What Makes a Good Web Development Company

The world of web development is still very much misinterpreted. We’ve even heard people call it up a “dark art”. So when you need help turning your ideas and designs in to a high quality website or web software, how do you know who you can rely on to get this done?

The purpose of this post is to offer some key points on what makes a good web development company, and will help you understand the kind of questions you should be inquiring development companies.

This is going to become a very opinionated post and we create no apologies for it. If you argue with anything we are certainly open to discussing it further.

Now to relate with the post. Below are the key places we are going to be looking at, and what you should be looking for in a web development company.

In a position to do both front-end and back-end development
Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
Should follow best practices
Knowledge of marketing strategies surrounding the projects
Invests time in research and development
Has a rigorous testing process, including automated assessments
Flexible to change
Use source control
Able to do both front-end and back-end development
We don’t sign up for idea of developers that do front-end growth and developers that do back-end advancement. That’s the equivalent of having a plumbing engineer who only fits pipes and leaves the fitting of the baths, showers, sinks and toilets to someone else.

We agree there is a separation between web developers and web designers, which completely different thought process going on there, but the separation between front-end and back-end is just wrong. To be a good web developer you need to understand the full development routine and to be able to get involved in the project through start to finish. There is also much to become learnt from the working with the different technologies, but we’ll come on to that particular.

Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
There are a number of good back-end technologies that are appropriate for web development including Dark red on Rails, ASP. Net and PHP (and others). They all get their strengths and weaknesses and not one is perfect. A great web development company should be flexible in which technologies they use, so that they make use of the most appropriate one for their clients’ requirements.

The key reason we have spent time understanding a number of technologies is to able to pick and choose the bits we like. Through the years the developers involved in The League are actually able to take the good parts of every technology and formulate a number of guidelines and use them across all systems.

Should follow best practices
The key to being a good web developer is just not the technologies that you use, but the best practices that you follow. As systems come and go in our extremely fast moving industry those best practices will stay, or at least evolve. As a developer when you have a good grounding then you can move with all the times and technologies fairly simply.

So what are these best practices that we are talking about. Below are some of the crucial ones we follow.

Writing semantic HTML
Follow web standards for those front end coding
Automated testing associated with both front-end and back-end code
Use of a MVC framework
Knowledge of marketing strategies surrounding the tasks
We’ve heard this complaint many times that web developers don’t think about the online marketing strategy of a project. This is generally due to the fact developers don’t care. Well they ought to. How can they advise clients plus think about helping clients produce the ideal solution, if they aren’t thinking about the “bigger picture” (sorry, we know it’s a horrid phrase, we’ll go wash our own mouths out now). If a programmer blindly does the work, they are not offering the client a service, they are just as being a meat puppet.

The most important question the developer can ask is “Why? “. Take time to understand the client’s specifications fully, and advise them, after all the client doesn’t understand the ins and outs associated with web development, you do. Make the development cycle a two way conversation.

Invests time in research and development
As everybody knows the web industry is a very fast moving business. Things come and go in the particular blink of an eye. A good internet development company gives it’s programmers allocated time each week to look at brand new trends and technologies. Admittedly a few of these trends and technologies are deceased ends, but you won’t know unless you look into them.

If you want to know if a web development company knows presently there stuff, simply ask them what their own developers have been looking into recently. A person understand everything you are told, note them down though and look them up on the internet to understand if the company will be using new trends or not.

R&D has become the most important time each week for a programmer. If developers don’t evolve, the particular solutions they build will become stagnate and dated very quickly. As a client do you want an out of date solution before you even start?

Has a rigorous tests process, including automated tests
Too often we have seen the client is the specialist for a project. If this is happening, then, to put it bluntly, the development company don’t understand your project well enough, these are just “banging out” code.

A good web development company should be creating automated tests (integration tests, unit-tests etc) for all their code, each front-end and back-end. On a simple level, tests help developers to concentrate on the code they are creating at that given time, additionally they help developers to write more concise code. More concise code means the code base is easier to understand and cheaper to maintain.

The major advantage of a test suite to a client is the fact that when changes are made to the code in the project there can be a lot more confidence in the fact that the change, or brand new code, hasn’t broken anything else.

We have been not saying automated testing is the silver bullet of web development, and tests are only effective if they happen to be written well, but they certainly needs to be part of any web developers toolset.

Automatic tests aren’t the only important aspect of testing. The web development company must also have a level of human testing as well, and this is certainly something clients must be involved in. User stories are key to this process. As part of the development process, clients should work with the web development company to put together User stories, so that all parties involved understand how customers will interact with the site or application and the results of those interactions.

Flexible to change
We’ve all heard designers complaining how their clients’ change the requirements of a project midway thought a project. Developers need to stop going on about this, it happens to us all and it’s really never going to change. A good internet development company should have processes in place to cope with change. If you are a client, ask how change requests will be dealt with.

Web developers should work to brief release cycles, preferably 1 — 2 weeks. The worst thing that may happen to a project is that the developers have the brief, start the work and then 2 months later they announce it’s finished, only for the client to say “This isn’t what I asked for! “. By working to short release cycles, customers can be involved at all stages. In late each release the client should evaluation the project so far and submit any change requests
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