Flow Blockchain Vs. Ethereum: Which Is Better For NFT Development in 2022?
Sep 9, 2022
Are you frustrated about determining Flow blockchain and Ethereum for NFT Development? We’ll tell you the key differences between them and give you some valuable advice to smooth the overall NFT development for your requirements.
It is a fast, decentralized blockchain platform that can boost the growth of complete ecosystems of applications, particularly NFTs. The most critical factor in favor of Flow blockchain in the Flow vs. Ethereum comparison is its multi-node architecture. The unique blockchain platform could support the creation of apps with security and composability, which could appeal to billions of users.
Flow utilizes its native currency, FLOW, as the reserve asset of the network. It also works actually as an exclusive token to facilitate governance, payment of transaction fees, and staking.
The programming language of Flow blockchain also tilts the stakes in its favor in the comparison between Flow and Ethereum. Cadence offers the functionalities of a resource-oriented programming language equipped with new features applicable to smart contracts. Cadence’s unique features include in-built pre and post-conditions for transactions and functions and capability-based security.
You must know about the fundamental differences when you try to get a firsthand impression of the Flow blockchain vs. Ethereum comparison. Let us start with the discussion on Ethereum before anything else. The second-largest blockchain network, Ethereum, offers a decentralized open-source platform with innovative contract features and is undoubtedly a force to reckon with in the blockchain landscape. The creators of Ethereum needed to introduce a blockchain network with support for a wide range of use cases.
While Bitcoin arrived as a successful example of the blockchain network, it served only as a peer-to-peer currency exchange. On the contrary, Ethereum helps in the digitization and efficient movement of anything having a value other than the only cryptocurrency. Ethereum offers the benefit of Solidity as its programming language. Presently, Ethereum serves as the preferred platform for different decentralized applications and NFTs.
To Compare Them Both
The comparison between Flow and Ethereum also takes the transaction fees into account. Ethereum users must pay gas as the fees for performing a transaction and ensuring the successful execution of smart contracts.
The transaction fees on Ethereum depend profoundly on the complexity of the smart contract and load on the network. Users have to pay gas fees in Ether, the own cryptocurrency of Ethereum.
In the case of Flow, the creators were not happy with the high cost of transaction fees. So, was Flow successful in solving the problem of high transaction fees? The answer to this question is evident in the facility of two distinct fees applicable for the transactions.
The first fee in the case of Flow blockchain is the cost of creating your account, estimated at 0.001 FLOW. The second fee is a transaction fee which starts at almost 0.000001 FLOW.
The topic of consensus mechanism will be one of the top priorities in the Flow vs. Ethereum comparison. Ethereum presently relies on the Proof-of-Work or PoW consensus mechanism, which pits miners in a competition for creating new blocks. The miners can solve cryptographic puzzles faster than others, with capabilities for establishing cryptographic connections among blocks.
Furthermore, Ethereum developers are also planning to shift to the Proof-of-Stake or PoS consensus protocol. With the PoS consensus mechanism, validators would place ETH as stakes for participating in transaction verification.
While Ethereum plans to introduce PoS, the Flow blockchain is already operating on the PoS consensus algorithm. The consensus algorithm comparison for Flow blockchain vs. Ethereum shows the difference in how participants make profits. PoS encourages participants to reap results from elevating the currency value.
On the other hand, PoW encourages participants or miners to increase the commission. PoW is also one of the important reasons for scalability issues in Ethereum. So, Flow blockchain comes on top as a winner, especially for creators waiting to launch and capitalize on opportunities with NFT projects.
Smart contracts are also one of the pointers for Flow vs. Ethereum comparison. Generally, Ethereum is associated with smart contracts directly. It is practically the top platform preferred for creating smart contracts. Any transaction over the smart contract is documented on the blockchain and thus becomes immutable.
On the one hand, some developers perceive the need for modifications in the intelligent contract after deployment in the event of identification of any issues. Flow helps release intelligent contracts in a ‘beta state’ on its mainnet. Therefore, the original author of the smart contract could easily update the code in a stepwise process.
On the other hand, users could opt to use the code just as it is at a specific instance. Users could also wait for the completion of the legend before putting their trust in the code. Therefore, it is clear that Flow blockchain offers better flexibility in terms of smart contract optimization.
The Flow blockchain vs. Ethereum debate discussion shows that both have suitable capabilities for various applications. However, the features of both of them have pros and cons, especially NFT development. While Ethereum is working on new solutions for scalability with sharding as the preferred option now, Flow blockchain offers scalability effortlessly with a multi-node architecture.
Furthermore, Ethereum imposes high transaction costs and does not allow modifications in smart contracts, while Flow blockchain does the opposite. Flow blockchain takes the top edge in some facets in a head-to-head comparison.
Top Digital Transformation Trends: Business Workflow Automation
Aug 10, 2020
Continuing to discuss evolutionary processes in business, let’s look at a crucial driver of enterprise progress like workflow automation.
In general, it is a set of practices aimed at streamlining routine activities to improve business efficiency. The approach is implemented through various digital solutions and is considered essential across most industries and business domains.
Want to learn more about workflow automation?
Scroll down to get all the answers!
Why automate business processes?
Ever since industrialization, abandoning manual work in favor of streamlined production has helped to boost outputs, cut shift hours, and improve working conditions. Today, we are in the digital era, but automation is even more relevant to businesses of all shapes and forms.
