Strengthening our foundation

The Mandrill team has spent the last several months adding a bunch of great features each week, like resending messages, subaccounts and demographics. We've also added some pretty innovative features that you don't normally find for transactional emails, like the rules engine, split testing and our executable API docs. With each release we've worked hard to make sure the interface for using them is well designed and easy to use, whether you're accessing them through the Mandrill web application or the Mandrill API.

However, one problem we've encountered with the speed we've been releasing is that some features have been available through the Mandrill UI a week or two before they're accessible through the API (and sometimes vice versa). While we have some big, new features in the works, we also want to kill that time gap when they're ready. In order to do that, we're going to slow down for a couple of months and work on a making Mandrill's foundation even better for future innovation.

Doing it all through the API

The main way the majority of our users interact with Mandrill is through the API and we have an unwritten goal that everything a user can do or see in the web app should also be available through the API. Along with templates, tagging, and sending this also includes things like account stats, reputation, sending volume and account balance. Basically you should be able to build the Mandrill interface on top of the Mandrill API. Right now it's not possible to, but we decided that if that's our goal, then we should do it.

So we are. We're rebuilding the Mandrill web interface in Dart (we'll talk more about the why and how of this soon) on top of the Mandrill API. This change will have some great benefits for us and you. First, every new feature we add or change will be available to everyone right off the bat. No more gaps between the web interface and the API. And it also means that we'll be using our own API all the time. And when you're using something all the time, you feel the pain points (and fix them) much more quickly.

Improving the interface

While we've gotten a lot of love for Mandrill's UI, moving as quickly as we have has also added one off interface patterns and extra code littered through some parts of the application. We're not going to make any drastic changes to the interface, but we are using this as a chance to improve the interface, markup and CSS. We'll be cleaning up and standardizing our UI patterns (and the CSS behind them) a bit further, moving to Sass for CSS preprocessing and improving our charting and graphing library. We'll also be making the application responsive, so you can access Mandrill easily from any of your devices.

So, that's what we'll be up to. While we're slowing down a bit on new features, we'll be hard at working setting the stage for some great things to come. We'll be writing more about our progress and some of the specifics of what we're doing and why in the coming weeks.