Last year we launched the Marvel API, a new way to build customised workflows, integrations and apps that utilise the designs, users and data on Marvel.
It led to some brilliant integrations like SmartMockups, Maze and Microsoft Teams. We also kicked off Marvel Labs, an internal skunkworks where we experiment with small apps and ideas like Userflows and Dashboard .
Being able to quickly spin up these integrations and custom workflows has been massively empowering for the team. In the era of DesignOps, we’re constantly searching for ways to bring greater efficiency, productivity and customisation to the design process.
We’ve recently adopted the awesome Abstract into our tools and started to think about ways to integrate it deeper into Marvel.
If you haven’t heard of Abstract, it works as version control for Sketch, allowing designers to work in similar way to how developers work on Github (Master files, branches, push, pull, merge etc).
Designers can upload their Sketch file (Master file) and allow other designers to create multiple versions from it (Branches). Once they are happy, the designer can request to ‘merge’ their iteration into the Master file.
This process prevents any unwanted changes and corruption of design files. Whilst at the same time, giving designers the flexibility to experiment and dabble within their own branch, without messing with the Master file and overwriting it by mistake.
Since all our Sketch files live on Abstract, we wanted to find a way to keep the Master file in sync with the prototypes in our Marvel projects. Luckily, Abstract have just released their SDK, a perfect match for our API!
Introducing the ‘Master Prototype’ workflow
Imagine this workflow: You have a process where multiple designers work within a single project in Abstract. Each designer creates a new branch when they work, then once they are finished, they make the request to the project owner to merge their design changes into the Master Sketch file.
Once that happens, your new and approved designs sync automatically to a Marvel prototype and continue to stay updated.
In essence, you’ve created a Master Prototype. One that is always ready to share with clients, developers, researchers and other stakeholders or embed in docs and websites etc, knowing with absolute certainty that it has been approved and is the final version.
Now, imagine that flow hooked into our upcoming User Testing API and being able to automatically send to a list of internal stakeholders to test your prototype each time designs have been updated from Master.
That’s an incredibly powerful process.
Integrating with Abstract
We set-up a small app where you connect your Marvel and Abstract accounts, then select the Master branch you would like to sync with a Marvel project.
It’s pretty straight forward, once connected, it pulls the artboards from Abstract and updates the Marvel prototype.
And voila! You have a Master Prototype, ready to share, whilst you bask in the knowledge that it’s been approved and the latest version.
We want to hear from you! We’re currently revamping our integration section and think that Abstract would make a fantastic addition.