Dev Shop

Things to watch out for when selecting a dev shop and what other options are there to develop a software project
For most businesses today, the very first interaction potential customers have with them is through an online search and a visit on the company website. And because everyone knows that first impressions last, it is important that your business website is as well-designed, responsive, and as customer-centric as possible. This highlights the need for excellent web development services provided by the so-called dev shops (web development shops). A web development shop or web development agency is a company, the key services of which include building web applications or improving existing applications for external customers. A dev shop can also offer additional services, such as marketing, sales, support, SEO, copywriting, branding, etc.

However, with so many dev shops on the market, how to make sure you pick the right one?

Tips on choosing a good web development shop

From their business skills and proven success to their technical know-how and coding prowess, no aspect should be taken too lightly when choosing the right dev shop for your needs. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

Opinions on the Internet

An organization’s online reputation can tell a lot about their company culture and how they work. Review their website and social media pages, as well as the reviews left in these and other websites.

Does their website look good? Is this the type of design you want for yours? Does it have loading problems? Is it navigable? How does it perform on mobile devices? The design of the company’s own website, as well as their social media presence, will give you an insight into whether this agency is suited for projects similar to yours.

Completed projects, current and previous clients

Know the specialization of a web development shop by checking their project portfolio and client list. These will show their strong points, their effectiveness, and let you see if their body of work is in line with what you need.

In most cases, IT companies share their completed projects on their website, which often includes specifics about what problem they solved and how. This will help you evaluate the functionality and usability of their builds, and to understand if the agency can fulfill your requirements. Moreover, you will get insights into the company’s experience in a particular area.

Previous work experience of the developers

A team is only as good as its members. As such, you will also want to ask about the previous work experience and expertise of the developers who will work on your project. In particular, see if their knowledge of web development and design technologies is in line with your project requirements. The more updated they are about the current technologies and solutions, the better they can deliver a solution that works for your needs.
From their business skills and proven success to their technical know-how and coding prowess, no aspect should be taken too lightly when choosing the right dev shop for your needs.

Communication and organizational skills

The right development team will come out as a collaborative partner, rather than just a team you are giving orders to. Without needing prompts from your side, they will strive to help through every stage of the development project.

They listen, understand, and analyze the goals of your business, and then propose solutions to come up with a well-designed, functional website. You will likely encounter issues along the way, so it is also important that they are able to deal with whatever is thrown their way. Moreover, they should be able to keep an open line with your team about the progress of the project, and whatever concerns or hurdles they come across during the build.

Knowledge of the latest programming trends

Your website is not just a marketing tool, but also a tool that helps convert visitors into potential customers. For this, you need to make sure that the dev shop you are eyeing is up-to-date on the latest programming and internet marketing trends. This shows you that development is not all about codes and structures, but also includes aspects of marketing and customer journeys.

It is also a good sign if they have the ability to integrate all third party systems into your new website, especially if you want the new website to be built around existing systems. Be it Salesforce, MailChimp, or some other bespoke technology. The right team will be able to handle seamless integration across different platforms.

Competitive price

Great web development services are not dirt cheap. Developers spent years honing the skills that allow them to create websites that look good, function well, and convert visitors into customers. Working with developers offering budget deals will almost always end up with you paying extra for another team to fix things up. In most cases, you get what you pay for; you want a great website, prepare to come up with a reasonable budget for it.

Awareness and knowledge of security aspects

The shift from ‘traditional’ to digital means that risks are also turning digital. A reliable web development agency will have great awareness and knowledge of security aspects, especially when it comes to collecting and storing customer information. They will have security integrated throughout the website building process because they know that a website clean-up is more expensive than protection.

Passionate about their job

Web developers are passionate people. They know their craft down to the shortest code. This professionalism should show in the way they behave, communicate, and perform. More than their technical skills, you need a team that you can get along with because you will be entering into a partnership with them.

This also means they should be able to see the big picture; they create a website that not only looks great for customers but also functions seamlessly for customers and your team. Passionate developers will always keep in mind the backend aspects of the project, making sure the site is user-friendly for your team as well.
Looking for skilled web engineers can be difficult, especially when you still rely on the traditional and outdated process of hiring applicants.
Web developers are passionate people. They know their craft down to the shortest code. This professionalism should show in the way they behave, communicate, and perform.

