Webix in Practice: text message marketing platform

Another user has given us his feedback on the Webix library. Tom Tenaglia, host of The Empowered Entrepreneur Show, is working on the project of a text message marketing platform. He loves everything connected with marketing and digital solutions. Let’s find out what Tom has to share with us.

interview with Johan Smith

Hi Tom. Tell us, please, about your project and what you are working on?

We are creating a text message marketing platform. I’m a problem solver, and not really a UI developer. I understand the concepts, but with some of the libraries, there is too much of a learning curve. To have Webix for me was very helpful even though I had to learn a little bit about websockets to understand Webix Chat and some ES6 to understand Webix Jet. I also had training with Webix, which was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.

We pivoted Webix a few times, as it continues to come out with newer major releases and additional widgets. We keep changing the UI a bit. Now we are using more AWS stuff. AWS was also changing at the same time. We couldn’t get the infrastructure reliable to the degree that we felt good enough with, so as each technology changed, we just kept pivoting. Now we are in the process of taking the foundation of what we had and turn it into serverless and use Webix for the frontend. 

What kind of business domain are you in?

I love software automation, technology projects, and marketing projects. I’m working on an automation platform for mobile text messaging. It is something that we started in 2014-2015, so we had the idea back before chatbots. We still haven’t launched it, because the version before Webix was hard to scale. I think now with the serverless model and Webix with its newer widgets we could finally launch. The idea is to make it more of an interaction with the customers, taking my passion for marketing and talking to customers and combining it with technology.

How long ago did you find Webix?

2016 or 2017. We originally were writing on WordPress. We were able to run our messaging campaigns, but it wasn’t something that was going to scale. I bought Webix Pro and started working with it immediately. 

How did you find Webix?

I think I was looking for a JS UI framework in Google. I was trying to figure out how people were doing modern applications. The thing that attracted me to Webix was the speed with which you could create widgets, the depth of the documentation, and the customer service. It is native JS, so you don’t need any other components. It’s super fast and very elegant, very powerful. Once I understood how it worked, I realized it could do what I needed.

Customer service, documentation, and speed – are those the most important criteria for a UI library?

Yes, and also making sure that it would work for somebody who is not a UI developer. I need something easy to implement and maintain without having a detailed UI background.

interview with Johan Smith

Did you have any difficulties with Webix that you would like to improve?

Now I’m looking at the Chat widget and trying to get it to work with AWS API Gateway for web sockets. There seems to be an issue of a handshake or something; when it goes from HTTP to web socket, it seems like the API gateway is expecting some type of transition, and the Chat widget is doing it differently. I might need help with that in the future, but I’m still trying to experiment with it. I think there could be more documentation for the Chat widget. Some examples of using web sockets would be helpful.

Learning the intricacies of Chat I started to understand how it works for the data. The documentation is good when I use it now, but it didn’t work in the beginning. It didn’t help me understand how these pieces fit together to make an SPA. For somebody like me who is just used to 1990s HTML, understanding how all these pieces work together would be helpful.

Are you using other complex widgets?

I’m testing the User Manager and Query. I might use Kanban in the future. With all the widgets I’m making the API behind the scenes, doing a little bit more than the widgets are normally designed for.

Where do you usually find the information to help you with your project?

We usually ask each other. I don’t read regular tech sites. I use Google. And Stack Overflow often helps. 

Do you use any other libraries?

GoJS for drag-n-drop workflow diagramming. We load it inside the Webix Jet. They are very intertwined. 

What are the most important features for you?

Webix Jet, the Chat demo app. It is very helpful for building an SPA. Jet is underpromoted I think. 

How likely are you to recommend Webix?

I already have, so it is 10. I have already recommended it, but the responses show people don’t understand why they should turn to it. I don’t think they understand the benefits. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a job description for a UI developer that mentions Webix as a thing that people know. This is my marketing hack: comparing technologies mentioned in job descriptions with Webix may help people get to know about it.

Thank you Tom for your responses. Your feedback is valuable for us. We wish you a soon launch!

If you are ready to tell us about your Webix experience, please, let us know. We will contact you as soon as possible and arrange a convenient time.