About Our Process

How can I tell if a custom software solution is right for me?
Custom software equips you with a system that meets the precise set of features and requirements you desire. This precision however, comes at a cost: compared to licensing off the shelf software, custom software is typically significantly more expensive in terms of time and cost. You will be the ultimate judge of whether this trade-off is worthwhile for you. We often recommend that users make-do with commercially available software for some period of time before developing a custom solution. Existing software typically covers only part of your needs and requires that you compromise in terms of features and functionality. This can be frustrating. However, using an 80% solution for a period of time has significant benefit: you can confirm that the need for a more costly custom solution is justified and you can understand what features will be essential in your custom build.
Will you sign an NDA?

Yes, we are generally glad to sign an NDA before you tell us any information about your idea. One exception to this is when an NDA contains a non-compete clause. We are unable to sign an NDA in this case. Frequently, we strike non-compete provisions and are able to agree to the rest of the document without concern.

Do I fully own the software that I pay to have you write?

Yes. You absolutely own the software that you have paid us to develop. You may do anything you wish with this software, from giving it away for free, to selling it to another party. We retain no rights to it. If a future customer approached us with a similar idea, we would recommend they contact you to purchase rights to use your software.

When we develop software, we look at the final product as an important asset that we strive to make as valuable and robust as possible.

Do you provide marketing or SEO services for the software you build?

While we are always glad to offer advice on marketing and SEO, we recognize that like other aspects of running a successful software business, we are not experts in these areas. Therefore, we don’t offer any paid services on these topics. We love to code, so that’s our exclusive focus.

Can my project be too small?

No. Small projects are often a great way to get started. They are a low risk way to ensure that your organization and Ideas2Executables can smoothly work together to accomplish the task at hand. We often fix small bugs or may write a small plug-in as an introductory project.

Can a project be too large?

Yes.  We split projects into manageable phases through a process known as iterative development.  You, in the role of project owner, have the ultimate say of what features go into a phase. Though this doesn’t happen often, it is possible that you may request a number of features that make the project size larger than we’re comfortable working with.

How much does a typical project cost?

As you can imagine, project cost varies widely depending on the software that needs to be built. As a general guide, we split the implementation of an idea into separate projects through a process known as Iterative Development. Each development phase is typically between $10,000 and $20,000 USD.

When we work on existing code, work is done at an hourly rate, which we can cap to avoid a surprisingly large bill.

I don’t have any money, how do you suggest I get started?

Our services have a fee, so we can’t build software for you for no charge. However, we frequently talk with individuals at the start of their idea journey before they have the funding figured out. We can recommend zero-dollar steps you can take to start building out your idea. Send us a contact-us message and we’ll be glad to setup a time to chat with you.

Do you ever work for project equity?

No. One of the key reasons for this decision is that we find it essential to have a clear owner of the project: you. While we always provide recommendations for how a project could proceed, you have the final say. Structuring the ownership of the idea around this methodology helps draw clear lines for us to follow.

We do agree that bringing in other stakeholders to fund a project can be an excellent way to build out an important team that will provide both financial and strategic support.

How long does a project typically take?

We split an idea into projects through a process known as Iterative Development. A project typically takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the work needing to be completed.

Can you fix the bugs I have on my current website or software?

Yes, we absolutely fix bugs in software we didn’t originally author. About half of our customers fall into this category, so let’s talk.

Do you install the software that you build?

Yes, we install the software we build. This includes uploading mobile applications to the relevant stores. We don’t consider a project complete until your end users are successfully using the software.

How do you maintain the software that you build?

Software maintenance is an essential part of our development process. We break the maintenance phase down into three parts: bug fixes, small enhancements and large enhancements. We fix bugs that arise from a fixed price project for no fee, regardless of when you find them. If you discover a bug in our software two years from its release, we’re glad to fix it free of charge.

Enhancements correspond to improvements that are not covered under the original project. We split those into two groups: small and large. For small enhancements, we identify an hourly rate at the launch of a project and any changes you want made to the system can be completed at that rate. Having a predetermined hourly rate allows us to react quickly, making small improvements in an optimal amount of time.

Finally, nearly all software requires regular, significant improvements to stay viable. We handle these larger improvements as their own phase of project development. This typically involves coming up with a new fixed price development plan and then executing this plan.

Some firms charge a retainer or monthly fee for maintenance. We never do this. There will be no charge by Ideas2Executables until you request changes to the software.

Does the software we build have to be used by the public or a large audience?

No. We often develop software that is not used by the general public. Writing custom software that’s used just by your organization can be a smart way to give your team a competitive advantage. This software has the advantage of not needing the polish that public software looking to attract customers requires. Internal software is all about being efficient, and custom software’s ability to meet your precise needs can thrive in this area.

