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Quickly Build & Own Secure Application With Appwrite | Eldad Fux

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Appwrite is an end-to-end Backend-as-a-Service (Baas) platform for web, mobile, native or backend apps packaged as a set of Docker microservices. “We create an abstraction level that allows developers to quickly build secure applications on top of existing APIs that they already know how to consume instead of building that solution from scratch or trying to combine different solutions and integrating them together, which sometimes can take you weeks,” said Eldad Fux, Founder & CEO of Appwrite. In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Fux to talk about a wide range of of topics, some of which are listed below:

  • What problem was Eldad trying to solve that he created Appwrite?
  • What exactly does Appwrite do?
  • How different is Appwrite from Google Firebase?
  • We then talked about sensitive topics like privacy and vendor-lock-in and how Appwrite helps developers escape these problems.
  • How does Appwrite enable customers to be more efficient so that they don’t spend way too much time in writing and deploying applications and move fast?
  • How important is Open Source to Appwrite?
  • What roadmap do you have?

Guest: Eldad Fux (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: Appwrite (Twitter)
Show: Let’s Talk

Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is your host Swapnil Bhartiya and welcome to TFiR Let’s Talk. My next guest is Eldad Fux, founder and CEO of AppWright. Eldad, it’s great to have you on the show.

Eldad Fux: Hey. It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You folks raised 10 million to build the open source alternate to Google, the Firebase. And since you’re also a founder of the company so I also wanted to understand the history and the story of the company. Let’s start with the basics, which is what problem you saw in the space that you wanted to solve, which led to creation of AppWright?

Eldad Fux: Yeah, I’m originally a software engineer myself and I had multiple problems when I started up. Honestly, I started up to solve my own problems. I didn’t believe or thought too much about others. And I felt a lot of problem [inaudible 00:00:58] as a technology leader, I was both an R and D manager and a CEO and both as an engineer myself. I felt that as an engineer, there are so many things you have to master. And so many complexity that it just piled up on top of each other. And it felt like things are not going to get any easier. And traditional cloud solution like AWS and GCP have done a really good job of extracting a lot of previous complexity that we had in managing our own infrastructure and servers, but they have created also a new level of complexity for developers because those solutions were never designed for developers in mind. They were designed for IT personnel or for [inaudible 00:01:40].

Eldad Fux: And for developers it was a bit complex. Then it felt like a new abstraction level needs to be created in order to give developers the same capabilities, but with APIs and interfaces that they are familiar with and they already love and know how to consume. Basically, AppWright is this abstraction level on top of those traditional infrastructure that allows developer to rapidly develop new applications on top of any core APIs that they usually need to build on themselves, like an API for managing users, for managing a database, for managing storage and even cloud function that allows you to customize your entire solution according to your own business needs.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, if I want to just have a very myopic view and look at AppWright, and ask you, what exactly do you do, do you folks do?

Eldad Fux: Basically, we create an abstraction level that allows developers to quickly build secure applications on top of existing APIs  that they already know how to consume instead of building those solution from scratch or trying to combine different solution and integrating them together, which sometimes can take you weeks. And even in most cases, it won’t even work. And all the other different services are integrated together to work perfectly in harmony.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Also you folks, not compete, but look at Google, fire pace and [inaudible 00:03:07]. How different is AppWright from Google Firebase.

Eldad Fux: Well, so we can see multiple differentiations. The first one and the most obvious one is that we’re building our product as an open source project with the open source community, which has been a huge and massive multiplying factor in our growth and in our product advancement because we have over 250 contributors in a community of over 40,000 developers that is just always backing us up, helping us move forward and improve the product and get the word out to more people. On the other front, because we are an open source solution, we are also a self hosted solution, which allows you to host your data on your own data center, on your own infrastructure and also own it.

Eldad Fux: When we see privacy and more privacy [inaudible 00:03:58] and more regulations around the world, self hosted solution are actually a really good answer to a lot of organization out there. And we’ve seen that this trend is continuously going. On the other front, Firebase is a great solution, but it wasn’t really born as a backend, as a service. It pivoted towards being the backend as a service and output was designed to be a backend as a service from day one. And that comes into action in the unique developer experience that we are offering and how the different services are so easy to consume and integrate so well with each other.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You brought up point of privacy. There are so many things that we can talk about when we do talk about either self hosted or decentralized privacy is there. Another thing [inaudible 00:04:40] is also there. Plus in most cases, what happens is that data is what really matters. Apps can come and go. They can run anywhere they want, but if you look at a lot of public cloud offerings, they have data gravity. They try to lock you in. Can you also talk about how are you looking at not just one problem and also it depends on where you are. For example, Europe, they have [inaudible 00:05:07] Google, everything, they are complying with [inaudible 00:05:09], but there are a lot of reasons where people don’t put their stuff in a hyperscalers. Talk about all the things that differentiate you from the other. And also off that, I will talk about the open source angle. But let’s talk about privacy, [inaudible 00:05:25] and all those problems.

