Some might have heard of the decision we took last year in October, for others it might be new: We jumped into the deep end of the pool by deciding to spend all of our time on what we love doing most – building tools for the web, using technology of the web. It is an incredibly exciting time in the life of uxebu, so let me sum up a little bit why and how we took this somewhat crazy step.

The uxebu incubator

We always tried to make time available for other projects, open-source work and R&D type of work. We pushed out a lot of cool stuff, such as TouchScroll, EmbedJS, HumanAPI, StorageJS and We even were spinning around ideas of giving everybody at uxebu the option to seed-fund their own idea/startup from uxebu funds by creating an incubator. We never were really able though to launch something into its own life – customer projects did a great job sneaking themselfs into our other projects with sometimes too high priority – you probably know exactly how this feels :)

Why switch?

Back in our consultancy life, uxebu was doing pretty well, we had tons of fun, were able to travel, support the community and much more. So why would we ever even consider making the move? The answer is not a simple one, there were lots of facettes to it and a lot of gut feeling – but some of the things we talked about were following:

The team

We are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing team of talented, creative and great to be around people on board and it almost felt odd not to try to build something together, which could have impact on the development of the web – yes we had very cool customer projects, we did stuff which was difficult to solve, but it never quite felt like we as a team were working on achieving a common goal. By working on a single idea, we finally had the chance to work together with the whole team, which was not possible when working for customers.

Maybe this video by David Pfahler and Stephan Boennemann can give you some idea (see all videos here) ;)

It was really difficult, keeping customers and projects separate

We always tried to make as much time available as we could for working on open source projects, we even launched a product was the project which blatantly made clear to us that we were not able to move at a speed which we had in our minds – releases got delayed due to other more important deadlines, features got cut, ideas were dumped and in general, stuff happened about four times slower. It was painful because we saw the potential and failed to make it happen.

We couldn’t stop thinking about building our own ‘thing’

We wanted more and were hungry for building something for the long run, we wanted to get away from working on projects which would start and end again a few months later. At almost every hackcamp with the team (the only chance we all got to see each other were these events, since we all work remotely) the same discussion came up again and again. There were ideas for new products flying around and we just had to take the chance.

The right idea

Tobias Schneider started working on Gordon, a Flash player written in 100% JavaScript, sometime in late 2009. We continued working on it with a team of four members in early 2011 and reached support for Flash 8 and AS2 in August 2011. The experience we’ve gathered along the way, building a Flash 8 / AS2 runtime in JavaScript, made us think about incorporating the work into the long term vision and mission of uxebu.

Bikeshed was born

There is a clear shift happening today in how we can re-think building tools, in our case tools for the web, built using web technology. There is an amazing amount of potential in creating tools, targeting mobile and touch devices first.

Because of fundamental changes in technology, we clearly see an opportunity to build better tools and help people to transform their ideas (for example a beautiful game, or animation) and thoughts into reality.

And with that we have set out the first two release milestones for the second quarter of 2012:

Bikeshed Flash to HTML5 conversion

The Flash to HTML5 conversion will allow you to convert Flash 9/10 and AS3 projects into HTML5. HTML5 which you will be able to reuse, change, adjust and even incorporate into new projects. The conversion will be an online service, so there is no need to install software – just upload your SWF and we give you HTML5.

Bikeshed JS

Bikeshed JS is a JavaScript graphics API, inspired by Flash (we hope we were able to take the good parts ;) ), which will be open sourced under the MIT license as well as used in the converted Flash to HTML5 results. With Bikeshed JS you will be able to create beautiful and creative content for the web, such as games, animations, info-graphics, dashboards and much more.

So here we are today, in the middle of our first two major releases, our consultancy past feels like years away. We hope that you will find the stuff we’re working on useful, that we can inspire you to create beautiful content for the web and that our tools will take a tiny part in pushing the web forward.

If you are curious, follow @bikeshedjs and take a peek at in the future.

And until the release, sit back and watch some of the videos we created over christmas 2011 :).