The Bytes

Balancing quality and quantity of data integrations

Over the past 18 months, Airbyte’s catalog of connectors has grown from nothing to over 100 through a combination of in-house builds and our amazing community of contributors. While the number of connectors we offer is critical to our mission of empowering data movement for all companies, it’s even more important that our users can be confident with the quality, reliability and available feature set. This is why we’re excited to announce our connector release stages program.

Prioritizing quality

We have a lofty goal of reaching 500 connectors by the end of this year because we understand that companies need to move data everywhere, and the larger our collection of connectors, the more likely all use cases can be addressed. This means that the quality requirements we introduce should have minimal to no impact on the velocity at which we’re able to produce new connectors. 

To that end, we’re introducing three phases for our connectors which communicate crystal clear expectations both for those building and contributing to them, as well as for those who are using them. Brand new connectors will have the lowest set of quality requirements to ensure that the barrier to entry remains minimal. Users of these connectors should also expect to experiment with and break them. As these connectors mature, so will the reliability and usability, so that our users can have full confidence implementing these connectors for high volume production use cases.

Connector release stages

Every connector that appears in our catalog will follow an industry standard in product development and fall into one of the following stages: 

  1. Alpha: a newly implemented connector
  2. Beta: a connector with an increased adoption that we’re testing
  3. Generally available: highly reliable connectors with a robust feature set

At each stage, each connector will treated like an individual product and be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Adoption
  • Reliability
  • User experience
  • Documentation
  • Feature set

Adoption

Usage is the most important dimension that we look at as it sets the stage for us to evaluate everything else. The more users we have, the more feedback we’ll receive that help us iterate and improve all aspects of a connector. Specifically, this helps stress test the robustness of the connector under load and understand the feature set most important to our users.

Reliability

A connector’s ability to deliver data in a complete, accurate and successful way is a key component that drives confidence. This dimension measures how dependable and robust the connector is for our users by observing comprehensive test coverage, low failure rates and resolution of most open bugs reported by our users.

User experience

Each connector should be easy to use. This means getting set up, validating the connector’s authentication, and hooking it up to either a source or a destination should be as seamless and intuitive as possible.

Documentation

The accuracy and comprehensiveness of documentation underpins how quickly a user is able to see value from their implementation. In an ideal world, we’ll try to make sure that a user can be fully set up entirely through our UI experience while ensuring more advanced configuration or elaborate explanations are portrayed clearly in our documentation.

Feature set

This dimension is likely the most controversial and the one we’re most likely to see evolve over time. When a connector first gets built, as long as it successfully solves at least one use case end-to-end, it will be made available to our users. A Stripe connector that moves all balance transactions data downstream could be considered one such example.

As adoption of a connector increases over time, we’ll implement features requested by more than five users as well as ones which help us achieve parity with other data providers in the industry. 

Verified connectors

We’re so excited to feature our first set of fully verified connectors as we roll out this new program. Through 2022, we’ll continue to verify the rest of our connector catalog and ensure that each new connector created will go through the same process. If you’re a contributor interested in joining us in our mission to deliver the best-in-class connector experience, please apply here!

Let’s move your data

It will always be a tough balancing act to grow the number of connectors we support while maintaining their quality. Our commitment to you is that we’ll always uphold this balance with our connector release stages program as we continue on our journey of becoming the most reliable and ubiquitous platform for moving data.  

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