom React components if you want to. And as you're doing all this, you can really write JavaScript everywhere, we've tried to make it possible to have an escape hatch to just code whatever you need anywhere across the entire app like using this math dot round function or setting table background colors using conditional operators. And we'll auto suggest as you're writing and curly braces all the different objects or methods that we think are available to you. We'll also introspect the schema of your SQL databases or your GraphQL endpoints, and use autocomplete to show you which data to return. And as I mentioned a second ago, you can build your own custom React components if you want to. Or pull in your own custom JavaScript libraries which you can then reference anywhere in the app. And I mean there's so much more here. You can do custom authentication support, you can deploy it locally into your own on premise virtual private cloud if you need to, and sync it with your own GitHub instance. So I hope this is helpful for you as a potentially new interesting tool. Let me know if you have questions. You can find me at CLS Smitty on Twitter and you can try it out at retool.com.

Check out more articles and videos

We constantly think of articles and videos that might spark Git people interest / skill us up or help building a stellar career

TechLead Conference 2023TechLead Conference 2023
35 min
A Framework for Managing Technical Debt
Let’s face it: technical debt is inevitable and rewriting your code every 6 months is not an option. Refactoring is a complex topic that doesn't have a one-size-fits-all solution. Frontend applications are particularly sensitive because of frequent requirements and user flows changes. New abstractions, updated patterns and cleaning up those old functions - it all sounds great on paper, but it often fails in practice: todos accumulate, tickets end up rotting in the backlog and legacy code crops up in every corner of your codebase. So a process of continuous refactoring is the only weapon you have against tech debt.In the past three years, I’ve been exploring different strategies and processes for refactoring code. In this talk I will describe the key components of a framework for tackling refactoring and I will share some of the learnings accumulated along the way. Hopefully, this will help you in your quest of improving the code quality of your codebases.

React Day Berlin 2022React Day Berlin 2022
29 min
Fighting Technical Debt With Continuous Refactoring
Let’s face it: technical debt is inevitable and rewriting your code every 6 months is not an option. Refactoring is a complex topic that doesn't have a one-size-fits-all solution. Frontend applications are particularly sensitive because of frequent requirements and user flows changes. New abstractions, updated patterns and cleaning up those old functions - it all sounds great on paper, but it often fails in practice: todos accumulate, tickets end up rotting in the backlog and legacy code crops up in every corner of your codebase. So a process of continuous refactoring is the only weapon you have against tech debt. In the past three years, I’ve been exploring different strategies and processes for refactoring code. In this talk I will describe the key components of a framework for tackling refactoring and I will share some of the learnings accumulated along the way. Hopefully, this will help you in your quest of improving the code quality of your codebases.
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
26 min
Principles for Scaling Frontend Application Development
After spending over a decade at Google, and now as the CTO of Vercel, Malte Ubl is no stranger to being responsible for a team’s software infrastructure. However, being in charge of defining how people write software, and in turn, building the infrastructure that they’re using to write said software, presents significant challenges. This presentation by Malte Ubl will uncover the guiding principles to leading a large software infrastructure.
React Day Berlin 2022React Day Berlin 2022
25 min
Building High-Performing Cross-Cultural Teams
Everything we do, from the way in which we write our emails, to the method in which we provide negative feedback and evaluate performance, governs the performance of our teams. And understanding how culture impacts our efficacy as a team can drastically improve our day-to-day collaboration. In this session you'll learn: How different cultures communicate, How different cultures evaluate performance and give constructive criticism, How different cultures make decisions, How different cultures trust, How different cultures perceive time.
JSNation 2023JSNation 2023
24 min
AI and Web Development: Hype or Reality
In this talk, we'll take a look at the growing intersection of AI and web development. There's a lot of buzz around the potential uses of AI in writing, understanding, and debugging code, and integrating it into our applications is becoming easier and more affordable. But there are also questions about the future of AI in app development, and whether it will make us more productive or take our jobs.
There's a lot of excitement, skepticism, and concern about the rise of AI in web development. We'll explore the real potential for AI in creating new web development frameworks, and separate fact from fiction.
So if you're interested in the future of web development and the role of AI in it, this talk is for you. Oh, and this talk abstract was written by AI after I gave it several of my unstructured thoughts.

Workshops on related topic

React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
168 min
How to create editor experiences your team will love
Workshop
Content is a crucial part of what you build on the web. Modern web technologies brings a lot to the developer experience in terms of building content-driven sites, but how can we improve things for editors and content creators? In this workshop you’ll learn how use Sanity.io to approach structured content modeling, and how to build, iterate, and configure your own CMS to unify data models with efficient and delightful editor experiences. It’s intended for web developers who want to deliver better content experiences for their content teams and clients.