SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · February 14, 2020

So you’re either considering to, or have already started a custom Ecommerce website development project. First off, congratulations! Now we need to make sure you have all the necessary information to make your new website a success.

Statista’s projections estimate that the Ecommerce industry will be worth $4.5 trillion by 2021. Competition is becoming more intense as new players enter the market for a piece of that considerably-sized pie.

ecommerce industry statistics

Source: Shopify.com

 

Despite how easy some people make it seem, developing an Ecommerce website from scratch can prove challenging, depending on product category and targeted markets.

I would say it’s only worth to start an online store, if you have a strong knowledge about your customers and the products you’d like to sell to them. It is also a big advantage if you already have a physical store before the Ecommerce website, so you have a large customer base who will provide initial feedback you can use to make it more attractive for new clients.

 

To make your custom Ecommerce website stand a chance, we recommend you to follow these steps:

 

1. Online competitor research

Chances are someone has already started selling products similar to yours online. By this point you should always expect to have competition and make the necessary precautions before investing into Ecommerce website development.

Before you start analyzing the competition, you need to determine your own business profile, as well as a detailed customer persona. Write down what customer needs your business is equipped to satisfy, and all the aspects that make it different from companies in the same space.

Do your best to create a detailed description about people who you expect to buy your product (or are already buying your product offline). Who and where are they? How old are they? How much are they willing to spend? Where do they search while shopping online, etc.

Once you know where you stand on the market, it’s time to do the digging. Search for similar competitors on sites like Amazon or Google Shopping. Examine the user experience of their Ecommerce website, pricing strategy, buying funnel, etc.

Subscribe to a few newsletters and follow their social media pages to learn about how they communicate with their audience. You can even try to order something from them, to experience the complete delivery process.

 

2. Choose the right Ecommerce platform

During competitor research, you should come across a few different Ecommerce platforms. This can also help you decide which one you’d like to adapt yourself.

First off, you need to decide if you want to use an Ecommerce website builder or have your development write the code from scratch.

The main advantages of using a website builder are lower overall development costs and a shorter time-to-market period. However, using these SaaS solutions can come with a high monthly fee, so costs can easily build up over time, especially if you want to scale your site later on.

Building your Ecommerce website from scratch gives you maximum flexibility, control and allows for easier scaling. Not to mention you don’t have to deal with support every time something goes wrong. This usually makes the development process longer and more expensive early on, however.

If you do decide to go with an Ecommerce builder, here are some good options to consider:

 

comparison for custom ecommerce website development guide

Source: Vizteams

 

3. Prepare design mockups

While most ready-to-use Ecommerce builders provide free website templates, you should consider creating custom design to make it stand out even more.

I’d recommend hiring a professional web designer who has deep knowledge about user experience and modern user interface builds as well. There are also plenty of talented freelancers you can easily hire through sites like Upwork or Guru.

When it come to Ecommerce design, remember these key aspects:

Load speed – This is the most important factor that impacts online shoppers’ user experience today. According to Smart Insights, 57% of visitors will leave your site if loading takes longer than 3 seconds. About 80% of them will likely never return to your site again.

Responsiveness – Site elements must display properly on all screen sizes, in all browsers. Also make sure that your designer follows mobile UI best practices.

Clear and visible call-to-actions – Your Ecommerce website design should help customers effortlessly complete their purchases. Your CTA buttons should have clear, concise text, and eye-catching design.

High-quality images – As much as you want to improve load times, pay attention that your images don’t appear low-quality or pixelated. Use JPG image formats for multi-color images, and PNG for simple images. You can also use formats like WebP or JPEG XR, but they aren’t supported by all browsers.

 

 

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4. Choose payment gateway API

Payment API integration is an essential part of any custom Ecommerce website development project. It is crucial to select a gateway that fits both your business’ and customers’ requirements.

These APIs help you manage credit card payments and bank payments, and also play a key role in tracking orders and maintaining customer lists. They also help protect both online vendors and shoppers from fraud and information breaches.

We recommend using acclaimed gateway APIs such as Stripe, Square or PayPal. Our own team uses Stripe the most during development projects, but Square is also a good alternative. It is popular among small vendors with a physical storefront as well as an online store.

 

5. Develop planned features

By this point you should be able to picture your ideal Ecommerce website and compile a list of feature requirements. You will need this to ask for initial project estimations from development teams. Include as much detailed information as you can in order to get an accurate estimate.

When you start looking for development companies for custom Ecommerce website development, you need to think about how much money you can afford to invest in it and ideally how much time it should take them to finish the project.

Be sure to reach out to at least 5 different teams, and compare offers, clarity of communication, and whether they have proper development, quality assurance and project management processes set up.

If you know someone with an IT background, or a reliable consultant, involve them in the selection process as a third party to make sure you choose a capable team.

It is crucial for you to stay in constant communication with the developers, because they will need your input and feedback throughout the project. Someone from your internal management team should be assigned to follow the development process and make sure the completed features are in line with your expectations.

When it comes to custom Ecommerce website development, scalability and security are extremely important. Site architecture and databases must allow for easy expansion to be able to grow together with your business. This might require the use of cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

We also recommend to include penetration testing during the development process to discover potential vulnerabilities and protect future customers’ sensitive information.

This is how the development process looks for us.

 

6. Quality assurance & usability testing

QA testing should be an integral part of the custom Ecommerce website development process to make sure all features work error-free. Unit testing, automated testing and code reviews should be carried out continuously throughout production.

It might require some extra effort from the development team, but it would take much longer to correct coding errors later on, when critical errors start to appear.

Usability testing is also crucial to see if your Ecommerce website is easy to understand and navigate for your potential customers.

 

custom ecommerce website development testing

 

7. Import product content & write creative

The job of your website creative is to make an immediate impression, and really draw customers in. Your chances of converting visitors are much higher if you manage to tell an engaging story that appeals to their imagination and gets them excited.

Make sure to add:

Visually appealing product photos – Since customers can’t touch or interact with your product online, you must rely on interesting, high-quality images to present them. Upload clean photos and give shoppers the opportunity to zoom in and out and view items from multiple angles.

PowertoolWorld, a popular hardware Ecommerce website even includes short product videos.

Descriptive keyword-rich product titles – Titles also serve as brief product descriptions. Here you need to think like your customers and use words that they would use to search for your products. This will make your site easier to find for search engines.

Creative, engaging product descriptions – Include the most important information your customers would want to know about your products. Write about aspects that make them stand out, how they were made, and why people should be excited to own them.

 

8. Hosting & SSL certificate

There is a whole plethora of hosting providers out there to choose from. There is no such thing as an absolute best, the right one for you depends on your specific requirements.

When choosing a provider, make sure they fit your business in terms of:

  • Security capabilities
  • Performance abilities
  • Database performance potential
  • CMS software compatibility

After setting up your Ecommerce website, you still need to make it secure.

 

ecommerce website security

Source: Pixabay

 

SSL certificates encrypt visitors’ financial data and other sensitive user information. Search engines will also give your site a higher ranking if it is equipped with an SSL certificate.

If you want to get one for your own Ecommerce website, Let’s Encrypt offers free certificates as a nonprofit organization. You can also install SSL certificates through paid certificate distribution websites like DigiCert or Comodo SSL, or directly from hosting providers like GoDaddy.

 

9. Prepare content, advertising & social media strategy

Having the perfect Ecommerce website won’t provide financial results without enough traffic. Since you are likely only starting out, you probably can’t afford to advertise to a wide audience on every platform.

You need a carefully targeted and efficient content & advertising strategy to reach the right people with the right offer at the right time.

