Your Utility Toolbelt - A story from Prefab

At Manifold, we’re dedicated to constantly adding new and useful services for you to integrate into your applications. These services are more than just a product, each one has unique individuals and stories attached to them. We would love for you to get to know them.

Like all developers, Jeff Dwyer, Founder of has learned in software engineering that there are certain principles that just make sense to adhere to; use good tools, don’t repeat yourself, and when you hit the Rule of Three hoist it out into a module you can share.

Extracting a module inside a codebase is one thing. But across languages/companies/codebases this has ended up meaning that there are common utilities written over and over again for each app—using rate limiting to save money or coordinate workers or employing feature flags for rolling out new products.

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A Shift in Perspective

Dwyer previously worked for HubSpot, a large enterprise with thousands of employees. Given HubSpot’s large pool of talent, experience, and capital, Dwyer could utilize the companies high quality internal solutions for common rollout problems.

But when Dwyer left HubSpot for a new opportunity, he found himself with a new perspective: Not everyone had those types of resources. Leaving HubSpot meant also leaving the communal pool of tools specifically created to prevent repeat development headaches.

Without adequate resources, he simply couldn’t build all the smaller, nice to have tools that you can't make time for when you have a short runway. Dwyer took it upon himself to solve this for good. In his spare time he began by building the resources he needed and wanted: Managing rate limited tasks, creating feature flags, and more.

Off the shelf, services were often too expensive for small teams and building them yourself takes time you don’t have. Already-available open source solutions often only supported one language, or, even worse, were incomplete.

Dwyer realized that he couldn’t be the only person experiencing these same obstacles. Given his experience with ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself’ and the ‘Rule of Three’, he imagined a better way to manage microservices.

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Punch Above Your Weight Class

Dwyer’s idea was what became Prefab. His vision was to bring the same capabilities that made life easy at larger enterprises and give them to companies wthat don't have the time to build solutions themselves or budgets to handle the cost of the other off the shelf options.

Leveraging his experience with rolling out software, he was able to offer tools that developers might not realize they needed from the very beginning. With easy implementation and “prebuilt infrastructure as a service,” today Prefab makes it possible for smaller companies to scale from the start.

Rate limiting is a key tool which allows developers to manage tasks to run at a specific rate over time. This has multiple benefits for developers, including saving money by limiting resource use during peak hours. Prefab’s rate limiting service is priced in per limit check req, allowing companies to calculate pricing based on how much money they might save.

But rate limits go beyond saving money. They also enhance other features. For example: By getting around limits set by other services and gating interactions with them, developers gain more control. This includes implementing software features that should only enable in specific frequencies (such as user notifications). This limits annoyance on the end user.

Prefab also offers Distributed Config designed to work right “out of the box.” Distributed Config’s features are essential for providing a single source for configuration and auditing changes to the whole. This falls under the umbrella of those “tools that developers might not know they need from the very beginning,” as it can simplify long-term processes like onboarding a new system or developer. The result is scalable growth and system-wide accessibility for making changes in real time.

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With Prefab, feature flags can be on, off, or on for specific segments such as user groups or an overall percentage of traffic. This gives developers the option of exposing functionality on a selective basis, such as a limited release of a new feature. Limiting access to specific user segments can simulate a full rollout without overwhelming bugs and errors.

Continuous Delivery has made it more popular to test new functionality with segments of users rather than dumping a new set of features on an entire user base. With Feature Flags built into the framework from the start, developers can simply shut down these features to address issues, rather than going back to square one. This saves the time and resources that smaller operations otherwise wouldn’t spare.

Microservices for the Masses

Prefab’s tools align with Manifold by bringing big-enterprise functionality to the masses. With innovators like Jeff Dwyer solving the important issues of scalability and limited resources, there’s no reason small companies should have to reinvent the wheel with each new product created. There are experts like Dwyer who have cleared these hurdles before and use their know-how to clear the way for developers who may not have the experience to see these issues facing them.

These same people create solutions designed specifically for people who want a better approach to software development but can’t access the resources of a major company. With Manifold, it’s possible to save both time and resources in development and scale with ease, resulting in software development with big-time features at any size.

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