2016 In Review
As we’re entering 2017, we want to take a quick break to say thank you to all of our amazing customers and readers. As we recap our most successful, exciting and overall transforming year so far since the inception of PSPDFKit as a company, we know none of this would be possible without you all. This year was truly special. It’s the year where we finally migrated from a mobile only company to a solution provider with products that span from the Apple Watch to back-end servers.
Our original flagship product improved tremendously over 2016. With 31 individual releases, we iterated in almost every area while adding great new features such as the Document Editor, Spotlight Search Integration, Support for App Extensions, SQLCipher Encryption, a convenient settings controller, full support for iOS 10, Bookmarks that work with Apple Preview, a powerful night mode and full support for sharing annotations in real time via PSPDF Instant.
In our Android library’s second year, we doubled the team size to 6 people which enabled us to greatly speed up development, releasing 37 new versions. We added many new features to PSPDFKit for Android, among them Indexed Full-Text Search, document processing, 7 new annotation types (stamps, images, lines, polylines, polygon, square, circle), PDF Signatures, a material design sharing menu, powerful toolbars, bookmarks, printing support, multi-page editing, and many more. 2016 will really be hard to beat on Android, but don’t tell that to the team. They’re already working hard on the next release and we’re sure there’s more to come.
Ever since we started licensing our mobile frameworks, our customers have been asking for a version of PSPDFKit that runs in the browser. We’ve worked on it for more than a year and shipped the first version in December, meeting our goal to get Web out in 2016. Since then, we’ve pushed 3 more versions and added a new Dashboard that makes it really easy to get started. We’re committed to bringing the PSPDFKit experience to all platforms and already have search, thumbnails and much more in the pipeline for the first half of 2017. Stay tuned, we’re just getting started here.
With PSPDF Instant, we provide a complete solution for companies building document handling software, where Instant takes care of the integration between server and client. Instead of having to write code to download PDFs or sync annotations you integrate Instant. With just a few lines of code, Instant gives you a massive productivity boost.
Instant is a project that we’ve been working on for over two years and the public beta came out in late 2016. We’ve heavily invested in end–to–end testing and are taking a very diligent approach to ensure no data is ever lost. We’re confident Instant will be a massive success as it solves a hard problem we’ve heard many times from customers over the years.
In October, after working on it for most of the year, we shipped our first very own app, PDF Viewer. PDF Viewer has been an immediate success. Not only have we received amazing feedback from our users but Apple took notice as well featuring us in their New Apps We Love and with a large banner in the Productivity Category. We are proud to have delivered an outstanding product but also amazed by how much improving PDF Viewer has helped us improve the PSPDFKit SDK.
Stop wasting time, and start maximizing productivity with ease. https://t.co/5bBObAheG8 pic.twitter.com/dPOrT2n31d— App Store (@AppStore) November 10, 2016
We have shipped 5 updates on iOS so far and been working on a large update for a while, coming later this January. PDF Viewer for Android is still in beta, but was already highlighted by Google in their “Early Access” category. We’ve made tremendous progress this year but are only at the beginning. Look out for more news here soon.
Team & Culture
Over the past year we’ve grown our team by almost 50%, growing from 22 to 31 people. We’re ready for the next growth phase and believe we’ve finally nailed our hiring process.
Slack really has become our digital office which is even more important as a distributed company where you can’t just have a quick chat over lunch with a colleague. We worked to foster a remote culture where everyone is in the loop, can share their accomplishments and in the accomplishments of the company. To do this, we started an internal #announcements channel, where anyone can keep everyone else up to date on what’s happening, while also keeping the noise level low. The #announcements channel has allowed us to re-purpose our weekly all-hands meeting, so that instead of attempting to update everyone on what’s been happening, we give people the stage to show off what they are proud of, be it a new feature, a hard-to-track-down support case or the latest marketing plan.
Our last retreat in Spain was also one of the best ones so far - finding a location that trumps a 700-year-old Catalonian castle will be tough but we’ll definitely try.
We wanted to share know-how we built internally that we think is useful to the wider community, so we made it a goal in 2016 to push out one high-signal-to-noise blogpost a week, sharing how we maintain our continuous integration (after all, we now have 20 macs just for testing), how to use RxJava to power animations on Android and even how to write good bug reports. We’re really happy with how it has turned out and look forward to sharing more in 2017.
In 2016, we started our push to consolidate features across all platforms to offer customers a truly unified experience. For the first time, we not only sell mobile SDKs but with Instant we have made the leap to providing a solution for apps working with PDFs across iOS, Android and Web. We’re super excited for what 2017 has in store for us. We’re so thankful for the amazing support of our customers in helping make such a year possible. We look forward to bringing you more in the coming year!