If you don’t have a background in digital marketing, the most obvious solution might be to simply hire a professional agency to take care of this for you. Although, if you’re starting out with a tighter budget, or want to keep your marketing activity in-house, you must come up with an initial strategy yourself.

This is not a marketing-focused article, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Basically, you have to identify your ideal buyer personas, find ways to engage with them and convince them to take action (buy). You can do this organically through content, or reach them with targeted offers through paid advertising channels (social media ads, banner ads, search ads, etc.).

 

10. Search engine optimization – SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can save a lot of money and effort when starting a new Ecommerce website. If you don’t have to advertise your site, because its the first result in search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), you can achieve a much higher profit margin.

However, if you want to stay on top of the search game, you need to invest into quality SEO development and keeping it up to date. This can be hard, because SEO requirements are always changing.

Developers need to stay in touch with these changes and update your Ecommerce website accordingly. Despite all of this, I‘d say it’s still more cost-efficient on the long run than paying for advertisement.

 

11. Maintenance and further development

Instead of a linear process with an end point, think of custom Ecommerce website development as a cycle that repeats throughout the software’s lifetime.

Once your team has successfully developed all planned front-end and back-en elements, the work is still not over. There is continuous maintenance work that has to be done in order to avoid feature-breaking errors and keep all systems up to date.

Due to the ever growing competition in the Ecommerce industry, innovation is essential for every business that wants to stay relevant. You must keep in touch with customer demand and evolve your site to be able to satisfy new needs and preferences.

Integrating newly emerging technologies, optimizing new devices and platforms all require extra development work to be done. For example, industry analysts currently predict that voice shopping, AI services and Augmented Reality (AR) will provide the next innovation challenges for Ecommerce website owners.

 

voice-shopping-ecommerce

Photo by Fabian Hurnaus from Pexels

 

A custom Ecommerce website comes with a lot of advantages and also a few disadvantages for your business.

 

Here are some of them:

Advantages:

  • You’ll have a platform where you can receive and respond to customers’ questions quickly and directly.
  • Buyers don’t have to travel to your physical store, which can save them a lot of time and money. Delivery services are often cheaper nowadays than buying the fuel to drive to a store on the other side of town. If you manage to save money for your customers, they might even spend a little extra on your Ecommerce website.
  • A big advantage is that you can almost automate the flow of the orders. If your custom Ecommerce website has integrated billing API and delivery service API, it only requires 2 clicks to prepare the invoice and the delivery note.
  • It’s way easier to manage product stock and keep descriptions, pictures, names, categories up-to-date because you can see and edit everything in an admin interface instead of writing down the changes on paper.
  • You can collect data and prepare statistics reports about orders, outgoing and incoming stock, etc. This way you can discover seasonal buying trends and place more focus on best-performing products to increase your profits as much as possible.

 

Disadvantages:

  • One of the first that comes to mind is, of course, the cost of development. Hiring skilled programmers to realize what you have dreamed can cost a lot. Especially if want to make your Ecommerce website really stand out with unique features and design.
  • Once you start an Ecommerce website, you need to constantly think about new features to improve user experience and regularly update the design of the site, so customers will see that you are taking care of your online shop.
  • It’s also a pain to pay every month for the server where your site is hosted.
  • It’s harder to show product quality and explain every information about them to customers through the internet. Presenting the items in real life and demonstrating their functionality can be much more effective.

 

To summarize

This is our broad outline of the custom Ecommerce website development process. Of course, many details are up to you to figure out, since you’re the one who knows the ins and outs of your business.

We thinks that the process shouldn’t start with the actual development, but with market research and careful planning. Once you have a clear picture of exactly what you need to do, you’ll have much better chances to succeed with development.

If at any stage you feel like you need help from an experienced team, feel free to reach out and ask your questions. Thanks for reading!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · January 21, 2020

What is a PWA?

Progressive web apps (or PWA) are the perfect cross between native mobile apps and websites. PWAs are web applications that load like websites, but can offer functionalities traditionally available only to native apps. They can be loaded with the push of a button from the user’s mobile home page, without having to go through the whole app installation process beforehand.

Service workers are used to provide the best of both web and mobile native worlds. These service workers lie between the network and device to supply the content. Among many other properties, they are capable of utilizing cache mechanisms efficiently. This allows PWAs to work in offline mode as well.

 

Why are PWAs gaining in popularity?

This relatively new mobile technology allows you to provide a swift and smooth mobile native experience to your customers without intrusive app installation pop-ups. Your team can build them using a basic web stack (JavaScript, HTML & CSS).

World-leading companies from all industries are reportedly already experiencing higher web traffic, customer engagement, and conversion rates thanks to PWAs.

PWA has the highest reach with companies like Flipkart, Twitter Lite and Starbucks reporting increased user retention rate.

Here is a closer look at some of these successful progressive web apps.

 

Examples of PWA development projects in practice

 

Twitter

With close to 330 million active monthly users around the world who consume, create and share content, it is no wonder that Twitter wants to keep their mobile web experience as fast, reliable and engaging as possible. This was the main objective when they decided to upgrade their web application to a PWA.

 

examples of PWA development - Twitter

 

It’s safe to say that they’ve succeeded. Twitter Lite helped deliver a more robust experience and helped:
• increase number of pages per second by 65%
• increase number of Tweets sent by 75%
• decrease bounce rate by 20%

All this while requiring less than 3% of device storage space compared to Twitter’s native Android app. Instead of installing the app through the App or Play Store, web application visitors can choose the “Add to Homescreen” option directly from their mobile browser.

 

Instagram

Instagram was one of the first major companies to adapt PWA technology. If you somehow haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a social network service for sharing photos and videos. Following in Twitter’s footsteps, they upgraded their web application, giving web app users access to functionalities that previously were only available to native app users.

 

examples of PWA development - Instagram

 

The Instagram PWA now supports push notifications, has a web manifest and can be installed on both iOS and Android devices, using up much less storage space.

There are still some noticable navigation issues, but the pros outweigh the cons overall in terms of user experience thanks to the increased speed and lightness of the app. According to recent news, Instagram will expand the compatibility of the PWA to Windows Mobile OS as well.

 

Alibaba

Alibaba.com is the world’s largest wholesale trading platform, serving 200+ countries and regions. After upgrading their site to a progressive web app, they saw a:
• 76% increase in conversions across browsers
• 14% increase in monthly active users on iOS; 30% on Android
• 4X higher interaction rate from the “Add to Homescreen” prompt

 

Alibaba's progressive web application

 

Alibaba released its PWA in 2016, and they closed that year with $15,69 billion in annual revenues. Such a significant rise in mobile web conversions contributed a healthy amount to increasing this number to over $60 billion by the end of 2019.

By understanding how mobile web users interact with their business, they were able to deliver an excellent user experience to both first-time visitors and repeat visitors. Their PWA is also able to deliver push notifications the same way the native app does, achieving the same open rate on both platforms.

 

 

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Trivago

Trivago is one of the world’s most popular hotel search engines. The travel industry has been heavily disrupted by internet technology over the past two decades. Ever since their founding, they have been fully aware that they need to utilize emerging technologies in order to stay ahead of the competition.

 

examples of PWA development - Trivago

 

Because the majority of users access their service through mobile phones, succeeding on mobile platforms quickly became the company’s number one priority. They finally decided to design a progressive web application to improve their user experience.

Since then, more than half a million people added the Trivago site to their mobile home screen. Engagement for users who use this functionality increased by 150% thanks to push notifications. This increased engagement also lead to a 97% increase in clickouts to hotel offers for PWA users.