Eldad Fux: Yeah. We believe that AppWright should be completely unopinionated, and we shouldn’t assume how people are going to use it. We build the product in a way that it can play well with any technology out there or even infrastructure. That comes to action when you want to [inaudible 00:05:44], you can host it basically anywhere you want. We want to give organization and developers the power. We believe they should have the power and flexibility. Whether your organization has some kind of compliances or regulation that he has to comply to, so you can host, operate wherever you want, whether it’s in a specific region, a specific data center, or with a specific cloud vendor. You can even combine between different cloud vendors. And also our solution is built on top of the adaptive design pattern that allows you to replace some of the internal components if you wish to.

Swapnil Bhartiya: As much, as you explained, giving customers control, having the [inaudible 00:06:24] is all good. But one more big problem that is happening is in especially today’s word is that every company has to have [inaudible 00:06:33] to be able to reach out to their customer and cloud can quickly become very, very complicated. And that’s why we see the emergence of no code and low code as well, so that you can lower the barrier of entry. How do you enable customers so that they don’t spend way too much time in writing, deploying application and they can move fast?

Eldad Fux: Yeah, sure. We understand that the self hosted solution is not a solution for everyone. You need to manage your own server. You need to have a specific knowledge base and to have some skills inside your team in order to achieve that successfully. That’s why we are currently working on the AppWright cloud solution, which will be the managed version of AppWright which will allow different kind of user, different kind of developers and different kind of teams to consume AppWright in a way that is more comfortable to them, removing some of the barriers required with the self hosted environment or from one hand allows you to control your data. But on the other hand might be a bit more complex to get started with. Again, we are choosing the unopinionated approach, trying to find a good solution for any kind of different use cases.

Swapnil Bhartiya: One more problem that we see in cloud computing is that things can get complicated very quickly. What are you doing to lower the [inaudible 00:07:46] of entry so that your customers can move faster? We talk about low code, no code a lot so I want to hear your perspective. What are you doing?

Eldad Fux: Yeah, exactly. I think you should go hybrid these days, especially with [inaudible 00:07:59] awareness around privacy, but also the need to get to production as quick as possible. And you can’t find one solution that fits also. That’s why we are taking the approach of having both solutions available.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now let’s talk about the open source aspect of it. How important is open source for AppWright?

Eldad Fux: Open source is the most important thing in our [inaudible 00:08:22]. We never created AppWright in order to be an open source company. It was more of a path that we took that allow us to accelerate everything in our product and our team and the way that we build the company much faster than any traditional company. Our open source community has been… I like to call it the secret sauce that is always making sure that we don’t do any mistake with the product, that we’re always going to the right direction either by helping us build the product with over 250 contributors all around the world. Or even with feedback that we get constantly with every feature that we release, or even if it’s just by spreading the word out. We’ve reached 40,000 developers in such a short time that are part of the AppWright community.

Eldad Fux: That was never a possible without being an open source community and open source minded. On top of that, our entire engineering team is actually, we hired everyone in our team from the open source community. They all started this use of a product and they were so passionate about it. They decided to contribute on their own free will. And once we had the opportunity, we started hiring all of them and our entire engineering team is built that way. We were completely remote company, and it’s also very important for us to build that new company, that new AppWright company on top of the same core values that helped us reach that far. If we are talking about openness, transparency or collaboration with our amazing community, that are all staff that our core to the AppWright, to the new AppWright entity.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Let’s talk about the funding. Tell us what are the areas that you are going to invest in? What are the areas that you plan to grow further?

Eldad Fux: Yeah, so obviously we are going to invest a lot in our original open source solution. That’s our core solution and we want to get it better. Right now, it’s still in a better version. We’re still at 1.10 reaching toward 1.0. But on top of that, we’re also seeing how we can start building the premium and cloud solutions to manage solutions so we can also create a self-sustainable business and community on top of it.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Of course, everything that you [inaudible 00:10:29] is open source people can go and check those projects online. But if I ask you, what roadmap do you have? What plans do we have?

Eldad Fux: Well, we work really closely with our community and actually most of our world roadmap is publicly available on [inaudible 00:10:42] so everyone can affect it, view it and see what direction the product is going to take. We do have a bucket list full of features that the community have already asked, and we know people are waiting for, but this is very dynamic due to the nature of an open source community. Tomorrow we might get a really valuable contribution that might show a new opportunity that we need to chase. Everything is very flexible, but also very open and transparent.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Eldad, thank you so much for taking time out today and talk about the company and insights that you shared. And I would love to have you back on the show. Thank you.

Eldad Fux: Thank you.

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