Introducing Afterpattern

The zero-cost way to build forms, document automations, and spreadsheets

Time to read:
4 minutes
January 16, 2021

Today we are excited to announce that Community.lawyer is now Afterpattern. Afterpattern is a zero-cost way to build online forms and document automations that connect to an easy-to-use database. The new name (and pricing) better reflect who we’ve always been at our core: a team that believes in making software development radically more accessible. 

If every company needs to become a software company, the world needs 100x more software developers. That isn't possible if 100x more people have to learn how to code. Thankfully, a new crop of tools are emerging that let people build forms, databases, static websites, and even full-blown web applications without a single line of code.

We believe software development is about so much more than the “tools” you use to build. It's about the culture of openness, play, and collaboration that facilitates that building. We have designed our company from the ground up to embody the culture of software. It's a principle deeply embedded in our products, our pricing, and our platform, and we're thrilled today to share Afterpattern with you.

Form, database, & document automation

Document

When we first launched our product in early 2019, it was based on the idea that knowledge workers could dramatically scale their impact by turning expertise into software. What we didn't know then but gradually came to understand is that the type of software most knowledge workers want to build is surprisingly consistent: software to collect information via forms, store information via spreadsheets, and output information via documents (or the occasional email). 

We've come to believe strongly that this trifecta -- forms, databases, and documents -- is the Goldilocks for business process automation, and that’s what we’ve built Afterpattern to provide. If a no-code product offers anything less, users are often forced to create makeshift solutions that patch together products like Typeform, Airtable, and pdfFiller in order to automate business processes. Other no-code products offer an overwhelming range of functionality that lets users build anything they can imagine: be it a form, database, dynamic map, ecommerce marketplace, social network, or even a video game. These tools are amazingly powerful but can have a prohibitive learning curve that prevents all but the most dedicated of users from completing a project.

That's why Afterpattern is committed to letting knowledge workers build a few things well and only those few things: online forms, databases, and document automations. The idea is to optimize for the blend of function and usability that helps millions of people develop their own software and scale the impact of their knowledge.

Free to build

Afterpattern goes beyond just providing knowledge workers with the right set of tools. Bringing the culture of software development to a “no code” platform also means taking a radically different approach to pricing that we call “Free to Build”. 

What does "Free to Build" mean?

  • Forms: Whether you want to build one form or ten thousand forms, Afterpattern lets you do it for free.
  • Databases: Whether you want to store one row of data or ten thousand rows, Afterpattern lets you do it for free.
  • Document Automations: Whether you want to create one document automation or ten thousand automations, Afterpattern lets you do it for free.

Our pricing is structured this way so cost isn’t a factor. Cost should never prevent an ambitious builder from experimenting and creating. The true innovation of Afterpattern is the creativity and imagination of our users. That's the culture of software development.

So when do you pay to use Afterpattern?

In a nutshell, you'll need to upgrade your automations when you want to integrate them with other platforms, use login-protected portals to share them with your team or customers, or give them custom branding. We also make money when you decide to sell your software to other Afterpattern users. For full details, check out our pricing.

Share, Duplicate, Pattern After

If you've been wondering about our name, Afterpattern encapsulates the collaborative ethos that underpins modern software development. It's this ethos of sharing, duplicating, and patterning software after what's been built before that powers the web.

Almost every website you visit, including our own, uses libraries of software built by a collective of hundreds or even thousands of developers. These developers often aren't employees at the same company, or members of the same associations; sometimes they don't even know each other. They are simply participants in the culture of collaborative software development. This collaboration takes the form of open-source software that one developer publishes for other developers to incorporate into their own work, modify, and even republish.

The Afterpattern platform has been built to support a similar culture of collaboration. Any time a user builds an automation they have the option of sharing their work for duplication by other users via our marketplace. Automations can be shared for free or for a price; the choice is up to each user. Why build from scratch when there are dozens or hundreds of other knowledge workers who have built similar automations? Why build alone when you could pool your efforts with others and build something truly great?

It's this spirit of building and sharing that sits at the heart of Afterpattern today and will continue to guide our company as we work to create the “no code” toolkit for modern knowledge workers. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and letting us share our story. We can't wait to see what you build.

— The Afterpattern team