Robotization of business processes aims at essential business goals like increased service quality, wider audience reach, and reduced spendings. And with over 45% of paid activities worldwide suitable for automation, this is a trillion-dollar question.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t rush to hire an IT development team just yet! First of all, you must understand the key advantages of business process automation and things it can improve.
Advantages of business process automation
If you’ve never dealt with workflow automation, it may sound like yet another thing you didn’t want to do in the first place. Or, you may have heard that it’s expensive or troublesome to implement.
In both cases, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
When it comes to complexity, automating business functions is not nearly as cumbersome as executing all of it in the “good old” manual way. Moreso, the average cost of automation systems is nothing compared to the monetary equivalent of the time, effort, and risks associated with abstaining from them.
Digging deeper into the topic, there are 5 main reasons why you should automate business processes:
You don’t need expert analysis to see how performing routine tasks quicker and better can positively impact your company’s budget.
Automation can save a fortune in the form of paid working hours andsalaries, improved customer relationships, better order processingandinventory management, higher operational transparency, and much more. So, it’s no wonder that businesses spend a whopping $20 billion a year on automation.
Optimization of human resources
Delegating the grunt work to algorithms, you allow your employees to focus on purely human-related issues. We’re talking about direct customer assistance and care, creative business challenges, and the entire range of non-computer-related activities.
In most cases, these tasks also bring the highest value to the company.
Employee satisfaction is yet another thing automation can improve. Very few of us genuinely enjoy the menial tasks usually taken over by algorithms. At that, alleviating these responsibilities from your workers’ shoulders can boost their work satisfaction and loyalty, which is a key driver of business growth.
Regardless of how brilliant, attentive, and responsible your staff is, we are all just human beings. Even if a team’s workflow is smooth like Swiss clockwork, something will go south now and then. Whether it’s a scheduling mishap, a missed customer’s question, or a misdirected email – you can never predict the human factor.
On the other hand, machines have no bad days, never distract, and have nowhere to rush on a Friday evening. This makes one a poor buddy, but a perfect assistant to sort through the multitude of daily tasks.
Last but not least, a natural outcome of the four automation benefits mentioned above is better overall business performance.
Carefully tuned processes that empower your workers, bolster back-office operation and ultimately satisfy the clients – inevitably boost business performance. If that’s not your main goal at the moment – you can skip business workflow automation. Otherwise – think twice.
Business Workflow Automation Pitfalls
Naturally, nothing is perfect in the business world, and there are several nuances to workflow automation, just as well. So, if you do decide to streamline your company processes, try to avoid the following traps:
While it may seem that more automation is always better, it’s important to carefully choose which business functions you improve. Some of your company activities may suffer from excess robotization (see next paragraph) or aren’t worth the investment.
To avoid this, ask yourself the following questions:
What are the most complex processes I can automate? Which of them is most time-consuming? And finally, which of them will have the greatest business impact?
These would be the processes you should automate first.
Streamlining all of the processes can dehumanize your services, which is not nearly the goal of automation. Conversely, automation takes care of tasks to free the staff’s time, ultimately making your business even more humane.
Similar to a car, it’s not there to take walking away, but rather to take us to the best place to walk at.
Just like any innovation, automating business workflows can meet resistance from both executives and staff. The first may not see the point of additional investments in software, while employees may fear losing their jobs.
Overcoming such obstacles, you need to dispel people’s fears. Describe your goals and clarify how automation is beneficial for all parties involved – the owners, the clients, and the workers.
Last but not least, expenses are a valid thing to consider whatever business initiative you undertake.
This goes in line with the aforementioned point about setting the right automation goals. Even if your budget allows streamlining virtually all of your company’s processes, it does not mean you should do it. Focus on essential, and go from there.
Business Process Automation Solutions
Now that we’ve covered the curses and blessings of workflow automation, let’s go over the processes that can be improved via algorithms.
As already mentioned, automation can aid almost half of the global paid activities, potentially saving $2 trillion in wages.
At that, there are 4 main types of business processes where automation can play a key role:
Automation can simplify managing large teams with multiple departments and decision-makers.
It allows you to track, manage, and supervise operational activities, see task progress, issues, and deadlines – all in one place. The decision-making process becomes much more simple, transparent, and quick, too. With automated approval from managers on each executive level, your business won’t stall whenever important questions arise.
Time is money so you can waste none in the business world.
Those who have worked in teams without task management and communication tools will recognize the following picture: responsibilities mixed up, tasks fulfilled incompletely, deadlines missed, and an overall mess in the production process. Team communication established through Skype…
Sounds familiar, huh?
We’ve all been there. Forget about efficiency, just having the tasks done is already a challenge under such conditions.
A far better idea is to automate these processes with tech solutions like Slack or Trello. Such software allows teams and departments to stay on the same page when fulfilling complex tasks and continuous objectives. Plus, it ensures overall transparency of the working process.
Customer relationship is crucial to businesses in the digital realm. It can be a win or lose strategy for your business by affecting your client’s loyalty big time.
Now, the more customers – the harder it is to address all the requests and issues manually. And while keeping your prospects on hold is a questionable option, relying on CRM solutions might do wonders.
These systems aggregate consumer data, analyze their behavior, and ensure smooth interaction. They help to resolve customer issues, meet their desires and needs, and generate beneficial deals and upsells. Like that you can acquire, convert, and retain more customers.