 

Starbucks

The reasons behind decision at Starbuck to develop a PWA were twofold: The company wanted to introduce ordering functionality to their website, while also making it more accessible for emerging markets. This way the service would be available in locations where internet connections are less reliable, like rural communities.

 

examples of PWA development - Starbucks

 

Because PWAs are built around the concept of “offline-first”, they are great for cases like this. Much of the application is available without an internet connection. Customers can modify the product in their order, and the information gets sent directly to the POS.

Starbucks now has a fast, performant, easy-to-use PWA that is 99% smaller than the 148MB native iOS app. By utilizing React, the development team was even able to include content-specific animations which are common in native apps, but rarely achieved for web apps.

 

Tinder

Tinder was also among the early adopters of PWA technology. They had noticed that session times are typically longer on web than their native apps. Users typically chose web more often to send messages and edit their profiles, so the company decided to focus on improving performance and user experience primarily on this platform.

 

examples of PWA development - Tinder

 

They chose React and Redux as main technologies. JavaScript performance optimization was used for improved load times, service workers for network resilience and push notifications for chat engagement.

Tinder is still iterating the progressive web app, but has already experienced great benefits. With the PWA they were able to cut their load times by 61% from 11.91 to 4.69 seconds. It’s able to deliver the core Tinder experience for only 10% data investment. The PWA is also 90% smaller than their native Android app.

 

Pinterest

Low engagement rates were the driving force behind the development of Pinterest’s PWA. The company realized that their mobile website only converted 1% of users into sign-ups, logins and native iOS and Android app installs.

 

Pinterest's progressive web application

 

Of course, this was far from ideal, and something needed to be done to increase web engagement. It took only 3 months, and the resulting improvement in business metrics really speaks for itself. People started spending 40% more time on the new PWA compared to the old mobile site. This lead to an increase in user-generated ad revenue by 44%, and core engagements also rose by 60%.

Performance also improved significantly. Due to its monolithic build and some CPU-heavy JavaScript, it took 23 seconds for the old mobile web site to become fully interactive on load. This wait time got reduced to only 5.6 seconds for to the new PWA.

 

Telegram

Telegram’s PWA was already available when its rival, WhatsApp Web got released to the market. It offers almost the exact same features as the mobile version, while being much lighter and faster than a conventional application.

 

Telegram's progressive web app

 

Beside the usual perks, this PWA has a small downside too. To start using it for the web, users must signed up on a native Telegram app first, and verify their details. This is necessary due to the company’s high security standards. All messages get encrypted on the cloud, and there is also a secret chat feature that doesn’t get stored on the company’s servers.

These examples of PWA development demonstrate that these new type of apps provide real value that is measurable in both user engagement and increases in profitability.

 

When should you consider PWAs?

Instances when PWAs can be especially beneficial:

  • If you want to make an e-commerce website together with an app – PWAs provide an easy way to increase user activity by allowing them to “save” your web shop on their home screen, and serve receive push notifications anywhere.
  • If you and your team are comfortable with web technologies and want to build apps in a limited time. You can write it with classic web technologies like HTML, CSS and JS.
  • If you are going “everywhere first” instead of mobile first – PWAs reach the widest range of users and devices via the browser.
  • If you want the lowest cost option for your development team – PWAs only have to be written once.
  • If you care about low-end devices, or users with poor internet connections – PWAs provide a smooth experience on slower devices too, and even work offline.

Some other benefits of PWAs:

  • PWAs load directly from the browser without having to download an app
  • They are also able to deliver real-time updates and push notifications, which was a feature reserved only for native apps in the past
  • PWAs use 10-1000X less storage space compared to native apps, and they require much less mobile data to load pages

 

What are the downsides of PWAs?

  • Your app won’t reach users who are searching in the App or Play Store
  • Somewhat lower UI responsiveness and performance compared to native apps.
  • PWAs don’t have access to all mobile hardware functions such as fingerprint scanning, advanced camera controls, Bluethooth, etc.
  • Running robust web apps on a smartphone uses up battery charge fast

 

Hopefully we were able to inspire you with these examples of PWA solutions. The tech provides many opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes to engage more with their mobile site users, and reach real benefits in terms of bran loyalty and online profits.

Now it’s up to you to review the possibilities to increase mobile web user experience for your customers and take action before your competition does.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

BY RabIT software engineering · October 24, 2019

Creating your own custom enterprise sofwtare or mobile app can help your business grow by increasing efficiency and adding customer value.

At RabIT Software Engineering, we are here to help! Our team is always willing to go the extra mile to add value to your company. We are happy to announce that RabIT Software Engineering has been placed on Clutch’s Hungary list of top B2B companies in the software development category for 2019.

 

top b2b companies hungary 2019

 

We are thankful to all of our clients who have left us reviews on Clutch, making this award possible. Clutch Leader Awards are based on market research done by the Washington, DC-based company. Their team conducts independent interviews with past clients of service providers to ensure their rankings are fair and transparent.

“There is nothing more rewarding at the end of the year than reading what new clients said about us on our Clutch profile. Each review we receive warms our hearts and reassures us that we’re really making a difference. We are looking forward to another year of work with such amazing people and companies.” – Salboch Horti, CMO

We are also featured on the Manifest, Clutch’s sister site! The Manifest has us among the top development firms in Hungary! The site features shortlists of companies, how-to guides, and business data to guide clients through the buying decision. Clutch also has a third site, Visual Objects! Visual Objects’ objective research directory allows clients to view the portfolios of service providers to find the best fit for their projects.

We are thankful to Clutch for this award and to all of our clients who have left us reviews, allowing us to maintain a 4.9-star rating!

 

 

 

 

Interested in starting a project? Get in touch for a free project consultation!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Startup & MVPBY RabIT software engineering · June 24, 2019

Introduction

Many of us dream about becoming self-made successes, entrepreneurs to finally free ourselves from our 9-5 jobs and turn our dreams into a reality. Today, the internet is littered with success stories about people who have already made it big and became millionaires, hundred millionaires, billionaires even.

The path to achieving breakout success sounds simple when you hear the story of someone who already has it all figured out. However, finding the right way is much harder if you are starting from scratch. A startling amount of entrepreneurs never achieve their ultimate goals. According to statistics, only 30% of small businesses make it past their 10th anniversary.

To improve the odds of success, more and more entrepreneurial journeys start out with a simple Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

 

What Is a Minimum Viable Product?

The term was introduced as one of the core principles of the lean startup methodology.

An MVP is the initial version of your product that only has the core features that are essential to solving an existing problem for your prospective customers. Your minimum viable product helps you gather important feedback and estimate market interest from the earliest stages of your business. More complex features are only added in later iterations, based on the received user feedback and the development of market demand.

A minimum viable product can be a simple web or mobile application, website or a single landing page.

what is a minimum viable product

 

MVP Benefits

An minimum viable product enables you to:

  • test a product hypothesis with minimal resources
  • accelerate learning in your organization
  • reduce necessary development hours
  • reach your actual market as soon as possible
  • decrease the risks of investment
  • establish your brand to users quickly

 

Researching and Verifying the MVP Idea

Verifying the business idea itself is a crucial step that absolutely must come before you rush into any kind of development project. You can significantly decrease the risk of investment by double checking if there is enough interest on the market for your solution.

Not even a company like Google could get away with selling a product that had no clear product-market fit (ehm… Google Glass).

Your new product or service has to offer a much needed solution for a need (or problem) that is being underserved by competitors or not served at all by anyone. You also have to make sure that the problem is pressing enough to justify the price of your solution in the eyes of potential customers.

