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What's the driving force behind building browser-based design tools like Figma, Canva, Runway, Spline, f.lux and Pounce?

Cristóbal Valenzuela

Co-founder & CEO at Runway

The browser has become the new platform for tool making. Today, you need to build on the web. It is hard for me to imagine a new creative tool that doesn’t speak the language of the web. The browser unlocks functions like multiplayer which increases the speed and expands the scope of collaboration, a game-changer feature. From a technical standpoint, a couple of very relevant factors have contributed to the consolidation of the browser as a sandbox on which you can build almost any kind of application. WebAssembly has matured remarkably, enabling tools like Figma to feel native. Talent also matters. It’s easier to hire and find talent to build on the web than any other stack. The browser is becoming a full-featured OS. We are able to do things on the web that just weren't possible a couple of years ago. 

The idea of opening a browser tab and immediately having access to countless creative tools is very powerful. For Runway, making video should feel similar to how you collaborate on a Google Doc. There’s no need to update versions, share assets among your collaborators, or come up with a complicated version control system. The web fixes all of those problems. This transformation is also happening in many other creative industries, including CAD/CAM design software, 3D rendering, sound editing, and PCB design among many others. 

One interesting effect of the browser consolidating as a standard for tool making is the emergence of infrastructure tools to facilitate the development of new browser-based products. New dev tools and frameworks have appeared very recently with the sole purpose of helping you avoid the pain of having to build everything from scratch. Avoid having to invent the wheel every single time. Do you need real-time collaboration for a tool? There’s an off-the-shelf Websockets solution for that. Do you need a performant rendering system? There’s a framework in Rust that will help you streamline your renders. The great thing is that with these new solutions, more companies and teams can focus on building on top of that infrastructure, creating great products, and avoiding the redundancy of developing the same underlying technical architectures every time. We are seeing the beginning of microservices solutions for the front-end.

Find this answer in Cristóbal Valenzuela, CEO of Runway, on rethinking the primitives of video
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