Web Development Team

Modern tech every reliable web development team should be familiar with. How to make sure the team is a fit for your project.

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In the competitive world of technology, being able to stay ahead of the curve is essential to achieve success. Every market niche has its tools, and programming and software development are no different. There are certain tools, technologies, and concepts that every reliable software development team should know in order to weed out the competition.

We understand it perfectly at DevsData. That is why we emphasize the need to hire the right professionals when building a software development team. We explain that great developers generally know their tools better than others, and have a better understanding of more powerful, advanced technology compared to the average developers.

The importance of technology stack in projects

Arguably the most important thing to consider when developing a top-notch application is the technology stack. To a great extent, the tech stack can either make or break a software product.As a refresher, a technology stack (sometimes referred to as a solutions stack or a data ecosystem), is a collection of all the technology services used to build, run, and manage an application. It is a combination of programming languages, frameworks, and tools that a developer would need to interface with the application. A tech stack gives you an idea about an application’s strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and areas of improvement for each coding language.For example, if an application is built on PHP, a good developer would know that this language has a large codebase which can be a challenge to debug. PHP is a popular coding language in web apps, but is notoriously inefficient. Knowing the importance of the stacks is particularly useful when building a development team. Great developers should be familiar with the frameworks and languages of a tech stack, or at least be willing to learn these. If they do not have such knowledge, they are most likely not a good fit for your project.
Great programmers Arguably the most important thing to consider when developing a top-notch application is the technology stack. To a great extent, the tech stack can either make or break a software product.

The separation between the presentation layer and the data-access layer

Applications always have two main components: the user side (commonly known as the front-end), and the server-side (known as back-end). Both components usually differ in the technology needed to make them. One is responsible for the user interface that is to attract customers for use and the other is responsible for all the application logic needed for its operation.

Front-end and back-end

Back-end

Back-end programming is server-side and is not visible to the users. It powers the front-end and creates the logic of apps and websites. It also stores and manages data. Let us go through the most commonly used programming languages used for back-end development.

Programming languages

There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the right programming language, and here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Typescript – is a modern age and more secure Javascript development language. It is a statically compiled language to write a clear and simple Javascript code. It provides optional static typing, classes, and interface. For a large JavaScript project adopting Typescript can bring you more robust software and easily deployable with a regular JavaScript application.
  • Java – is the world’s most popular programming language, thanks in large part to its versatility. It can be used to code for smartphones to smart cards. It also has been in use for more than 20 years. What makes this language so versatile is its Java Virtual Machine, which allows computers to execute Java programs as well as programs written in other languages. And because it has been used by developers for decades, it means the community is also large — troubleshooting and getting tips is easy. Java, however, is not a beginner-friendly language like Python, as it is verbose and needs a lot of code to support features.
  • Python – is considered the fastest-growing programming language nowadays thanks to its versatility and simplicity. It is easy to read and understand, has simple syntax, and has plenty of guides and tutorials.
  • C/C++  – is also a popular programming language that powers the majority of low-level systems such as operating systems and file systems. It is widely used by competitive and system-level programmers because it is extremely reliable and fast, and has a dependable library of support.

Web development frameworks

Web frameworks support the development of web apps, such as web services, resources, and APIs. They are basically libraries that help develop applications faster and smarter. Some of the more popular ones your development team should know are:

  • Flask– it is a lightweight WSGI web application framework. It is designed to make getting started quick and easy, with the ability to scale up to complex applications. It began as a simple wrapper around Werkzeug and Jinja and has become one of the most popular Python web application frameworks. Flask offers suggestions, but doesn’t enforce any dependencies or project layout. It is up to the developer to choose the tools and libraries they want to use. There are many extensions provided by the community that make adding new functionality easy.
  • Spring – the Spring Framework 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.

faisal-m-bi465ksrlws-unsplash Django is a free open-source framework that supports the quick development of back-end applications with minimal coding.