As for direct customer support, chatbots not only cover the gap in employee resources but even outperform people in resolving client issues.
Speaking about efficiency, automation can improve inventory management, too.
If you are an active vendor or a retail store owner (or a drop shipping company) – a lot is going on in the warehouse. You’ve got to stock, sell, and monitor your inventories daily. This is a rather complicated task for a human being, especially for big marketplaces and product hubs.
Automation can help with inventory management. These systems keep track of stocked goods, update availability information, evaluate consumption, and remind about ending products. So, you never run out of or oversupply items.
Very often, paperwork takes the time and attention it really shouldn’t.
A smart document management solution like the one built by our team can save both your time and nerve cells. It enables you to view, share, and sign documents on the go, effortlessly, and without delays.
Such tools are especially useful when dealing with extensive documentation to be shared or signed by multiple parties. Great for employee onboarding, budget approvals, contracting, legal issues – you name it.
Last but not least – the automation of social media marketing activities.
While you can hire a dedicated SMM specialist, sometimes there are better ways to invest a few thousand a year. That said, spending your employees’ precious time on posting to Facebook, Linked In, and Instagram may turn out even more costly.
In this case, an SMM automation tool like Buffer seems more than legit. Kt allows scheduling and posting to all of your social media marketing channels simultaneously and hassle-free.
Digital Transformation Across Industries
Business process automation solutions are a means to the wider notion of digital transformation. And although it is quite similar across industries, there still are distinctive features with each one.
For specific digital transformation insight, explore our niche-dedicated articles:
The points covered in the article are mere landmarks to navigate your digitization strategy.
Very probably, you’ll find it possible to automate most of your business’s specific processes. The rule of thumb here is that anything that’s recurrent and requires predictable actions – can be automated to your benefit. In any case, it will probably fit in with the bigger strategy of your business’s management or improvement.
Why Outsource Software Development: Benefits, Pros and Cons
Jul 20, 2020
Software outsourcing is gaining momentum in Europe and North America these days, and it is no wonder why. As more and more industries require digitalization or an update of the existing software solutions – the demand for IT expertise increases exponentially.
IT development agencies are there to help companies shape their future in the digital realm. They analyze the client’s strengths and weak points and define an effective tech strategy. This, in turn, helps to automate data processing and manual everyday tasks like accounting and logistics, increasing the overall efficiency of the operation as a result.
Most of these goals are achieved through developing new and fine-tuning the existing software.
At that, not every company can afford to hire and maintain a team of software experts usually required for executing such tasks. Of course, this doesn’t mean businesses should give up on the idea or eliminate their budget altogether.
This is where outsourcing teams come in handy, providing the opportunity to cover the companies’ digital needs pain-free.
Outsourcing is one of the fastest-growing trends in the IT world. Its global market size approached a $100BN mark in 2019, according to Statista. But, why is it so attractive to businesses of all shapes and forms? And what are the main benefits of shifting your digital tasks out of the state?
Let’s find out.
Benefits of outsourcing software development
When it comes to the benefits of IT talent oursourcing, there are 4 key points.
IT talent acquisition
The first and foremost advantage of leveraging developers from outside is the extensive pool of experts that becomes available to your business.
The software world is vast and complex, so it makes no sense for businesses to try and fill all of their potential tech needs via in-house developers. You’d have to employ an entire state of IT experts to achieve that. Definitely unrealistic.
In such a situation, relying on third-party software production capabilities is a great and effective choice.
This is why, even established enterprises like Microsoft resort to outsourcing to pump up their workforce, forget about smaller companies.
Here’s another point in favor of delegating some of your coding work to external specialists. Even if you are willing to reserve extra space in your office and budget for a team of devs, the challenge remains to manage all of the working processes and people.
Do you have the time and knowledge to oversee all of it?
It’s a good question to ask yourself.
Very often, it is more efficient for executives to focus on indispensable business activities like marketing and client acquisition – something they are experts in themselves, and leave the technical issues to the others.
In fact, Harvard Business Review found that a lot of managers admit feeling incapable to understand, let alone – manage – the technical part of the IT development processes. Instead, they choose to maximize flexibility and control by finding a good outsourcer to rely on to solve these issues.
Lower production costs
If balancing the budget is anywhere on your business’ agenda, then outsourcing is definitely a worthwhile option to consider.
For a number of reasons, remote software production will usually cost fairly less than the same amount of intellectual work executed in-house. Not only the aforementioned management nuances and greater talent access play a part in this. The economical diversity between places and regions of the world is drastic. So, what costs a dollar in NYC may be sold for less than a fifth of that, just across the Atlantic ocean.
Difficult to believe?
Check out these stats from SalaryExpert, but take a comfortable position/seat first:
This is how much devs earn (and thus – charge) on average in Manhatten:
And here’s how much the same type of work costs in Eastern Europe, Ukraine:
You may do the calculation yourself.
When this article was written, this equaled $19,345.
Divide the two numbers and you get a stunning 6.58x difference in costs for the same type of service. And we’re not talking about rent prices – a piece of code surely doesn’t change in a fancy location.
Are you on Upwork already?
Don’t rush, there is another crucial factor when it comes to our topic…
High-quality software services
Last but not least on our list of the outsourcing benefits, is consistent product quality provided by dedicated dev teams.
