Our Approach to Web Development

If you are considering us for your next web development project. Then we would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss – our approach to web development, by discussing some of the insights we have learned through our experiences in building Web Applications.

Here are four areas about web development we would like to highlight.

Our Teams Web Development Skill Sets

Structuring for Flexibility through Data Modelling

The Value of Mockups and Prototypes

Budget and Turnaround Time

What Skills Does Our Team Have?

We partner with various contract developers and development agencies within the greater Toronto area. The keyword is “partner”- meaning we are very selective in who we work with. In the past 5 years we have worked with a handful of developers who have always been there for us. We have also worked with a few who have disappointed, so we know a thing or two about differentiating between the good and the not so good.

We believe in full transparency. This is why we are going against the grain and letting you know that the code programming components of our Web Development Services are provided to us by our close network of Toronto based contacts. We work with them on a daily basis. They have a specialized skill set and we have a specialized skill set. We do good work together. To learn about our partner, give us a call and we will gladly discuss more about this with you.

Web Programming Development Technology Stacks

The teams that we regularly work with are skilled in the following programming language stacks – Javascript, PHP, Native Mobile (iOS and Android), Python, .Net, and Gatsby.

Javascript

For a few years now, we have been watching JS frameworks dominate the web application landscape. The dominant flavours are Node JS, React JS, Vue JS, Angular JS.

Mobile

When it comes to mobile landscape it is – Native iOS, Native Android, or cross-platform approaches via Native React JS.

PHP

Good old PHP, while support for PHP is not what it once was. With the popularity of the WordPress platform and years of popularity in the early 2000’s we do not see PHP disappearing anytime in the next.

Other

Python, Gatsby, .NET and everything in that is included and fall in between this category.

In addition to the above mentioned language stacks – there are a bunch of other language stacks and frameworks that are above our comprehension. This is why we partner with those who are really skilled in certain language stacks. We stay true to our skills, which is Project Management and FileMaker Application Development and we lean our on our network of web minded connections to help us deliver the right web application for the task at hand.

Structuring for Flexibility through Data Modelling

It all begins with the data model. Structuring software development to work with data gives you the flexibility to implement data rules vs hard coded syntax based rules. This in turn makes your application smarter.

We can get into the details of this, but honestly it can get kinda boring. If you really want to talk about Data Modelling – call us – we are always willing to talk about this subject, or just google it here.

To better illustrate our point about how data modelling brings upon flexibility in web development – let us critically talk about one of long standing projects and how we learned some very important lessons about programming for flexibility.

The following information is a very short summary of real life events that spanned over a few years. We hope it helps illustrate the importance the data model plays in application development.

The Problem Buildup

As every new hard coded feature was added to a platform, it then started to became harder to code around certain business logic.

Hover over me to read more

The application is built, 6 months later – new features are asked for. Our first reaction was to go into the code base and hard code some rules. Mission accomplished. Another 6 months went by and another new feature was requested. Same thing – we go into the code base and hardcode some logic. Again, mission accomplished. Some more time passes and another new requirement is bestowed upon us. This time, hardcoding the logic started to present problems, but we found a way. This pattern repeated for a few years, until we really started to get into some issues. As every new hard coded feature was added it became harder to code around certain business logic.

The New Data Model Approach

We always ask ourselves - what new data do we need to add to help make the coding easier?

Hover over me to read more

We got to the point where we had to rebuild the solution from the ground up. This time we focused a lot of our energy in creating a really robust data model so that we could rely on database records to drive the application more than hard coded lines of code. Now, every time a new feature is added, we always ask ourselves – what new table or new data do we need to add to help make the coding portion easier to maintain. Embracing this approach to application development, has made is more efficient when adding new features to the applications we build. We have yet to come to the painful crossroads of having to rebuild something from the group up again.

The Value of Mockups and Prototypes

In the simplest way we can put it – The value of mockup and prototypes is to – Save Time and Money.

We take mockups very seriously. In our experience mockups help confirm that the direction of the development will be towards the correct path. Nailing down the correct path early saves us time and saves you money. When we save you money, you are more likely to come back to us.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then when talking about mock-ups – just imagine how many words are saved. You can say that a mockup can be worth a thousand saved dollars from going down the wrong assumption. If you want to stay as close as possible to a respectable web dev budget – you need to focus on mock-ups.

Developing something just to get to a preview state and determine we approached it wrong is just a big fat waste of time. Web development is not easy. It requires a lot of lines of code and possible a bunch of other web hooks and dependencies libraries to be setup. So mocking up a web dev project is very important. We cannot stress this point enough.

Our Mockup Tools

Balsamique Wireframe

This tool is very helpful in that it lets us build our skeletal mockups really fast.

For more information about Balsamique Wireframes just go an check out their site or

read some reviews about Balsamique Wireframes

Adobe XD or Figma

We there is a need for a high resolution interactive mockup experience, then Adobe XD and Figma are what we would be looking at using. These tools are really great in bridging the gab between ‘customer-and-designer’ and ‘designer-and-developer’. One way to look at these tools is to look at them as being the blueprint for the construction crew to execute upon.

FileMaker WebDirect

The FileMaker platform has a feature called WebDirect. It allows you to publish a FileMaker Database Solution on the web so that it can be accessed through your favourite browser.

This feature makes FileMaker a very viable tool for a Proof of Concept prototype.

Read more about FileMaker

Budget and Turnaround Time

What do you need and how fast to you need it?

Our goal is to identify what you are asking for and what is needed to achieve a “Minimal Viable Product”. We look at what is the quick option and what is the more robust option. While, we always want to work along the the more robust option, it is not always the right path to start with.

Another one of our goals is gain your trust. One of the ways we try to achieve this is by working towards small wins during the development process. If we can help you achieve some early success by scoping a project into smaller budgets – then the risk starts to reduce.

For example

You are looking build a web application for your customers to login an place orders. We can budget the whole thing – Discovery, Design, Prototyping, Development and Maintenance. Or, we can just budget out just the Discover portion, where we build out a Presentation Deck and some light weight mock-ups.

This way you get to commit to a small budget. If you like what you see, we get to keep working together. If you do not like what you see, well then, we hope that our presentation and mock-ups gives you some ideas and some material to share with the next agency you are looking to hire for your project.

If you have questions about Web Development. Send us an email