Things to watch out for when selecting a dev shop and what other options are there to develop a software project
A web development shop (web development agency or dev shop) is a company, whose key services include building new web applications or improving existing apps for external customers. Dev shops oftentimes offer additional non-tech services, such as SEO, sales, branding, support, copywriting, marketing, etc.
As a rule, a web development shop is more agile than regular software companies. They can work remotely and do not only focus on one client or one main product, being able to deliver software solutions for numerous clients (also startups). A regular development company usually works under great time pressure and specialize in one industry. Dev shops, on the other hand, take more time to approach a problem and better understand the business and that is why they can build software from scratch for clients from different industries.
A web development shop usually consists of an owner (usually with a technical background) and a team of remote programmers, located all around the world. Since dev shops oftentimes work on more than one project simultaneously, it may happen that on the same day an engineer will perform various tasks for different projects such as coding, creating documentation, website design, or deploying.
A characteristic feature of dev shops is that they usually work according to the agile methodologies. Moreover, their vast networks of experienced IT contractors allows them to scale up the team quickly when the number of new clients increases.
A minimum reasonable investment for a project prototype is $10,000, while the price for a strong MVP ranges usually between $15,000 and $35,000, depending on system complexity. The cost of complete web apps for enterprises may reach $100,000 or more (different dev shops charge various prices).
However, with so many dev shops on the market, how to make sure you pick the right one to build your software?
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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:
An online reputation of a dev shop 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? Are they proficient in design development? What about web development? 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 development agency is suited for projects similar to yours, and whether it is worth undertaking a cooperation with this dev shop.
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 web development shop agency can fulfill your requirements. Moreover, you will get insights into the company’s experience in a particular area.
A dev shop is only as good as its team 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 development technologies is in line with your project requirements. The more updated they are about the current web design trends, technologies, and solutions, the better they can deliver a solution that works for your needs and satisfies your clients.
The right web 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, a good dev shop 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, a good web development shop 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.
Only such an approach of a dev shop can ensure a seamless web development process.
Retail / E-commerce
Your website is not just a marketing tool, but also a high quality tool that helps convert visitors into potential customers (that is especially true if you are in the e commerce sector). For this, you need to make sure that the dev shop you are eyeing is up-to-date on the latest programming, internet marketing, and web design trends. This shows you that app development is not all about codes and structures, but also includes aspects of marketing and customer journeys.
It is also a good sign if the given web development shop has 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 work integration across different platforms.
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 a development shop 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.
The shift from ‘traditional’ to digital means that risks are also turning digital. A reliable web development shop 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.
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 and possess non-tech skills as well. They create a website that not only looks great for business 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.
There is also the question of working with your own in-house team of developers or working with a dev shop. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a decision:
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 a dev shop agency that has developers with the specific design skills your project requires.
A reliable web development shop usually presents 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 tech skills but the ones who you can get along with.
Because they built their team from the ground up, a web development shop has 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. This will ensure better software development outcomes and satisfied customers.
Another great thing about hiring a web 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. Which is a big advantage especially if you are a small business. 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.
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 quality developers from a dev shop in Europe.
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:
A reliable web development agency offers you pre-screened candidates that you can hire for your project. Using such dev shop services 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 work details of the project with them.
With a web development shop, 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. And that might be challenging if you run a small business.
Coordination, communication, and managing different aspects of the project (e.g. graphic design or web design) 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. Such problems do not exist if you hire a web development shop.
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 from a dev shop, any concerns about personnel changes will be their responsibility.
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 and the services you provide. Choosing the wrong one will result in more time and financial resources being spent which eventually will result in slowing down your project’s progress. Below we present some of the technologies that we use at DevsData. Each web development shop shall be acquainted with them.
The most popular front-end frameworks include:
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.
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#. You can read more about them in this article published on Medium. However, as in the case of web design and front-end solutions, also in this case back-end frameworks play a very important role.
The most popular back-end frameworks include:
It provides a comprehensive high quality 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.
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.
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.
For demanding clients
Big Data and Data
The most important choice when designing an application for mobile devices is: Native or Cross-platform?
When native is chosen, the mobile 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 for native mobile app:
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 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 is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and beyond. It 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. Swift is friendly to new programmers. It’s an industrial-quality programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language. Writing Swift code in a playground lets you experiment with code and see the results immediately, without the overhead of building and running an app.
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:
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. The list of apps that were built with Flutter includes Google Ads, Alibaba and Reflectly. The language used while working with Flutter is Dart which is very similar to Java.
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 (aka dev shop) 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 web development is not all about codes and structures, but also includes aspects of marketing and customer journeys.
It is also a good sign if a web development shop has 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 and ensure outstanding software development.
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