Naturally, nobody can give a 100% cashback-if-you-don’t-like-it guarantee that the team you choose will satisfy all of your project’s needs exhaustively. Actually, it’s the same with in-house workers. You would have to do research and run through a few options before finding the best solution for your goals and setup.
That said, just like with air travel – the statistic is on your side in this one. Over 78% of business owners are fully satisfied with their outsourcing partner, according to Deloitte.
Most of the remote teams out there consist of high-skilled professionals operated by seasoned PM’s. This ensures a smooth development process and above-average quality of the end-product – two of the clients’ most common pain points.
IT outsourcing challenges
Looking for the drawbacks of hiring remote dev teams, one will have a rather hard time finding one.
Time difference? Perhaps.
Not meeting each other at corporate events? Possibly another benefit.
Most of the time, the working process with outsourced partners is virtually the same as with in-house ones. However, you need to consider the following when outsourcing IT services:
The first seeming issue with outsourcing contracts is communication. Talking to colleagues online is slightly different than in real-life meetings, but not nearly big enough to worry about. A time difference may shift daily/weekly calls slightly, but you can always negotiate a comfortable time.
MintyMint’s extensive team of experts is always at your hand when it comes to IT services. Otherwise, it may be helpful to check out this list of the top eastern European software development companies to paint a better picture of what the market has to offer.
We’re on that list, too, in case you wonder.
With international enterprises and leaders of software production investing more and more into the remote workforce, it is fair to say that the practice is approved by the giants of the industry.
IT outsourcing can help to access great talent, improve management, and save the budget. It takes a lot of stress away and allows you to focus on high-impact work.
You make the bet as what’s best for you and your business. If it’s quality, convenience, and efficiency – our team is here to help!
Startup MVP Development: How To Build A Minimum Viable Product
Jun 24, 2020
They say that customer is always right.
Indeed, it doesn’t take Gary Vaynerchuk to see that every business or service revolves around the client. The stumbling stone here is guessing exactly what the customers want, and while market analysis and research can surely contribute to that, nothing paints as accurate a picture as a field study would.
Now, how do you do it without wasting a fortune on running the show? The answer is a Minimum Viable Product, or simply – an MVP.
What is it and how to make a minimum viable product your most valuable player? Read on to find out!
What is an MVP product?
Defined in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, MVP is a functional version of a product that enables gathering maximum customer feedback with the least effort. It can be a landing page, a promotional video, or even a Kickstarter campaign.
The idea is to produce a practical learning tool that’ll help to craft the best solution for a target audience’s issue. So, instead of assembling a complex business plan and relying on expert estimates, you introduce a ready solution using the least amount of resources possible and observe the actual user behavior. The insights gathered then suggest whether you are moving in the right direction or need to change course.
MVP development process typically consists of the following stages:
In general, it looks something like this:
Before moving on, let’s get clear with the terminology.
The word viable means capable of working successfully. This is something many entrepreneurs miss, yearning for perfection. A successful MVP resolves a key user issue and is neither fancy nor sophisticated. Moreso, it can be plain out boring (unless you’re making a game, of course), as long as it provides value.
Here’s an example:
Say, you’re making a dating app. The perfect scenario here would be a responsive multi-platform app with ratings, interest-matching algorithms, and an in-built messenger. However, the minimum value of a dating app is for a user to find a date.
In this case, a possible MVP looks like a serverless web service with profiles that include a picture, location, and an email (or a public messenger link).
MVP vs final product
A minimum viable product is very different from the final product, mainly in its goals. It’s not there to sell, but rather to test the market.
Here’s a real-life case in point everyone is familiar with:
McDonald’s founders jump-started the now-global chain of restaurants by combining two of their customers’ main values – top-demand food and low lead time. They reduced the menu to just 3 food positions (with a few choices of drinks) and managed to cut the order time down to under a minute.
Like that, their clients’ favorite meals were ready for takeaway in a blink of an eye. No friction, and ultimate efficiency.
Years later, McDonald’s menu grew back to include dozens of positions and is available in every corner of the world. But they had to strike that MVP offer first, in order to take off.
Creating an MVP can help you to:
Save the production time and resources.
Build up an initial client base.
Get feedback from the market.
Collect insights on focus features.
Attract early investments.
Doesn’t all that sound great?
Naturally, there is rarely a one-fits-all solution in the IT industry, even more so for startup MVP development. Different approaches to building a minimum viable product will fit better or worse depending on your main goals and project stage.
For that matter, MVPs are divided into low-fidelity and high-fidelity ones.
The first approach is good when you need to:
Get to know your target audience and their issues.
See if your product satisfies the customers.
Evaluate the overall market demand for your offer (smoke testing).
Find the best solution to the clients’ need.
Whereas high-fidelity MVPs are helpful to:
Assess the optimum price for your offer.
Get early adopters that’ll recommend your product.
Optimize your promotional strategy.
Spot further business growth opportunities.
Before you start building a minimum viable product, consider your main goals and risks, the potential time to market, and your budget and/or funding sources. These questions will help you to paint a clear roadmap of the MVP development process, hopefully, the one to success.
Types and examples of an MVP
Now that we’ve covered the definition and the main benefits of our subject today, let’s look into the common MVP types along with some notable examples from history to back up the point.
Landing page MVP
Unsurprisingly, a landing page MVP implies creating a simple landing page to present your product or service. The goal is to provide potential clients with a general image of what you offer along with a call to action, whether it’s to sign up or make a pre-order.