 

Minimum viable product market fit

Source:   leanstartup.co

A good cautionary tale here could be Juicero, Silicon Valley’s smart juicer that squeezes disposable packets of liquified fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients into cups. Even with 4 funding rounds and close to $120 million of total funding, they couldn’t justify the $400 price tag for a web-connected device the basically empties a drink from a bag. The company went bottoms up less than 4 years after its founding.

Know what it costs to deliver your product (materials, rent, salaries, etc.) and to acquire customers who will pay to use that product (CAC – customer acquisition cost). All these costs have to be included in your pricing as well. While breaking even helps you consistently pay the bills, it won’t be enough to become a top player in your industry. Be sure that your costs are still reasonable to customers even after adding your profit margin.

According to smallbiztrends.com, only 40% of small businesses are profitable, 30% break even and 30% are continually losing money.

 

startup profitability - minimum viable product guide

 

The initial verification usually isn’t enough to prove that your business will be sustainable on the long run. That part will be up to your actual MVP.

You can get really creative with your idea verification methods. Use every tool at your disposal to measure the buzz around your idea. These examples are accessible to everyone for little or no expense:

  • Google search
  • Google Trends
  • Landing pages
  • Explainer videos
  • User testing

Start by identifying your key customer profile and creating buyer personas. This should help you visualize your ideal client base and customize your marketing messaging to better fit their specific needs. Do your best to reach out to as many people who fit this profile as you can.

How to Develop Your MVP?

Developing a fully functioning minimum viable product that delivers real value to its users is a complex process that may vary depending on your industry, product type, user base and so on. For the sake of clarity, we will break the MVP development process down to the following steps:

I. Setting a hypothesis

Hypothesis-based decision making helps you avoid basing your product idea on false assumptions and prejudices.

While it might seem like a billion-dollar idea to produce a smart salt shaker with Bluetooth technology, it can’t hurt to double check first. Just to be sure.

Using this method to come up with a business idea should guarantee that it will be based on real-life demand. A good hypothesis must be:
– easily testable,
– clear and measurable,
– either clearly true or false.

The most simplified template for such a hypothesis would look something like this:

 

If [cause], then [effect], because [reason].

 

Example: If we develop an app for broadcasting nostalgic content for people born before 1970, then we can get 50,000 people to sign up for a free trial by the end of 2020, because research data shows us that 80s and 90s nostalgia is very captivating to our target audience.

Once you have gathered sufficient evidence proving that your hypothesis is true, you can start planning product development with much greater certainty.

 

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II. Selecting technologies

You can build a minimum viable product with any modern-day programming language. However, it is crucial that you decide from the start whether or not you are planning to develop an MVP, or a full-fledged software product. If you choose the MVP route, you should go with technologies that are highly flexible and scalable.

Due to the evolving nature of an early MVP, developers need to be able to easily make changes to the source code at all times. By choosing modern and frequently updated tech in the planning stage, you can make your team’s life much easier when it comes to implementing these changes.

You should always choose the technology your team is most comfortable with. If you are open for suggestions though, here are a few pointers:

Micro-service architectures carry great benefits for MVP development. These micro-services are comprised of small modules that communicate with each other, and sometimes with the user as well. By using modular builds we are able to decompose an application into different smaller services. This makes the application easier to understand, develop, test and become more resilient to changes in the architecture itself.

Thanks to the independently functioning modules, multiple autonomous teams can work on development at the same time. This alone can help speed up the project significantly.

 

monolithic vs microservice minimum viable product

Source:    bmc.com

 

However, if you are developing a really minimalistic MVP with a small team, and scalability is not a top priority yet, we would rather recommend using monolithic architecture. Its main benefits are faster development and lower hardware requirements.

Also, the developed application will be self-contained and independent from other computing applications. Later on, if scalability becomes important and more developers join the team, it should be separated into micro-services though.

A lot of developers would disagree with using monolithic architecture for MVP development today. It may be falling out of popularity, but we believe there are still cases where it’s the right call. Instead of selecting the most popular option, this decision should be made according to product strategy and technical requirements.

Language-wise we ourselves prefer to use Java, since that is what our team has the most experience with. We have also started using Go (or Golang) recently, thanks to its speed and ability to produce small, static binaries. These really come in handy if you are working with micro-services.

Regardless of the selected technologies, you can build a top-quality MVP if you invest the time and energy into planning your project properly. You can only make your development team’s life easier if you choose a modern and frequently updated language.

One of the most common pitfalls of this process is not having a clear vision of a specific end goal and focus on the most critical features.

 

 

III. Product feature development

Choosing these key features may sound easy enough, but is not always so straightforward. This is why you needed to do all that research first, and verify your concept before moving on to product development.

If you already have a good understanding about your market, the development process itself should look something like this:

  1. Define product requirements
  2. Plan and assign development tasks
  3. Feature development and testing
  4. Live release
  5. Product evolution (repeat 1-4)

 

Try to look at product development as a cycle instead of a linear process. In this example, the live release doesn’t happen when development is finished, it happens when the MVP functions on a satisfactory level. Your product still needs to evolve through future iterations. Current features will have to be tweaked or scrapped if necessary, new features might have to be added, etc. In some cases, development may continue throughout the entire product life cycle.

Have you heard about the location-based iPhone app called Burbn? It allowed its users to check in at particular locations, plan future check-ins, earn points for hanging out with friends, and post pictures of these meet-ups.

 

burbn minimum viable product

 

The app wasn’t doing too well after its initial release. After analyzing their users’ activity more closely, the creators found out that people were mostly using Burbn to share photos. They weren’t using the check-in features at all. The app was just too complicated, and came with a lot of features that users found unnecessary.

The team finally decided to act on their data, focus on the photo-sharing feature and throw out everything else. This app is called Instagram today.

This is a good example for why it is essential to involve real users in the development process from the early stages.

Our team places a great emphasis on product evolution as well. Here is what the development cycle usually looks like for us:

minimum viable product development cycle

 

IV. Testing

Continuous testing is one of the key principles of validated learning, which is used to mitigate the considerable risk of launching a new product. There are over 30,000 new consumer products released each year, and 95% fail, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen.

We recommend that, apart from testing software functionality, you should also start usability testing as early as possible. This is important because even a perfectly functioning product can be misinterpreted by users due to confusing layouts, unclear documentation or faulty user interface design.

 

user vs usability testing a minimum viable product

Source: medium.theuxblog.com

 

Normally, software doesn’t get released until it is complete and working just as intended. Although a minimum viable product is intentionally released in an incomplete state, it is still expected to work flawlessly in the hands of users. It basically has to be much lighter than a complete software, but still has to seem just as stable. This requires continuous feature testing in every development phase.

The development team must include testing during and between sprints (iteration periods in continuous Agile software development cycles). Sprint length and frequency usually varies depending on client needs. For some clients we test each development task individually, others only require testing at the end of a sprint. We always use the same platform for this purpose that we use for development as well.

Minimum viable products are beneficial long-term, in part because the high user expectations result in a high-quality product that is thoroughly tested down to the smallest detail.

 

V. Collecting data and analyzing a hypothesis

The point of creating an minimum viable product is to collect user feedback, analyze this data and finally act on it through future product iterations. As your prototype becomes stable enough to be put into the hands of real users, you must also have the necessary data collection channels and tools in place.

To identify your key audience and focus on their needs as accurately as possible, you will need to measure their demographic (age, gender, location, etc.) and behavioral data (device usage, interests, preferences and such).