What is iterative development?

‘Iterative Development’ is a fancy way of saying that we take a large idea, split it into pieces, and complete each of the pieces in sequence. Iterative development is one of the core strategies we use that helps to deliver successful projects.

What’s an MVP?

MVP stands for ‘Minimal Viable Product.’ It’s the first version of the software that you develop. A well architected MVP has many advantages: it can be cost effective, relatively quick to market and most importantly, it can put you in a position to learn from your customers to help determine what features should be built next.

Can you copy an existing piece of software for me?

We can use existing software as inspiration and develop code that behaves in a similar way. What makes our customers successful is when they innovate, bringing new features to market. We would urge you to reconsider your strategy if all you intend to do is to create a duplicate piece of software that’s already on the market.

How We Code

How do you determine the technology you’ll use on a project?

Choosing the technology for a project requires balancing proven software and tools against cutting edge offerings. The former have a track record of success, while the latter come with promises of an efficiency boost. We try to gain the best of both worlds by selecting a single area in the project to fold in new technology and building the rest of the project on a proven platform.

This approach limits the project’s exposure if the new technology turns out to be hype that can’t live up to the reality. Just as importantly, it let’s us embrace new technology so we can keep our development process as efficient as possible.

In future phases of the project we re-examine the new technology we used and determine if it has earned a place among our preferred tools, or if it should be avoided in the future.

Do you work with, and code against, 3rd party APIs?

Yes. 3rd party APIs are one of the secret weapons that help super-charge an entrepreneur’s idea. Instead of having to develop all functionality from scratch, you can use 3rd party APIs as a foundation to build on.  For a specific example, check out our case study: Navigating A Custom App’s Back-End Cost vs. Functionality.

What is your preferred platform to develop mobile apps?

The vast majority of our customers are working with both time and money constraints. To address these, we’ve found the most efficient way to develop mobile apps is to use a platform that allows us to develop a single mobile app that can be deployed on both iOS and Android. This strategy achieves the goal of producing a high quality mobile app that can be sold in both the Mac and Android app store, at a fraction of the cost of native development.

There are a number of platforms in existence to achieve this strategy. Our preferred is Ionic. Ionic has demonstrated multi-platform success for many years and is backed by a responsive and reputable company.

 

What’s your preferred platform for developing UI code for web apps?

Our standard UI toolbox consists of Bootstrap and jQuery. These technologies are well proven and have a large following, so finding developers in the future to work on your site won’t be difficult. They also provide a large eco-system of plugins and themes that we can leverage.

Because of our custom development programming experience, we also like that both Bootstrap and jQuery make developing our own custom plugins an easy option.

What’s your preferred platform for developing server side code?

The majority of our server side code is developed in PHP. To some, PHP is a crufty old programming language that lacks features new languages bring to the table. We’d challenge that opinion. PHP has been well maintained, and the style that we develop software in utilizes its modern enhancements. More importantly, when we develop in PHP we can be confident that there is a large ecosystem of programmers who can maintain and improve the source code should you decide to have a firm, other than Ideas2Executables, work on your code.

In short, we treat the custom software we develop for you as an important asset to your company. We want that asset to be something you’re happy with and can benefit from for many years to come. We believe PHP and other well established technologies help to ensure this goal.

Do you develop native mobile apps?

We do not develop native mobile apps. Using a platform that allows us to build an application once and deploy it on both iOS and Android is such a significant cost and time savings, that we can’t justify building individual native apps.

Do you create games?

We have developed a wide range of software, from the plugins that power a tech blog, to video education platforms to a simulator to help a professional gambler. And yet, we have never built games. While we are open to the possibility of developing games in the future, we don’t have any experience in this area and would therefore most likely not be the best firm to develop your game idea.

Do you work with WordPress?

Yes. We have extensive experience developing custom plugins, addons, post types and taxonomies for WordPress. Whether it’s a hard squash bug or a crazy idea for a plugin, we love working on challenging WordPress problems. The thornier, the better!

Do you work with Drupal?

Yes, we can assist with debugging and enhancing Drupal sites.

Do you work with Joomla?

Yes, we can assist with debugging and enhancing Joomla sites.

Do you develop NinjaTrader addons using NinjaScript?

Yes, we have experience in developing NinjaTrader Strategies using NinjaScript.

Do you create software that works with 3D models?

We have received a number of requests to develop software that works with 3D models. However, none of those projects every came to fruition. As it stands, we do not have experience with 3D development and are most likely not the best firm to develop your software.