In this case, you don’t even need to have the business going on. The idea is to smoke test your offer. Once people discover your “website” and begin interacting, you can evaluate the numbers to learn whether the target audience likes the solution at all.
Like that, your spendings are down to the cost of a landing page plus your ad campaign budget. It is the strategy Joel Gascoigne applied when launching his two-page LP (description & pricing) for Buffer, with no actual functionality behind it.
Another option of a minimum viable product comes down to recording a promo clip or an explanatory video, putting it up on YouTube, and watching if it gets the views and feedback. The good news is that engaging videos often get viral, automatically launching a word of a mouth promo campaign. The bad news is that few videos hit that mark, and it’s impossible to predict which one will.
You have to climb a tree in order to get the fruit. After all, producing a video clip is not nearly as cumbersome as developing a complete product. It worked for DropBox, so why wouldn’t it do the same for you?
Btw, here’s the award-winning video:
Another great way to get your project up and running without eliminating the family budget is to launch a crowdfunding campaign.
In this case, what you do is prepare a concise presentation of your idea, a prototype, or a visual design. Then, share it at either of the popular crowdfunding services like Kickstarter, SeedInvest Technology, or the one developed by our team – 4Friends.
A crowdfunding MVP is really a win-win option. If your idea gets the attention, you receive the funding to invest in something already favored by the market. If it doesn’t – you lose nothing. The only drawback here is that your idea can potentially be stolen and compromised. But hey, you don’t have to give away all the key ingredients. And plus, if the idea is that good – you’ll get the funding before the plagiarists jump out of bed.
One of the most impressive crowdfunding MVP success stories is that of Pebble. Back in 2012, Eric Migicovsky decided to try his luck on Kickstarter after running out of the initial funding for his revolutionary smartwatch. Guess what followed? A $10M investment and almost half a million watches sold in two years.
Actually, the brand repeated its success a couple of years later, scoring another eight-figure.
And yes, it didn’t quite survive the competition as time passed, but that is the topic of a whole another discussion…
A Piecemeal MVP
A piecemeal MVP simply means using a free digital platform to provide your service.
You can throw a promo campaign on social media, launch a special offer email campaign for existing contacts, or explore new audiences via mass-mailing. The key thing is to use a free platform to reach your customers.
Uber is a great example of applying such a strategy, famously requiring the initial customers to email or SMS one of the founders in order to access the service.
As they say, all is fair in love and war… and business, of course.
Similarly, you can leverage the power of social media platforms in the same way as Uber did with emails. With billions of users spending half of their free time on social media every day, who said a thoroughly worked out Instagram page can’t be your minimum viable product at the first stages?
Concierge & Wizard of Oz MVPs
These two minimum viable product types imply using human resources to manage what should potentially be automated.
With the concierge method, you act like a concierge – greeting guests in person and opening the doors on their way to the value provided. Meanwhile, you are able to collect direct feedback from working closely with the clients.
The Wizard of Oz scheme applies a similar approach. The main difference is that while using manual work to execute the task, it is visually indistinguishable from a complete, finished project. Therefore, users see it as an end product while it’s actually not so – behind the curtains.
For example, you make a website with a catalog of products, without stocking it. Once an order comes in you get that item from the original supplier and ship it to your client. Believe it or not, this is how Jeff Bezos initiated Amazon back in the day.
Last but not least, a single feature product can be your best bet type of MVP. The idea here is to offer a service with nothing but one key feature.
Say, you want to make an online photo editing tool with lots of cool filters, albums, crop tools, etc. Just to kick things off and prove there is potential, you choose one supreme filter and develop an app where users can process and share one pic at a time.
This will require minimum investments, low server capacity, and overall production simplicity. If people love it, you can always scale up.
A good example of a successful single-feature MVP is the way Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines took off by flying just one plane en one route between two major airports in London and Newark, New Jersey. You know where it’s taken sir Branson since.
How to build a minimum viable product for my business?
Now that you know everything about the concept and types of minimum viable products, it’s time to dive into the process of startup MVP development for your own business.
On this path, there are 5 main steps:
1. Allocate the budget
Before launching any product development process, it is crucial to assess how much exactly you will need (1) and are willing (2) to spend on it.
Speaking of MVP, we naturally imply a constrained budget. That said, everyone has their own limitations, and what may be just enough for a mobile application or a web service is probably way above the line for a simple landing page or online business card.
Therefore, evaluate your possibilities and set out a realistic budget for the project first!
2. Determine the type of MVP that suits your purposes the best
As mentioned above, different projects require a different type of MVP to kick-start, no pun intended. Which one suits your purposes is, of course, for you to determine, but here are some general guidelines:
If you promote a product or service and just need to reach your customers and provide them with web space to explore your offering – then a landing page MVP is really all you need.
Looking to mass-produce a product you already have or can make a prototype within your budget to present to potential investors? Then a crowdfunding MVP is the perfect choice for you to amass the funds needed to scale up.
Have a great idea and want to see whether it’ll rock the market? Consider a video MVP where you present the concept in plain words or with minor graphic design to let the world know about your idea and evaluate whether it has the potential to blast.
Should you have the initial budget to invest in a simple mobile or web app to present your business and are willing to take care of the back office work manually – then a concierge or wizard of OZ MVP is your best bet.
