Backlift, a Y Combinator-backed startup that bills itself as a back-end service for front-end developers, launched its first product today. Airfoil, which is obviously based on Backlift, is an A/B testing service for landing pages that’s aimed at designers and marketers who want the flexibility of working with their code directly and an easy to use dashboard to track their stats, but don’t want to use complicated testing services either.
Just like Backlift, which helps front-end developers get to work without having to deal with setting up a server, Airfoil uses Dropbox as its synchronization layer and signing up for Airfoil also creates a Backlift account. Users simply authorize their accounts through Dropbox and the service automatically creates a new folder for you with all of the baseline templates for both a barebones landing page and your admin interface (so you can customize that, too).
From there, developers can just take any HTML they want and drop it into the Airfoil folder, including, for example, pre-made landing pages from Themeforest and similar services. All they have to do to start A/B testing their sites is to drop in a number of basic template tags to up their variations. Users don’t have to use any WYSIWYG visual editors or know anything about back-end programming to get started and, maybe most importantly, they never give up full control of their HTML.
Airfoil’s dashboard then tracks how users react to the different versions of your site and displays those stats in its customizable dashboard.
As its founder Cole Krumbholz (who is one of Y Combinator’s few solo founders told me, Airfoil is essentially meant to provide users with a “great example of what you can do with Backlift. In the long run, Krumbholz hopes, Backlift could become something akin to WordPress, where developers will be able to use the service as a canvas to create new apps and maybe even make them available through a built-in repository, similar to what plugin and theme developers can do with WordPress.