Remember that all data collection practices on your website and applications must be done with consent from the user.

The most widely-used data collection methods are:

1. Third party data collection services already available on the market

There are a number of ready-to-use tools out there such as Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Hotjar, Optimizely and others, which can help you collect useful behavioral data about your website and apps.

Unfortunately, these tools may have some drawbacks for clients in EU countries. GDPR regulation now limits what types of data can be collected and under what circumstances. This means that you probably won’t be able to use them to their full potential.

You can also gather useful data from the App Store or Play Store if you are planning to release a mobile app.

2. Built-in custom data collection features

With integrated monitoring features you can measure and analyze almost any element of your product at this stage. You can keep track of which software features people are using, where and when they are using them.

We usually recommend to our clients to build a reporting page where they can organize all relevant data and visualize it so it can be presented to the whole team.

Again, it is crucial to remember to disclose all information about your data collection and management practices in your privacy policy.

Also make sure that your methodologies are in line with GDPR regulation for EU countries.

3. Surveys that ask users for in-depth feedback directly

E-mail and pop-up surveys are still one of the most useful ways to collect information about user satisfaction and recommendations. You can use them to get answers you can’t find by just monitoring behavior.

Be careful not to annoy your users with too many such requests and ruin their user experience though.

 

VI. Launch

Your minimum viable product is ready for launch when all the minimum requirements are fully developed. The product must be of satisfactory quality and without any critical usability errors by this point. You should know whether or not this is true from the results of previous testing.

Product testing and evolution doesn’t stop after the minimum viable product phase either. It is up to your product team now to listen to your customers, find ways to deliver even more value to them and integrate the necessary changes through future development iterations.

 

build measure learn cycle minimum viable product

 

Remember, if you get your finger off the pulse of the market, you can quickly lose touch with your customers’ needs and allow competitors to swoop in.

Keep in mind, that developing a flawlessly working app with beautiful design does not automatically make it successful. You also need a strategy to acquire and continuously grow your initial user base. This topic deserves a whole article of its own.

Be sure to remember that a half-completed app with a steadily growing user base is always more valuable than a 100% finished application that nobody uses.

 

Summary

Developing a successful minimum viable product requires careful planning from the early stages, and close monitoring throughout the development process.

While there can be a lot of money involved later on, getting rich fast must not be the only motivation for developing your minimum viable product. If your new product truly helps people improve their lives, or the way they work, your chances at success are already much higher.

Be careful not to rush into development with only an idea. Do your best to back it up first through market research and concept testing.

Once you’ve decided that you want to develop an MVP version, stick to this decision throughout the development phases. Pay close attention to how your customers use the product or service, and plan each following evolution stage accordingly.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · March 08, 2019

There is a wide selection of cloud solutions available for businesses and individuals worldwide. Choosing the right solution may prove difficult if you aren’t familiar with frequently used cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and others.

This is why we are dedicating this article to clarifying the meaning, benefits, risks and common use cases for these popular cloud services.

 

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a service provides consumers with access to fundamental computing resources like processing, virtualization, storage and networks. IaaS solutions allow you to deploy and run arbitrary software such as operating systems and applications. The cloud service provider (CSP) controls and manages the underlying cloud infrastructure, but you have control over operating systems, storage and deployed applications.

 

Practical use and benefits of IaaS

Using IaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Avoid the high costs of buying hardware and setting up a new server infrastructure on your physical location
  • Access your files and data with higher security
  • Save several days or even weeks worth of time spent on setup and installation
  • Scale your computing resources up or down quickly, to meet your changing business needs

 

Potential risks involved with IaaS:

  • It can be more difficult to guarantee compliance with data management regulation. You must clearly establish accountability and control over sensitive information in your systems from day one.
  • Potential data loss is another risk when you choose to rely on a cloud service provider. It is essential to have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place to minimize the damage in case of an incident.
  • With the flexibility and accessibility of the cloud also comes reliance on the CSP. If your IaaS provider’s system goes down, so will yours. It is essential to check if they have a comprehensive recovery plan and policy in place before making your decision.

 

Dilbert by Scott Adams

 

IaaS Examples

Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, HP Public Cloud, Cisco Metapod, DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace

 

Who is IaaS for?

IaaS is a flexible solution that can be utilized by everyone who wants to manage software without having to worry about hardware. It is also a great choice for organizations that only need computing power on the short term, or for certain operations that require high capacity computing resources (e.g.: large batch processing).

 

Potential users of IaaS solutions:

  • Startups that are delivering a proof of concept, or require fast scaling within a short period of time.
  • SMBs that need a fast start and scaling without investing in too many resources in hardware.
  • IaaS is an ideal solution for Agile teams as well. It provides them with high flexibility while decreasing their reliance on corporate bureaucracy.
  • Also a viable solution for side/personal projects. Low-cost starter packages of CSPs allow anyone to set up an infrastructure quickly, without having to invest in physical systems.

 

What is PaaS?

Platform as a service provides a cloud platform allowing customers to develop, run and manage applications. As a customer, you only control the applications and data on the platform, while the cloud service provider manages operating systems, middleware, virtualization, servers, storage and networking.

 

Practical use and benefits of PaaS

Using PaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Reduce the costs involved with software development and deployment
  • Avoid the need of setting up additional server and storage space that would lie dormant once the development process is complete
  • Reduce the costs of managing software updates and maintenance
  • Achieve a faster time to market, greater speed and agility throughout the development process

 

Potential risks involved with PaaS

Same as with IaaS, you will also be susceptible to server malfunctions or compliance issues if you choose a dodgy PaaS provider. To be safe, double check accountability, control and disaster recovery principles and guidelines. Another potential issue worth mentioning is that these solutions require a very stable connection, and enough bandwidth to run smoothly at all times.

 

PaaS Examples

Heroku, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, OpenShift, Force.com, Apache Stratos

 

Who is PaaS for?

Teams that need extra computing power without wanting to worry about operating systems, server administration, and associated costs (energy, acquisition, maintenance, human resources etc.). Organizations that experience frequent spikes in computing requirements, don’t have the resources or don’t want to manage IT infrastructure internally.

 

Potential users of PaaS solutions:

  • Development teams who need a highly scalable and flexible platform to manage their applications and data during projects.
  • High-growth businesses that would likely experience a higher ROI from scaling a virtual platform, compared to developing their own physical systems.

 

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  • Interesting case studies and news about IT innovation
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What is SaaS?

Software as a Service solutions are ready-made software products built on the cloud, and made available for customer’s use on a subscription basis. You can most often run this type of software as a web application without installing anything on your local devices. Everything, including applications and data, is stored and managed on the cloud. Chances are, you have already used multiple such software products. SaaS solutions are mostly available to use for a monthly or yearly fee, and they often have a more basic free-to-use option as well.

 

Practical use and benefits of SaaS

Using SaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Integrate new software solutions into your business processes quickly, without losing time and money on installation
  • Access applications and data from any location, at any time, on multiple devices
  • Let the software provider deal with hardware and software updates, removing this responsibility and workload from yourself
  • Scale your selected application by simply upgrading your subscription as your business grows, or more users need to access the software

 

Potential risks involved with SaaS

The lowest cost among other cloud solutions comes with the highest level of reliance on the software provider. Everything, including applications and user data is managed by the CSP, which can easily lead to privacy and data security compliance issues. Also, you often have to sacrifice customization for high accessibility, if you decide to use a ready-made solution. This can result in you subscribing to a software product that doesn’t serve your business as well as an in-house solution could.

