Willing to update your old-school desktop or web application? More than 70% percent of software products implemented by Flatlogic were not done from scratch but rather were improvements of the existing code and design. Such improvements typically include some combination of the following activities:
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Visual presentation of software functionality is critical to success of software product. No matter how efficiently the system is built from architecture and algorithm perspective, the users will always judge it by the way it looks and feels. Often quite a long history of real life usage is required for the right vision and understanding of the ultimate UX solution. Typical red flags to think about revisiting you UX would be:
- Design trends have changed dramatically and your product looks stand out of the crowd and not in a good way
- You get too many complaints about negative user experiences, users fail to complete critical tasks which are supposed to be intuitive
At some point in your product history you might find yourself in a situation when support and maintenance costs go up beyond the reasonable levels. In this case it is often worth it to revisit critical aspects of your application, identify the pain points and come up with a refactoring and restructuring plan. A full rebuild of the system from ground up is rarely the best solution: Flatlogic as a software development service provider always tries to keep the refactoring costs to a minimum and advises to replace only those components of the system which impose risks for security and become roadblocks for scalability and new feature integrations.
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A software system which properly and timely documented is a truly a rare find. Agile methodologies and dynamic business environments require fast reactions from the engineering team which often results in rapid code changes and hot fixes not covered by technical documentation. The risks from such documentation debt becomes especially obvious when key developers of the product move forward to other projects or on-boarding of a new team member is going to take place. Documenting of the project component architecture, database schemas, data flow and business logic is critical, and often becomes the starting point for the system renovation.
Programming languages, platforms and frameworks are subject to constant change and development. Some code developed 15 years ago might be still in a good working condition, but sooner or later you start bumping into issues that some components are not supported and it's next to impossible to find an engineer on the market who can support and develop the code. Programming languages go in and out of fashion just as everything else.
A typical migration project for our company would be porting your product to React JS or Angular JS framework, and Node.js backend. The selling point for such a choice of technology stack is the fact that all programming is performed in one language so it's easier to manage your talant pool. Another advantage is that modern JS frameworks are well supported and documented, have a rich choice of open source solutions and attention from the engineering community.
Upgrading libraries and other dependencies used by your system is something which is better done sooner that later. Failure to do so might result in serious security breaches and bugs that become harder and harder to track. Although library version update is often a non-trivial and time consuming task, we keep all Flatlogic templates up-to-date and strongly advise that all systems containing our custom code are linked to the latest dependency code released.
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In most cases there are more than one way to present the same dataset. Scalability and high load issues is one of the factors driving the engineering decisions, and often it takes some time of real application usage in production environment to discover the bottlenecks in data flow. The activities aimed at optimizing the data storage and improving its durability would typically include:
- Profiling of the DB queries in order to identify the bottlenecks
- Optimization of the DB schema including normalization and denormalization, caching, replication, partitioning, sharding
- Moving certain data from SQL to NoSQL and key-value storages
- Migration of the old data to the new model
- Syncing up the API services with the new storage
- Assessment of the new schema efficiency through performance tests
As the business becomes more and more data driven, integration of new data sources into your product is likely to increase its attractiveness and hence popularity among users. Flatlogic has a lot of relevant experience in building ETL and dataprocessing pipelines, web site scraping, data enrichment and curation.
More and more ready to use components appear on the market, including many free to use and open source libraries and frameworks. This could include social login solutions, basic frontend animation and styling, image processing, traffic analytics etc. While such software components are often inexpensive in not at all free, the engineering efforts to get them up and running within your product can be substancial. When it comes to integrations, experience is the key: the first time you deal with a new solution can mean days or even weeks of struggle, googling and digging through documentation. Once you know all the possible roadblocks and trouble makers, tasks can be nailed within hours. Therefore, keeping our team skills up-to-date with new solutions appearing on the market, is one of our priorities.
Running a quick demo and especially showing it to users and key stakeholders is in most cases way better than presenting slides or even screen samples. Flatlogic proprietary tools allow us to prototype key functionality of a custom software product within days to access a new system and outline the roadmap for the final product. Such prototyping based on templates and code generation is one of the most effective time and budget savers.
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