Finally, if you’re just starting out a side-hustle like a small retail shop or some sort of beauty nail studio from home, and especially if you target youth and young adults for the most part, then a Social Media MVP is a great point to start from in order to present your service and try to gain the initial client base, without eliminating your budget.
3. Define your target audience
Once you get clear with the budget and the best MVP type to fit your needs, proceed to paint a vivid picture of your target audience. What is your typical customer like, what are his needs and desires, and most importantly – how can your product or service help him achieve it? What features would appeal to your clients the most?
Think about the key benefits you can hook your potential clients with and focus on delivering those. The rule of thumb here is that of space travel voyages – only take the very essential on board.
4. Hire a qualified team
Now that you know exactly what kind of product you need and what does the target audience looks for in it, it’s time to bring it about.
At this stage, it is extremely important to have a qualified team or seasoned individual experts in the field of your project backing you up on the technological (and creative) frontier. Whether it’s a graphic designer, a video editor, a voice-over narrator, or a professional software development team – you’re going to need that expertise to make your MVP stand out and win the hearts of the crowd.
5. Invest in marketing
Last but not least – marketing. They say that a good product will sell itself, which is entirely true. Just think about Apple, for example.
That said, unless you’re making a world-leading digital gadget in bulk or anything of that grade, your product or service will definitely need at least the initial push before the word of mouth picks it up and carries your name around the world.
So, PPC, SEO, SMM campaigns, or influencer marketing – any advertising tool valid in 2021 is at your service, once again, highly dependent on your budget and targeting audience.
Your Minimum Viable Journey
All in all, creating an MVP allows you to save time, cut spendings, understand potential customers, and build up the initial client base. This is an efficient marketing tool not only for startups but for existing companies introducing new services just as well.
A common mistake to avoid here is confusing the idea with a minimum value solution, which is a totally different thing. By implying a minimum product, an MVP actually offers ultimate value.
How To Choose A Tech Stack: Top Coding Tools and Technologies
Jun 19, 2020
If there isn’t a team of developers gathered around yet but you do need to choose a tech stack for the product-to-be – you are at the right place.
In fact, many entrepreneurs struggle at this stage.
A software’s technology stack determines its fate. If you choose it correctly, it ensures smooth development, high product quality, and happy clients. Otherwise – expect budget overspending and multiple production issues. So, the subject is extremely important.
Sounds too complicated? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on this one.
But first, let’s go over the basics.
What is a technology stack?
Every product development project consists of several key stages such as:
testing & integration
A tech stack describes a number of core tools and technologies applied across that process.
Naturally, it depends a lot on the project’s goals and setup.
So, the first step to choose a tech stack for a product is to determine the device type you are developing for.
Top mobile development technologies
With mobile phones, your options narrow down to either of the two prevalent platforms (Android and iOS) or cross-platform development to get both.
Let’s look at them in detail.
Android development technologies
Android apps are traditionally powered by Java or Kotlin.
Java is a classic coding language. It was the official language of Android apps before Kotlin took the stage. Now, Kotlin is the golden standard for building Android apps. A concise and streamlined version of Java, it is one of the main affections of mobile developers in 2020.
Brands like Pinterest, Netflix, Uber, and Trello rely on Kotlin.
iOS development technologies
iOS development, on the other hand, runs on Swift and Objective-C.
Objective-C is a successor of the C programming language (one of the forefathers of software systems) and the backbone for Apple’s iOS and OS X. Swift is a successor of Objective-C developed by Apple.
These two are the technical foundation behind Hubspot, Lyft, Airbnb, Linked In, and Yahoo Weather iOS apps.
Cross-platform mobile development technologies
Now, if you want to have your cake and eat it too, sort of speaking, then React Native and Xamarin are at your service.
React Native allows you to create native, cross-platform mobile apps in a single environment. This is the tool we have used in most of our mobile projects. It saves a lot of time and effort by eliminating the need for writing separate sets of code for different platforms and is just very convenient.
Xamarin is a similar solution allowing you to share native interface code across multiple platforms including Android, iOS, and Windows.
Hybrid app development technologies
Mobile technologies – check.
Web development tools and technologies
Web software development is much different from that of mobile apps.
There are usually two parts of a web technology set: one on the client-side and one on the server-side. To provide a reference, there’s a house exterior with all of the eye-pleasing details and then there are the walls that hold everything up. Those are referred to as the frontend and backend of web applications, and together they make up a full-stack.
Here’s a fairly accurate representation of the software’s frontend and backend roles:
Front end web development technologies
We won’t go deep into the anatomy of a web page interface as there isn’t much insight to share. Just for the record, however, here’s a quick overview of the three building blocks of a front-end technology stack, which operate pyramid-wise:
The founding father of web architecture and e-mailing – HTML (stands for Hypertext Markup Language). It serves the input of core page content & characteristics, describing internet pages structure-wise.
On top of HTML goes CSS – Cascading Style Sheets. As its very name suggests, CSS is responsible for the design of web pages. It creates a visually appealing picture by influencing how the HTML code will look on the user screen.
Once again, the frontend is a wrapper responsible for everything users see on their screens.
Back end development technologies
Now, there’s much more to chew on when it comes to the server-side part of a software’s tech stack. This is where “ground” work is done, executing so-called CRUD operations (which stands for Create, Read, Update, and Demand).
