If you are a front-end developer, setting up signup forms and integrations with popular APIs can be very painful. Stamplay wants to make back-end development as easy as playing with Lego bricks. The best analogy would be to think of it as an IFTTT for developers.
Coding using Stamplay is all about browsing its very visual interface to select and configure the right modules. There is a module to add new users, upvote items, publish content, comment and more. You can develop simple web services in a few hours using Stamplay’s mechanism. For example, there are tutorials to create Hacker News-like or Stackoverflow-like websites without ever having to directly manage a database, user signups, Facebook Connect integration and all the other parts.
“Stamplay is changing how software is built by transforming it into a visual experience,” co-founder and CTO Giuliano Iacobelli told me. “In this context, you only need to focus on the user-facing features, working with only one level of abstraction.”
Even for developers who want to keep doing things manually, Stamplay could help when it comes to API integrations. For example, you can create a simple rule that says “When a user signs up with Facebook, send him or her a welcome email and add him or her on my Mailchimp list.” You won’t have to dig through the Facebook and Mailchimp API documentation.
Stamplay integrates with Mailchimp lists, Sendgrid, YouTube, Intercom, Pusher.com, Google Spreadsheets, Facebook ads and more. It can help you add one-click signups with Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, GitHub, Google, etc.
The platform is just starting. So far, around 10,000 developers tried the service. The startup needs to add more modules to make the service more useful for heavy users. But it’s already a great way to try new things, build an MVP, and see if there is some traction around an idea — and especially if you are a front-end developer.
“There is no real direct competitor at this time but the space is very crowded. On one side we have BAAS like Parse, Kinvey and FeedHenry that targets mobile developer by offering server-side hosting and data storage,” Iacobelli said. “Then, we have more vertical services like Firebase or Hull.io to solve specific problems. Finally, on the opposite side, there are website builders like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix.com, but they are for end users and just let you build mostly static websites.”
In the future, developers will be able to share ready-to-go recipes like on IFTTT. The startup will also launch a marketplace for brand new modules built by the community.
The main challenge for Stamplay will be to make it more perfectly usable for large-scale development, and not just for prototyping. At least, Iacobelli is convinced by the company’s vision. “It sounds crazy, but think back at the early days when people were programming computers by taking full control of the motherboard,” he said. ” Who would have thought that someone could build software in a few mouse clicks without worrying about each component of the chip?”