 

SaaS Examples

Office 365, Semrush, Asana, Salesforce, Planning Pod, Dropbox

 

Who are SaaS solutions for?

Depending on their specific needs, anyone can benefit from the right SaaS. There is a wide range of applications available out there that provide solutions for businesses and individuals alike. SaaS are ideal for organizations that don’t want to invest into building their own in-house software solutions. They are also handy for individuals or freelancers who don’t have access to as many resources as enterprises.

 

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS – A Simple Comparison

Your choice of cloud services should coincide with your organizational needs and overall business plan. The core benefit of using any cloud solutions is the ability to digitize and scale your business in a much more time- and cost-efficient manner.

 

iaas paas saas comparison infographic

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

 

Read more about why you absolutely should digitize your business processes here:
7 Reasons Why You Need to Start Business Digitization Right Now

 

When should you run your server internally (on-premises)?

Having your servers set up internally can also carry significant benefits for your organization.

Most notably, you can guarantee a higher level of security and resilience compared to having external storage. Holding internal systems behind firewalls and backed up as part of a standard set of security procedures makes your data inherently more secure against external attacks.

Also, without using outsourced suppliers, you can guarantee GDPR compliance with much less difficulty.

Consider internal, external and even hybrid hosting options in accordance with your unique organizational needs. It is generally advised to host your software and data internally if you only use it internally. If you have to share your data with external parties (partners, customers, etc.), it’s typically best to host it externally.

Choose the hybrid option if you need to use data in-house and with outside parties as well. The latter is the case for most organizations today. Hybrid hosting guarantees them the optimal combination of security and collaboration.

 

Summary

Today’s IaaS, PaaS, SaaS solutions (and their different combinations) help you digitize and scale your operations faster than ever before. This also means that things can take a downturn just as fast.

Taking your business to the cloud requires careful planning, research and coordination. It is important to be familiar with CSP policies and procedures in  order to make use of their benefits and minimize potential risks.

We hope that this article managed to help you see the world of cloud services more clearly. Happy cloud diving!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · January 29, 2019

Mobile technology is still heavily on the rise. According to Statista, there are 4.57 billion mobile users in the world in 2018. This number is expected to reach 4.68 billion in 2019. Most of the world’s population can be reached through mobile applications.

Choosing the right technologies is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make when entering the mobile app market. There are new solutions appearing constantly which make this decision more difficult.

This is why we decided to focus this article on helping you find out which platforms, frameworks and languages will work the best for your business in 2019.

 

If you are still on the fence about building digital solutions for your business, I recommend you read one of our earlier articles:

7 Reasons Why You Need to Start Business Digitization Right Now

 

When choosing your tech stack, first you have to consider your overall business strategy. Do you want to reach potential users on the Android or iOS platform? Perhaps you want to reach both with a single application. Once you have this figured out, you have to decide whether to build a native, hybrid or progressive web application.

 

Here is a quick breakdown to help you choose the mobile technology that fits your business the most:

 

Native Apps

Native applications are developed specifically for a single mobile platform. Today, the only relevant platforms to choose from are Android and iOS. Depending on which one you choose to focus on, you will need to compile your tech stack accordingly.

 

Android – Java and Kotlin

Most Android applications are built using Java. After all, it is still the most widely used language on the planet. The classic way of writing native Android apps is to use Java and the Android SDK.

Java’s popularity for Android is mainly a result of its rich set of core features, redundancy, high security, speed and scalability. However, since mid-2017, there seems to be a trend that shows Kotlin finally replacing Java as the go-to language for Android app development.

Since Google endorsed Kotlin as an official language for building Android apps last year, it has been rapidly gaining in popularity. According to GitHub, Kotlin is the fastest growing language in 2018. Its number of contributors has more than doubled since last year.

 

Source: octoverse.github.com

 

Kotlin is wildly popular mainly because it makes coding much more concise, and is 100% interoperable with Java and Android. Writing code in Kotlin requires approximately 40% less lines of code compared to Java.

The language is big, complex and new, so it might take time for people to learn. Although, it is reportedly much easier for developers who already know Java, and there is also a rapidly growing support community today. You definitely won’t have any trouble finding Kotlin experts in the years to come.

 

iOS – Objective-C and Swift

Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language, and is utilized by a high number of mobile developers building apps for OS X and iOS. It is a very mature and tested mobile technology that survived many generations of developers since its first release in the early 1980s.

Thanks to its stability and maturity, Objective-C manages to stay relevant today. There are a lot of well-documented third party frameworks out there, and very strong community support. It is also highly compatible with C and C++ programming languages.

There was obviously room for innovation, though. In 2014, Apple released Swift to provide new developers with an alternative that is easier to learn and to understand. The code length in Swift is significantly reduced, which makes development with it much faster compared to its older counterpart.

Apps developed in Swift are also considered to be safer and less prone to bugs and crashes than the ones developed in Objective-C. While Objective-C is still in the lead when it comes to community support and documentation, Swift is rapidly gaining in popularity.

Stack Overflow conducts a survey with its developer community each year. This is how the popularity of Objective-C and Swift changed with the community over the past 5 years:

 

Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com

 

We can see that the number of Objective-C developers started to stagnate after 2016 with only a minor increase this year compared to 2017. On the other hand, it is expected that the Swift community will continue to grow rapidly over the coming years.

Here is how native mobile technologies cluster together according to over 100,000 developers surveyed by Stack Overflow this year:

 

Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/

 

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Native apps are faster and more responsive than hybrid apps
  • They can run offline depending on functionality
  • Developers can better utilize device functionality like camera, microphone, swipe gestures, etc.
  • They are more interactive and run much smoother, creating a better overall user experience

Some Disadvantages

  • More expensive and slower development compared to hybrid apps
  • Harder to scale and maintain on each platform separately

 

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Hybrid Apps

We are talking about a hybrid app, when it includes both native and web elements. Creating a hybrid application is similar as building a web app. They are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

More and more people are choosing to build hybrid mobile apps over native ones. The growing demand resulted in the evolution of a number of hybrid frameworks like Ionic, Cordova, Xamarin or React Native.

The Ionic framework and Cordova both use HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Ionic builds on top of Cordova. This mobile technology basically provides a set of front-end components that allow you to write HTML5 apps that look like native apps. Ionic also allows for up to 98% code reuse. These technologies already have a large community following.

Xamarin uses C# and .NET. Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS are used for providing platform-specific behaviour, while Xamarin.Forms is responsible for code sharing. It allows for the reuse of 96% of the written code. Xamarin also has a large community following.

React Native uses JavaScript and React.JS, and has a rapidly growing community. React Native heavily builds on JavaScript, and is backed by Facebook. A huge benefit is that it allows for writing modules in Objective-C, Swift or Java languages if needed. Up to 70% of React Native code is reusable, which helps speed up development for multiple platforms.

React is a great choice if your app needs to handle heavy operations like image editing or video processing. High accessibility and its ability to build high-performance UI solutions fast helped it become the most sought-after hybrid mobile technology of 2018.

 

Source: Google Trends

 

Advantages of Hybrid Apps

  • More cost-efficient than native app development
  • Shorter time-to-market
  • Most of the code is reusable for multiple platforms (write once, use anywhere)
  • Because there is only one code base, it is much easier to scale and maintain a hybrid app

Some Disadvantages

  • Hybrid apps can have stability issues across different devices
  • Inconsistent performance on different platforms, which can negatively impact user experience

 

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps (or PWA) are the perfect cross between native mobile apps and websites. PWAs are web applications that load like websites, but can offer functionalities traditionally available only to native apps. They can be loaded with the push of a button from the user’s mobile home page, without having to go through the whole app installation process beforehand.

