Drowning in notifications: the life of a Software Engineer


Dealing with all the notifications around software can bury important items

The wall of noise

Modern life includes plenty of noise from technology.

Read through all those emails. Check your texts. Swipe and click your way to victory over those pesky numbered bubbles.

Software Engineers have a slew of extra noise. The never-ending onslaught of requests for your time.

Your tests failed. The database is down. The API is taking too long. The dependencies didn’t download in CI. Your analytics are no longer working. Your web app hit a runtime error, etc., etc.

The notifications continue to pile up. It doesn’t matter if it’s in email or Slack… they grow and suffocate you. It’s easy to drown in the sea of notifications.

Finding a balance between signal and noise

You could turn off all your notifications. Some people do that. Phew! Feels nice, right? Well, not really, because now you don’t know when your app isn’t working. Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away.

What if you tweak all the settings in each of your tools to only send you the important stuff? Well, now each member of your team needs to do that for every tool your team uses. And many tools don’t even include granular notification options.

What we actually want are important notifications configured in one place. Set it up and forget about it. Let me know when something is important and actionable; don’t bother me with the other fluff!

What we are doing about the problem

On the MeetEdgar team, we were sick of notification noise. We tried out some apps that say they solve this problem, but the current options have way too many features for us. Simply setting up and maintaining alerts was eating up too much of our time, and every app we tried felt cluttered and over-complicated.

What we really wanted was smart defaults — best practices out of the box. So, we decided to just build an app to solve the problem of notification noise ourselves.

It’s called Ropig. Ropig because it’s a robot pig. Cue dance music

This little robot pig has made our jobs a lot easier by only alerting us when it’s important. I sleep easier knowing our apps are working as expected and that I’ll get notified when I need to take action. Best of all, none of us are annoyed by irrelevant alerts anymore.

What Ropig looks like

Here is a sneak peek at how Ropig works. You create rules for the services you use, add a webhook, then filter alerts based on webhook data.

Ropig demo gif

What it’s like after we set up Ropig

Now that we have Ropig set up for our apps, things are simpler. Instead of playing whack-a-mole with random notifications, the alerts I get now are actually useful.

When I get an email or text from Ropig I know there is a real problem that I need to act on. I don’t need to fiddle with oodles of options anymore.

While working, I can focus on shipping new features for our customers.

How my life is different now

Now that I have Ropig set up, I feel more peace. When I clock out at the end of the day I don’t have to stress about my apps breaking. The ever-watchful ropig pig will let me know if something goes wrong. Otherwise, I can relax.

Ropig gives me more precious uninterrupted time with family. More time for hobbies. More time for sleep.

Oh, that blessed sleep time, how I love you.

Want to try it?

Would you and your team like to use Ropig? Sign up below for early access and we’ll let you know when you can try it out for free 😉

Trevor Miller
Trevor Miller
I'm a software developer. I love learning and solving problems. I strive to learn new things every day and share what I learn.

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