As of today, we have moved transformers to be applied per email instead of applying them globally across the entire workspace. When you next visit your Parcel account, we'll ask you a quick question to move you to this new setup.
This change makes it safer to configure transformers and isolates your work from your co-workers'. Transformers save you time with automated CSS inlining, minifying, adding query parameters to your links, and more!
It's a good idea to evaluate your work and see where you've made decisions that no longer are the right ones. Mistakes are inevitable.
When you create something your early decisions will never never be right all of the time. And being able to see how to move forward and improve from where you are today is what creativity and creation are about.
With that said, here is the story behind correcting this decision I made early on with Parcel.
Up until today, transformers were applied at the workspace-level – all emails in a workspace used the same transformer configuration.
When I first made this decision I evaluated setting transformers at the workspace-level, email-level, and user-level.
User-level was bad – if two members of a team exported the same email they should get the same result. But if CSS inlining is a user-level setting, then two users could get extremely different results.
So it came down to email-level and workspace-level. At this point in time, there were only two transformers – CSS inlining and formatting. These were settings that made sense to apply across the board, especially when working as a solo developer. And so I decided to go with the workspace-level.
As the number of users per Parcel account grew, the complexity of the email increased, and we added more transformers it became a mental gymnastics exercise to use transformers. If you wanted to add query parameters automatically, you'd add them to the transformers. But when you switched emails you have to change the transformers settings. And when you switched back, you'd have to switch the configuration back.
In fact, Parcel customers with more than one user avoided using them entirely for fear of breaking their co-workers' emails. And that was probably the right choice.
We considered supporting workspace-level and email-level transformers, where email-level settings would override the workspace-level ones. But added complexity decreased the predictability of the transformers and didn't add enough value to make the trade-off worth it.
So in the end the solution we landed on was simply moving the transformers to be configured solely at the email-level.
Are there other areas of Parcel you'd like to see improved? I'd love to hear from you!