While these technologies vary a lot, some of the most relevant backend tech stack solutions to choose from in 2020 are:
One of the top backend tools for web services and apps in 2020. It offers a pool of benefits from intuitive workflow and great libraries, to impressive productivity and powerful frameworks. It is also the #1 language for projects dealing with advanced technologies like Machine Learning and Big Data.
YouTube, Instagram, Dropbox, Reddit, and Spotify all make use of Python.
Another admired back-end language with one of the warmest user communities in the set. It is the foundation for the favored Rails framework and is perfect for small-scale projects and MVPs.
Ruby is associated with many tech startups as well as reputed industry names like Twitter, Airbnb, and Spotify.
A powerful cross-platform coding language perfect for dynamic websites and applications. Although extremely popular, it has a mixed reputation among devs and is not recommended for new projects due to the risk of a large code debt (the cost of unnecessary rework).
All that said, PHP backs a lot of well-known services like WordPress and MailChimp.
Slightly less popular than its rivals, yet still a great choice for building both large networks and microservices. Go provides rather wide development capabilities (similar to the C family) along with high operational speed.
Built by Google, Go is one of its core technologies.
Traditional backend coding languages
Other server-side coding languages worth a word include:
C – a true forefather of coding, who at 48 years old remains among the most prevalent programming languages. C powers a lion’s share of modern OS’s like Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Java – a common choice of developers for a long time now. It is the classic solution for both Android and web apps and is the technical backbone for web giants like Twitter, LinkedIn, and eBay.
C++ – similar to C, it offers a smoother coding experience due to a combination of modern-ish object-based programming and traditional syntax. C++ is behind Mozilla Firefox and a lot of Adobe and Microsoft software.
C# – a flexible and multi-purpose mixture of C and Java, it enables the development of a wide range of digital products from games to complex server structures. A lot of Windows desktop apps are written in C#.
Are you still with us?
Now, let’s look closer at what makes up the fine finish of a web development technology stack.
Top web development frameworks (& Node.js)
Just like any field of technology, software engineering approaches constantly evolve and complexity.
This is where web frameworks originate.
At the core of it, frameworks add further capabilities to pre-existing functionalities of web software. They are like the utensils in your household that help you to fulfill particular tasks efficiently, improving everyday life.
These tools are also divided into frontend and backend groups and depend on the coding language they add up to. It should be noted that while being quite versatile in application and workflow, most frameworks are quite equal functionality-wise. As they say – to each his own, and every developer has his favorites when it comes to various software tools.
However, here are some of the top choices in the community:
Best frontend frameworks:
React.js – although technically a front-end library, many consider it a full-fledged framework. React.js can be used for both server-side and client-side functionalities, providing massive full-stack development opportunities.
Angular and Angular.js – a couple of vibrant and capable frameworks perfect for creating rich single-page web apps.
Vue.js – a rather new, highly compatible framework that can be implemented within already existing projects without much integration pain. Being not as bulky (yet just as performing) as its aforementioned competitors, Vue fits in perfectly withsmall and mid-size apps.
Ember – named #1 frontend framework back in 2015, Ember incorporates some of the best JS practices to maximize productivity and has a huge user community.
Best backend frameworks:
Express (Node.js based)– a powerful web framework that has gained a lot of attention thanks to Node.js (mentioned below). It packs all of the backend engineering features one can wish for while being fast and flexible, although somewhat complex. Express is in the tech arsenal of such big companies as Uber and IBM.
Django (Python-based) – a capable and sophisticated framework with some high-level security features onboard. A great choice for executing big, complex web projects.
Laravel (PHP-based) – somewhat less ambitious than the previous two, Laravel is a powerful solution for small-scale projects. Considered heaven-sent by beginner developers, the only drawback to Laravel is that it doesn’t fit for mobile applications.
Rails (Ruby-based) – with over 800.000 websites (including Airbnb, GitHub, and Groupon) in the portfolio, RoR has an enormous user community. Great at handling complex algorithms and cloud-based apps, it enables a smooth and quick development process, although often troublesome at the deployment stage.
Spring (Java-based)– a popular framework for creating basic high-performing applications, which simplifies a lot of the manual work. Powered by Java, it is often used by services processing large volumes of data, such as Wix and Ticketmaster.
Flask (Python-based)– a great choice for building simple web applications with NoSQL databases.
Just to give you some heads-up, below is a visual chart representing the share of developers using particular frameworks, according to StackOverflow. Keep in mind that devs rarely stick with just one technology*.
One of a kind
Keep calm, we’re almost through with the guide! A few more tips and you can be safe and sure on how to choose a tech stack for your next IT project.
Another group of technologies worth mentioning in our comprehensive guide on how to choose a tech stack is databases.
If you ever worked with or read about software development, you probably came across terms like SQL and NoSQL, which refer to different types of databases. Now, what role do DBs play in a tech set composition and what are the main options?
Let’s find out.
What is a software database?
As its own name suggests, a database is essentially a collection of data. In computer science – it is one specifically organized and accessed electronically.
Databases store various application data such as user information, transaction records, inventories, or any other operational data, which makes it a rather important piece of the software!
Databases are usually classified by their organizational type, into:
Let’s look into each group separately.
The most common type of database is a relational one.
Dating back to the 1970s, these DBs represent sets of data categorized in columns and rows. They are easy to work with and do not affect the systems that utilize them when modified.
