What makes Iguana Apps interesting?

There are a number of reasons we’re writing Iguana Apps and making them available to our user community.

We’re a service business. We serve the needs of direct health providers such as hospitals and clinics, and we also serve OEM partners. The need we address is reducing the cost and pain of sharing data between applications. We serve our customers by providing a solid core software product (i.e. Iguana) and then putting together all the things that accompany that product: documentation, support, training and day to day friendly help with integration.

We’ve been sharing knowledge and code samples with our users for years, because it’s the best way to solve certain kinds of tough problems. Iguana Apps are the next evolution of this.

For instance, regression testing is a problem that’s hard to solve in a pre-packaged way. Every organization has its own suite of interfaces, linking with each other and with outside systems in unique ways. To test any given suite, with all its particularities, will unavoidably involve some custom work. That said, we have deep experience with interfaces, and with regression testing, and with Iguana best practices. When we’re shipping an Iguana App that shows how regression testing works in one environment, we’re providing not just a bundle of templates, we’re providing valuable advice.

Another benefit of Iguana Apps is that they really help us live, eat and breathe the same experience our customers have when they use Iguana to work on non-trivial challenges. In the last couple of months, my team and I found and fixed a bunch of little annoyances in the translator that made it harder for us to work on these applications.  We continue to see problems, but we now have a shared vision of how to solve them.  For instance, in Iguana 5.6.5 we added the ability to edit sample data and preserve invisible line-ending markers.  In Iguana 5.6.6 you can edit CSS, Javascript and HTML. We’re learning how to use GIT well and so we can see a better path of how to integrate with it. You can expect big improvements in Iguana’s translator project manager, too.

Working on non-trivial tasks in Iguana also makes us experts in how to structure code using Lua within the translator.  We’ve been working through good conventions with naming, module design and so on. Once we’re happy that our approach is working, we can share that knowledge with our users to help you get more value out of our platform.

Iguana Apps also reduce the amount of infrastructure our users need to build around Iguana. We know the HTTP Channel API has been a huge hit with many of our OEM vendor partners. Many of our partners are investing development budget into build tools for deploying and moving channels around using this API. Iguana Apps provide a different, lower cost way to meet those needs and get a better final user experience with these internal utilities. Instead of having to build dedicated applications, our customers can save time and money by beginning with apps such as the channel manager, adapting them to meet specific challenges. Ideally, our customers will contribute back the odd patch, as well!

Share the code, share the burden. If you are a CIO at hospital, one of the nice things about sharing code through Iguana Apps is more eyeballs on the code that you are depending on in production. Your code gets more review by people with more expertise. When staff move on, you have more people you can call upon to understand the code your business depends upon.

If you work with Iguana, sharing code is a way to share your reputation and show off your talent. It gives you a platform for demonstrating your skill and value both inside your organization and with the outside world. It can help you create more value, by helping you get more done in less time than you could all on your own. It can help you advance your career.

For us, Iguana Apps give us a creative space to hack and experiment. We can take risks. We can try out crazy ideas for features in a way that is fast and doesn’t incur the kind of risk and long term technical debt we would if we tried to put everything in an official release of Iguana. When we see features evolving out of these apps that clearly belong in the core of Iguana, we’re not going to be shy about building them in.

Let’s solve some tough problems together. And let’s have some fun!

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