Service workers are used to provide the best of both web and mobile native worlds. These service workers lie between the network and device to supply the content. Among many other properties, they are capable of utilizing cache mechanisms efficiently. This allows PWAs to work in offline mode as well.

This relatively new mobile technology allows you to provide a swift and smooth mobile native experience to your customers without intrusive app installation pop-ups. Your team can build them using a basic web stack (JavaScript, HTML & CSS).

World-leading companies from all industries are reportedly already experiencing higher web traffic, customer engagement, and conversion rates thanks to PWAs.

 

Source: https://www.pwastats.com/

 

Advantages of Progressive Web Apps

  • PWAs provide a smooth experience at high performance, without relying on web connectivity.
  • They are also able to deliver real-time updates and push notifications, which was a feature reserved only for native apps in the past
  • They use 10-1000x less storage space compared to native apps
  • Fast and cost-efficient development

Some Disadvantages

  • PWAs don’t have access to all mobile hardware functions such as fingerprint scanning, advanced camera controls, Bluethooth, etc.
  • Running robust web apps on a smartphone uses up battery charge fast

 

Final Summary

Thanks to the popularity of mobile platforms, today there is a mobile technology for everyone.

It is up to you to assess the needs of your organization and make your choice according to your strategic vision and goals. If done correctly, your new mobile application can become as important of an asset to your business as a brick-and-mortar store.

We hope this article helped you figure out which technologies will be the best fit for your business.

 

If you need additional information to help you select your ideal mobile technology, feel free to ask your questions through our website, or ask for a free consultation.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

MarketingBY RabIT software engineering · November 30, 2018

The World Robotics Olympiad International 2018 Final was successfully organized in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 16-18 November with 8 Hungarian teams and 8 Hungarian referees. The Hungarian Delegation had more than 60 members including teammates, team leaders, referees, parents, supporters and representatives from the next International Final’s organizers: Edutus University, Mayor’s Office of the City of Győr, Széchenyi István University and the Hungarian Government.

 

26.280 teams from more than 70 countries participated in World Robot Olympiad Association’s global competition in robotics this year. In the International Final 482 teams compared their knowledge from 63 different countries. The Hungarian teams ran in the following categories: Regular, Open, Advanced Robotics Challenge, Football and WeDo.

The HT RoboTeam kids: Máté Sándor (age 9) and Péter Sándor (age 10) ran in the Regular category where they had to complete 4 rounds in a track with their self-built and self-programmed robot. They reached as many as 232 points out of the maximum 240 points thanks to their last perfect round.

 

“We are really proud of them because they completed their target, a flawless run.” – said Viktor Sándor, HT RoboTeam coach.

Because of their performance, they were awarded a special prize by the judges. In the WeDo category, a pilot race was organized, so the results were not ranked. Instead, the best performing teams all received special prizes.

Here is a video of their final perfect run:

WRO 2018 Thailand – Hibátlan kör

Máténak és Petinek a helyszínen kellett a robotot megépíteniük, programozniuk. A videóban látható körért maximális, 120 pontot kaptak. :-)#wro2018 #HTRoboTeam

Közzétette: HTRoboTeam – 2018. november 18., vasárnap

 

In the closing ceremony, representatives of Thailand handed the WRO flag (representing the hosting of the next Final) to the representatives of Hungary: Szilveszter Bus (Hungarian Ambassador of Bangkok), Dr. Lajos Csörgits (Vice Notary of the City of Győr) and Zoltán Szögi (National Organizer, CEO at Edutus). The ambassador held a speech to the participants and we could watch the WOW’s image films about Hungary and Győr, since the next International Final will be held in Hungary in 2019.

Members of the HT RoboTeam say they gained a lot of nice experiences and made many friends with other teams from abroad. As one of the team’s sponsors, the RabIT software engineering team congratulates the boys and the whole team for their outstanding performance.

Special thanks to the team coaches: Ágnes Borsi, Katalin Bártfai and Viktor Sándor for their invaluable work in nurturing young talent and providing the opportunity for Hungarian kids to start mastering fields in STEM sciences from a very young age. We will be following and can’t wait to cheer for them at next year’s WRO Finals.

 

 

 

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

IT ProcessBY RabIT software engineering · November 27, 2018

Companies invest a considerable amount in projects to upgrade systems, to develop new applications, or to roll out strategic initiatives. However, sometimes the development teams dedicated to these projects fail to deliver the desired results, especially if it is an offshore development team.

There are a ton of reasons why a project suffers, including poor planning and execution, and lack of coordination. You can avoid the failure of a project by hiring a competent project manager. He or she will enable you to reap the promised benefits of the project.

 

What is the role of a project manager in dedicated teams?

If you have hired an offshore development team, successful collaboration between it and your onshore team is crucial for achieving success in projects. For that, you need proper planning, clearly defined goals, and effective communication. The project managers make sure that all the requirements are met. They have the skillset to plan, organize, execute, and bring the project to a close.

The project managers also play a vital role in improving the performance of the team. They make sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, and the goals of the project. Not only that, but they also regularly monitor and assess the team’s project performance.

There is no one right project management methodology for all projects. Plenty of options are there to pick from, and the project manager selects the approach based on the project’s requirements and scope so that it does not fail to deliver the expected benefits. And, as the onus of the project’s success is on the project manager, you are free to focus on other aspects of your business.

 

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Let’s take a look at how a project manager ensures that the projects are completed on time and on budget. They:

  • Create a clear vision.
  • Provide a framework for the project-related tasks.
  • Identify resources needed to achieve project goals.
  • Set milestones, gauges progress, and ensures they are achieved.
  • Coordinate activities between different team members — offshore team and onshore team; and mediate if there is a conflict.
  • Motivate team members.
  • Identify potential risks that are present throughout the project’s lifetime, assess them, and proactively respond.
  • Keep work on the track.

Project Management Tips for Startups

As the business environment is changing fast and there is high uncertainty, a startup can no longer take its time to complete a project. But it has limited resources, and its employees handle more than one responsibility. So, how does it defy the odds and become a successful organization? Project management can make a big difference and help startups to manage projects effectively.

Here are some suggestions for selecting tools and methodologies.

Project Management Methodology: For startups, an adaptive project framework can be the best approach as it continuously adapts to the changing circumstances of the project. It allows you to change the project’s scope. Moreover, as the project progresses in iterative stages, the team can evaluate the previous performance at the end of every stage. Based on the evaluation, the team can improve their performance.

Voice Communication Tools: Startups rely on excellent teamwork, and for that effective communication is essential. With voice communication platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts, which offer audio and video group calls, team members can easily plan, communicate and work as a cohesive group.

Chat & Messaging Apps: Slack, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Workplace, the group chat tools, enable startup teams to collaborate successfully. Whatsapp, the cross-platform messaging and VoIP service, also lets the team members to plan, organize, and share work updates.

Task management: Leveraging task management software such as Asana, JIRA, and Confluence, the startup’s team members can manage, organize, and track the progress of project-related tasks.

 

If you need help deciding which tools to use to track and carry out your project management tasks, have a look at this list of best software development tools for project management.

At RabIT, our project coordinators handle communication and administrative tasks between development team members and our clients. Our lead engineering manager is also involved in each project to provide constant technical support. Since we primarily work on project basis, it is extremely important to us to constantly optimize and improve these processes, and we are happy to share them with others as well.

If you have any more questions about your own project or regarding project management best practices, feel free to ask them via our website.