Relational DBs use the so-called Structured Query Language (SQL), which is why many of these types of tools have it in their name, like MySQL and PostgreSQL.
This type of database is hosted and maintained independently by a web of nodes, which makes these databases extremely secure and efficient. These are rather complex systems, so you might want to explore the aforementioned article in order to get a clearer picture of the notion. In general, though, a distributed database is nothing but a blockchain.
Cloud databases are simply a subgroup of relational DBs that are meant to run in virtual environments and are designed and optimized accordingly. The only difference from the mentioned above SQLs is in the type of hosting and the array of features that stem from it.
In particular, cloud databases allow to sync data across multiple platforms for collaborative, real-time projects.
Last but not least on the list of database types is the so-called NoSQL.
NoSQLs are meant to replace relational DBS when dealing with big-data tasks which the good old SQLs are inefficient for or simply can’t crack. As our software keeps using more and more data stored across multiple servers, NoSQL databases come right in handy to effectively process the information.
Here’s a rough example of the main structural difference between SQL and NoSQL data systems:
Some of the most popular NoSQL solutions include heard-of names like MongoDB, Apache, and Oracle NoSQL database.
Popular Web Tech Stacks
Now that we’ve covered individual technologies, let’s move on to the frequently used tech sets themselves.
In addition to the languages and frameworks mentioned above, indispensable components like servers, libraries, and platforms all make up a tech stack. Depending on the project type and goals, different technology combos fit better or worse.
Some of the most popular tech stacks to choose from are MEAN, MERN, LAMP (and its derivatives), WINS, and Ruby on Rails.
Let’s take a closer look at each.
MEAN tech stack
MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js.
Internet heavyweights like YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Netflix, etc. have MEAN in their web development arsenal.
MERN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, and Node.js.
This stack has gained a lot of attention recently and is almost identical to the aforementioned MEAN stack, its only difference being in using React.js instead of Angular.js.
MERN is a highly popular choice for creating powerful and sophisticated web applications. It carries all of the benefits offered by MEAN plus the advantage of using React products, preferred by many.
LAMP tech stack
LAMP is a classic full-stack. It traditionallyconsists of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
Fully open-source, it allows cutting some of the production costs while providing impressive development flexibility. Today, LAMP remains a prevalent software bundle on the market, even though it requires some higher grade expertise, as compared to MEAN/MERN.
Frequent combinations of LAMP include: – LAMP* & LAPP (with MongoDB and PostgreSQL instead of MySQL) – XAMPP (with FTP Server and Perl or PHP) – WAMP & MAMP (with Windows and Mac OS)
WINSstands for Windows Internet Naming Service.
It is a reliable full-stack development solution that operates on Microsoft technologies, such as Windows Server, IIS, .Net, and MS SQL. Although its legacy is well-spread on the internet, it is not the most popular choice among entrepreneurs since being quite pricy and inferior to js-based tech stacks integration-wise.
Other than that, the WINS stack packs a lot of capabilities in the set, especially if you plan to work with MS products.
Ruby on Rails
This one is the already-mentioned pair of the Rails framework and the base Ruby language itself.
Ruby on Rails is widely applied by startups & MVPs and is perfect for small-scale projects.
In general, those are the industry’s most popular options when it comes to choosing a tach stack.
To sum up all the findings, here’s a graphic technology map for you to breeze through the main dev tools associated with each platform once again:
Now, let’s move on to some additional factors to consider when you choose a tech stack.
Additional suggestions on how to choose a tech stack
Indeed, there are lots of things to ask yourself before sticking with a particular technology set. Here’s a cheat sheet for you to check with, whenever puzzled:
The size and complexity of a project largely determine which tech stack you should choose. The tools that perfectly fit a simple website (Ruby on Rails, MEAN) may not be as good of a match for an interactive web page or big data project (LAMP).
Thinking ahead has failed no one so far and is especially true in the fast-changing world of IT. Depending on the issues your product resolves, different tech combinations will work better or worse for meeting the users’ needs.
That said, it’s better to avoid constraining yourself software-wise and leave the opportunity to scale up when the time comes.
Similar to the previous point, the speed and responsiveness of your service lie at the core of a positive user experience. Therefore, factoring this one in to choose the right tech stack is crucial.
Another factor affecting the choice of a server-side solution is the amount of data your system will have to handle. You don’t want your website to stall once you get too much activity going on, do you?
Unsurprisingly, cyber-security is another key thing to consider before determining the right technology stack for your project.
Although most modern software offers a decent level of data protection, some development tools (like Django) clearly stand out in the crowd.
If you already have a dev team then this will largely determine your technology stack options. However, outsourcing is always at your service if you need to extend the team’s expertise or mitigate the workload.
Highlighted in every business plan, budget is one more crucial factor to consider when choosing a project stack. A rule of thumb here is to go for the open-source options and avoid Microsoft products whenever possible. That is, of course, if saving a few extra bucks is among your concerns.
Finally, it’s never a bad idea to research the products you personally like and favor, or check your competitors and see what type of technology has worked well for them.
Finding the right technology set for a project or startup is not nearly the easiest task on the schedule. Nevertheless, it pays back 100%. SPend the time to choose the right tech stack and save your time and budget, take a bag of pressure off the dev team’s shoulders, and leave space for scaling and flexibility.
Good news: all you have to do to strike gold is apply the insights from this article!