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Want to Build a Web App With a Small Team and Reasonable Budget?

Ignore the current technological hype and industry giants.

Back in 2015, I was a freelancer using processes on a daily basis to provide a good level of service to my clients.

In that time most of my processes were latent since I was the only person responsible for them, but I already felt that there were some specific workflows which shouldn’t have been kept only in my head and some of them should even have been delegated to someone else. Processes such as financial closure, weekly review, client reports or the preparations for our local community meetup that I was doing every month.

The problem was that I couldn’t find a simple tool capable of managing all these processes. So after months with Google spreadsheets, I decided with my friends and fellow freelancers Robert and Pavel that we were going to build such a tool.

However, we had serious limitations. I was the only developer in the team at the start, most of the work was on my side and I had a limited amount of available time for this. I had to work most of the week for my clients and I typically only had around one day in a week, about six hours of productive time at best, to bring this idea to light. That’s really not a much if you compare it with the standard size of start-up teams these days.

I knew that the right architectural choice for the project was going to be absolutely crucial. In those days front-end frameworks such as Angular were very popular in the community and everything seemed to indicate that JavaScript would definitely be the next big thing and the best platform for this investment.

I wasn’t so sure about this. The last thing I wanted to do as a developer was to maintain twice as much logic on the back-end and the front-end. After a discussion with the guys, we quickly agreed that a simpler and more minimalistic, monolithic type of application, would give us the most bang for our buck. And since I had a pretty strong background in Ruby on Rails it was a clear choice.

We were able to prototype Procesoid very fast thanks to this decision and after 5 months of development, we started to use it for our own processes. In 2016, we decided to offer it as a service to other freelancers and business owners in the Czech Republic, where we are based. At the end of 2017, we increased the size of our development team and opened the app for people from around the world.

Looking back, I am very happy with the technological decision that we made.

One of the biggest mistakes made by small teams and companies, is to choose their technological stack based on the current hype in the tech industry or by following blindly in the footsteps of industry giants.

If it’s good enough for Facebook or Google then it must be good enough for you, right?

Wrong. The context of your whole team and project is crucial. The technological stacks of big companies are inherently connected to their size and internal structures. The problems of internet-scale projects are very different than a problems of smaller apps, and the solutions that works very well for huge players could prove to be deadly for small ones.

Choose your stack wisely. I hope that you will make the right choice just as we did!

Daniel Dimitrov, February 9, 2018

Co-founder & Programmer at Ben Loop, Creator of Procesoid

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