Data Storage

In web development and applications, data is everything. By extension, so are databases. Developers want their data to be raw information, unprocessed and unsettled — as this gives them control on how to process and style it. That means storing these packets of information is crucial.Here are some of the most popular databases for web development:

  • SQL – is the most popular way to store data. With SQL, data gets stored in a structured way but it is still accessible in its raw form. It is notable for its relational structure with tables, which makes it easier to store and access data. Many databases support SQL infrastructures, such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, Amazon RDS, MariaDB, and CouchDB.
  • NoSQL – is a fast-growing alternative as it allows the insertion of data without a fixed or pre-designed schema. These databases are very efficient and fast; you can make changes or updates in applications in real-time without worrying about service interruptions. The most popular NoSQL database is MongoDB.
  • Key-value – is a non-relational database that uses a simple key-value method in storing data. These databases store data as a set of key-value pairs wherein a key seven as a unique identifier. Also called a key-value store, it is the most flexible type of NoSQL database and is a favorite alternative to traditional relational databases. One of the most popular key-value databases is Redis.

Web server

A web server is a computer machine that stores the software of the web server and other components that are used for a website. This server is connected with the internet, performs data communication and exchange with devices connected to the internet. There are many advantages of using a Web Server, including server-side scripting for dynamic pages, specifying default documents, Configuring log files and website or directory security and much more.There are various solutions offering the creation of your own web server. One of them is Apache, which is one of the most used software for web servers. The main advantages include:

  • Great collection of modules with functionalities
  • Apache makes the easy scripting possible
  • Supports IPv6 and HTTP/2
  • Loads dynamic modules, handle index files, auto-indexing and static files
  • Available for all major platforms including Linux, Windows, macOS and others

NGINX is another popular solution. It is an open-source web server that can also run on major operating systems. The main advantages include:

  • Easy and simple configuration,
  • Handle the static files and auto-indexing
  • Low resource usage
  • Load balancing with the compatibility of IPv6
  • High performance and good stability

API documentation

API documentation is a technical content deliverable, containing instructions about how to effectively use and integrate with an API. You can use Swagger that takes the manual work out of API documentation, with a range of solutions for generating, visualizing, and maintaining API docs. Another example is RAML thanks to which documentation can be generated quickly and on the fly. What is more, with parsers for nearly every language you can even create your own custom docs and interactive scripts. If you document your API you improve user adoption, increase awareness, save support time and costs.

Front-end

The front-end is everything the clients (users) see on their screens and is also where all interactions happen. It provides configuration, optimization, and operation for everything on the interface. The main front-end technologies are:

HTML

HTML is the language for describing the structure of Web pages. HTML gives authors the means to:

  • Publish online documents with headings, text, tables, lists, photos, etc.
  • Retrieve online information via hypertext links, at the click of a button.
  • Design forms for conducting transactions with remote services, for use in searching for information, making reservations, ordering products, etc.
  • Include spread-sheets, video clips, sound clips, and other applications directly in their documents.

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

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. CSS is independent of HTML and can be used with any XML-based markup language. The separation of HTML from CSS makes it easier to maintain sites, share style sheets across pages, and tailor pages to different environments. This is referred to as the separation of structure from presentation.

  • SCSS – better than just plain CSS
    Sass is a CSS preprocessor that allows you to work with stylesheets much faster and more efficiently. Preprocessors allow programming among style sheets, which gives great opportunities to speed up work. One of these possibilities is variable. Thanks to the consistent use of this function, we can facilitate work in the event of a need to change, e.g. the color of the entire page. We change it in one place and we see changes everywhere. Using variables is very simple. In addition, we can nest CSS selectors inside so that you can see the style hierarchy in our file and everything is much more ordered. In addition, we can also import into the SCSS file another .scss file, extend written classes, use mixins and arithmetic operators.

Javascript

JavaScript is a programming language that allows the implementation of complex elements on a website, thanks to which this page can not only display static information, but also support the change of content according to the situation, display interactive maps and animations 2D / 3D graphics, display video etc. It is the third layer of standard web technologies, two of which (HTML and CSS) were discussed earlier.

Javascript Frameworks

Using only pure JavaScript to create interactive websites is not a preferred practice. In most cases, UI Javascript Frameworks are used to speed up the application development process.

  • Angular
    Angular is a JavaScript framework written by engineers from Google whose goal was to revolutionize front-end design in web applications. Angular has gained immense popularity in recent years and slightly outshone jQuery in the media. 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.
  • 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 more reliable platform for developing cross-platform.
  • 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.

photo of men doing fist bump A good team with a varied technology stack can develop software in an effective way.

The importance of rapid prototyping

Every finished product has to go through a series of rigorous testing before being ready for the public. Software is no different.When it comes to software development, this is the stage where prototyping proves to be crucial. Throughout the development process, improvements and upgrades continue to pop up, which means you need to quickly integrate it into the design and development.

