Launch HN: Airship (YC W18) – Controlled rollouts of new features

03-08 02:01
Hi HN! We’re Alvin and George, the founders of Airship (

). We built Airship to help companies roll out new features carefully, instead of blindly deploying.

You may have seen that a million users are revolting over Snapchat's redesign, dropping their App Store rating below 2 stars. You might also remember when Digg launched a redesign in 2010 that caused a 30+% dip in usage in a matter of days. To avoid unpleasant surprises, companies like Facebook and Airbnb have developed their own sophisticated tools to carefully roll out their new features, test and measure their impact incrementally, and roll them back when signs of trouble appear. This way they can be informed about how users receive the features, and can fix mistakes without jeopardizing their entire user base. Then they can publicly release the new feature with reasonable confidence about its likely reception and effects.

Alvin and I discovered the importance of controlling feature launches and monitoring them carefully when we worked at Zenefits together. Many companies would like to be able to mitigate risk through controlled feature rollout and rigorous testing, but don't have the resources to do it. This approach is proven to work, but remains expensive, since only companies that can afford in-house tooling, and often a dedicated team to maintain it, can do it. It struck us that there was a need here for a product, so we started Airship to build it and make feature rollout accessible to everyone.

To use Airship, you install one of our SDKs. Then you can flag or gate code with if/else blocks calling a single function provided by our SDK. This automatically gets wired up to controls in the Airship dashboard which allows you to control targeting rules, rollout percentages, and whitelists/blacklists.

Key features of Airship: - Gradually roll out and A/B testing of entire features, not just copy and superficial changes - No performance hit (checking whether a customer has a feature takes < 0.1 ms) - 0% downtime (no dependency on Airship’s services, so effective downtime is 0%) - Complex experiments using attributes of Users, Groups (e.g. location, purchase amounts, device types, etc.) as well as other object types (Product Listings, Pages/Posts, etc.)

We'd love to hear your feedback and hear about your experiences, ideas, and needs in this area!

标签: 测试技术
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