Blog post

Launching Without a GUI

2022-06-10

3 minute read

No GUI Launch

We've officially launched Terrateam and we're very excited.

It's been a lot of work to get to this milestone. One of the things that we believe distinguishes Terrateam from the competition is that we have no GUI.

There is no web interface.

Users interact with Terrateam entirely through GitHub pull requests. And that is intentional.

While releasing any version of a product is a constant debate of scope, we entered this release choosing not to have a GUI.

The why

The choice to not include a GUI is two fold.

  1. We want features our users find useful.

    We think that most of our customers want to live inside their editor and the GitHub pull request interface. GitHub has already implemented a rich interface for reviewing changes. We can use comments to provide feedback as well a utilize the GitHub Checks/Status API to communicate success on operations.

    Our value-add is to provide Terraform automation for our users. Not build a GUI.

    Learning a new GUI and making a context switch to that interface for each Terraform change would be taxing for our users. This does not make for an efficient workflow.

    Finally, we are familiar with the strong Atlantis community and have been influenced by their success. We've noticed that a lot of Atlantis users are quite happy interacting via pull requests. If it ain't broke...

  2. We want to minimize the learning curve of Terrateam.

    When we developed the scope for this release, we looked at our various competitors. Many of them have beautifully designed GUIs. However, we found that they introduced a lot of new concepts, specific to those products, that customers had to learn in order to effectively use the product.

    We believe our users should go from installing Terrateam to applying Terraform changes in just a few minutes.

    One of the ways we chose to implement our no-GUI approach was to build on top of existing and familiar GitHub interfaces.

    A shallow learning curve means our users are more successful.

Bootstrapping

These reasons, along with others, influenced our decision to bootstrap Terrateam rather than seek funding.

We didn't want to feel pressured into using tactics such as making a feature or platform that may not be ideal for our users but could inevitably create unwanted vendor lock-in.

Terrateam will prove its worth by achieving customer happiness.

We don't need a GUI

To sum things up, Terrateam core is not and will not be built on a homegrown GUI.

Having said that, we're going to need a GUI for some things! ;) Just not the core of our product and that's the point we're trying to make.

A simple GUI for our users that want to get a better view into their Terrateam usage. For example, billing interfaces, audit reports, etc.

Our bet on the no-GUI approach is what we think our users want. It's possible we're just plain wrong! Time will tell as we receive more feedback.

Check out our docs to learn how to use Terrateam without a GUI.

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