Swim.com Labs & Strava Integration

Like many product development teams, we spend a bunch of time thinking about how we can increase the pace of creating new features and getting them to our users on Swim.com while keeping a close eye on quality.

For those that are in a technology or product development role you already know that the speed and quality of features releases is a function of many things including:

  • Code management strategies (e.g feature branches, feature toggles)
  • Deployment tools and methods (continuous integration / deployment)
  • Automated testing
  • Functional Decomposition (breaking down new features into smaller and smaller pieces)
  • …and much more

Another strategy is to expose new features a bit earlier than teams otherwise would with the goal of getting feedback from users as soon as possible (even before the new feature is completed). We see this all the time with iOS and Android beta releases.

To help get new features to our users earlier, we are announcing “Swim.com Labs”. Swim.com Labs will be a place where we provide access to beta features. Sometimes that means those features are still in development but we feel enough of the capability is in place to start getting some usage. Other times, it may be a feature that we are experimenting with and are looking for feedback from the Swim.com user community to determine if the feature is any good or not. To be clear(er), the use of the features exposed in the Lab is completely up to you as the user. 

As features are validated, we will migrate them out of Swim.com Labs and expose them in some other place within the app or site that makes the most sense. 

The first feature in the Swim.com Labs is the ability to export your swims to Strava. All things considered, this is a pretty low risk feature that may not strictly warrant introduction to the user community via Swim.com Labs but we wanted to give the Labs experience a spin. However, you will notice that while the top-level metrics (i.e. total moving time, total distance, and pace) are correct, the presentation of “Laps” on Strava appear to be a bit strange and truncated. We noticed this is the case with other swim integration as well such as Garmin exports to Strava. We’ve reached out to Strava to see if we can adjust the swim export in some way to fix this or if this is an issue on Strava’s side.

To access Swim.com Labs in your mobile app, be sure to update to the latest release (2.5.8) and simply navigate to Settings -> Labs. We’ll be adding Labs to our website as well in an upcoming release.

We’ve got some cool features in the Labs pipeline so stay tuned and as always, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at support@swim.com and let us know how we are doing. 

2 thoughts on “Swim.com Labs & Strava Integration

  1. I just came back from the Y and had a very good swim, so I was in a good mood.

    But after reading your well intentioned email regarding some future release strategies, I’m concerned.

    In my career I have spent much time with software development and am well aware of the frustrations on both sides.

    But I don’t understand what you just told us.

    First, what is Starva? Why, after telling us that you’re not able to do as much any faster, are you now adding another whole set of requirements from the Strava marketplace?

    Adding a shadow set of releases to pre-release new features probably requires additional resources in order to support and sync the multiple sets of releases. The sizes of the development teams for iOS and Android
    are of an entirely different magnitude.

    For a long time I have suggested that you begin to charge your user base something to help support your costs. Even if you make it voluntary. I mention this as another approach to increasing your team’s responsiveness.

    Thank you for your interests and efforts.

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  2. Hi Michael – thanks for the read and comments. Strava is an activity tracking platform that covers many activities (swim bike, run, and others). It’s quickly becoming the Facebook for active folks. We have many users that wants to see their Swim.com swims alongside of their other activities (I am one of those users that’s bikes and runs as well and tracks all activities in Strava).

    In terms of integration with Strava, we already support the FIT file format for swim exports – an industry standard for sharing workout data – so it was a relatively easy lift for us.

    Hope this helps.

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