The top dev tool project on GitHub
HTTPie is a popular open source terminal-based CLI tool that enables API testing directly from the console. Users can generate complex requests, automate testing flow, and use other features designed to make APIs simple and intuitive for builders. HTTPie’s authors have even developed a special language for attaching files and forming complex requests with parameters, headers, bodies, and so on—that’s why it has rapidly become one of the top projects on GitHub.
By the time our cooperation started, the project team had already secured funding and was going to enter a market of large corporate clients whose users needed the ability to work from several devices at once. Evil Martians helped create a cross-platform web and desktop app wrapped up in a sleek graphical interface to supplement their pre-existing CLI version.
Frontenders + Designers
The HTTPie team initially came to us with some frontend tasks to help them add features to their prototype. But we proposed a new, advanced approach that would make the feature development cycle much shorter: adding a product designer to the team. We proposed that it would be much faster to sketch a feature’s overall look and logic in a graphical editor so that frontend engineers could code it with the help of “visuals.” In addition to this feature work, we also sketched out a full interface draft for the web and desktop app.
We started, not with a classic design sprint, but with parallel work on prototype design and its finalization: the frontenders had their own pool of tasks related to adding new features, while the designers embarked upon UI redesign. We ran two designs in parallel for a while—we developed a feature with a new design and then adapted it to the current prototype.
HTTPie had set an ambitious goal for us: to build the best API testing tool possible, a golden standard for an entire class of similar tools (much like Figma has become the trademark app for UI design or Notion—one of the most popular documentation organization apps.)
Together with the client, we studied dozens of dev tool applications and analyzed their solutions for the particular problems we intended to solve. That analysis helped us understand each solution’s pros and cons and made it possible to clearly distinguish the issue at hand.
The new UI design proved flexible, scalable, and well-suited for adding, so the HTTPie team decided to focus solely on this new interface.