Development Update 2/2020

Good Hello slipmatians!

Slipmat development has been very quiet for a few months now and I wanted to give you an update on what’s happening under the hood.

Despite of the silence, there has been continuous work on the site towards one single goal: public beta launch. We launched in summer 20016 which means that we’ve been “almost there” for almost 4 years! That’s about 3,5 years too long.

Slipmat tech changes and challenges in a nutshell

Slipmat has evolved quite a bit from the first beginnings. Initial implementation was very simple and crude. First big rewrite was modernizing the user interface, it was released in February 2018. After that we took another huge project to completely revamp the streaming process and build our own streaming server. This work was released in September 2019. So currently we are running a completely revamped frontend code with completely revamped backend code. Problem is, we already have technical debt in both stacks and we need to refresh and unify the codebase before we can get the development speed up again.

Huge amount of work has also gone into various tools and documentation regarding admin functionality and generic user support. Due to our origins and the underlying motive of “let’s build it better for ourselves” all features we’ve built have been born because of an actual need.

There’s a flip side to this coin: if you weren’t familiar with that feature in the first place and it’s not documented properly, it’s very likely you 1) don’t have any idea how to use it, or 2) even know it’s there in the first place. It’s very difficult to try to add usability into a feature afterwards. As the platform has been built one small lego at a time, it has started to look like a horrendous mess as it has grown way, way bigger from what it once was.

The roadmap to bliss :rocket:

After looking at our forever-growing issue list and thinking about these issues literally for years, after some very deep and careful considerations late last year I started a whole new codebase called slipmat3. I literally started from scratch. I’ve been in the tech business for a long time and this is not a typical way to do refactoring or seen as a good practice in general but in this case I’m fairly certain that what we really need is a fresh start with all the knowledge we’ve learned from the past 3,5 years to properly reboot the platform.

The new codebase is meant to address the following problems;

  • We need much easier and clean workflow for onboarding new DJs (just register like for any other website and off you go - in minutes)
  • We need better and easier workflow to onboard new listeners (listener registration should be dead simple and happen in seconds with any device. You shouldn’t need to for example verify your email or fill your profile details if they aren’t actually needed somewhere.)
  • We need to take a couple of steps back with all of the features, unify the UI and workflows + properly document the basics. Current interfaces haven’t originally been designed for example for mobile devices in mind and some of the current workflows are cumbersome at best. Basic features should be very simple and they should be intuitive and fully accessible with any modern device.
  • We need to have better and documented way for community members to help and join the development. I also want to support all kinds of weird and wonderful hacks and DIY experiments what the community members might want to do. We already have an API and lots of open source, but the documentation and easy to use tooling is missing. I believe in open communities and Slipmat should encourage that.
  • Lastly, we need a way to cover the running costs and development. Running and maintaining the current Slipmat tech stack costs hundreds of euros per month. The bare minimum we need to do is to get that cost covered to make the project sustainable. This is prio 1 at the moment.

Even if you’re not experienced with software development, it should be clear that with terms like ‘workflows’ and ‘user interface’ this process is heavily invested to make the overall user experience much better.

What’s next?

The work on the new codebase will not happen over night, it will take months. But, as I’ve been working on it for several months already, I’m very happy to tell you that we’ll see the first glimpses of the new site fairly soon :slight_smile: :tada:

In the mean time we will have few bugfix releases to the old codebase as well but most of the work is now focused on getting this new thing off the ground.

I’ve not yet decided exactly how are we going to jump from the old code to new, but probably we’ll start with giving some of the interested DJs early access and when the time comes, we’ll migrate the data from active DJs to the new site. After that we’ll have a release party where we burn the old site to the ground and also launch the site officially for public :fire: :fire: :fire:

I’m thinking of writing regular reports about the process, so keep tuned in here on Backstage for those.

Thank You

As always, I want to thank all the slippers for your support and interest for making Slipmat what it is today.

I don’t have the time nor mental cycles to offer personal support for everyone so it’s great to see people finding solutions together and working around current issues. Here’s for great 2020 on Slipmat! :clinking_glasses:


hey buddy, very very new here so please consider that!

However, I am a Sr. cloud consultant by trade outside of the music realm and am well versed in the arts you speak of. Let me know if or how I can help! You are correct in that it isn’t typical to refactor from a fresh repo / tree, but I completely understand why you’d want to as well.

Meanwhile glad to help support what you have running live now. RTMP, HLS & such are what they are - no secrets there!


Hey man

I am also willing to assist.
Workflow is a part of my daily suffering.

Let me know if and how I can assist.

Keep up the good vibes.

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Sounds great, thanks for all your hard work. Don’t have a techy background but happy to help where possible.

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