A web development company or your own in-house developers?

There is also the question of working with your own in-house team of developers or working with a web development shop. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a decision:

Access to the talent pool that you might not have in-house

Programmers often have specializations. Your engineers might not have the right skills and technical knowledge needed for a given project. In these cases, it is better to hire an agency that has developers with the specific skills your project requires.

You can choose top-notch developers to work for you

Reliable development shops usually present you with a few developers who can work for your project, and you select the ones that you find most suitable. That way you can make sure that only the best of the best will work for you. It is not only a matter of choosing the ones with the longest list of achievements and technical skills but the ones who you can get along with.

A web development company can better manage the team

Because they built their team for the ground up, web development shops have greater expertise and experience in managing the team of programmers. They can even provide you with a professional project manager if you do not have one.

Less bureaucracy in managing the people

Another great thing about hiring a development team is you are basically outsourcing the work, which means you do not need to go through individual hiring processes. You do not need to handle all the paperwork related to hiring people. What is more, you also do not have to trouble yourself in managing the leaves of employees, as the development shop does it for you.

It is cheaper to outsource

In most web development work, going local is not the best way to go. In terms of working with web developers, hiring in-house developers in the US is more expensive than working with a team of developers from Europe.

A web development company or a freelancer?​

There are a lot of freelance web developers who can offer the same services that a web development shop offers, but without the high price tag. However, this does not necessarily mean they are the better option. More often than not, it is better to choose a development shop even though they cost more because:

Faster project kickoff

A reliable web development agency offers you pre-screened candidates that you can hire for your project. This is much faster than doing your own recruitment process from scratch. You do not have to go through the extended process of interviewing freelancers one-by-one and negotiating the details of the project with them.

Easier scalability

With a web development company, there is a wider room to operate if you need to dynamically scale up or down. In case you need a new engineer for the project, a dev shop can fill that position immediately. Working with freelancers, you have to start the whole hiring process all over again in case you need additional people.

Fewer things to manage

Coordination, communication, and managing different aspects of the project becomes a lot easier when you work with a development shop. The company you are working with will be responsible for managing tasks between the team members. With freelancers, you have to get them in sync and updated constantly to ensure tasks are distributed properly and the timeline is being met.

Managing changes within the team

When the project kicks off, you will want stability throughout. When working with freelancers, there is a higher possibility of running into more speed bumps if they quit or cannot handle the tasks. With a development team, any concerns about personnel changes will be their responsibility.
Choosing the right digital tools to build software is just as important as choosing the right people to manage and make the most out of it.

Now let’s talk about technology!

After knowing how and why to choose a dev shop, you also need to delve into the technologies they use to develop a software project. It is important to choose the right technology for your needs. Choosing the wrong one will result in more time and financial resources being spent what eventually will result in slowing down your project’s progress. Below we present some of the technologies that we use at DevsData.

Front-end

The basic technologies used to create the client site are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With HTML, authors describe the structure of pages using markup. The elements of the language label pieces of content such as “paragraph,” “list,” “table,” and so on. CSS is the language for describing the presentation of Web pages, including colors, layout, and fonts. It allows one to adapt the presentation to different types of devices, such as large screens, small screens, or printers.

However, these days it is not limited to pure HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Ready-made UI components and JavaScript Frameworks are very helpful, as they significantly improve application development time, performance, and interaction with users.

The most popular front-end frameworks include:

Angular

It is a JavaScript framework written by engineers from Google whose goal was to revolutionize front-end design in web applications. Its most recognizable feature is undoubtedly the discreet interference in the HTML attributes. The framework enables the implementation of the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern, which makes developing and testing applications using it less problematic. Angular has been rewritten to TypeScript, which provides greater code transparency, easier debugging, the ability to use advanced features, easier use of other tools, and much more.

ReactJS

Created by Facebook, the React framework has earned popularity within a short period. It is used to develop and operate the dynamic User Interface of the web pages with high incoming traffic. It makes the use of a virtual DOM, and hence, the integration of the same with any application is more straightforward. ReactJS is considered as the simplest framework. It is easy to learn, provides code reusability, and is good for SEO.