DevsData and other companies offering software development services emphasize the need for rapid prototyping, especially for front-end mockups. They explain that this stage of the innovation cycle greatly helps in:

  • Concept realization, where designers get to see their idea in real time
  • Saving resources, as it is significantly cheaper to produce prototypes these days
  • Finding flaws and areas of improvement
  • Customization
  • Shortening the time to market, among other things

A great tool for rapid prototyping that you or your team can use is MockFlow. It is a cloud-based wireframe mockup solution ideal for all developers, designers, UI/UX professionals, and marketers. Clients can use it to make detailed mockups or wireframes to show designers and vice versa, while developers can use it to show clients the framework throughout the development process.

Making sure your team is a good fit for your web development project

Knowing and having adequate web development tools and technology are just half the battle – you also need the right people. However, finding the best professionals can be tricky. Below we present some factors to keep in mind:

Know your needs and goals

Before making any personnel changes on your web development team or before hiring a solutions provider, you first need to make clear what exactly you want for a project. Define the needs, requirements, and goals to find out if you have the people who can handle it. When it comes to website changes, for example, most tasks will fall under two areas: design and functionality/coding. Design can include anything from making a new logo to overhauling entire page layouts. Functionality may include adding new features like a shopping cart, image sliders, or updating the website’s management panel.

Tech stack

Design and coding are two different skills. You can either find a specialist for each job (i.e., hire someone to handle the design and hire someone else to do the coding) or hire a generalist who can do both. This decision will depend on the scale and timeline of the project.When hiring developers, make sure they have a solid knowledge of technology stacks — meaning they can work with the ones you currently have, but they are also flexible to expand their repertoire in case a project requires it.

Project management methodology

Check also how they handle projects and how they fit with your company’s current project management methodology. Some developers are more used to using the Waterfall methodology, while others are more adept to the newer ones like Agile, Scrum, PRiSM, or some other methods. You will want to employ developers who can follow an effective method of working while being able to adapt to other project management techniques as needed.

Integration with 3rd party services and APIs

Moreover, check how well they do with integration with 3rd party services and APIs. Different projects will have a unique technology stack; be sure the team you are building or will be working with knows how to integrate different technologies together, depending on what is best for your needs.

Understand their skills and capabilities

Not every web development agency has exactly the same set of skills and capabilities. Some are more adept at designs, some with coding using Java or Python, while others are experts in other areas. As such, you will want to look at the past experience of the professionals or the team you are considering for a project. Ask for three most recent gigs they have handled and check if those were similar to yours. Go in detail about the exciting and challenging parts of each of their projects.Exemplary questions you can ask:

  • Have they completed any similar projects before? How did they go about it?
  • Are they willing to provide references for previous clients? Can you get in touch with these clients?
  • What work methodology do they use? Is it clear and well-organized? Is it transparent? How will it work for your needs?
  • What is their production timeline? Are they dedicated full-time to your project or are they juggling it with other projects?
  • If needed, can their team scale to your immediate needs? And if so, how agile can they be?

Answers and insights into these questions will showcase the experience, expertise, and attitude of the development agency. If the agency is enthusiastic and sufficiently explains its past projects, then that is plus points to their advantage. Their answers will also tell you a lot about how well they address concerns and problems.

Consultation and requirements analysis

Narrow down the talent pool to two or three candidate teams and ask if they work on a small (better if paid) test project. Think of it as an internship, audition, or an extended consultation with them. This not only gives these candidates a chance to showcase their skills and capabilities, but it also gives you an opportunity to work with them directly and build a good working relationship.The results and the way the candidates handled the project should give you a better feel as to who is the best fit for your requirements. The test is also particularly useful if you are looking for long-term developers with whom you would want to continue working in the future. Set aside a small budget for this test project so you can pay the candidates and get a “real life” assessment of how they work.

Conclusions

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. As technology continues to grow and evolve, so will the tools and technologies that every skilled developer should know. The important thing to take into account when building a web development team is that aside from their current skills and know-how, your team members should be eager to learn and embrace new technologies. Having the right tools and technology and a reliable team behind your project guarantees your web development venture to be a success.
programmers Knowing and having the right web development tools and technology are just half the battle; you also need the right people.

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DevsData LLC is truly exceptional – their backend developers are some of the best I’ve ever worked with.”

Nicholas Johnson

MENTOR AT YC,
SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

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Best back-end engineers I've ever worked with.​

“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."

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