 

More useful Agile project management advice and resources:

Overcoming Communication and Cultural Challenges

Overcoming Challenges During the Work Process

Overcoming Challenges with Day-to-Day Operations

Overcoming Challenges from a Lack of Experience

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · October 31, 2018

Code review is a process by which developers review each other’s source code. Peer code review not only makes a better code but also makes better teams.

The two roles present in a peer code review are –

  • The author: A person who is responsible for developing the code being reviewed.
  • The reviewer: He is the person who is responsible for examining the code.

 

Commonly used forms of peer code review

 

Over-the-shoulder code review

In this type of review, the author writes a code and calls the reviewer over to have a look at it.

Benefits

  • Easy to implement
  • Fast to finish

 

Email pass-around reviews

Most open-source projects prefer this form of code review. Here, the author emails complete files to reviewers. Reviewers then examine the files and suggest changes.

Benefits

  • Works with remote software developers
  • Easy to implement
  • Easy to involve other people
  • Doesn’t disturb reviewers

 

Pair-programming (review)

In this form of code review, two developers write code together at the same workstation.

Benefits

  • Effective at promoting knowledge-transfer and spotting bugs.
  • The reviewer is very close to the code and can provide a detailed review.

 

Tool-assisted code review

Reviewers and authors use specialized tools designed for code review. The tools are used in all aspects of the peer code review: collecting metrics, transmitting and displaying files, commentary, collecting files etc.

Benefits

  • Automated file gathering
  • Workflow enforcement
  • Automated metrics collection

Why do you need to devote time for code reviews?


Higher Code Quality

While QA testing is absolutely essential to improve the performance of your final product, code reviews are just as important. Code reviews guarantee a higher quality source code. Not only do they improve software performance, they also allow you to expand your product and add new features much more easily in the future.

Higher code quality also leads to less time spent in handling technical debt and resolving errors. Technical debt, also known as code debt, is the expense a software company pays out due to poor development processes within its existing codebase. These debts should be resolved as quickly as possible.

Codacy conducted research and found that software developers spend about 26% of their time working on technical debt and on fixing bugs. According to the same research, code reviews have the greatest impact on the quality of the code, followed by coding style and standards and testing.

 

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Reduced Costs

The earlier a bug is spotted the less it will cost to resolve it. Discovering and resolving errors at the early stage of development is relatively less costly as compared to the expensive process of bug fixing happening at the advanced stages of software development. An external reviewer can quickly and easily spot mistakes made by software developers.

Improved development processes

In addition to fixing bugs and improving software quality, code review improves your software development processes and the team as a whole.

Training new, less experienced developers

Code review helps development teams train new developers and familiarize co-workers with other modules. The process of code review encourages the sharing of ideas across the team and provides an opportunity for new developers to acquire skills and improve their code’s performance. These younger developers also get an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become experts in their field. The reviewers also get to learn new ideas and techniques from the code they are reviewing.

Better Estimates

Code review helps in sharing of knowledge between the reviewer and the author. The reviewer is quite familiar with the known issues in the code base and the complexity of the project. Therefore, the development team members get to know the product in detail and the software developers learn to make better estimates of the future work from the reviewer.

Consistent Coding Style

Code review enforces a consistent coding style throughout a software project. This makes the code readable by developers who might have joined the project at any given time during software development.

If you feel like there is room for improvement when it comes to the quality of your source code and coding practices, don’t hesitate to reach out to us through our website, or at info@rabit.hu. You can also ask all your questions in a free consultation.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Dedicated TeamBY RabIT software engineering · October 10, 2018

With the rapid development of communication and project management technologies, the popularity of remote business cooperation is also on the rise throughout the globe. Today, you can outsource business processes easier than ever before. Be it offshoring or nearshoring you are after, there is a plethora of new tools and platforms that you use to set up a working partnership within just days. This can work really well for more simple business processes like copywriting or graphic design projects. However, when it comes to complex work processes, there is a need for deeper involvement from both parties. This is where outsharing comes in.

Outsharing stresses on working partnerships and encourages collaboration. An outsharing partner thoroughly examines your business case, reads beyond the specification lines and suggests optimization solutions. They focus on value whether it’s designing and creating new functionality, optimizing the processes, or improving the user experience.

Over the past few years, outsharing has been gaining in popularity. Many companies consider outsharing to be the next level of outsourcing software development. It is believed that in the coming years outsharing will replace outsourcing.

 

Reasons for outsourcing

Outsourcing can provide solutions to software companies and businesses anywhere in the world. Depending on where you live, you can save about 70% on hourly rates by outsourcing software development to development shops or freelancers. When you outsource your work, you don’t need to go through long and costly hiring processes.

You only need to look out for the quality of the companies’ previous work. You get access to talented and skilled labor at a low cost during outsourcing. That’s why businesses and companies consider outsourcing development in the first place.

Outsourcing partners hire talented people in their team who know how to manage different business situations. They understand how a company’s goal can be attained. External service providers are fully aware of the latest technology of the industry and are capable of providing their clients with the best services at a much faster rate.

Most importantly, outsourcing allows you to focus on the core of your business processes or invest in research or marketing.

 

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Risks associated with outsourcing

No doubt, there are numerous benefits of outsourcing internal business processes to professional outsourcing companies. However, it has its own set of flaws. There are many risks associated with outsourcing, such as potential cybersecurity attacks, poor communication, lack of cross-cultural awareness, misuse of sensitive corporate information, insufficient product quality, and management difficulties due to a lack of centralization.

Most businesses fear a lack of direction and authority when an outsourcing company is doing their work. Company personnel loses control over their own process and technologies when certain services are outsourced. The consequences can be fatal or serious. Contractual disputes can occur or the quality may suffer.

Many outsourcing companies do not bother to understand their client’s product vision and strategies. Their involvement in the product development is limited to delivering the code that matches the list of specifications. Many of these clients don’t get the product they envisioned and the quality they deserve.

Keep in mind that it is very important to choose the right outsourcing partner. Engaging with the wrong outside service provider could cost your business in terms of performance, productivity, employee morale, and financial outlay.

Read more about the most common reasons why outsourced software projects fail.

 

What exactly is outsharing and is it better than outsourcing?

Outsharing means having an equal remote partner, who is completely involved in realizing the client’s product vision and helping them reach their strategic goals. Outsharing partners not only deliver code but also function as a remote Chief Technology Officer.

They offer well-reasoned and valid opinions about your product roadmap and enlighten you on how to reach your goals and objectives in the most effective manner. Outsharing partners will also tell you about new technologies that are worth adopting for your company. They also have the soft skills to build strong relationships with their clients.

Outsharing partners need to share the same product vision, and truly understand each other’s organization. Both parties need to invest time and effort and communicate openly. Keep in mind that open communication is essential to remote business success. You should encourage your outsourcing partners to share their concerns and ideas, both negative and positive. This will give them the sense that they are valued. Ineffective communication, on the other hand, can easily lead to project failure.

Outsharing is necessary to develop and create complex technology solutions and products that make life better and easier. It is for companies that want constructive expert input and deeper involvement from their outsourcing partner.

 

To sum it up

If you have concerns about the risks that are associated with traditional outsourcing, outsharing could be your solution. Think about your outside IT service provider more like a strategic business partner. By gaining full access to their unique perspective and technological expertise, you can gain even more value than you would from an in-house IT department. The principles of outsharing help you gain more and more value over the long term instead of focusing on the completion of single projects.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, we would love to talk more about the topic. Visit our website and feel free to drop us an email with your questions. Thank you for reading!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is a dynamic & innovative software engineering company in Santa Monica, California. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.