Developing a new app
An Ideas2Executables customer was building a unique social media platform and faced a challenge when planning the back-end tools needed to power it. On one hand, these tools would be used by only a handful of administrators, so it seemed excessive to pour time and money into building them. On other, if those tools were too clunky to use the site may suffer and the user experience negatively impacted.
This is a common app builder’s dilemma: invest too lavishly on back-end tools, and the front end’s budget may suffer. Skimp too much on the back-end tools, and the whole site-experience may be impacted.
Back-end tools, because they are used by specific, site-designated, administrators don’t need the same polish and pizazz the front-end user experience does. However, they require no less care when planning their functionality. In the case of our customer looking to build a social media platform, his site administrators would be called on to upload and update site content on a regular basis. Providing bare-bones tools to do this would make mass updates a frustrating and dreaded task. The ideal solution is to develop more feature-rich tools that can handle bulk updates.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Building feature-rich administrative tools would be both cost and time prohibitive.
Fortunately, we were able to recommend a third option, one that provided more sophisticated tools without a notable increase in cost.
This option involved wiring Google Sheet synchronization into the back-end. Administrators could make changes to site content in Google Sheets, leveraging its advanced user interface, including real-time collaboration support. And when they wished to make this information live within the app, they clicked a synchronize button that we provided.
This solution was relatively fast to develop, because we needed to only focus on the synchronization procedure, leaving front-end editing functionality to Google Sheets. It met the need of the customer on two fronts: their administrative team could work in the robust Google Sheets environment, and the cost was below what their budget called for back-end tools, allowing more resources to be spent on front-end functionality.
Google Sheets synchronization is made possible by the Google Sheets API. This facility allows the customer’s custom app to programmatically talk to Google Sheets. This is one example of a larger strategy, where custom app builders use 3rd party APIs to efficiently add functionality to their offering.
This Google Sheets synchronization strategy has limitations. It’s relatively fragile and assumes that site administrators will closely adhere to required conventions that are prescribed ahead of time. With this in mind, as powerful as this synchronization strategy is, as your app grows, it will almost certainly be replaced by a more robust solution. However, from an app building perspective, being able to have high quality admin tools at a low cost is a huge win while you are just beginning development.
If you have questions about this Case Study, or how Ideas2Executables can you help you address a challenge in your own application, Contact Us. Or give us a call at (703) 688-3084.
“For the past couple of years we have had the luxury of working with Ideas2Executables. We turn to i2x for our most challenging projects; taking advantage of their creativity, professionalism, and web development expertise. It is comforting to know we have their team in our corner.”
“Ideas2Executables has been a consistent and wonderful vendor to deal with. They have worked tirelessly with us to develop a complex website and their steady hand has guided other professionals through the development and maintenance of the site. Their responsiveness and attention to detail is unparalleled.”
“For the past 8 years, I have had the pleasure of working with Ben on the development and evolution of my website, ASLdeafined.com. When I think about Ben and what he exemplifies as an outstanding professional, these traits would include hard working, being timely and meeting deadlines, forward thinker, and extremely detailed focused. It has been such a pleasure to work with such an outstanding developer and professional for the last 8 years and counting. I look forward to working with Ben on new and exciting features of my website. As a developer, Ben has made such a great impact on thousands of people because of the work he does. And if it weren’t for Ben, ASLdeafined would not be the educational tool that it is today to help people learn American Sign Language. It is without reservation that I write this testimonial for such an outstanding developer! Thank you Ben for all of your hard work and class.”
“Since November 2011, Ideas2Executables has proven to be an excellent long-term partner and integral part of our ongoing development strategy. Their team created excellent and well-documented code to power our web-based solution. They are reliable, flexible and have completed every project in a timely manner. Most importantly, they genuinely care about the success of our business.”
“It is very hard to find a developer who knows your platform, performs the work, and will be a partner with you for your website. Many developers farm out their work, causing miscommunication, wasting time, and making it difficult to trouble-shoot. It’s such a relief to be able to form a relationship with a developer who listens and is responsive and honest.”
“Working with Ideas2Executables was one of the best decisions my company has ever made. Like many companies, our success is tied to the effectiveness of our website. Putting our site in Ben’s skilled hands, with the combination of high quality work and fast response times, has been integral to our growth over the last several years.”
“We love working with Ideas2Executables! Ben does a great job of communicating with us on projects and helping us with the details of how everything will work. He has a wealth of knowledge and keeps up with the latest technology. We always get projects back on time and quick responses to any questions. I would highly recommend Ideas2Executables to anyone.”