Vue.js

Though developed in the year 2016, this JavaScript framework has already made its way into the market and has proven its worth by offering various features. Its dual integration mode is one of the most attractive features for the creation of high-end SPA or Single Page Application. It is a much reliable platform for developing cross-platform. It is small and very easy to understand, has simple integration and flexibility. Also recently Vue supports TypeScript.

Back-end

The technologies used to create the server page are significantly different from those of frontend solutions. The most popular languages used for these purposes are Java, Python and C#. However, as in the case of frontend solutions, also in this case backend frameworks play a very important role.The most popular back-end frameworks include:

Spring

It provides a comprehensive programming and configuration model for modern Java-based enterprise applications – on any kind of deployment platform. A key element of Spring is infrastructural support at the application level: Spring focuses on the “plumbing” of enterprise applications so that teams can focus on application-level business logic, without unnecessary ties to specific deployment environments.

Django

It is a free open-source framework that supports the quick development of back-end applications with minimal coding. It is one of the older web development frameworks available and is based on the Python language, giving it a wide audience reach.

An alternative solution is to use the Flask Framework, which is classified as a micro-framework. It is very pleasant and simple to use. Ideally suited for undemanding applications.

ASP.NET Core

It is a cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-enabled, Internet-connected apps. With ASP.NET Core, you can build web apps and services, Internet of Things (IoT) apps, and mobile backends, deploy to the cloud or on-premises and run on .NET Core.

Mobile apps

The most important choice when designing an application for mobile devices is: Native or Cross-platform?

When native is chosen, the app is being written in the system-specific language. The native approach gives us the best performance of the final products and can guarantee great user experience. On the other hand, it results in increased price and time needed.

Here are the 2 most popular languages of native apps:

Kotlin

Kotlin is a native programming language for the android platform. The language first appeared in 2011 and was created by JetBrains company. Kotlin is also known to be very efficient language due to succinct and intuitive syntax. Another interesting thing is that, Kotlin is 100% Java-interoperable, which allows the use of Kotlin and Java simultaneously, at the same time.

Swift

Swift is a native programming language for iOS platforms. Swift was presented by Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. Since Swift is using the Objective-C runtime library it allows running C, C++, Objective-C and Kotlin within one program.

The cross-platform approach has its own advantages, too. The main feature of this approach is that up to 80% of code can be used across different platforms. It reduces production costs and time significantly.

When Cross-platform approach is chosen the main technologies to be used are:

React native

React Native is a framework for mobile app development. Its history dates back to the 2013 internal Facebook Hackathon, and its first public version was released in 2015. Some of the apps build with React Native are Facebook, Instagram or SoundCloud Pulse. React Native is using React.js, a JavaScript library for building User Interfaces.

Flutter

Another technology, which can be used for cross-platform development is Flutter. It is a software development kit, created by Google and just like React Native, it was released in 2015. Some apps, that were built with Flutter, are Google Ads, Alibaba, or Reflectly. The language used while working with Flutter is Dart which is very similar to Java.

Summary

The difference between a great and mediocre website is the level of detail, skills, and resources that have been invested in developing it. This is why when deciding to build a website, always err on the side of caution and work with a professional and reputable web development company that has the right people with the necessary skills and expertise. Again, in these projects, you almost always get what you pay for. With the right company, you get the most out of your money.

Your website is not just a marketing tool, but also a tool that helps convert visitors into potential customers. For this, you need to make sure that the dev shop you are eyeing is up-to-date on the latest programming and internet marketing trends. This shows you that development is not all about codes and structures, but also includes aspects of marketing and customer journeys.

It is also a good sign if they have the ability to integrate all third party systems into your new website, especially if you want the new website to be built around existing systems. Be it Salesforce, MailChimp, or some other bespoke technology. The right team will be able to handle seamless integration across different platforms.

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Acknowledgements

Unbeatable tech experience

“I interviewed about a dozen different firms. DevsData LLC is truly exceptional – their backend developers are some of the best I’ve ever worked with. I’ve worked with a lot of very well-qualified developers, locally in San Francisco, and remotely, so that is not a compliment I offer lightly. Their depth of knowledge and their ability to get things done quickly.
group-139nicholas_circle
Nicholas Johnson

MENTOR AT YC, CEO OF ORANGE CHARGER LLC

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements