Web development is still a highly misunderstood field. It’s even been referred to as a “black art” by others. So how do you know who you can trust to turn your ideas and designs into a high-quality website or web application when you need help?
The goal of this article is to present some critical ideas on what constitutes a good web development firm, as well as to help you understand the types of questions you should ask development companies.
We make no apologies for the fact that this is going to be an extremely opinionated piece. If you have any questions or would like to discuss something further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Now it’s time to get down to business. The important areas we’ll be looking at, as well as what you should look for in a web development business, are listed below.
able to work on both the front-end and back-end of a website
1. Do not specialise in a single back-end technology; best practises should be followed.
2. Understanding the marketing methods that are used in conjunction with the projects
3. Time and effort is put into research and development.
4. Has a thorough testing procedure in place, which includes automated tests.
5. Adaptable to change
6. Make use of source control.
7. able to work on both the front-end and back-end of a website
We don’t believe in the division of labour between front-end and back-end developers. That’s the same of hiring a plumber who merely instals pipes and hires someone else to install the baths, showers, sinks, and toilets.
Working with a variety of technologies can also teach you a lot, but we’ll get to that later.
Don’t focus solely on one type of backend technology.
Ruby on Rails, ASP.Net, and PHP are just a few of the good back-end technologies that are suitable for web development (and others). They all have their own set of strengths and faults, and none of them are flawless. A smart web development business should be able to switch between technologies as needed to meet the needs of their clients.
The ability to pick and select the things we like is one of the main reasons we spend time understanding a variety of technologies. Over time, The League’s engineers have been able to distil the greatest features of each technology into a set of best practises that can be applied across all platforms.
Best practises should be followed.
The best practises you follow, not the technologies you utilise, are the key to becoming a good web developer. Best practises will persist, or at the very least evolve, as new technology emerge in our fast-paced sector. If you have a solid foundation as a developer, you should be able to keep up with the times and technology rather simply.
So, what exactly are these “best practises” that we’re discussing? Some of the most important ones we follow are listed below.
HTML that is semantic
For all front-end coding, adhere to web standards.
Front-end and back-end code testing that is automated
Using the MVC framework
Understanding the marketing methods that are used in conjunction with the projects
Many times, we’ve heard the complaint that web developers don’t consider a project’s marketing plan. This is usually due to the fact that developers are unconcerned. They certainly should. How can they advise clients and consider assisting them in developing the best solution if they aren’t considering the “larger picture” (sorry, we know it’s a horrible phrase; we’ll go wash our mouths out now)? If a developer performs the work without question, they are merely acting as a meat puppet for the client.
“Why?” is the most crucial question a developer can ask. Take the time to completely comprehend the client’s requirements and offer advice; after all, the client does not know the ins and outs of web development, however you do. Make the development process a two-way dialogue.
Time and effort is put into research and development.
The web industry, as everyone knows, moves at a breakneck pace. In the blink of an eye, things change. A smart web development business schedules time for its developers to research new trends and technologies each week. Some of these trends and technologies are, admittedly, dead ends, but you won’t know until you investigate them.
For a developer, R&D is undoubtedly the most crucial time of the week. If developers do not change, the solutions they create will swiftly become obsolete. Do you wish to start with an out-of-date solution as a client?
Has a thorough testing procedure in place, which includes automated tests.
We’ve seen far too many projects where the client is the tester. If this is the case, the development firm does not have a thorough understanding of your project and is simply “banging out” code.
A competent web development company should write automated tests for all of their code, including front-end and back-end (integration tests, unit tests, etc.). On a basic level, tests allow developers to focus on the code they’re producing at the time, as well as assist them produce more concise code. The code base will be easier to comprehend and maintain if it is written in a more compact manner.
The main advantage of a test suite for a client is that when changes are made to the project’s code, the client can be more certain that the modification, or new code, hasn’t broken anything else.
We’re not claiming that automated testing is the holy grail of web development, and that tests can only be useful if they’re well-written, but it should be a component of any web developer’s toolkit.
Automated tests aren’t the only thing to consider when it comes to testing. Human testing should be included in the web development company’s process, and clients should be encouraged to participate. The importance of user stories in this approach cannot be overstated. Clients should collaborate with the web development business to create User stories as part of the development process so that all parties involved are aware of how users will interact with the site or application and the outcomes of those interactions.
Adaptable to change
We’ve all heard developers moan about clients changing project requirements in the middle of a project. Developers should quit whining about it; it happens to everyone and will never change. A competent web development business should have change management strategies in place. If you’re a client, inquire about how changes will be handled.
Short release cycles, preferably 1 to 2 weeks, should be the goal for web developers. The worst thing that can happen to a project is for the developers to receive the brief, begin work, and then announce it’s ready two months later, only for the customer to respond, “This isn’t what I asked for!” Clients can be involved at all levels by working with short release cycles. The client should examine the project thus far at the conclusion of each release and provide any change requests.
Make use of source control.
Our third suggestion may seem clear and straightforward to most people, yet we still hear from engineers who don’t use source control. This appears to be more common among freelancers, who do not see the need for it because they are the only ones working on the code. If that’s their perspective, they’re missing the point.
All code should be source managed for a variety of reasons. We’ll merely touch on a few crucial points in this section. To begin with, it’s a fantastic tool to keep track of code changes. (As long as the commit has a note from the devs.) Second, and perhaps most critically, it allows developers to make changes to their code without worry of losing previously completed work. This is very helpful when experimenting with different coding solutions to a problem.